Dutchess County
Main Mall Row, Poughkeepsie
Location within the U.S. state of New York
New York's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 41°46′N 73°45′W / 41.76°N 73.75°W / 41.76; -73.75
Country United States
State New York
Named forMary of Modena, Duchess of York
Largest cityPoughkeepsie
 • ExecutiveMarcus Molinaro (R)
 • Total825 sq mi (2,140 km2)
 • Land796 sq mi (2,060 km2)
 • Water30 sq mi (80 km2)
 • Total295,911[1]
 • Density371.9/sq mi (143.6/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts18th, 19th

Dutchess County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2020 census, the population was 295,911.[2] The county seat is the city of Poughkeepsie.[3] The county was created in 1683, one of New York's first twelve counties, and later organized in 1713.[4] It is located in the Mid-Hudson Region of the Hudson Valley, north of New York City.

Dutchess County is part of the PoughkeepsieNewburghMiddletown Metropolitan Statistical Area,[5] which belongs to the larger New YorkNewarkBridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.


View of Harlem Valley from Appalachian Trail in Pawling
View of Harlem Valley from Appalachian Trail in Pawling

Before Anglo-Dutch settlement, what is today Dutchess County was a leading center for the indigenous Wappinger peoples. They had their council-fire at what is now Fishkill Hook,[6] and had settlements throughout the area.

On November 1, 1683, the Province of New York established its first twelve counties, including Dutchess. Its boundaries at that time included the present Putnam County, and a small portion of the present Columbia County (the towns of Clermont and Germantown). The county was named for Mary of Modena, Duchess of York; dutchess is an archaic spelling of the word duchess.[7][8]

A 1799 map of Connecticut which shows The Oblong (Low's Encyclopaedia)
A 1799 map of Connecticut which shows The Oblong (Low's Encyclopaedia)

The Province of New York and the Connecticut Colony negotiated an agreement on November 28, 1683, establishing their border as 20 miles (32 km) east of the Hudson River, north to Massachusetts. The 61,660 acres (249.5 km2) east of the Byram River making up the Connecticut Panhandle were granted to Connecticut, in recognition of the wishes of the residents. In exchange, Rye was granted to New York, along with a 1.81-mile (2.91 km) wide strip of land running north from Ridgefield to Massachusetts alongside the New York counties of Westchester, Putnam then Dutchess, known as "The Oblong". The eastern half of the stub of land in northeast Dutchess County containing Rudd Pond and Taconic State Park is the northernmost extension of The Oblong.[9]

Until 1713, Dutchess was administered by Ulster County. On October 23, 1713, Queen Anne gave permission for Dutchess County to elect its own officers from among their own population, including a supervisor, tax collector, tax assessor and treasurer. In 2013, Dutchess County celebrated its 300th anniversary of democracy based upon a legislative resolution sponsored by County Legislator Michael Kelsey from Salt Point. In 1812, Putnam County was detached from Dutchess.[10]

The Patents

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Dutchess County, New York" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Map of Philipse Patent (showing the Oblong and Gore)
Map of Philipse Patent (showing the Oblong and Gore)

Fourteen royal land patents were granted between 1685 and 1706 covering the entirety of the original footprint of Dutchess County (which until 1812 included today's Putnam County).

The first ten, granted between 1685 and 1697, covered almost all of Hudson River shoreline in the original county, with three - Rombouts, the Great Nine Partners, and Philipse Patents - extending significantly inland. The eleventh, and smallest, Cuyler, 1697, was the first to contain solely inland territory, just in from the Hudson. The twelfth, and next smallest, Fauconnier, in 1705, completed the Hudson River shoreline. The last two, Beekman, 1705, and the Little Nine Partners, 1706, laid claim to the remaining interior lands.

  1. 1685 Rombout (Beacon/Fishkill Area)
  2. 1686 Minnisinck (Sanders & Harmense)
  3. 1686 Kip
  4. 1688 Schuyler (Poughkeepsie)
  5. 1688 Schuyler (Red Hook)
  6. 1688 Ærtsen-Roosa-Elton
  7. 1696 Pawling-Staats
  8. 1697 Rhinebeck
  9. 1697 (Great) Nine Partners
  10. 1697 Philipse
  11. 1697 Cuyler
  12. 1705 Fauconnier
  13. 1705 Beekman (Back Lots)
  14. 1706 (Little) Nine Partners

Early settlement

From 1683 to 1715, most of the settlers in Dutchess County were Dutch. Many of these moved in from Albany and Ulster counties. They settled along the Fishkill Creek and in the areas that are now Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck.[11]

From 1715 to 1730, most of the new settlers in Dutchess county were Germans. From 1730 until 1775, New Englanders were the primary new settlers in Dutchess County.[12]

20th century

Franklin D. Roosevelt lived in his family home in Hyde Park, overlooking the Hudson River. His family's home is now the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, managed by the National Park Service.

