Westchester County, New York

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 11:14 AM

Tarrytown Lighthouse (Nrbelex/flickr)

Your Anecdotal Census: A People's History of the New York City Area 2000-2010

Tell us about change that matters in your community. Here are some possible questions to answer. Add your story to the comments below!

How is your community different today than it was 10 years ago?

Who's moving in and who's moving out? 

How has the housing boom/housing bust changed your community?

How have the politics of your community changed? If power has shifted in your community, how and why?

How has 9/11 changed your community? 

Do you have a story about change in your own life over the last decade that you think represents a larger trend?

What's an untold story of change in your community that needs to be told? 

Dante's Take

As part of the Patchwork Nation project, Dante Chinni has been exploring demographic trends around the country. He tells us what to watch for in Westchester County...

→ Visit the Westchester County page on Patchwork Nation for lots more!

By The Numbers:

What story do you think this data tells? Do you think the data reflects what's really going on in your community?

Westchester County, New York
1980 1990 2000 2008/2009
Total Population 866,599 874,866 923,459 955,962
Median Household Income (2008 adjusted dollars) $67,500 $84,000 $82,200 $79,195
% Foreign Born 14.6% 18.1% 22.25% 24.5%
% Under 18 Years Old 25.1% 21.8% 25.0% 23.9%

Explore the Maps:

Westchester County, NY - Median Household Income (2007) - Go to the Interactive Maps at Social Explorer

More Resources:

US Census Bureau QuickFacts

Social Explorer

More in:

Comments [28]

Growing up in the Hendrick Hudson school District in Westchester, I always felt there was a real sense of community. Verplanck/Montrose/Buchanan was a real working class area and everyone knew their neighbors. Now, though it seems as if the suburban mentality has really taken hold. The sense of community seems to be gone. People today prefer privacy and anonymity.

Nov. 01 2010 07:59 PM
Kay of Yorktown Hgts

I return home to Westchester after living on Long Island for 20 years and find Yorktown very much the same. Its still a bit rustic and quiet. I love the space everyone has here. The traffic along 202 is very bad a certain times but I see some new nicely built professional buildings and resturants downtown. We always joked about not having much of a downtown in the 70's but today I feel that reason has contributed to keeping the dirtbags out. By dirtbags I mean people who rent and dont care about their fellow neighbors.

Jul. 22 2010 10:38 AM
Deborah from Scarsdale

One of the biggest changes in Westchester has been the growth of the White Plains downtown area. New restaurants, the Westchester Mall and the City Center shopping / movie theater complex has brought new life to this area. When my husband and I moved to Scarsdale in 1997, we probably did not go to White Plains more than 2 or 3 times a year - now we are there almost weekly. One downside is that while White Plains city planners seem to have concentrated on permits for new shopping areas while not allowing for enough public green space. Strolling around town is definately not encouraged.

I would also like to comment on our very high taxes. Westchester is an aggregation of many tiny towns and villages - each with their own services fire, police, school, park, recreation, library, sanitization, etc. These are very labor intensive services and don't really benefit to the same extent from advances in technology that have kept prices lower in other segments of the economy. I personally don't believe that there is a lot of wasteful spending in local governemnts and tend to be wary of politicians who run primarily on this platform. There are real benefits from having public services controlled and delivered at an extremely local level - but this is expensive. New Rochelle can't reassign an idle police detective to work on a case in Yonkers; Sanitation routes aren't as efficient when they have to accomodate a large number of town borders. My fear is that politicians who run on the simple 'lower our taxes' platform will do so my cuttng long term investment in public works that will meaningfully harm Westchester's future vitality.

Jul. 12 2010 07:39 AM

We lived in faculty housing on the campus of Manhattanville College, in Purchase, for many years. We raised our children there. It was nice until the administration began allowing students to live there, stuffing as many as 7 into the 3-bedroom apartment below ours--the result of over-enrollment without foresight. They behaved and partied like students, getting drunk and rowdy at all hours, leaving broken bottles and beer cans strewn about the yards with impunity. Over the course of the nearly-nineteen years we lived there we saw the gradual deterioration of civility as students came to see themselves as increasingly "empowered," which is really an excuse for entitlement.

Jun. 24 2010 12:47 PM
Russell Alonzo from Arddsley

In the same way that the Fed (HUD) is mandating that Westchester build affordable housing in the service of 'diversity', why doesn't the fed also mandate affordable property taxes? Wouldn't this also serve to attract and retain middle, low, and income families?

