Ithaca, New York

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Ithaca, New York

Introduction to Ithaca, New York

The New York city of Ithaca, which sits in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is the county seat of Tompkins County. Named for the Greek island of Ithaca, the city is situated 33 miles northeast of Elmira, 50 miles northwest of Binghamton, and about 60 miles south of Syracuse. Ithaca is noted for being home to Cornell University and also Ithaca College.

By the time of Ithaca's incorporation as a city in 1888, Cornell University had already marked the 20th anniversary of its founding by Ezra Cornell. A few years later, in 1892, W. Grant Egbert founded the Ithaca Conservatory of Music, later to become Ithaca College. During the early 20th century, Ithaca was an important center in the silent film industry, spearheaded by the Wharton brothers, film makers who set up a motion picture studio and shot several silent films at a site which is now Stewart Park. Today Ithaca relies chiefly on education and manufacturing to drive its expanding economy, with a significant amount of support from tourism, viniculture, and high technology. As evidence of the city's success, USA Today ranked Ithaca number one on its list of "Emerging Cities" in March 2004.

Things to do in the Ithaca Area

Tourists converge on the Ithaca area to take in its natural scenery and its numerous hiking, skiing, and bicycling trails. In addition, the region surrounding Ithaca is populated with several wineries, many of which specialize in varietals of the native Labrusca grape. Ithaca is also home to a number of historical societies and museums, including the following:

  • The Sciencenter
  • Paleontological Research Institution's Museum of the Earth
  • F.R. Newman Arboretum
  • Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Fine Art
  • Historic Ithaca's State Theatre
  • Museum of the Earth at PRI

Recreational sites in and around Ithaca include the following:

  • Buttermilk Falls State Park
  • Robert H. Treman State Park
  • Cayuga Lake
  • Taughannock Falls State Park
  • Beebe Lake
  • Ithaca Falls
  • Cass Park Rink & Pool
  • Ringwood Raceway

Sports fans can catch some pro action less than an hour's drive away. The nearby city of Elmira is home to the Elmira Jackals, a pro hockey team in the United Hockey League (UHL). The city of Auburn (40 miles to the north) is the home town of the Auburn Doubledays, a Minor League Class-A baseball farm team of the Toronto Blue Jays. Nearby Binghamton hosts two professional teams: the Binghamton Mets (a Minor League Baseball Class-AA affiliate of the New York Mets) and the Binghamton Senators (a pro hockey Ottawa Senators affiliate playing in the American Hockey League). A 60-mile drive north to the city of Syracuse will find the Syracuse Sky Chiefs, a Minor League baseball team which is the AAA Blue Jays affiliate, and the Syracuse Crunch, an American Hockey League team affiliated with the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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High Points

Ithaca strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in New York):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Ithaca Walking and Biking to Work
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 3% trophy Ithaca Short Commute Times
College Educated Adults
(vs. Peers)
Top 5% trophy Ithaca College Educated Adults
Racial Diversity
(vs. State)
Top 12% Ithaca Racial Diversity
Public Transportation Use
(vs. Peers)
Top 13% Ithaca Public Transportation Use

Comparative Profile of Ithaca, New York

Comparing Ithaca to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in New York (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 10 10
Racial Diversity 7 9
Well-Paid Single Men 2 2
Senior Citizens 1 1
Female Share of the Population 1 1
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 1
Age of the Population 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Average Household Size 1 1
Portion of People Married 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 10 10
Median Family Income 3 3
People in Middle Class or Better 1 1
People Above Poverty 1 1

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 10
Working at Home 10 9
Public Transportation Use 9 8


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
People Living Alone 10 10
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 10 10
Affordability of Rents 7 6
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 7 4
Affordability of Property Taxes 3 5
Housing Recently Built 1 4

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Ithaca Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 45 miles SW of Syracuse, New York (center to center)
Nearest Large City 125 miles E of Buffalo, New York
County Tompkins
Standard Zip Codes 14850, 14853, 14882
P.O. Box Zip Codes 14851, 14852
Phone Area Codes 607
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 42.44
Longitude -76.496