Prior to the 1960s, Dutchess County was primarily agricultural. Since then the southwestern part (from Poughkeepsie southward and from the Taconic State Parkway westward) of the county has developed into a largely residential area, suburban in character, with many of its residents commuting to jobs in New York City and Westchester County. The northern and eastern regions of the county remain rural with large farmlands but at the same time developed residences used during the summer and or on weekends by people living in the New York City urban area.[13]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 825 square miles (2,140 km2), of which 796 square miles (2,060 km2) is land and 30 square miles (78 km2) (3.6%) is water.[14]

Dutchess County is located in southeastern New York State, between the Hudson River on its west and the New YorkConnecticut 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.

A border nearly one-half mile long exists with Berkshire County, Massachusetts in the extreme northern end of the county.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

State, county, and town parks


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
1790–1960[16] 1900–1990[17]
1990–2000[18] 2010–2020[2]

As of the census[19] 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). 22.0% of the population was 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.[20]

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.

The decrease in population between 1810 and 1820 was due to the separation of Putnam County from Dutchess in 1812.

Racial demographics

As of 2017, the residents of Dutchess County were reported as the following: American Indian and Alaska Native (0.04%), Asian (4%), Black or African American (8.5%), Hispanic or Latino (12.5%), Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.016%), Some Other Race (0.35%), Two or More Races (3%), White (71%).[21]

Dutchess County Racial Demographics Chart [21]
Dutchess County Racial Demographics Chart [21]


The current Dutchess County Court House, built in 1903, stands on the same site as the original 1720 building
The current Dutchess County Court House, built in 1903, stands on the same site as the original 1720 building

Dutchess County has a Charter Government with a County Executive and directly elected legislature of 25 members, each elected from a single member district.[22] The Charter form of Government went in to effect in 1968 given the favorable outcome of a 1967 special election dedicated to the question. From 1713 until 1967, the County Government had been managed by a Board of Supervisors, made up of the locally elected leaders.[23]

Dutchess County Executives
Name Party Term
David C. Schoentag Republican January 1, 1968 – December 31, 1971
Edward C. Scheuler Republican January 1, 1976 – April 29, 1978
James D. Benson Republican April 29, 1978 – December 31, 1978
Lucille P. Pattison Democratic January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1991
William R. Steinhaus Republican January 1, 1992 – December 31, 2011
Marcus J. Molinaro Republican January 1, 2012 – present
Dutchess County Legislature (2021-2023)[24]
District Legislator Title Party Residence
1 Giancarlo Llaverias Democratic Poughkeepsie
2 Don Sagliano Republican Pleasant Valley
3 Michael P. Polasek Republican Poughkeepsie
4 Benjamin Geller Conservative Hyde Park
5 Thomas L. Keith, Jr. Republican Poughkeepsie
6 Tony D’ Aquanni Republican Poughkeepsie
7 Will Truitt Majority Leader Republican Hyde Park
8 Craig P. Brendli Democratic Poughkeepsie
9 Randy Johnson Democratic Poughkeepsie
10 Barrington R. Atkins Assistant Minority Leader Democratic Poughkeepsie
11 Brennan Kearney Democratic Rhinebeck
12 John D. Metzger Republican Hopewell Junction
13 Donna Bolner Republican LaGrangeville
14 Lisa Paoloni Republican Wappingers Falls
15 Joseph D. Cavaccini Republican Wappingers Falls
16 Yvette Valdés Smith Minority Leader Democratic Beacon
17 Doug McHoul Republican Fishkill
18 Nick Page Democratic Beacon
19 A. Gregg Pulver Chairman Republican Pine Plains
20 Kristofer Munn Democratic Red Hook
21 Stephen M. Caswell Republican Hopewell Junction
22 Faye Garito Republican Poughquag
23 Edward P. Hauser Republican Pawling
24 Alan V. Surman Republican Pawling
25 Deirdre Houston Assistant Majority Leader Republican Millbrook

Law enforcement

The Cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie; Towns of Fishkill, Hyde Park, Pine Plains, Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, Red Hook, and East Fishkill; and Villages of Millerton, Wappingers Falls, Millbrook, have their own Police departments. The remainder of the county is patrolled by the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police. The New York State Police Troop K headquarters is located in Millbrook.


