Orleans County is a county in the western part of the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 42,883. The county seat is Albion. The county received its name at the insistence of Nehemiah Ingersoll though historians are unsure how the name was selected. The two competing theories are that it was named to honor the French Royal House of Orleans or that it was to honor Andrew Jackson’s victory in New Orleans.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 817 square miles (2,120 km), of which 391 square miles (1,010 km) is land and 426 square miles (1,100 km) (52%) is water.
The high proportion of water is due to the extension of Orleans County north into Lake Ontario to the Canada–US border (a line of latitude running through the middle of the lake). The distance from the Orleans shore north to the international border is greater than the distance from the shore south to the Genesee County line, meaning the area of Orleans under water is greater than that above water.
Orleans County is in western New York State, northeast of Buffalo and west of Rochester, on the southern shore of Lake Ontario.
The Erie Canal passes (east–west) through the middle of the county. When its construction was completed in 1824, it attracted new settlers to the largely rural county. Trade and passenger traffic stimulated the development of local businesses.
As of the census of 2010, there were 42,883 people, 16,119 households, and 10,872 families residing in the county. The population density was 113 people per square mile (44/km²). There were 17,347 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.8% White, 5.9% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.3% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 4.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. According to Census 2000, 20.3% were of German, 18.3% English, 10.8% Italian, 10.3% Irish, 9.4% American and 7.3% Polish ancestry and 96.0% spoke English and 3.0% Spanish as their first language.
Census 2010 showed there were 16,119 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49% were married couples living together, 12.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 26.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.5 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county, the population was spread out with 19.8% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $48,731. Males had a median income of $32,450 versus $22,605 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,457. About 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line.