Ithaca Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.5 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 31 F
Apr Temp 33 to 55 F
Jul Temp 57 to 80 F
Oct Temp 37 to 59 F
Annual Precip 36.7 inches
Distance 19.4 miles
Jan Temp 15 to 31 F
Apr Temp 34 to 54 F
Jul Temp 59 to 81 F
Oct Temp 39 to 59 F
Annual Precip 39.3 inches
Distance 30.5 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 33 F
Apr Temp 32 to 58 F
Jul Temp 57 to 83 F
Oct Temp 36 to 61 F
Annual Precip 35.1 inches
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Ithaca Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 29,287 100%
Male 14,830 50.6%
Female 14,457 49.4%
Under 18 2,705 9.2%
18+ 26,582 90.8%
65+ 1,836 6.3%
Median Age 22
Average Family Size 2.81
White 21,663 74%
African-American 1,965 6.7%
Asian 3,998 13.7%
American Indian & Alaskan 114 0.4%
Other 546 1.9%
Mixed Race 985 3.4%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 1,555 5.3%

Estimated Ithaca Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 29,766
Growth 479
Growth % 1.6%

Ithaca Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 29.2%
German 10.2%
Italian 9.3%
Irish 9.2%
English 6.8%
Polish 4.4%
Russian 4.4%
US/American 3%
European 2.4%
French (except Basque) 1.5%
Norwegian 1.3%
British 1.2%
Dutch 1.1%
Greek 1.1%
Swedish 1.1%
Scottish 1.1%
Welsh 0.9%
French Canadian 0.9%
Eastern European 0.9%
Scotch-Irish 0.8%
Hungarian 0.6%
Austrian 0.6%
Jamaican 0.5%
Czech 0.4%
Canadian 0.4%
Romanian 0.4%
Finnish 0.4%
Ukrainian 0.4%
Israeli 0.3%
Iranian 0.3%
Lithuanian 0.3%
Armenian 0.3%
Portuguese 0.3%
Slovak 0.3%
Swiss 0.3%
Yugoslavian 0.3%
Syrian 0.2%
African 0.2%
Turkish 0.2%
Guyanese 0.2%
Danish 0.2%
Lebanese 0.2%
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Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Ithaca, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Ithaca College (14850)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Pop. Median Family
Income (2000)
Ithaca 29,287 $42,304
Dryden 1,832 $54,489
Freeville 505 $44,688
Groton 2,470 $43,563
Lansing 3,417 $48,167
Spencer 731 $37,222
Trumansburg 1,581 $58,194

Ithaca Public Libraries

Tompkins County Public Library
Ithaca, New York
(607) 272-4557
Library Web Site

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Ithaca Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Private)
(607) 274-4401
Emergency Service: Yes

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Ithaca High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 1,551 students.

A Non-traditional School
Serves 263 students.

Ithaca Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Cornell University

Ithaca College

(List of New York Colleges)

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Limit Results to One State?

City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Ypsilanti, Michigan 90.9   40.6% 7% 35.4% 21 $40,793 5% 38.6% 22,362 25.8% 48.7 0.2% 9.4
2. Carrboro, North Carolina 88.3   37.1% 5.1% 60.9% 22 $47,330 5.4% 27.3% 16,782 19% 68.5 0.4% 5.9
3. Columbia, South Carolina 88.1   37.2% 10.3% 35.7% 18 $39,589 5.6% 50.8% 116,278 22.1% 79.7 0.5% 13.1
4. Gainesville, Florida 87.6   32.7% 9.8% 42.8% 19 $44,263 4.6% 31.6% 95,447 26.7% 46.8 0.4% 9.4
5. Tallahassee, Florida 85.3   34.7% 8.2% 45% 19 $49,359 5.2% 39.6% 150,624 24.7% 54.4 0.6% 10.1
6. Greenville, North Carolina 85.3   35.6% 8.8% 38.4% 19 $44,491 5.6% 38.6% 60,476 26.1% 74 0.4% 8.2
7. Tuscaloosa, Alabama 80   35.3% 11.8% 30.9% 18 $41,753 5.7% 45.9% 77,906 23.6% 64.2 0.4% 6.1
8. Carrollton, Georgia 78.5   32.9% 11.3% 27.9% 21 $39,143 5.8% 37.5% 19,843 23.4% 76.6 0.4% 10.7
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Historic Ithaca


Ithaca Falls Gorge near power house c1900.

Select a photo to view (Source):

Ithaca Falls Gorge near power house c1900.

Lincoln Hall (Cornell University) c1900.

Library (Cornell University) between 1900 and 1915

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