Presidential election results
Presidential election results[25]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2020 44.3% 66,872 53.9% 81,443 1.9% 2,807
2016 47.2% 61,821 47.5% 62,285 5.3% 6,912
2012 45.3% 56,025 52.8% 65,312 1.9% 2,368
2008 45.1% 59,628 53.7% 71,060 1.2% 1,614
2004 51.2% 63,372 47.0% 58,232 1.8% 2,277
2000 47.1% 52,669 46.9% 52,390 6.0% 6,712
1996 40.4% 41,929 45.6% 47,339 14.0% 14,553
1992 40.5% 46,709 36.1% 41,655 23.4% 26,964
1988 61.0% 62,165 38.2% 38,968 0.8% 826
1984 67.9% 70,324 31.7% 32,867 0.4% 389
1980 57.7% 53,616 30.8% 28,616 11.6% 10,775
1976 56.9% 51,312 41.7% 37,531 1.4% 1,268
1972 69.8% 64,864 30.0% 27,872 0.2% 167
1968 54.9% 45,032 37.8% 31,025 7.3% 6,010
1964 37.0% 29,503 62.9% 50,179 0.1% 43
1960 60.7% 46,109 39.3% 29,842 0.1% 53
1956 78.4% 53,840 21.7% 14,876 0.0% 0
1952 71.2% 46,381 28.6% 18,644 0.2% 142
1948 64.2% 34,067 32.9% 17,439 2.9% 1,533
1944 58.9% 32,890 40.8% 22,778 0.3% 158
1940 55.7% 32,329 44.1% 25,598 0.2% 122
1936 53.1% 28,868 45.0% 24,467 1.9% 1,010
1932 55.0% 25,757 43.5% 20,374 1.6% 740
1928 61.3% 28,687 35.8% 16,748 2.9% 1,366
1924 64.6% 22,173 25.8% 8,864 9.5% 3,266
1920 65.6% 21,152 30.8% 9,938 3.6% 1,156
1916 54.6% 11,082 43.9% 8,906 1.5% 310
1912 43.7% 8,916 43.4% 8,871 12.9% 2,638
1908 53.6% 11,132 43.1% 8,961 3.3% 682
1904 57.1% 11,709 40.3% 8,275 2.6% 537
1900 59.4% 11,936 38.3% 7,691 2.3% 471
1896 62.4% 12,127 34.2% 6,634 3.4% 661
1892 48.1% 9,376 46.1% 8,978 5.9% 1,141
1888 51.0% 10,265 45.9% 9,249 3.2% 634
1884 51.1% 9,701 45.7% 8,677 3.1% 596

The composition of the County Legislature is 16 Republicans, 8 Democrats and 1 Conservative for the 2021–2023 term. County elections occur in odd-numbered years.[26]

Historically, Dutchess County, like most of the lower Hudson, was classic "Yankee Republican" territory. Between 1884 and 2004, the Republican presidential candidate carried Dutchess County in 28 out of 30 elections (1964 and 1996 being exceptions). As a measure of how Republican the county was during this time, Hyde Park resident Franklin D. Roosevelt lost Dutchess County (but won New York) during his four successful bids for president.

The Republican edge narrowed significantly in the 1990s, with George H. W. Bush going from 61 percent of the county's vote in 1988 to only 40.5 percent in 1992. In 2008, Barack Obama became only the third Democrat to carry the county since 1884, and the first to win a majority since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. It has gone for the Democratic candidate in four consecutive elections (2008, 2012, 2016, and 2020).

Dutchess County is split between two congressional districts. The more populated southern portion is in the 18th district, represented by Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney. The northern portion is in the 19th district, represented by Democrat Antonio Delgado. These are considered "swing" districts nationally, with Cook Partisan Voting Index ratings of R+1 and R+2, respectively, as of 2019.




Three spans cross the Hudson River, linking Dutchess with Orange, Ulster, and Greene Counties:


The Metro-North railroad provides a critical link to New York City for Dutchess County's commuting population. The Hudson Line and Amtrak run concurrently along the Hudson River, on the western edge of the county. The Hudson Line has stops at Breakneck Ridge, Beacon, and New Hamburg (a hamlet of the town of Poughkeepsie) before the Hudson Line terminates at Poughkeepsie. The tracks continue north of that point as Amtrak, with Poughkeepsie and Rhinecliff (a small hamlet in the Town of Rhinebeck) being stops along Amtrak's Empire Service.

The Harlem Line, on the eastern side of the county, has station stops in Pawling, Wingdale, Dover Plains, and two stops in Wassaic (one along the Tenmile River and the other the namesake terminus of that line).

