Chautauqua County, New York

Chautauqua County, New York
This article is about the county in New York. For other uses of "Chautauqua," see Chautauqua (disambiguation).
Chautauqua County, New York
Seal of Chautauqua County, New York
Map of New York highlighting Chautauqua County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the U.S. highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded March 11, 1808
Seat Mayville
Largest city Jamestown
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,500 sq mi (3,885 km²)
1,062 sq mi (2,751 km²)
438 sq mi (1,134 km²), 29.20%
 - (2010)
 - Density

127/sq mi (49/km²)

Chautauqua County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 134,905. Its name may be a contraction of a Seneca Indian word meaning "bag tied in the middle". Its county seat is Mayville, and its largest city is Jamestown.



Chautauqua County was created by the partition of Genesee County on 1808-03-11.[1] This partition was performed under the same terms that produced Cattaraugus and Niagara Counties. The partition was performed for political purposes, but the counties were not properly organized, so they were all controlled as part of Niagara County.

On February 9, 1811, Chautauqua was completely organized, and so its separate government was launched.[2] This established Chautauqua as a county of 1,100 square miles (2,848.99 square km) of land. Chautauqua was never altered.


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 out 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 around Dunkirk and the "South County" centered around Jamestown each having their own interests.[3]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,500 square miles (3,885.0 km2). 1,062 square miles (2,750.6 km2) is land and 438 square miles (1,134.4 km2) (29.20%) is water.

Adjacent Counties/Borders

Major highways


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 12,568
1830 34,671 175.9%
1840 47,975 38.4%
1850 50,493 5.2%
1860 58,422 15.7%
1870 59,327 1.5%
1880 65,342 10.1%
1890 75,202 15.1%
1900 88,314 17.4%
1910 105,126 19.0%
1920 115,348 9.7%
1930 126,457 9.6%
1940 123,580 −2.3%
1950 135,189 9.4%
1960 145,377 7.5%
1970 147,305 1.3%
1980 146,925 −0.3%
1990 141,895 −3.4%
2000 139,750 −1.5%
2010 134,905 −3.5%

As of the census[6] of 2000, 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. 17.3% were of German, 15.1% Italian, 11.6% Swedish, 10.9% English, 9.3% Polish, 9.2% Irish and 5.6% 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.

Government and politics

Chautauqua County was governed by a board of supervisors until 1975, when a new county charter went into effect with provisions for a county executive and a 13-seat county legislature.[7] The county council currently consists of 25 members each elected from single member districts.

Chautauqua County Executives
Name Party Took office Left office
Joe Gerace Democrat January 1, 1975 May 10, 1983
David Dawson (acting) Democrat May 10, 1983 November 25, 1983
John A. Glenzer Republican November 25, 1983 December 31, 1989
Andrew W. Goodell Republican January 1, 1990 December 31, 1997
Mark W. Thomas Democrat January 1, 1998 December 31, 2005
Gregory J. Edwards Republican January 1, 2006 Incumbent
Chautauqua County Legislature
District Legislator Party
1 Keith Ahlstrom Democrat
2 Shaun Heenan Democrat
3 Robert Duff Republican
4 George Borrello Republican
5 Jerry Park Republican
6 John Runkle Republican
7 Robert Stewart Republican
8 Ronald Lemon Republican
9 Larry Barmore Republican
10 Mark Tarbrake Republican
11 Victoria R. James Democrat
12 Lori Cornell Democrat
13 Paula DeJoy Democrat
14 Scot Stutzman Independent
15 Maria Kindberg Democrat
16 Charles Nazzaro Democrat
17 Richard Babbage Republican
18 Rudy Mueller Democrat
19 Jay Gould Republican
20 Fred Croscut chairman Republican
21 David Himelein Republican
22 Doug Richmond Republican
23 Thomas DeJoe Democrat
24 Bob Scudder Republican
25 John Gullo Democrat

Most of the county is in the 150th New York State Assembly district, represented by Andy Goodell, with the exception of the eastern tier of towns, which are in the 149th district represented by Joseph Giglio. The entire county is within the bounds of New York's 27th congressional district (served by Brian Higgins) and the New York State Senate 57th district (served by Catharine Young). Prior to 2003, the county was part of New York's 31st congressional district (now the 29th), but was controversially redistricted out of that district and into what is now the 27th, and was replaced in the 29th district by Rochester suburbs that had never before been part of the district. Chautauqua County, at the same time, joined southern Erie County and portions of the City of Buffalo in the 27th, areas that had also never been in the same district with each other. In both cases, the suburban additions were significantly more Democratic populations than the rural 31st was, leading to Democrats winning both portions of the now-divided territory and accusations of cracking-based gerrymandering.

Chautauqua County has been a perfect bellwether county since 1980, having correctly voted for the winner of the presidential election in each election; the county missed twice between 1960 and 1976.


Jamestown Community College has two campuses in the county at Jamestown and Dunkirk. The State University of New York at Fredonia is located in the northern part of the county. Jamestown Business College offers two year degrees, certificates, and a four year degree in Jamestown.

Cities, Towns, Villages, and Hamlets

Chautauqua County, New York Divisions.png
Cities Towns Villages Hamlets

Indian reservations

See also

Places named for Chautauqua County, New York


  1. ^ New York. Laws of New York.;31st Session; Chapter 40; Sections1—2; Page 266.
  2. ^ Doty, William J., et al.;Historic Annals of Southwestern New York.; 3 Volumes; New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company; 1940; Volume 1; Page 360.
  3. ^ Dean, Nicholas (2009-08-30). Legislators Cite North-South Discrepancies. The Post-Journal. Retrieved 2009-08-30.
  4. ^ New York State Department of Economic Development
  5. ^
  6. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "3 MORE COUNTIES ADOPT CHARTERS", The New York Times (New York, New York): 59, 1973-11-25 

External links

Coordinates: 42°18′N 79°25′W / 42.30°N 79.41°W / 42.30; -79.41

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