The cost of property taxes will be as much of a disincentive to these families as the county's expensive housing was.

In the interest of 'diversity' the fed should alos mandate affordable property taxes

Jun. 22 2010 02:58 PM
Robert Schork from Westchester County

For more information on Westchester's vexing tax issues, check out WESTCHESTER MAGAZINE'S June cover story, "Why Are Our Taxes So So #%*! High?" by visiting our website,, or following this link directly to the story

Jun. 22 2010 11:57 AM
Stephen from Greenburgh (Scarsdale zipcode)

I my community in recent years, there has been an increase in home burglary. I think this has been rather odd considering the almost unbearable school and property taxes. In the school district I live in there has been a rather large influx of Asian an Indian families, which has been upward for the past decade.

Jun. 22 2010 11:34 AM
Kerry Feeney from North Salem

In the past three years I have noticed a dramatic drop in people commuting from our train station in Croton Falls. Many of the parking spots that were once filled by 6:30 in the morning are now unoccupied. This is indicative of the of the down turn in the job market in NYC and how it has effected the residents in Northern Westchester.

Jun. 22 2010 10:17 AM
sarah from Port Chester

I lived in Rye for 30 years. The problem is, it hasn't changed a bit. It's still the white, club-oriented town it was in 1975.

We moved over the line to Port Chester, which has changed from majority black to majority ladino, into a little enclave with beach and dock and a diverse population. It has been discovered. Mcmansions are going up. Every little lot, that used to be wooded habitat for wildlife, has been razed and massive houses have gone up.

Jun. 22 2010 10:17 AM
Elaine from Elaine from Westchester

I have spent my life (27 years) working in westchester, going to movies on central avenue and now cross county, shopping at the galleria in wp which is now a shell and going to different parks along the Hudson. I always thought when I grow up I will buy a house in weschester, well now its more like in columbia county. As a young professional I can hardly afford to rent never mind buy. That may be the biggest change for me in 10 years. I do also see a lot more development, which is not always bad.

One very intesting change that I love is the calorie counts in restaurants just like in nyc. I really love to see that and as a person struggling with their weight like so many americans it keeps me on track eating out.

Environmentally, the biggest and most superb change is the bald eagles. Crotons eagle fest in February allows you to see several dozen of these creatures flying down the hudson and fishing on the ice.

Jun. 22 2010 07:30 AM
Diana from New Rochelle

New Rochelle:

Taxes: there are 5 in New Rochelle: City of NR, School (higher than property tax), separate garbage tax for every apt. (we own two-family house, but only my husband and me live in it, yet we pay two garbage fees!); library tax (library used to be part of the city property tax, but about 5 years ago it was removed and we are taxed separately for library, including all salaries, benefits, pensions).
There is also the Westchester County tax as well. We do not need this level of government, incumbent with its huge beaurocracy.

We own rental property but cannot raise rents enough to offset the yearly double-digit tax increases due to the still hurting economy.

Greater numbers of hispanics in NR in the past ten yrs.

Big changes in the downtown area which is the sourhern end of the city: now are high rise builidngs, including a Trump building. I do not like these tall buildings as it changes the ambiance of the city. This area feels more urban than suburban.

We live in this southern end of the city, which also is close to Long Island Sound. NR has many beautiful parks, some with beaches, on the Sound; also marinas, and entertainment in the parks, including the historic Glen Island Casino

NR has a vibrant cultural and arts community of which I am a member of the NR Arts Council. Many cultural events throughout the yr.

Jun. 21 2010 10:22 PM
Terry from Cortlandt Manor

I have lived in Cortlandt Manor (next to Peekskill) in northern Westchester since 1986. Here are changes I have noticed in the past 10 years:
1. Socio-political: In 2008 John Hall defeated long-time Republican Congressional Representative Sue Kelly. Our town had turned Democratic for over a decade; it is hard to read what will happen in the 2010 elections,

While I cannot tell whether this next item is an artifact of increased reporting or if the incidence has actually increased, there seems to be an increase in hate crimes (though the actual number is still small). There were swastikas painted in a school locker room, a cross-burning, and just a couple of weeks ago, the severe beating of an Ecuadorian man. I hasten to add that there have also been resulting constructive community responses: a long-running and still active district-wide Respect Committee in at least one public school system, and various community task forces and groups focused on fighting racism and celebrating diversity.

