Erie County Overview

map

Geographic Size | Government | Population | Housing | Economy | Census Data

Geographic Size

Erie County is a metropolitan center located on the western border of the State covering 1,058 square miles. The County is bounded by Lake Erie to the west, Niagara County and Canada to the north, Genesee County and Wyoming County to the east, and Cattaraugus and Chautauqua Counties to the south. Half the population in both countries as well as half of the personal income created by the United States and Canada, are within 500 miles of Erie County. In addition, three-quarters of Canada's manufacturing activity and 55 percent of the United States' manufacturing activity fall within that radius. Located within the County are three cities and 25 towns, including the City of Buffalo, the second largest city in the State, which serves as the County seat.

Government

Erie County is governed under a home rule charter which provides for the separation of legislative and executive functions. The County Executive, elected to a four year term, is the chief executive officer of the County. The County Legislature, consisting of 11 members elected to two year terms, is the County's governing body. Other elected positions are Comptroller, County Clerk, District Attorney, and Sheriff.

Population

The Bureau of Census population statistics for Erie County are as follows:

YearPopulation
1970 1,113,491
1980 1,015,472
1990 968,532
2000 950,265
2010 919,040    
2013 Estimate 919,866    
 
The 2010 population of the cities and five largest towns are as follows:
Municipality2010 Population
Buffalo, City 261,310
Lackawanna, City 18,141
Tonawanda, City 15,130
Amherst, Town 122,366
Cheektowaga, Town 88,226
Tonawanda, Town 73,567
Hamburg, Town 56,936
West Seneca, Town 44,711

 

Economy

Erie County is a major New York industrial and commercial center. The following tables illustrate the major components of employment in the Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).

Ten Largest Employers In WNY
OrganizationEmployees
State of New York 25,244
United States Government 10,000
Kaleida Health 8,439
SUNY at Buffalo 7,106
Catholic Health Systems 6,286
Employer Services Corporation 6,271
Tops Markets LLC 5,117
City of Buffalo Schools 4,949
M & T Bank 4,593
Erie County Government 4,304
 
Total Labor Force and Employment (In 000's)
YearNo. Employed
2003 469,900
2004 473,200
2005 472,800
2006 470,200
2007 465,800
2008 471,800
2009 469,000
2010 465,600
2011 460,300
2012* 459,600

Source: NYS Department of Labor - Annual Data

 
Annual Average Unemployment Rates 2007-2011 (a)
 Erie CountyNew York StateUnited States

2007

4.8 4.6 4.6
2008 5.7 5.4 5.8
2009 8.2 8.3 9.3
2010 8.3 8.6 9.6
2011 7.9 8.2 8.9

(a) Percent of total force unemployed, by place of residence, not seasonally adjusted.

Source: U.S. Rate - U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics Other Rates - New York State Department of Labor, Labor Market Information

 
10 LARGEST REAL PROPERTY TAXPAYERS IN ERIE COUNTY 2012
Taxpayer Equalized Taxable Value
NATIONAL GRID/NIAGARA MOHAWK 698,295,685
NATIONAL FUEL GAS 693,674,968
BENDERSON DEVELOPMENT CO 451,245,342
HUNTLEY POWER LLC 415,800,428
VERIZON 301,723,196
NYSEG 259,796,402
BG - VARIOUS PROPERTIES 188,528,153
PYRAMID CO OF BUFFALO 181,184,043
NORFOLK/CONRAIL/CSX 133,765,838
UNILAND DEVELOPMENT 113,242,682
  3,437,256,737
 
Source: Erie County Division of Real Property Tax Services