Formed in 1823, Yates is the smallest county by population in the nine county Finger Lakes region. Situated in the southeast corner of the region and home to three of the Finger Lakes, the county’s economy relies heavily on agriculture and tourism, and has seen a significant boost in manufacturing jobs since 2001.
Yates is the least racially and ethnically diverse county in the Finger Lakes Region – with a population that is 97% white – but nonetheless has seen growth in its small Asian, African American, and Hispanic populations. Yates has one of the highest child poverty rates in the region.
The unemployment rate in Yates County has rebounded since the Great Recession. Though average salaries are relatively low, Yates was the only regional county in which median household income kept up with inflation since 2000.
Yates County lies between the Mohawk Valley and the Genesee Country, and partakes of the beauties and fertility of both. The lakes that surround the county, especially Keuka, have always been a source of pleasure and profit to the county. It is fairly elevated, five ridges running north and south, giving it drainage and variety. Seneca Lake is the eastern boundary, Keuka lies on the south and Lake Canandaigua touches the west. The higher lands are those of Italy, Middlesex, Potter, and Jerusalem, while the more level lands are to be found in Benton, Milo, Torrey, Starkey and Barrington. There is little waste land in Yates, for there the terrain is too steep for the cultivated crops, grapes are planted, and are, no doubt, the characteristic and most profitable crop of the county. It was the completion of the Northern Central Railroad , or rather a branch of it, that brought the grape and fruit industry forward, and since then the tendency in agriculture has been away from grain crops for shipment, to fruits, particularly grapes, perishable, and dairy products.
Yates County Official Website
Yates County Chamber of Commerce
Yates County Census Data