Orleans is a town in Jefferson County, New York, United States. The population was 2,789 at the 2010 census, up from 2,463 at the 2000 census. The town is located in the northern part of the county and is north of Watertown. Orleans is named after the commune of Orléans in France.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 78.0 square miles (202.1 km), of which 71.4 square miles (185.0 km) are land and 6.6 square miles (17.1 km), or 8.48%, are water. Part of the town is located on the St. Lawrence River and includes part of Wellesley Island, containing Dewolf Point State Park. The north town line is the international border with Canada (Ontario).
Interstate 81, a major divided highway, passes through the town to the Canada–US border. New York State Route 12 follows the south bank of the St. Lawrence River and intersects New York State Route 180, a north-south highway, at Fishers Landing. New York State Route 411 is an east-west highway in the south part of Orleans.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,465 people, 928 households, and 703 families residing in the town. The population density was 34.7 people per square mile (13.4/km²). There were 2,084 housing units at an average density of 29.3 per square mile (11.3/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.20% White, 0.77% African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.24% Pacific Islander, 0.16% from other races, and 0.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.57% of the population.
There were 928 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.1% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.2% were non-families. 19.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.2% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 24.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 102.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $36,458, and the median income for a family was $41,471. Males had a median income of $28,828 versus $22,132 for females. The per capita income for the town was $17,315. About 8.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.9% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.