Westchester County is a suburban county with about 940,000 residents located in the U.S. state of New York. It was named after Chester, in England. The county seat is White Plains. Although many of its residents are quite wealthy and it is home to many extremely affluent suburbs of New York City, Westchester has a more diverse population, both demographically and economically, than its stereotypical image suggests.
The first Europeans to explore Westchester were Giovanni da Verrazano in 1524 and Henry Hudson in 1609. The first white settlers were sponsored by the Dutch West India Company in the 1620s and 1630s. English settlers arrived from New England in the 1640s. Westchester County was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created in 1683. At the time, it also included the present Bronx County, which constituted the Town of Westchester and portions of three other towns: Yonkers, Eastchester, and Pelham. In 1846, a new town, West Farms, was created by secession from Westchester; in turn, in 1855, the Town of Morrisania seceded from West Farms. In 1873, the Town of Kingsbridge seceded from Yonkers. In 1874, the western portion of the present Bronx County, consisting of the then towns of Kingsbridge, West Farms, and Morrisania, was transferred to New York County, and in 1895 the remainder of the present Bronx County, consisting of the Town of Westchester and portions of the towns of Eastchester and Pelham, was transferred to New York County. By that time, the portion of the town of Eastchester immediately north of the transferred portion had seceded from the town of Eastchester (1892) to become the City of Mount Vernon so that the Town of Eastchester had no border with New York City. In 1914, those parts of the then New York County which had been annexed from Westchester County were constituted the new Bronx County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,295 km (500 mi). 1,121 km (433 mi) of it is land and 174 km (67 mi) of it is water. The total area is 13.45% water.
Westchester County is in the southeastern part of New York State. It is bordered to the south by the borough of The Bronx in New York City, to the west by the Hudson River (New Jersey is across the river from Yonkers; most of the rest of the county is across the Hudson from Rockland County), to the east by Connecticut and the Long Island Sound and to the north by Putnam County. The county's terrain is largely composed of rolling hills. The three main river flowing within the county are the Bronx, the Croton and the Saw Mill.
The highest elevation in the county is a U.S. Geological Survey benchmark known as "Bailey" at approximately 299 m (980 feet) above sea level in Mountain Lakes Park near the Connecticut state line. The lowest elevation is sea level, along the Hudson.
In popular conception, Westchester County is generally divided into northern and southern areas by virtue of their distinguishing social and economic differences. The northern portion (places north of Interstate 287/Cross Westchester Expressway - also) is seen as rural and wealthy; the southern portion (White Plains and south) is considered urban and poor. These generalities, however, do not necessarily hold true in all communities. The Westchester County Department of planning divides the county into North, Central and South sub-regions
As of 2010, there were 949,113 residents at an average density of 807 per square mile (312/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 57.4% non-Hispanic White, 15.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 5.4% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 7.6% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 21.8% of the population. 71.7% spoke only English at home, while 14.4% spoke Spanish, 3.5% Italian, 1.1% Portuguese and 1.1% French at home.
There were 337,142 households of which 34% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.2% were non-families. 25.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.21.
Age distribution was 25% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 23.5% from 45 to 64, and 14% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.30 males.
According to census data, the per capita income for the county in 1999 was $36,726. The American Community Survey lists Westchester in 2011 with the median household income of $77,006, the 47th highest in the country. The Census Bureau reports that 6.4% of families and 8.7% (2003) of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.53% of those under age 18 and 7.60% of those age 65 or over.
(Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia...wikipedia.org)
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