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 the Census of 2000, there are 923,459 people, 337,142 households, and 235,325 families residing in the county. The population density is 824/km (2,134/mi). There are 349,445 housing units at an average density of 312/km (807/mi). The racial makeup of the county is 71.35% White, 14.20% African American, 0.25% Native American, 4.48% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.63% from other races, and 3.05% from two or more races. 15.61% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 337,142 households out of which 34.00% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.90% are married couples living together, 12.20% have a female householder with no husband present, and 30.20% are non-families. 25.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.30% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.67 and the average family size is 3.21.
In the county the population is spread out with 25.00% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 30.40% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 91.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $63,582, and the median income for a family is $79,881. Males have a median income of $53,136 versus $39,966 for females. The per capita income for the county is $36,726. 8.80% of the population and 6.40% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 11.00% of those under the age of 18 and 7.60% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The Census Bureau estimates 2003 population at 940,302  (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/36/36119.html).
(Source: Wikipedia Encyclopedia...wikipedia.org)
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