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Elma, New York facts for kids

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For other places with this name, see Elma.
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Elma, New York

The Heart of Erie County
Location in Erie County and  New York.
Location in Erie County and New York.
Location of New York in the United States
Location of New York in the United States
Country United States
State New York
County Erie County
Settlement 1827
Incorporated 1857
Named for The American Elm
 • Total 34.53 sq mi (89.44 km2)
 • Land 34.52 sq mi (89.41 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
869 ft (265 m)
 • Total 11,721 Increase
 • Density 341.88/sq mi (132.00/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 716
FIPS code 36-029-24130
FIPS code 36-24130
GNIS feature ID 0978937

Elma is a town in Erie County, New York, United States. The population was 11,721 at the 2020 census. The town is named after the American elm tree.

Elma is in the county's central area, southeast of Buffalo.


The area was settled around 1827. The early residents included members of the Ebenezer Society.

Elma was the last town formed in the county. When the time came to put up a post office for the local lumber mill, a resident suggested it be named after a famous large American elm, then growing at the corner of the modern Clinton and Bowen Road. The name was accepted, and after all procedures were carried out, the new Elma Post Office was established in 1852 and began receiving mail three times a week. The town was officially created in 1857 from parts of the towns of Aurora and Lancaster.

Fran Striker, the creator of the Lone Ranger and the Green Hornet, was killed in a car accident here on September 4, 1962, while moving with his family.

After moving back to western New York in 2007, long-time Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas opened Thurman Thomas Sports Training in Elma.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 34.53 square miles (89.43 km2), of which 34.52 square miles (89.40 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2), or 0.03%, is water.

New York State Route 78 makes the west town line. The East Aurora Expressway (New York State Route 400) crosses the town.

Adjacent cities and towns

Major highways

  • US 20.svg U.S. Route 20 (Transit Road), east–west highway (north–south in town) that marks the western border of town with Orchard Park and West Seneca. (Runs concurrent with NY 78 north of Seneca Street.)
  • NY-16.svg New York State Route 16 (Seneca Street), north–south roadway (northwest–southeast in town) that runs concurrent with NY 16 from West Seneca town line to Aurora town line.
  • NY-78.svg New York State Route 78 (Transit Road, Seneca Street), north–south roadway that marks west town line with West Seneca (when also concurrent with US 20) and runs concurrent with NY 16 southeast into town of Aurora.
  • NY-187.svg New York State Route 187 (Transit Road), north–south roadway that forms west boundary of town with Orchard Park. (Continuation of Transit after US 20 splits off to west.)
  • NY-354.svg New York State Route 354 (Clinton Street), east–west route through town from West Seneca to Marilla.
  • NY-400.svg New York State Route 400 (Aurora Expressway), north–south highway (runs generally east–west through town) from West Seneca town line at NY 16/NY 78 to Aurora town line just east of village of East Aurora.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 2,091
1870 2,827 35.2%
1880 2,555 −9.6%
1890 2,163 −15.3%
1900 2,202 1.8%
1910 2,130 −3.3%
1920 1,966 −7.7%
1930 2,320 18.0%
1940 2,801 20.7%
1950 4,020 43.5%
1960 7,468 85.8%
1970 10,011 34.1%
1980 10,574 5.6%
1990 10,355 −2.1%
2000 11,304 9.2%
2010 11,317 0.1%
2020 11,721 3.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 11,304 people, 4,186 households, and 3,294 families residing in the town. The population density was 327.7 people per square mile (126.5/km2). There were 4,296 housing units at an average density of 124.5 per square mile (48.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 99.09% White, 0.05% African American, 0.05% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.60% of the population.

There were 4,186 households, out of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.0% were married couples living together, 6.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 21.3% were non-families. 17.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.5% under the age of 18, 5.5% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.4 males.

The town's median household income was $56,334, and the median family income was $63,922. Males had a median income of $42,679 versus $28,826 for females. The town's per capita income was $25,960. About 2.3% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.

Communities and locations in Elma

  • Billington Heights – A location in the town's south part.
  • Blossom – A hamlet in the town's northwest corner. It was the principal location of the Ebenezer Society.
  • Buffalo Creek – A stream flowing westward through the town's northern part. The French name for this stream was Beau Fleuve, and the name of the city of Buffalo is derived from the stream. There were no buffalo living in the area during the colonial period, although they are now raised on several local farms. As it approaches the city of Buffalo, the creek is called the Buffalo River.
  • Cazenovia Creek – A stream flowing northward through the town's southwest part.
  • East Elma – A hamlet in the town's southeast corner of the town.
  • Elma – A hamlet near the northern town line on Bowen Road.
  • Elma Center – A hamlet near the town's center and south of Elma village on Bowen Road.
  • Spring Brook – A hamlet on Route 16 near the eastern town line.

Notable people

  • Jackson C. Frank, folk musician
  • Patrick Gallivan, New York state senator
  • Jake Kaminski, Olympic archer
  • James Bradley, Drummer for Interphase, Mac McNulty, Al Hirt, Pat Salvatore
  • Les Kuntar, retired NHL goaltender
  • Frank Lazarus, former president of the University of Dallas
  • Otto Orf, retired soccer goalkeeper
  • James A. Pawelczyk, astronaut
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