|Columbia County, New York|
Location in the state of New York
New York's location in the U.S.
648 sq mi (1,678 km²)
636 sq mi (1,647 km²)
13 sq mi (34 km²), 1.93%
99/sq mi (38.3/km²)
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. Columbia County is part of the Albany-Schenectady-Amsterdam, NY Combined Statistical Area.
The first known European exploration of Columbia County was in 1609, when Henry Hudson, an explorer, sailed across the Atlantic, and up the Hudson River. An accident to his craft forced him to stop at what is now known as Columbia County, and search around for food and supplies. The Americans that had lived there were the Mohican Indians. In 1612, a trade was established to colonize regions of the land. This led to the creation of Fort Orange (today Albany) and New Amsterdam (today New York City). This allowed traders to stop along the shores of the Hudson, which led to the growth of small settlements that were intended to supply the trader's ships with supplies.
In 1649, the region of land near Claverack was purchased and in 1667, more land was purchased. This brought the settlement of the Dutch, which led to the development and growth of the regions. In 1664, the English took over New Netherland and renamed it the Province of New York. At this time, Fort Orange was renamed Albany.
A significant settlement developed in 1710, when 1200 Germans were brought to Livingston Manor, which is now known as Germantown. They were brought as indentured servants by England's Queen Anne and New York's Governor Hunter to make tar from the pine trees in the Catskill Mountains.
Columbia County was formed in 1786 from portions of Albany County. In 1799, the southern boundary of Columbia County was moved southward to include that portion of Livingston Manor located in Dutchess County.
In the nineteenth century, the Vermont Central Railway provided transportation north towards Rutland, Vermont and Burlington, Vermont, and south towards the major junction town of Chatham, New York, for travel to points west, south and east.
Government and politics 
Columbia County government is controlled mostly by Republican elected officials as it has been for decades. But from 1996 - 2007 new voter registrations by Democrats have outpaced those by Republicans by a margin of 4 to 1. This substantial shift in party affiliation is due in large part to an influx of people from New York City who now live either full or part-time in Columbia County. There have been efforts on the part of organizations such as "Vote Columbia" to have New York City residents, who live in a heavily Democrat-controlled area, re-register in Columbia County, thus changing the demographic in a lightly populated area. The rise in the number of Democrats has resulted in there being a virtual tie in the numbers of Democrats, Republicans and those not registered in a political party in Columbia County. In 2006, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-Hudson) scored a major upset, unseating four-term incumbent Republican Congressman John Sweeney (R-Troy). In the 2007 election cycle, Democrats came within 2 seats of taking control of the Board of Supervisors. Many local residents have expressed dislike of this tactic, noting that many of these people only stayed in Columbia County on weekends, and are in rent-controlled apartments in New York City during the week. However, Sweeney's defeat was also likely due to domestic violence charges and a DWI arrest. This Democratic surge was stopped in the 2009 local elections in which the Republicans increased their majority on the Board of Supervisors though the defeat of longtime Kinderhook Supervisor Doug McGivney. McGivney was the Supervisor of the largest Town in the County had the largest weighted vote on the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors is now under the leadership of Supervisor Pat Grattan (R-Kinderhook).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 648 square miles (1,678.3 km2), of which 636 square miles (1,647.2 km2) is land and 13 square miles (33.7 km2) (1.93%) is water.
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.
Rivers and streams 
The Hudson River forms the western border of the county. Other notable creeks include; the Ancram Creek, Claverack Creek, Copake Creek, Kinderhook Creek, Roeliff-Jansen Kill, and Valatie Kill. The Rossman Falls and Stuyvesant Falls lie on the Kinderhook Creek. Notable lakes and ponds include Copake Lake, Kinderhook Reservoir, Queechy Lake, and Lake Taghkanic.
Adjacent counties 
- Rensselaer County, New York - north
- Berkshire County, Massachusetts - east
- Dutchess County, New York - south
- Ulster County, New York - southwest
- Greene County, New York - west
- Albany County, New York - northwest
- Litchfield County, Connecticut - southeast
National protected area 
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.
Cities, towns, and villages 
- Ancram (town)
- Austerlitz (town)
- Canaan (town)
- Chatham (town)
- Chatham (village)
- Claverack (town)
- Claverack-Red Mills
- Clermont (town)
- Copake Lake
- Copake (town)
- Gallatin (town)
- Germantown (town)
- Ghent (town)
- Greenport (town)
- Hillsdale (town)
- Hudson (city)
- Kinderhook (town)
- Kinderhook (village)
- Livingston (town)
- Lorenz Park
- New Lebanon (town)
- Philmont (village)
- Stockport (town)
- Stuyvesant (town)
- Taghkanic (town)
- Valatie (village)
- Note: labels in parentheses indicate official political designation.
See also 
- List of counties in New York
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Columbia County, New York
- Columbia County, NY.com. "History of Columbia County, New York". Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Rootsweb. "History of Columbia County". Retrieved 2008-02-11.
- Central Vermont Railway map http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fd/1879_CV_map_only.jpg
- .|New York State - Board of Elections - Enrollment by County
- New York State Department of Economic Development
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Columbia County, NY
- Early history of Columbia County
- Columbia County Historical Society Digital Collections
- Crandell Theatre, the oldest and largest movie theater in Columbia County, built in 1926.
- The Register-Star, newspaper of Columbia County
||Albany County||Rensselaer County|
|Berkshire County, Massachusetts|
|Ulster County||Dutchess County||Litchfield County, Connecticut|
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