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Surprise, Erie County's population grew for the first time in decades

'This is a great moment for the City of Buffalo, to see population growth in our city for the first time in 70 years,' Mayor Byron Brown said.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — According to the latest data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Department, the population in Erie County grew over the last decade.

From April 1, 2010, to April 1, 2020, the population in Erie County increased by 35,196 people, from a total of 919,040 people in 2010 to 954,236 in 2020.

The news is even better for adults. According to the new data, the population in Erie County of people 18 and older increased by 42,024, a 5.8% change from 10 years ago.

In addition, the population in the City of Buffalo grew by 6.5% in the last 10 years. Increasing from 261,310 people in 2010 to 278,349 in 2020, according to the new U.S. Census data. 

"So this is a great moment for the City of Buffalo, to see population growth in our city for the first time in 70 years. This is the first population growth in Buffalo since the 1950.Census," City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said.

Brown attributed the growth to increased access to affordable housing over the decade.

"We've built over 2,200 units of affordable housing, we've seen that there is tremendous demand for housing in every income level," Brown said.

Erie County is the only county in the Western New York area with a total population increase in the last ten years. Niagara and Genesee counties, however, did see small increases in people 18 and over, but the total population in those counties is down from 10 years ago.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted that this is the first time the county's population has increased since 1970.

The census is important to determine federal aid and maintaining current congressional representation.

"This is very important because we get additional federal aid, millions of dollars in additional federal aid that'll come into our region and that's also important for congressional representation," said Poloncarz. "New York is going to lose a congressional seat. We have two representatives in Erie County 3 in WNY and we should not lose any of them."

After a big push to get census participation, Brown and Poloncarz thanked everyone for taking part. 

"What I have to say to the people of Erie County is thank you, thank you for responding to the census," Poloncarz said.