Town of Tonawanda

With 73,000 residents and 33,000 jobs, the Town of Tonawanda is one of the region’s largest communities and employment centers. Yet more than a quarter of the population lives in or near poverty. Vulnerable groups in the town are less likely to be in poverty than elsewhere in the region. However, an aging population, a gap between worker skills and major employer needs, high rents, and reliance on automobiles all add to economic needs.

Click here to learn more about what living in or near poverty means for individuals and families.

The total population and the number in or near poverty declined slightly since 2011.

Vulnerable populations, % living in poverty, 2017

Childhood poverty rates in Tonawanda are lower than the region (22%). Still, about 1,700 children in the town live in poverty.

Source: American Community Survey.

Poverty rates for single parents in the town are lower than the region (36%), but poverty still affects almost 600 single parent families.

Source: American Community Survey.

Young adults in Tonawanda are three times less likely to live in poverty than those across the region.

Source: American Community Survey.

Married couples with children are four times less likely to live in poverty than single parent families in Tonawanda.

Source: American Community Survey.

Refugees and immigrants in the town are less likely to live in poverty (14%) than they are across the region (25%).

Source: American Community Survey.

Older adults in the town are less likely to be in poverty than the region overall. Still, about 520 residents age 75 or older live in poverty.

Source: American Community Survey.


In a town with a rich history of manufacturing, most of Tonawanda’s top employers are still manufacturers.

Top 10 Employers, 2019
Rank Employer
#1 GM Powertrain
#2 Caregivers Home Care
#3 Sumitomo Rubber USA
#4 Praxair Inc.
#5 Kenmore-Tonawanda Union Free School District
#6 DuPont
#7 Tops Friendly Market
#8 John W. Danforth Company
#9 JD Supply
#10 ABM Engineering Services

Source: Various. See Data Sources and Notes.

With nearly 14,000 jobs paying over $40k/yr, Tonawanda provides quality job opportunities for the region’s residents.

Jobs by Income Level, 2015
Town of Tonawanda Buffalo Niagara
Total Jobs 32,964 547,851
Earnings <$15k/yr 9,112
Earnings $15k-$40k/yr 10,033
Earnings >$40k/yr 13,819

Source: US Census Bureau, LEHD.


58% of adults in the town have a high school diploma or some college. They earn more than residents with the same education regionally.

Graduation rates in Tonawanda are consistently above the regional average.


Lower-income homeowners are less likely to be cost-burdened than lower-income renters.

  • Homes are fairly affordable in the town—median values are $11,000 less than the region.

    Median Home Value, 2017


    Source: American Community Survey
  • Rental housing is slightly more expensive in Tonawanda than the region overall.

    Median Rent, 2017


    Source: American Community Survey


Adults age 65 or older are about three times more likely to be without a car than younger households.

Households Without Vehicles, 2017
  • 6%
    UNDER 65 yr
  • 17%
    OVER 65 yr
Source: American Community Survey.

More than 3,100 Tonawanda households do not have a vehicle, yet 93% of workers use a car to get to work.


2017 rates for violent crime were among the lowest in recent years.

Property crime rates are also at a seven-year low.

Juvenile arrests decreased by 55% from 2013 to 2017.

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