Buffalo, New York Population 2019
Population Size and Density in Buffalo, NY
Buffalo has an estimated population of 261,000, which ranks 83rd in the United States. The city proper has a population density of 6,436 people per square mile (2,568 per square kilometer). The urban population is about 93,600, which ranks 46th in the country. The Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area has a combined population of about 1.3 million and the 49th largest in the U.S., while the Combined Statistical Area has a population of 1.2 million.
The most common ancestry groups in Buffalo are German (13.6%), Irish (12.2%), Italian (11.7%), Polish (11.7%) and English (4.0%). There are large populations of people from Irish, Italian, Polish, German, Jewish, Arab, Greek, Indian, Macedonian, Indian and Puerto Rican descent.
Many ethnic neighborhoods have changed over the last fifty years as well. The East Side was traditionally a Polish-American community with Italian-Americans in the West Side. Today, the East Side is mostly African American while the West Side has many ethnicities. Through much of Buffalo's history, the First Ward (a collection of neighborhoods) has been almost wholly people of Irish descent, but it is now home to many people of Arab descent, particularly those from Yemen. The Jewish population, meanwhile, has moved to the suburbs or the Upper West Side since the 1950s.
In 2008, the United Nations rated the Buffalo-Niagara Falls area as being one of the worst cities in the world in terms of economic inequality and racial bias, stating that 40% of Hispanic, black and ethnically mixed households earned less than $15,000, versus 15% of white households. The United States Census department also called the area the 8th most segregated in the country.
Buffalo Population Growth
Buffalo's population peaked in 1950, like many former industrial cities, at which time it was the 15th largest city in the country. Buffalo's population had declined in every census since 1950 when its population was 580,000. In 2006, Buffalo's community was equivalent to its population in 1890, essentially reversing it 120 years.
After a decades-long loss of young people, the Buffalo-Niagara area has finally turned things around and is once more seeing a growth in the number of Millennials moving to the region. Since 2006, the number of Millennials (aged 20 through 34) has grown by over 10% while the region's total population shrank 1%. This has been the most substantial growth of young people among all counties in New York and exceeds national growth for the age group.
Buffalo began as a small trading community in 1789 and quickly grew when the Erie Canal was constructed in 1825. At the time, it had a population of about 2,400, which rose to 10,000 by 1832. By 1900, it was the 8th largest city in the country and became a major railroad hub.
Buffalo has long been home to a sizable African American community and at one point a regular meeting place for abolitionist leaders and a terminus point of the Underground Railroad. During the Civil War, Buffalo grew in population from 81,000 to more than 94,000 by 1865. At the start of the 20th century, Buffalo was known as the City of Light for its widespread electric lighting, becoming the first city in the country to use electric street lights in 1881. Buffalo saw great prosperity later during World War II as a manufacturing center, although it reached its peak population by the 1950s and declined for more than 60 years.
- Buffalo is home to the original Buffalo chicken wing. Before its invention, chicken wings were used in stock or thrown away. The invention is credited to Anchor Bar owners Frank and Teressa Bellissimo, who created the first Buffalo wings in 1964.
- Buffalo is also famous for beef on weck, a culinary dish derived from earlier German immigrants to the area. It's believed a German baker in Buffalo came up with the sandwich, which has roast beef and horseradish on a kummelweck roll.
- Buffalo's most infamous event was the 1971 Attica prison riot.
- "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a grammatically correct sentence that uses all three meanings of the word: the city of Buffalo, a verb meaning to buffalo (or bully) and the animal buffalo.
- The 1840s was a prosperous time for Buffalo and is remembered as the Fabulous Forties. This ended with a cholera outbreak in 1849.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Buffalo was:
- White: 47.62%
- Black or African American: 37.13%
- Other race: 5.77%
- Asian: 5.24%
- Two or more races: 3.77%
- Native American: 0.44%
- Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander: 0.03%