White Plains (WP) today is a “diverse” community but it has not always been. Census reporting gives the best way to examine the changes.
WP’s first settlers came from Rye in 1683 and were English Puritans. The first US census of 1790, recorded WP with a total population of 550. This number included 40 slaves. In 1820, WP had 675 residents of which 63 were free blacks and 8 slaves. After 1827, slavery ended in NY and the Census recorded a population of 2,630.
The population of WP grew after the NY and Harlem Railroad reached WP on Dec 1, 1844. The Population in 1880 was 2,381 and went up 60.8% by 1890 at 4042. By 1900, the population had increased by 90.5 % to 15,045. The Harlem line to WP was electrified in 1910 and a second rail line the NY, Westchester and Boston Railway opened in 1912. It ran through the center of WP from its southern border to Westchester Ave. By 1920, there were 21,031 residents. By this time, WP had other forms of transportation besides the rails with buses (replacing trollies) and cars. The NY, Westchester Boston railway closed in 1937. In 1930, WP population was 35,830, in 1940 40,327, and in 1950 43,466. Winbrook Apartments (now named Brookfield Commons) opening in 1950 in Business District giving the City affordable low income housing.
The population in WP increased to 50,485 residents by 1960 and from then it began to decrease. A major urban renewal project began in the core area of the Business District with demolition beginning in the 1960’s and continuing during the next decade. Eliminated were blocks of city streets containing housing and businesses. As a result, many African Americans and Italians left the city. By 1970, the population had decreased .3% to 50,125 and by 1980 it fell to 46,999.
By 1980, much of the Business District had been transformed and the number of residents began to increase again and by 1990 the population had increased to 48,718.
By 2000, WP had 53,077 residents. The racial make-up in 2000 was 34,465 (64.9%) White, 8,444 (15.9%) Black or African American, 182 (.3%) American Indian/Alaskan Natives, 2,389 (4.5%) Asian, 37 (.1%) Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 5,502 (10.4%) from other races and 2,058 (3.9%) from 2 or more races. Of the total 12,476 (23.5%) were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
By 2010, the population was 56,853. The city’s racial make-up: White 36,178 (63.6%), Black or African Americans 8,070 (14.2 %), American Indian/Alaska Native 394 (.7%), 3,623 Asian (6.4%), 20 (less than .1%) Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander, 6,324 (11.1%) of other races and 2,224 (3.9%) from 2 or more races. 16,839 (29.6%) are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Demographics is important in shaping our communities, economy, and culture but one’s identity in any given group should not diminish any other. Feelings often get in the way of how we perceive others and cloud our openness to see how others experience the world.
Population estimates are projected by US Census Bureau and this and other information is available on the website: http://www.census.gov. Estimate for 2017 (in July) is 59,047 residents.
*Data from US Census Bureau American FactFinder for 2000 and 2010.