When counties were established in New York State in 1683, the present Otsego County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of New York State as well as all of the present State of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770 by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.
On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York.
In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to honor the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.
In 1789, Ontario County was split off from Montgomery. The actual area split off from Montgomery County was much larger than the present county, also including the present Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans, Steuben, Wyoming, Yates, and part of Schuyler and Wayne Counties.
In 1791, Otsego County was one of three counties split off from Montgomery (the other two being Herkimer, and Tioga County). This was rather larger than the present county, however, and was reduced by a number of subsequent splits.
Otsego County is in central New York State, to the west of Albany, southeast of Utica, and northeast of Binghamton.
As of 2000, there are 61,676 people, 23,291 households, and 15,115 families residing in the county. The population density is 24/km² (62/mi²). There are 28,481 housing units at an average density of 11 persons/km² (28 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 95.80% White, 1.75% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 23,291 households out of which 29.60% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.10% are married couples living together, 9.50% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 35.10% are non-families. 27.00% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.43 and the average family size is 2.94.
In the county the population is spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 14.40% from 18 to 24, 24.30% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 93.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $33,444, and the median income for a family is $41,110. Males have a median income of $29,988 versus $22,609 for females. The per capita income for the county is $16,806. 14.90% of the population and 8.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 15.80% are under the age of 18 and 8.20% are 65 or older.