district profile
Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metro Area

Erie and Niagara Counties

The Buffalo-Niagara Falls metropolitan area is home to slightly over 1.1 million people, based on the 2010 Census, with roughly 80 percent residing in Erie County, which includes the city of Buffalo. Niagara County, which includes the city of Niagara Falls, is less densely populated. Population in both counties has declined for the past four decades, including a 3 percent decline between 2000 and 2010.

Looking at the educational profile of the population, 27 percent of adults hold a college degree—somewhat below the statewide average of 31.6 percent but close to the nationwide average. Median household income is also somewhat below average in both counties. In terms of the area's demographic profile, Blacks make up roughly 12 percent of the population—close to the national average. Hispanics account for 4 percent of the population and Asians for just above 2 percent—both well below the nationwide figures.

Historically, Buffalo's key industries largely involved durable goods manufacturing, particularly steel. In recent decades, however, many of these industries have contracted substantially at the national level, and even more sharply locally. Manufacturing accounts for a slightly above-average share of employment in the Buffalo area today. Key industries within the manufacturing sector for the metropolitan area include transportation equipment, primary and fabricated metals, machinery, plastics and chemicals. As manufacturing’s share of the local economy has dwindled, health and education, as well as some other service industries, have accounted for increasingly large shares of economic activity. Being on the border with Canada, trade with Canada has also continued to play an important role in the local economy.

During the recent economic downturn, the Buffalo metropolitan sustained job losses comparable to the state as a whole (3.8 percent), but these losses were considerably milder than the national decline of over 6 percent. The area's housing market also held up much better than the nation’s during the recession. While national home prices underwent steep declines, home prices in the Buffalo metropolitan area appreciated, though at a slow pace.1.

Recent Trends
Both total and private-sector employment have continued to increase at a modest pace in 2012, with most of the growth occurring in educational and health services and construction. These two sectors alone added more than 6,000 jobs to the local economy during the first half of 2012. The manufacturing sector also added jobs, though at a slower pace, and employment in this sector has edged downward in recent months. Overall, the Buffalo area economy has recovered the jobs it lost during the recession somewhat faster than the nation, though employment is still down about 10,000 jobs since the summer of 2008. The unemployment rate has climbed back to the high levels reached at the end of the recession. Home prices have continued to climb slowly.

1Trends in home prices referred to here are all based on repeat-sales indexes from CoreLogic.

  Buffalo MSA*: selected characteristics
    Population in 2010 % of 2010 Population that is1  
  Total Population1 % Change from 20001 per Sq. Mile2 Black Hispanic Asian  
  Buffalo Metro Area 1,135,509   -3.0   725  12.2  4.1  2.3 
    Erie 919,040   -3.3   880  13.5  4.5  2.6 
    Niagara 216,469   -1.5   414  6.9  2.2  0.8 
  New York State 19,378,102   2.1   410  15.9  17.6  7.3 
  USA 308,745,538   9.7   87  12.6  16.3  4.8 

  Buffalo MSA*: selected characteristics
    Median % of Homes % of Adults with5  
  Household Income3 Home Value4 Owner Occupied4 College Degrees HS Degrees  
  Buffalo Metro Area $46,569   $101,600   67.1   26.8   88.0 
    Erie $47,086   $117,400   66.3   28.4   88.1 
    Niagara $45,036   $97,900   70.7   19.8   87.4 
  New York State $54,659   $310,000   55.4   31.8   84.2 
  USA $50,221   $191,900   66.4   27.5   84.6 
* Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are metro areas defined by the Office of Management and Budget for use by federal statistical agencies.
1 Source: US Bureau of the Census, decennial Census of Population.
2 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Population; land area data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s geographic database (TIGER® database) for Census 2000.
3 Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2009 (1-year estimates)

Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2007-09 (3-year estimates)


Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2006-08 (3-year estimates)

October 2012