Chautauqua is a town and lake resort community in Chautauqua County, New York, United States. The population was 4,464 at the 2010 census. The town is named after Chautauqua Lake. The traditional meaning remains “bag tied in the middle”. The suggested meanings of this Seneca word have become numerous: “the place where one is lost”; “the place of easy death”; “fish taken out”; “foggy place”; “high up”; “two moccasins fastened together”; and “a bag tied in the middle”.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 67.2 square miles (174.0 km), of which 67.1 square miles (173.8 km) of it is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km), or 0.14%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,666 people, 1,881 households, and 1,269 families residing in the town. The population density was 69.4 people per square mile (26.8/km²). There were 4,174 housing units at an average density of 62.1 per square mile (24.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.25% White, 1.59% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.05% of the population.
There were 1,881 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% were married couples living together, 7.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.5% were non-families. 28.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87.
In the town, the population was spread out with 22.4% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 25.4% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $36,379, and the median income for a family was $41,923. Males had a median income of $30,767 versus $23,561 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,003. About 7.5% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.3% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.