Buffalo is the second largest city in New York State. The city is the county seat of Erie County is a gateway at the Canada–United States border, forming part of the bi-national Buffalo Niagara Region. The population was 258,612 in 2017. It is the principal municipality of the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area, a region with 1,136,856 residents (Source: U.S. Census Bureau).
The Buffalo area grew significantly in the 19th and 20th century as a result of the construction of the Erie Canal and immigration. Historically, the manufacturing sector led economic growth. This growth was led by the grain, steel and automobile industries. Because Buffalo relied on manufacturing, deindustrialization in the second half of the 20th century led to a steady decline. Buffalo’s economy has since transitioned to service industries with a greater emphasis on healthcare and higher education. The education and health services sectors employ approximately 17 percent of all nonfarm payrolls. Tourism is also a large contributor to the economy. Growth in the tourism industry has been especially strong since 2011. From 2011 to 2016, tourism spending and the number of jobs supported by tourism increased 19 and 12 percent, to $2.36 billion and 47,400 jobs.