Ontario County, New York

Not to be confused with Ontario, New York.

Coordinates: 42°51′N 77°17′W / 42.85°N 77.29°W / 42.85; -77.29

Ontario County, New York

Ontario County Courthouse in Canandaigua, 2014

Map of New York highlighting Ontario County
Location in the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Founded 1789
Named for Lake Ontario
Seat Canandaigua
Largest city Geneva
  Total 663 sq mi (1,717 km2)
  Land 644 sq mi (1,668 km2)
  Water 18 sq mi (47 km2), 2.8%
  (2010) 107,931
  Density 168/sq mi (65/km²)
Congressional districts 23rd, 27th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.co.ontario.ny.us

Ontario County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 107,931.[1] The county seat is Canandaigua.[2]

Ontario County is part of the Rochester, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area.

In 2006, Progressive Farmer rated Ontario County as the "Best Place to Live" in the U.S., for its "great schools, low crime, excellent health care" and its proximity to Rochester.


This area was long controlled by the Seneca people, one of the Five Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. They were forced to cede most of their land to the United States after the American Revolutionary War.

When the English established counties in New York Province in 1683, they designated Albany County as including all the northern part of New York State, the present State of Vermont, and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. On July 3, 1766 Cumberland County was organized, and on March 16, 1770 Gloucester County was founded, both containing territory now included in the state of Vermont. The English claims were their assertion; the Five and then Six Nations of the Iroquois occupied and controlled most of the territory in central and western New York until after the Revolutionary War.

As New York was more heavily settled in the 18th century, the colonial government organized additional counties, but European settlement did not proceed very far west past Little Falls, New York, about halfway through the Mohawk Valley, until after the revolutionary war. This area was temporarily part of Montgomery County, renamed after the war for an American officer. Seth Reed, a Colonel in the Battle of Bunker Hill, moved here with his family as a pioneer between 1787 and 1795. see also Geneva (town), New York[3]

Land-hungry settlers from New England swept into upstate and western New York after the Revolution, as nearly five million acres of new lands were available for purchase since the Iroquois were forced to cede most of their territories to the United States. Four tribes had allied with the British and were mostly resettled in Canada: the Mohawk, Onondaga, Seneca and Cayuga.

In 1789, Ontario County was split off from Montgomery. The territory first organized as Ontario County was much larger than at present and ran south from the shore of Lake Ontario. As the area was settled, new counties were organized. The following counties were rapidly organized from this territory in the first decades after the war: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming, and Yates counties, and parts of Schuyler and Wayne counties.

In 1796, Ontario County was divided and Steuben County was organized. In 1802, Ontario County was reduced when Genesee County was split off. The new county was originally very large, including the present Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming Counties and parts of Livingston and Monroe counties.

In 1821, portions of Genesee County were combined with portions of Ontario County to create Livingston and Monroe counties.

In 1823, a portion of Seneca County was combined with a portion of Ontario County to create Wayne County. The same year, a portion of Steuben County was combined with a portion of Ontario County to create Yates County.

Great Awakening

This frontier area was part of the evangelistic activities during the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century, when Baptist, Methodist and Congregational preachers traveled and organized revivals and camp meetings. In addition, independent sects developed in central and western New York during this period, including the Church of Latter Day Saints and the Shakers.

Latter Day Saint movement

Home of the Joseph Smith, Sr. family in Manchester, known as the "frame home".

Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, lived in Manchester in the 1820s on the border with Palmyra. Several events in the early history of the movement occurred in Ontario County. Hill Cumorah in Manchester is where Smith said he discovered the Golden plates said to contain the writings later known as the Book of Mormon. Smith visited the hill each year on the fall equinox (September 22) between 1823 and 1827, and claimed to be instructed by the Angel Moroni. Smith said he was finally permitted to take the record on September 22, 1827. He published the Book of Mormon in Palmyra in 1830. The 110-foot (34 m) hill (which was then unnamed) is on the main road toward Canandaigua from Palmyra to Manchester (modern State Route 21); it was a few miles from Joseph Smith's home.

