Beacon is a city located in Dutchess County, New York, United States. The 2010 census placed the city total population at 15,541. Beacon is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, New York Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, New York–New Jersey–Connecticut–Pennsylvania Combined Statistical Area. It was named to commemorate the historic beacon fires that blazed forth from the summit of the Fishkill Mountains to alert the Continental Army about British troop movements. Originally an industrial city along the Hudson, Beacon experienced a revival beginning in 2003 with the arrival of Dia:Beacon, one of the largest modern art museums in the United States. Recent growth has generated debates on development and zoning issues.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.9 square miles (13 km), of which 4.8 square miles (12 km) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km) is water. The total area is 2.25% water.
Located on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, Beacon is noted for its proximity to numerous historic sites and large cities. It is located minutes away from Bannerman’s Castle and West Point. Beacon also sits with the famous Mount Beacon as its backdrop and the Hudson River as its front door. The city also is located across the river from its larger sister city, Newburgh. Beacon is just 20 minutes south of the Hudson Valley Region Capital City, Poughkeepsie. Danbury, Connecticut lies approximately 30 miles to the east and New York City 55 to the south.
The 2010 United States census listed the population at 15,541.
The census of 2000 placed the city’s population at 13,808 people. The census also showed that the city has 5,091 households and 3,360 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,891.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,115.3/km²), based on the census population of 13,808. There are 5,406 housing units at an average density of 1,132.1 per square mile (436.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 9,440 or 68.37% White and 4,368 or 31.63% Minority. The minority population is dominated by African Americans at 2,713 residents or 19.65%, then followed by Hispanic or Latino which make up 2,334 residents or 16.90% of the city. Smaller minority groups include 956 residents or 6.92% from other races, 181 residents or 1.31% Asian, 43 residents or 0.31% Native American, and 0.00% Pacific Islander. Also, the city includes 475 residents or 3.44% identifying themselves as two or more races.
Based on census data showing 5,091 households, 34.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% are married couples living together, 16.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.0% are non-families. 28.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.4% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.23.
Of the city’s total population, 27.1% are under the age of 18, 7.1% are between 18 and 24, 31.9% are between 25 and 44, 21.7% are between 45 and 64, and 12.2% are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females, there are 90.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $45,236, and the median income for a family is $53,811. Males have a median income of $40,949 versus $29,154 for females. The per capita income for the city is $20,654. 1,465 residents or 11% of the population and 310 families or 9.1% of the total number of families are living below the poverty line. Of the total population, 834 residents or 11% of those under the age of 18, and 99 residents or 8.6% of those 65 and older, are living below the poverty line. The city’s housing stock is currently composed of 10% subsidized housing, of which about 400 units are state and federal housing projects.