Bethel is a town in Sullivan County, New York, United States. The population was estimated at 4,255 in 2010.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 90.0 square miles (233 km), of which, 85.4 square miles (221 km) of it is land and 4.6 square miles (12 km) of it (5.13%) is water. One of the most attractive features of Bethel is its access to numerous lakes, all within a five-minute drive of each other. They include White Lake, its northern portion known as Kauneonga Lake, Silver Lake, and Lake Superior, which is part of the state park with the same name.
The Town of Bethel, which is primarily rural in character, was part of the old Borscht Belt Catskills resort area. Although some bungalow colonies continue to exist, catering to a largely Orthodox Jewish clientele during the summer, most of the old resorts which had their heyday from the 1930s to the early 1970s have long since closed.
At the time of the census of 2000, there were 4,362 people, 1,649 households, and 1,101 families residing in the town. The population density was 51.1 people per square mile (19.7/km²). There were 3,641 housing units at an average density of 42.6 per square mile (16.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.35% White, 4.61% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 2.80% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. 11.28% Latin American or Latino of any race.
There were 1,649 households out of which 27.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 108.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $36,017, and the median income for a family was $37,321. Males had a median income of $35,025 versus $24,438 for females. The per capita income for the town was $25,335. About 9.4% of families and 14.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.6% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.