2. Cultural: Increase in local Latin-American food stores and restaurants, especially Ecuadorian; increase in farmers’ markets; seeming increase in local kayaking

3. Environmental: Decrease in the number of Hummers and other gas-guzzling SUVs seen while driving locally; a possible indication of global warming: day lilies blooming in the beginning of June instead of in August (time of bloom for my first 10 years up here); increase in riverfront access and parks on the Hudson; increase of Bald Eagles wintering and nesting in the area.

Lastly, and most puzzling: at the nearby Clearwater Music Festival this past weekend, very little mention of the BP oil disaster or other pressing environmental issues to audiences by Clearwater spokespeople or performers.

Jun. 21 2010 03:41 PM
Henrietta Hudson from Sleepy Hollow

The demographics in Sleepy Hollow have changed. We have a lot more Latinos now. Unfortunately, some of them have habits that have rendered living in the previously peaceful village quite unpleasant. Problems range from loudspeakers on decks facing outward that make the windows of houses half a mile away shake; loud parties at all times of the night; and more trash on the streets.

Jun. 21 2010 02:26 PM
Sara from Yonkers

The development of the waterfront, and the esplanade walk along Warburton Ave have really made a difference in the sense community here in the NW part of the city. It is a working neighborhood, close to metro north so most people never knew their neighbors, but I think that this area is more family friendly and open because of the new public spaces.

Jun. 21 2010 12:45 PM
Judith Kicinski from Yonkers

GThere are fewer Japanese families, who were a real plus to our community in Yonkers in the 1980s

Jun. 21 2010 11:53 AM
Walter from Hastings on hudson

School taxes have gone up 100% in 10 years. The implication is severe pressure on elders and lower income trades and civil service workers; they are precious to the fabric of our diverse and funky community and they are being driven from town by the tax. The irony is we value education as paramount and we love investing in all the kids; but the economic model isn't working.

Jun. 21 2010 10:43 AM
Raul from Peekskill

Peekskill has gotten a lot more violent in the last ten years. Be it violence in the schools or in the streets late at night, the youths now have, or think they are supposed to have, a thug/gangsta mentality and carry a very self-centered disposition. Having grown up with such people, I believe this is due to a combination of: (1) glorification of this behavior in music songs and videos, and movies; (2) a migration of "real thugs" to Peekskill from more-violent Southern Westchester communities and the Bronx who see Peekskill as ripe for the plucking; and (3) a lack of successful adult mentors to serve as positive role models and inspiration.

Jun. 21 2010 10:41 AM
Mary Crescenzo from Peekskill

Since 10 years ago, Peekskill, NY has bloomed into an artists' center, with a diverse music scene, including Jazz clubs, on the Division Street, The Peekskill Playhouse's monthly performances the BeanRunner Cafe on Division, The opening of the Peekskill Museum, and film, music, visual art, and performance at the historic, restored Paramount Center for the Arts, etc. with the hard work of our new mayor Foster and her plan for culture and acessibility through walking between the river/metro north and downtown.

Jun. 21 2010 10:39 AM
linda from tarrytown

I have lived in my condo in Tarrytown for 16 years. In the last 10 years there have been more young families with small children moving here. Perhaps they cannot afford the home prices and high property taxes in Westchester. There has been a little tension between the newcomers (who want more services for children) and the oldtimers, most of whom are empty-nesters who sold their houses and downsized to condo living. We are trying to compromise.

Jun. 20 2010 08:40 AM
Meredith from Mount Vernon

Over the last 4 years, many of my friends' husbands have lost their finance jobs and they and their families have sold their homes at a loss and moved out of state. I have had my co-op on the market for a year and a half with no takers in sight. Since we can't move, my son will have to start kindergarten in one of the worst-performing school districts in the county, and my husband is stuck with a long commute to Connecticut.

And yet I like my neighborhood and am a little glad we get to stay.

Jun. 18 2010 04:15 PM

I wonder how many people live in Westchester live with their parents? Houses/Condos cost are high (500K+ and $300K respectively), so even if you are a professional who makes a comfortable living, it is difficult to become a home owner. I also wonder how some 20-somethings who is not a doctor/lawyer/otherwise professional, drive around in an Audi/BMW and live in lower Westchester? :)

Jun. 10 2010 10:54 AM
Barbara from Yorktown Heights

The more things change, the more things stay the same. As always Yorktown, like I would think most northern Westchester communities, are seeing seniors selling their homes ( because of taxes!) to young families. As a retired person, it's wonderful to hear young voices in backyards again!
Yorktown is more crowded and congested on weekends but we still have our Firemen's Parade!
I guess you have to pay the price for wanting to hold on to what suburbia was 25 years ago.

