Located along the southern shores of Lake Ontario, Monroe County sits in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State. The County was formed in 1821 out of parts of Ontario & Genesee County, and is named after the Fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. The County Seat located in Rochester, which is the only City in the County. As of 2019, Monroe County had a total of 741,770 living in its 62 cities, towns, villages, and hamlets.
Monroe County is the region’s urban center and reflects the highs and lows, and stark disparities, of the Finger Lakes region. It has the most educated adult population and high-performing suburban districts but also the highest child poverty rate and the lowest high school graduation rate. Monroe is the most diverse county and home to most of the region’s arts and tourist attractions.
Monroe is by far the largest county in the region, with almost two-thirds of the total regional population, giving it an outsized influence on regional statistics. Monroe is considered home to the urban and suburban portions of the census-defined Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), while the counties of Livingston, Ontario, Orleans, Wayne, and Yates comprise the exurbs and rural areas of the metro. All municipalities in the MSA with over 25,000 population are within Monroe County.
Monroe contains many of the most visited and well-known tourist attractions in the region, including The National Museum of Play, The George Eastman Museum, The Memorial Art Gallery, Seabreeze Amusement Park, Mount Hope Cemetery (home to the remains of Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, among others), Seneca Park Zoo, and Highland Park (site of the Lilac Festival). In particular, Rochester hosts many well-attended festivals throughout the year, including the Lilac Festival and the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.
Rochester is home to ten prestigious colleges and universities, including the University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Nazareth College, SUNY Brockport, and St. John Fisher College.
Throughout most of the 20th century, Rochester was known as headquarters of the “big three” imaging companies – Xerox, Eastman Kodak, and Bausch & Lomb – which together employed more than 15% of the nonfarm employment in 1981. However, their role as anchors of regional employment has abated as Kodak emerged from bankruptcy in 2013 and Xerox and Bausch & Lomb have moved their headquarters from Rochester. Today, the top regional employers are the University of Rochester, the Rochester Regional Health System, and Wegmans.
Monroe County Official Website
Monroe County Chamber of Commerce
Monroe County Census Data