The population figures in Trenton reflect the historical development patterns in the Town along with current national trends. One of the earliest recorded population counts in Trenton was 625 persons in 1800. This number steadily grew and peaked at 3,540 in 1850. Most of this increase was due to the influx of people looking to establish farmsteads or related agricultural industries.
By 1900, the population had dropped to 2,628 people. Local industries declined as the railroad made access to distant locations easier for manufactured goods. Larger companies were able to produce goods at a lower cost than Trenton businesses. As a result, they took away the market share in the region and the smaller industries folded. And while tourism did have an impact on the population during the 19th Century, much of this activity had disappeared by the turn of the century.
The decline in population continued through 1930 when the Town had 2,262 residents. It was not until 1950 that Trenton began to experience any growth, when the census counted 2,522. Much of this increase was due to an improved highway system through the construction of New York State Route 12. People could more readily access areas of Trenton than in the past and as a result chose to move here. The post-World War II baby boom also contributed to population increases as the figure rose to 3,417 in 1960.
By 1970 this figure had risen to 4,429. Much of this increase can be attributed to the national trend of suburbanization. People were tired of the congestion in the central cities and moved outward toward more rural areas. This trend was facilitated by the extension of highway and road systems, thereby making access quicker and safer.
The population of Trenton rose to 4,683 in 1980 and 4,682 in 1990. This indicates the continued movement of people away from the Utica-Rome urbanized area. The 1990 population figure would be higher were it not for a decrease in average household size from 2.89 in 1980 to 2.54 in 1990. While there is continued demand for new housing as people move to Trenton, families are having fewer children than in the past. So even though additional new housing units are being built every year, the total population count has remained the same.