Jun. 09 2010 12:23 PM
Marjorie Miller from Scarsdale

To take Donny's comment one step further, it seems that these days, even if a house is sold to a family, as opposed to a developer, the new owner won't simply remodel - they will tear it down. Just this month on my block, a beautiful, distinctive home went down. I was never inside the house, but I assure you that this was no slum. The only thing that was saved was the beautiful stone wall that abutted one side of the property. I have lived on the block for 10 years and this has happened to 5 other homes just on this block. On the next block over, it seems that every third house was torn down and rebuilt over the course of this last ten years. This trend is all the more remarkable given the prices of the homes; people are literally paying millions of dollars just to get the land. And they do this even though taxes and traffic in this town are worse than ever before.

Jun. 05 2010 04:46 PM

Small towns like Hastings & Ardsley used to have a mixture of economic classes. Now only wealthy people live in these river towns. The taxes are high even though the home prices have fallen.Our municipal employees ,teachers, fire and highway all receive automatic 4% salary increases, . They do not pay NY State income taxes on pensions that the rest of us have paid for.
The sky is the limit. Parking fees of 75 cents per hour are much higher than in Great Neck where you can park for 25 cents per hr. With free parking on Sat. in municipal garages, to encourage shoppers. White Plains meters arte in effect 7 days a week.
Westchester is comprised of the wealthy and
the illegal aliens lining the streets for daily employment for CASH

May. 18 2010 04:22 PM
Paul from White Plains

White Plains has undergone a renaissance in the last ten years, but it has been a controversial revival. Yes, much more business has come to the downtown area. But four oversize towers have been built, totally out of scale with the city. These have benefited the developer, not White Plains. The stores and restaurants are chains, which are of questionable value to the city, and some of these have closed.

As for the bars mentioned by Jessie (above) - these are part of a troubling midnight to 4am phenomenon (which she may not have observed) where thousands of young drinkers converge on that block.

The current economic downturn has left White Plains, which relies more heavily on sales taxes than any other city in New York, in desperate financial straits, deepening the sense that the recent development did not benefit the citizenry.

May. 15 2010 04:09 PM
Donny from Scarsdale

The inexorable march of the city outwards towards the suburbs has been going on since colonists first settled in New York. What was once one farm became two, which became four, eight, etc., until areas that were once large estates became densely populated.

I've watched this happening in my own backyard, as older residents in Scarsdale die or move away, and developers buy up larger plots of land with one elegant home and destroy them to build three or four monstrosities - for a hefty profit.

This is both an example of the urbanization of Westchester, which, in the next few decades, could become much like the Bronx, as well as an example of the way in which formerly wealthy enclaves like Harlem have transitioned to more working class neighborhoods and finally slums. I know this sounds a little dire, but I do feel like I'm watching the erosion of Scarsdale, a town known for its wealth, into a less than desirable collection of McMansions and cul-de-sacs.

May. 14 2010 12:16 AM
Claire from White Plains

I agree with Jessie's comments about parking and traffic in White Plains, but the real problem is that public transportation in the area is so poor. Busses are geared to people coming from the Metro North or subway stations to get to the industrial parks and malls to work. However, there are no convenient, quick ways to get around the downtown areas. I recently decided to take a bus from my home in downtown White Plains to downtown Yonkers. It took a total of 1-1/2 hours. If I had driven, it would have taken about 25 minutes (and parking would have cost less than the bus fare). Bus is a bad word here -- perceived as only used by poor people. The County needs to improve service and start a PR campaign to encourage people to leave their cars at home.

May. 11 2010 12:16 PM
Jessie from Rye, NY

Parking in White Plains has gotten out of control in the last 10 years. Despite of the construction of new garages, the wait for a parking spot for residents in the downtown area is still long. Meter payments are required until 9pm M-S when neighboring towns stop at 6pm.

The number of new bars and their quality on Mamaroneck Ave also increased. It's sad that the mom&pops stores are getting run out of business. There has to be at least 8 bars right next to each other on that block. More than 75% of them seve the same type of food. How many do we really need?

I liked it when I lived in WP, until it has grown so much that I could no longer be on a conference call with my living room window open due to noise.

May. 05 2010 12:39 PM

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