Columbia County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,096. The county seat is Hudson. The name comes from the Latin feminine form of the name of Christopher Columbus, which was at the time of the formation of the county a popular proposal for the name of the United States of America.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 648 square miles (1,680 km), of which 635 square miles (1,640 km) is land and 14 square miles (36 km) (2.1%) is water.
Columbia County is in the southeast central part of New York State, southeast of Albany and immediately west of the Massachusetts border. The western border is the Hudson River.
The terrain is gentle, rolling hills, rising sharply into the Taconic and Berkshire Mountains along the state line.
The highest point is on the Massachusetts state line near the summit of Alander Mountain, at approximately 2,110 feet (643 m) above sea level, in the town of Copake. The lowest point is at or near sea level along the Hudson.
Columbia County is accessible by two limited-access highways. The Taconic State Parkway, which is not accessible to trucks or commercial traffic, runs through the center of the county from south to north, ending at an interchange with Interstate 90 and connecting the county with points south. Columbia County is the last New York county located along eastbound Interstate 90 (and the first county along westbound I-90), which passes through the towns of Canaan and Chatham as the Berkshire Connector portion of the New York Thruway. I-90 has two exits within the county; for the southbound Taconic State Parkway in Chatham, and for NYS Route 22 in Canaan. Depending on precise location within the county, road travel distance to New York City ranges between 96 miles (154 km) and 145 miles (233 km).
Several other major routes cross Columbia County including north-south U.S. Route 9, east-west NYS Route 23, north-south NYS Route 22 and a short portion of east-west U.S. Route 20 in the county’s northeastern corner.
As of the census of 2000, there were 63,094 people, 24,796 households, and 16,588 families residing in the county. The population density was 99 people per square mile (38/km²). There were 30,207 housing units at an average density of 48 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 92.09% White, 4.52% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.90% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. 2.53% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.2% were of German, 14.7% Italian, 14.5% Irish, 9.0% English, 6.3% Polish and 6.1% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 94.0% spoke English and 2.1% Spanish as their first language.
There were 24,796 households out of which 29.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.20% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.10% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.10% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 26.90% from 25 to 44, 26.30% from 45 to 64, and 16.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 99.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $41,915, and the median income for a family was $49,357. Males had a median income of $34,702 versus $25,878 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,265. About 6.40% of families and 9.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.80% of those under age 18 and 6.80% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 census, the racial makeup of the county was 90.6% White, 4.5% African American, 0.2% Native American and 1.6% Asian. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.9% of the population.