Utica is a city in and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The population was 62,235 at the 2010 census, an increase of 2.6% from the 2000 census.
The city of Utica is situated within the region referred to as the Mohawk Valley in Central New York. Utica has an extensive park system, with winter and summer sports facilities. Utica and the neighboring city of Rome are principal cities of the Utica–Rome, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Oneida and Herkimer counties.
The Erie Canal, the Mohawk River, and the New York State Thruway pass through the north part of the city. The city is adjacent to the border of Herkimer County, New York.
Utica is located in the Mohawk River Valley region of New York State.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.6 square miles (43 km2), of which, 16.4 square miles (42 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2) (1.57%) is water.
Utica has a humid continental climate, which is characterized by cold winters and moderate summers.
Daytime highs during the summer are generally between 75 °F (24 °C) and 85 °F (29 °C), with some days not reaching 70 °F (21 °C) being common. Summer nights usually bottom out somewhere between 50 °F (10 °C) and 60 °F (16 °C). The all time highest recorded temperature for the city was 100 °F (38 °C), which occurred on July 19, 1953.
Winters in Utica are very cold and snowy, as the area is susceptible to Lake effect snow from the Great Lakes to the west. An example of typical wintertime snowfall amounts is presented below. Daytime highs during the wintertime are typically observed at or just above freezing (32 °F to 35 °F/0 °C to 2 °C), with some days not reaching 25 °F (-4 °C). Winter nights will see temperatures drop to settle between 10 °F (-12 °C) and 20 °F (-7 °C). Temperatures in the single digits or below zero are not uncommon for winter nights in Utica. The all time lowest recorded temperature in the city was -28 °F (-33 °C), which occurred once on February 18, 1979 and again on January 12, 1981.
As of the 2010 census, there were 62,235 people residing in the city. The population gain since 2000 represented a reversal of over 40 years of population decline. As of the 2000 census, the population density was 3,710.0 people per square mile (1,432.3/km²). There were 29,186 housing units at an average density of 1,785.3 per square mile (689.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.42% White, 12.92% African American, 0.28% Native American, 2.21% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.16% from other races, and 2.96% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.79% of the population.
There were 25,100 households out of which 27.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.3% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 3.04.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.1% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $24,916, and the median income for a family was $33,818. Males had a median income of $27,126 versus $21,676 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,248. About 19.8% of families and 24.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 38.0% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.
Utica is located where it is because it was next to the shallowest spot along the Mohawk River that made it the best place for fording across. Also due to an Iroquois Indian crossroads and fording location it made trade exceedingly easy for local merchants. With a shallow spot on the river and that as already inhabited by trading partners, the location was ideal for a settlement.
Utica was first settled by Europeans in 1773, on the site of Fort Schuyler which was built in 1758. The fort was named Fort Schuyler after Col. Philip Schuyler, a hero of the French and Indian War. After the French and Indian War the fort was abandoned and then during the American Revolution the original settlement (Yunę́ʼnare·θ in Tuscarora) was destroyed by Tories and Native Americans. The settlement eventually became known as Old Fort Schuyler when a military fort in nearby Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York, was renamed Fort Schuyler during the American Revolution and evolved into a village.
In 1794, a road was built to Albany, New York known as State Road. By 1797 the road was extended and completed to the Genesee River and the full road was known as it is now, Genesee Road. The creation of the Seneca Turnpike was the first significant factor in the growth and development of Utica, as this small settlement became the resting and relocating area on the Mohawk River for goods and people moving into Western New York and past the Great Lakes.
Moses Bagg, a blacksmith, built a small tavern near Old Fort Schuyler to accommodate weary travelers waiting for their horse's shoes to be repaired. After just a few years this small shanty tavern became a two story inn and pub known as Bagg's Hotel. The first bridge over the Mohawk River was erected in the summer of 1792 by a Long Island carpenter who had settled in Utica, Apollos Cooper, although local and regional architects that had seen the bridge were very skeptical to use it, and the bridge was soon destroyed in the spring floods.
The perhaps apocryphal account of Utica's naming suggests that around a dozen citizens of the Old Fort Schuyler settlement met at the Bagg's Tavern to discuss the name of the emerging village. Unable to settle on one particular name, Erastus Clark's entrant of "Utica" was drawn from several suggestions, and the village thereafter became associated with Utica, Tunisia, the ancient Carthaginian city.
Utica was incorporated as a village in 1798. Utica expanded its borders in subsequent charters in 1805 and 1817. Expansion and growth continued to occur in Utica; by 1817 the population had reached 2,860 people. Genesee Street was packed with shops and storefronts, a prosperous stagecoach line had expanded its business, a fully established bank was founded by Alexander Johnson, a newspaper company The Utica Observer established by William McLean, five churches as well as two hotels were all located within this center square of Utica.