Chautauqua County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 134,905. Its county seat is Mayville, and its largest city is Jamestown. Its name is believed to be the lone surviving remnant of the Erie language, a tongue lost in the Beaver Wars; its meaning is unknown and a subject of speculation. The county was created in 1808 and organized in 1811.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,500 square miles (3,900 km), of which 1,060 square miles (2,700 km) is land and 440 square miles (1,100 km) (29%) is water.
Chautauqua County, in the southwestern corner of New York State, along the New York-Pennsylvania border, is the westernmost of New York’s counties. Chautauqua Lake is located in the center of the county, and Lake Erie is its northern border.
Part of the Eastern Continental Divide runs through Chautauqua County. The area that drains into the Conewango Creek (including Chautauqua Lake) eventually empties into the Gulf of Mexico; the rest of the county’s watershed empties into Lake Erie and via Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence Seaway into the North Atlantic Ocean. This divide, known as the Chautauqua Ridge, can be used to mark the border between the Southern Tier and the Niagara Frontier. It is also a significant dividing point in the county’s geopolitics, with the “North County” being centered on Dunkirk and the “South County” centered on Jamestown each having their own interests.
The county is generally composed of rolling hills and valleys, with elevations ranging anywhere between 1100 and 2100 feet, although the land within a few miles of Lake Erie is generally flat and at an elevation of 1000 feet or lower. The lowest point in the county is Lake Erie, at 571 feet (174 meters), and the highest point is Gurnsey Benchmark at 2180 feet (664 meters).
As of the 2000 Census, there were 139,750 people, 54,515 households, and 35,979 families residing in the county. The population density was 132 people per square mile (51/km²). There were 64,900 housing units at an average density of 61 per square mile (24/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 94.04% White, 2.18% Black or African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.73% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 4.22% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. In terms of ancestry, 17.3% were German, 15.1% were Italian, 11.6% were Swedish, 10.9% were English, 9.3% were Polish, 9.2% were Irish and 5.6% were of American ancestry according to Census 2000. 93.0% spoke English and 3.8% Spanish as their first language.
There were 54,515 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.90% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.00% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 10.30% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 16.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $33,458, and the median income for a family was $41,054. Males had a median income of $32,114 versus $22,214 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,840. About 9.70% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.30% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 Census, there were 134,905 people in the county. The population density was 127 people per square mile (49/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.57% (124,875 people) white, 2.37% (3,197 people) African-American, 0.51% (688 people) Asian, 0.51% (689 people) Native American/Alaskan, 0.03% (34 people) Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, 1.98% (2,669 people) other, and 2.04% (2,751 people) two or more races. The Hispanic/Latino population of any race was 6.11% (8,241 people). In terms of ancestry, 25% were German, 16% were Italian, 12.8% were Swedish, 16% were English, 10.6% were Polish, 14.9% were Irish and 3.2% were of American ancestry according to the 2010 Census. 92.9% spoke English and 4.1% Spanish as their first language.
In the county, the population was spread out with 21.83% of the population under the age of 18, 3.82% (5,155 people) ages 18 and 19, 7.50% (10,113 people) ages 20–24, 10.37% (13,985 people) ages 25–34, 18.83% (25,406 people) ages 35–49, 21.07% (28,419 people) ages 50–64, and 16.59% (22,381 people) over the age of 65. Of the population, 49.3% (66,509 people) were male and 50.7% (68,396 people) were female.
Chautauqua County New York neighborhoods include: Panama-Stedman, Sea Lion Drive, Western Chautauqua Lake