Dutchess County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the population was 297,488. The county seat is the city of Poughkeepsie. The county was created in 1683, one of New York’s first twelve counties, and later organized in 1713. It is located in the Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 825 square miles (2,140 km), of which 796 square miles (2,060 km) is land and 30 square miles (78 km) (3.6%) is water.
Dutchess County is located in southeastern New York State, between the Hudson River on its west and the New York–Connecticut border on its east, about halfway between the cities of Albany and New York City. It contains two cities: Beacon and Poughkeepsie. Depending on precise location within the county, road travel distance to New York City ranges between 58 miles (93 km) and 110 miles (180 km).
The terrain of the county is mostly hilly, especially in the Hudson Highlands in the southwestern corner and the Taconic Mountains to the northeast. Some areas nearer the river are flatter.
The highest point in the county is the summit of Brace Mountain, in the Taconics, at 2,311 feet (704 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level, along the Hudson River.
Almost a half mile long border exists with Berkshire County, Massachusetts in the extreme northern end of the county.
As of the census of 2000, there were 280,150 people, 99,536 households, and 69,177 families residing in the county. The population density was 350 people per square mile (135/km²). There were 106,103 housing units at an average density of 132 per square mile (51/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 83.66% White (80.3% non-Hispanic whites), 9.32% Black or African American, 0.22% Native American, 2.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.37% from other races, and 1.89% from two or more races. 6.45% were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.0% were of Italian, 16.9% Irish, 11.3% German and 6.7% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 88.3% spoke English and 4.8% spoke Spanish.
Based on the Census Ancestry tallies, including people who listed more than one ancestry, Italians were the largest group in Dutchess County with 60,645. Irish came in a very close second at 59,991. In third place were the 44,915 Germans who barely exceeded the 44,078 people not in the 105 specifically delineated ancestry groups.
There were 99,536 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.5% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 24.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the county, the age distribution of the population shows 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 30.2% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $53,086, and the median income for a family was $63,254. Males had a median income of $45,576 versus $30,706 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,940. About 5.0% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.5% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 Census, the racial makeup was 80.1% White, 9.9% African American, 3.5% Asian, 0.3% Native American and 3.5% Pacific Islander. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 10.5% of the population.
The decrease in population between 1810 and 1820 was due the separation of Putnam County from Dutchess in 1812.