Ontario County, first organized in 1789, is situated southeast of Rochester. Much of Canandaigua Lake and the northwest shore of Seneca Lake are located in Ontario County. Ontario is the second most populous county in the region after Monroe with just under 110,000 residents in 2019.
With a 9.8% increase in residents from 2000 to 2019, Ontario County is one of only two counties in the region (along with Seneca) to experience considerable growth. Ontario has a strong tourism sector, anchored by the high-end Eastview Mall, CMAC Performing Arts Center, and several wineries and breweries.
Ontario continues to have the highest median income and home values in the region, along with the lowest poverty rate. Ontario has among the lowest unemployment rates in the region. A third of residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher and the county has the lowest share of the adult population receiving less than a high school diploma in the region.
Ontario County, as now constituted, has an area of 640 square miles left from its original 6,000,000 acres. It has been a true "Mother of Counties." In 1796, Steuben was set off; in 1802 all the land west of the Genesee was taken. In 1810, the comparatively small section of Ontario left was credited with a population of 42,000. In 1821, both Livingston and Monroe were born; in 1823 Ontario gave area to Yates and Wayne; the boundaries established then are those of the present. Ontario has been the mother of six children; her total descendants now number fourteen.
The county, even when it covered the original territory, was recognized as one particularly suited to agriculture, especially that part now enclosed in Ontario, and is the premier grain growing county in the State. It ranks first in the growing of wheat, first in barley, and the large amounts of other cereals harvested brings its total to higher figures than any other county. It is, however, not a one crop region or even simply a grain country. The potato crops come eighth among the divisions of New York; in small fruits it is fourth, fifth in grapes, and fourth in orchard fruit production including apples and cherries.
Increasing attention is being given to livestock, and the population is more diverse than dairy cows. Ontario County ranks second amongst all New York Counties in swine population on farms. In addition, Ontario County was the first western district to introduce sheep, and only one County has more in its possession. Despite having two cities and 37% of its population living in urban settings, manufacturing has never been a prominent factor in the progress of Ontario County. Outside the cities of Geneva and Canandaigua, there are few factories. The ones that are there deal mostly in articles made from agricultural raw materials.
Ontario County Official Website
Ontario County Chamber of Commerce
Ontario County Census Data