Allegany County is a county in the southern tier of the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 48,946. Its county seat is Belmont. Its name derives from a Lenape word, applied by European-American settlers of Western New York State to a trail that followed the Allegheny River; they also named the county after this.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,034 square miles (2,680 km), of which 1,029 square miles (2,670 km) is land and 5.1 square miles (13 km) (0.5%) is water.
Allegany County is in the southwestern part of New York State, along the Pennsylvania border. Allegany County does not lie along the Allegheny River, as its name would suggest. The highest point in the county is Alma Hill, with an elevation of 2,548 feet above sea level. This is the highest point in the state west of the Catskill Mountains. The highest point of Interstate 86 is located in the Town of West Almond with an elevation of 2,110 feet. This is also believed to be the highest point of any interstate in the New York. The County is unique from a watershed perspective as it is providing water to three major watersheds of North America: The eastern part near Alfred has Canacadea Creek that goes into the Canisteo River, Susquehanna River and eventually to Chesapeake Bay.
The Genesee River bisects the county from south to north, flowing north out of the County through Letchworth State Park with its three waterfalls on to Rochester over three more waterfalls to its mouth on Lake Ontario and then on to the St. Lawrence River and Atlantic Ocean. The southwestern part of the County flows into the Allegheny River that flows into the Ohio and then to the Mississippi River basin to the Gulf of Mexico.
In June 1972 the remnants of Hurricane Agnes stalled over the area, dropping more than 20 inches (510 mm) of rain. Flooding took place in the valley communities of Wellsville, Belmont, Belfast and others in the county.
Long a necessary transportation waterway for the Seneca and other Native Americans, and successive European-American settlers, since the late 20th century, the Genesee River has been extremely popular with canoeists. The river is also favored by fishermen as it abounds in smallmouth bass, trout and panfish.
As of the census of 2000, there were 49,927 people, 18,009 households, and 12,192 families residing in the county. The population density was 48 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 24,505 housing units at an average density of 24 per square mile (9/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.03% White, 0.72% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. 0.91% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.3% identified as being of German, 16.6% English, 13.8% Irish, 11.9% American and 7.0% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.5% spoke English and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.
There were 18,009 households out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 9.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 26.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.40% under the age of 18, 15.50% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 99.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,106, and the median income for a family was $38,580. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,466 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,975. About 10.50% of families and 15.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.20% of those under age 18 and 7.50% of those age 65 or over.