Cato is a town in Cayuga County, New York, United States. The population was 2,537 at the 2010 census. The town is named after Cato the Elder, a Roman statesman. The name was assigned by the surveyors of the Military Tract, and is one of many towns and villages bearing classical place names.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.2 square miles (93.7 km), of which 33.7 square miles (87.2 km) is land and 2.5 square miles (6.6 km), or 7.03%, is water.
The town of Cato is on the eastern side of Cayuga County, so that the east town line is the border of Onondaga County. The south town line is defined by the Seneca River/Erie Canal.
Cato village is located along the northern border of the town; half of it extends into the town of Ira to the north. The village of Meridian is to the east of Cato village and is entirely within the town of Cato. New York State Route 34, a north-south highway, intersects New York State Route 370, an east-west highway, in Cato village. The southern terminus of New York State Route 176 is at NY-370, east of Meridian.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,744 people, 994 households, and 747 families residing in the town. The population density was 81.6 people per square mile (31.5/km²). There were 1,293 housing units at an average density of 38.4 per square mile (14.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.74% White, 0.36% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.36% of the population.
There were 994 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.0% were married couples living together, 7.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the town, the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 29.2% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $43,281, and the median income for a family was $49,028. Males had a median income of $35,150 versus $24,572 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,941. About 6.0% of families and 8.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.