Since the 1930s The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has held the Hill Cumorah Pageant annually here. It regularly attracts thousands to its performances.[4] The church also maintains a visitors' center at the hill, the Palmyra New York Temple, and the former Smith property and homes. The latter property straddles the border between Ontario and Wayne counties.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 663 square miles (1,720 km2), of which 644 square miles (1,670 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (2.8%) is water.[5]

Ontario County is in western New York State, east of Buffalo, southeast of Rochester, and northwest of Ithaca. The county is within the Finger Lakes Region of the state.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Government and politics

Ontario County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2012 49.8% 23,820 48.3% 23,087
2008 49.3% 25,171 49.2% 25,103
2004 55.9% 27,999 42.2% 21,166
2000 52.0% 23,885 43.0% 19,761
1996 41.6% 17,237 46.2% 19,156
1992 42.5% 18,995 35.8% 16,064
1988 55.2% 21,780 44.0% 17,341
1984 65.4% 24,507 34.3% 12,844
1980 48.0% 17,036 40.8% 14,477
1976 59.6% 21,118 39.6% 14,044
1972 68.2% 23,828 31.5% 11,012
1968 56.9% 17,114 38.9% 11,719
1964 38.8% 10,847 64.7% 19,922
1960 61.6% 19,654 38.4% 12,251

The county is governed by an elected Board of Supervisors, and uses the Board-Administrator system, hiring a professional County Administrator. The Board of Supervisors has twenty-one members: one is elected from each Town, two from the city of Canandaigua and three from the city of Geneva. As of 2004, the county government has over 800 full-time employees (augmented by another 360 seasonal or available part-time workers), and a budget of $136 million. The county is similar in its politics to much of the rest of rural Upstate New York; its voters tend to support Republican presidential candidates. In 1996, the county voted for the Democratic presidential candidate for the first time since 1964. In 2008, John McCain narrowly edged a victory over Barack Obama by less than 1%. In 2012 Obama narrowly lost the county to Republican nominee Mitt Romney by a margin of 1.5%.

State and federal government

Office District Area of the county Officeholder Party First took office Residence
Congressman New York's 23rd congressional district Roughly, the west half of the county (Towns of Bristol, Canadice, Canandaigua, East Bloomfield, Farmington, Naples (part), Richmond, South Bristol, Victor, West Bloomfield)[6] Thomas W. Reed II Republican 2010 Corning, Steuben County
Congressman New York's 27th congressional district Roughly, the east half of the county (Towns of Geneva, Gorham, Hopewell, Manchester, Naples (part), Phelps, Seneca)[7] Christopher C. Collins Republican 2013 Clarence, Erie County
State Senator 54th State Senate District Roughly, the northeast corner of the county (Towns of Canandaigua, Farmington, Geneva, Gorham, Hopewell, Manchester, Phelps, Seneca)[8] Michael F. Nozzolio Republican 1993 Fayette, Seneca County
State Senator 55th State Senate District All of the county not covered by the 54th district (Towns of Bristol, Canadice, East Bloomfield, Naples, Richmond, South Bristol, Victor, West Bloomfield)[9] Rich Funke Republican 2015 Fairport, Monroe County
State Assemblyman 131st State Assembly District All[10] Brian M. Kolb Republican 2000 Canandaigua, Ontario County

Ontario County is part of:


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015109,561[11]1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 100,224 people, 38,370 households, and 26,360 families residing in the county. The population density was 156 people per square mile (60/km²). There were 42,647 housing units at an average density of 66 per square mile (26/km²). According to respondents' self-identification, the racial makeup of the county was 95.04% White, 2.06% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.70% from other races, and 1.26% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.14% of the population. Based on self-identification, 17.9% were of German, 14.9% Irish, 14.8% English, 13.8% Italian, 7.3% American and 5.1% Dutch ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.6% spoke English and 2.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 38,370 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.00% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 24.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,579, and the median income for a family was $52,698. Males had a median income of $36,732 versus $26,139 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,533. About 4.90% of families and 7.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.10% of those under age 18 and 6.40% of those age 65 or over.





Census-designated places


See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Turner, p.319
  4. "A History Lesson". The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. July 8, 2001.
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  6. W, Eric (2012-04-02). "Congressional District 23" (PDF). View 2012 Congressional Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  7. W, Eric (2012-04-02). "Congressional District 27" (PDF). View 2012 Congressional Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-13.
  8. W, Eric (2012-03-02). "Senate District 54" (PDF). View 2012 Senate District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  9. W, Eric (2012-03-02). "Senate District 55" (PDF). View 2012 Senate District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  10. W, Eric (2012-01-25). "Assembly District 131" (PDF). View Proposed 2012 Assembly District Maps. Albany, New York: The New York State Legislative Task Force on Demographic Research and Reapportionment. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  11. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  12. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  13. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  14. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  15. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2015.
  16. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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