Buses and Ferries

Public transportation in Dutchess County is handled by Dutchess County Public Transit, commonly called "the LOOP." Outside of the urbanized area of the county, most service is limited. Privately run lines connect Poughkeepsie to New Paltz and Beacon to Newburgh. Leprechaun Lines and Short Line Bus also operate some service through Poughkeepsie, Rhinebeck, and the southern part of the county.

NY Waterway operates the Newburgh–Beacon Ferry, which is located at the Beacon train station.


General aviation facilities are located at Hudson Valley Regional Airport (formerly Dutchess County Airport), located in Wappinger and Sky Park Airport in Red Hook, New York.[27] General commercial passenger service is provided by New York Stewart International Airport, which is located across the Hudson River in Newburgh.


The Dutchess County Fair is an annual event
The Dutchess County Fair is an annual event

Dutchess County holds an annual county fair. The County Chamber of Commerce holds an annual hot air balloon launch typically in the first week of July. The main launch sites are along the Hudson River. As many as 20 balloons participate in the event.

The Dutchess County Historical Society was formed in 1914 and is active in the preservation of a large collection at the 18th century Clinton House. The Society has published a yearbook since 1914 and presents up to four awards of merit in the field of Dutchess County history each year.


Dutchess County has no locally based television stations. Its only news radio format station is WKIP (AM) of Poughkeepsie. WRHV is an NPR affiliated broadcasting out of Poughkeepsie. The country music format station, WRWB-FM, broadcasting across the Hudson River, can be reached in much of the county.

Poughkeepsie Journal is published in that city. Vassar Miscellany News, associated with Vassar College, is published weekly. Also published in the county is the Beacon Free Press/Southern Dutchess News.


The Hudson Valley Renegades are a minor league baseball team affiliated with the New York Yankees. The team is a member of the High-A East, and play at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill.

The Hudson Valley Bears were one of four founding members of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL). They played their home games at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie.

The Hudson Valley Hawks was a team in the former National Professional Basketball League. The team's home court was at Beacon High School, in Beacon.


The county is home to Northern Dutchess Hospital in Rhinebeck. MidHudson Regional Hospital (formerly St. Francis) and Vassar Brothers Medical Center are both in Poughkeepsie. The Castle Point Veterans Health Administration is in Wappinger.

On March 11, 2020, the county's first case of COVID-19 was confirmed. As of June 2021, there had been 29,483 cases and 445 deaths. There are under 100 active cases and 56.8% of residents received at least one vaccine dose.[28]


N.B.: Cities, Towns and Villages are official political designations.

Dutchess County, New York




Census-designated places



Public school districts

Private schools

Higher education

See also


  1. ^ "US Census 2020 Population Dataset Tables for New York". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 2, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Dutchess County, New York". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 12, 2012. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ Hasbrouck, Frank, ed. (1909). The History of Dutchess County New York. Poughkeepsie, New York: S. A. Matthieu. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  5. ^ United States Office of Management and Budget (September 14, 2018). "OMB Bulletin No. 18-04" (PDF). Retrieved July 11, 2019.
  6. ^ MacCraken, Henry Noble, Old Dutchess Forever! The Story of an American County (New York: Hastings House, 1956) p. 3
  7. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 111.
  8. ^ "A Brief History of Dutchess County".
  9. ^ "New York State Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation" (PDF).
  10. ^ "New York: Individual County Chronologies". New York Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Archived from the original on April 10, 2015. Retrieved January 9, 2015.
  11. ^ Pucher, J. Wilson and Helen Wilkinson Reynolds, Old Gravestones of Dutchess County, New York (Poughkeepsie: Dutchess County Historical Society, 1924) p. xi
  12. ^ Pulcher and Reynolds. Old Gravestones. p. xi
  13. ^ Hobson, Archie, ed., The Cambridge Gazetteer of the United States and Canada (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995) pp. 183–184
  14. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  16. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  17. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  20. ^ U.S. Census website chart on Ancesties for Dutchess County, New York
  21. ^ a b "Dutchess County, NY | Data USA". datausa.io. Retrieved November 15, 2019.
  22. ^ "Residents Vote For Major Change". Poughkeepsie Journal. Poughkeepsie, NY. April 18, 1967.
  23. ^ William P. Tatum III, Ph.D., County Historian (June 2017). "Dutchess County Government History Exhibit". Dutchess County Government.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  24. ^ "Legislators". Dutchess County Government. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  25. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  26. ^ "Dutchess County, NY County Legislature". Dutchess County, NY. eCode 360. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  27. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for 46N PDF. Federal Aviation Administration. Effective April 10, 2008.
  28. ^ "ArcGIS Dashboards". dcny.maps.arcgis.com. Retrieved December 20, 2020.
  29. ^ Swartwoutville

Further reading