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Nassau, NY

Nassau, NY

Nassau County is a suburban county on Long Island, east of New York City in the U.S. state of New York, within the New York Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,339,532. The name of the county comes from an old name for Long Island, which was at one time named Nassau, after the Dutch Prince William of Nassau, Prince of Orange (who later also ruled as King William III of England). Nassau's county seat is located in the village of Garden City, within the Mineola 11501 zip code.

Nassau County occupies a portion of Long Island immediately east of the New York City borough of Queens. It is divided into two cities and three towns, the latter of which contain 64 villages and numerous hamlets. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 453 square miles (1,173 km²) of which 287 square miles (743 km²) of it is land and 166 square miles (431 km²) of it (36.72%) is water. Between the 1990 census and the 2000 census, the county exchanged territory with Suffolk County and lost territory to Queens County.

Nassau, together with Suffolk County to its immediate east, are generally referred to as "Long Island" by area residents — as distinct from the New York City boroughs of Queens (Queens County) and Brooklyn (Kings County), which are geographically on the island's westernmost end. Two cities, three towns, 64 incorporated villages, and numerous unincorporated hamlets are located within the county.
In 2010, Forbes magazine released its American Community Survey and named Nassau County number 11 in its list of the top 25 richest counties in America. The survey also named Nassau County the number one richest county per capita in the State of New York, with a median household income of $93,579.

During the latter part of the 20th Century, Nassau County saw an influx of migrants from the five boroughs of New York City, especially Brooklyn and Queens, who left their urban dwellings for a more suburban setting. This led to a massive population boom in the county, especially on the south shore.

In the 1990s, Nassau County saw huge budget problems, forcing the county to near bankruptcy. The county government increased taxes to prevent a takeover by the state of New York. This has led to the county having notoriously high property taxes, leaving some migrants from New York City, who were seeking a suburban lifestyle, to move to Suffolk County, the Hudson Valley, New Jersey, Connecticut or Pennsylvania. The economy has been booming and according to the United States Census Bureau, residents of Nassau County have among the highest per capita wealth in the country. Nassau County has also experienced heavy urbanization in many areas, including Hempstead, Freeport, Mineola and Westbury, leading some observers to say that parts of the county resemble the New York City boroughs outside Manhattan rather than being a suburb. Despite its booming economy, on January 27, 2011, a New York State oversight board seized control of Nassau County’s finances, saying the wealthy and heavily taxed county had nevertheless failed to balance its $2.6 billion budgets.

The New York Times cited a 2002 study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined that Nassau, and its neighboring county, Suffolk, are the most de facto racially segregated suburbs in the United States.
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As of the census of 2010, there were 1,339,532 people, 447,387 households, and 347,172 families residing in the county. The population density was 4,655 people per square mile (1,797/km²). There were 458,151 housing units at an average density of 1,598 per square mile (617/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% White (65.5% non-Hispanic White), 11.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 7.6% Asian (3.0% Indian, 1.8% Chinese, 1.0% Korean, 0.7% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.9% Other Asian), 0.03 Pacific Islander, 3.5% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.6% of the population.

As of 2000, there were about 207,000 Jewish people in Nassau County, representing 15.5% of the population, (as compared to 2.0% of the total U.S. population). Italian Americans make up a large portion of Nassau. The top 5 ancestries are 23% Italian, 14% Irish, 7% German, 5% American and 4% Polish. The county's population was highest as of the 1970 Census.

There were 447,387 households, out of which 35.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.10% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.40% were non-families. 18.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.70% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $72,030, and the median income for a family was $81,246 (these figures had risen to $87,658 and $101,661 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $52,340 versus $37,446 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,151. About 3.50% of families and 5.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.

The New York Times cited a 2002 study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined that Nassau, and its neighboring county, Suffolk, are the most de facto racially segregated suburbs in the United States.
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The Outdoors

Nassau County is generally divided into North Shore and South Shore. The North Shore is known for its hilly roads and rocky beaches. In comparison, the South Shore of the County is flat and contains sandy beaches. The Long Island Sound splits the North Shore of Nassau County from Connecticut while the South Shore leads to the Atlantic Ocean.

Nassau County is the second largest county by square mile on Long Island (Suffolk being the largest by far). It is sandwiched between Suffolk County and Queens County. One of the two counties that make up Long Island, Nassau County is the westernmost county and is closer to New York City than its more rural counterpart: Suffolk County. Nassau County also has several beaches, including Jones Beach and Long Beach. You can also visit the downtown areas of each village. There are typically many shops and sometimes even restaurants in those areas. English is the main language. Hempstead, Uniondale, New Cassel, Westbury and Freeport have large Spanish-speaking populations.

Residents and guests can visit Nassau County’s spectacular beaches, from the gorgeous white sand stretches along the south shore, to the rugged beauty of the scenic north shore bluffs. In addition to the cool breezes and sparkling waters, many Nassau County Parks and beaches offer other recreational opportunities ranging from kayaking and canoeing to camping and hiking. Visitors come from all over to enjoy the natural beauty here and several spots offer bird watching, fishing and other activities.

Visit the largest of the Nassau County Park, Eisenhower Park for a range of experiences including bicycling, shuffleboard, croquet, lawn bowling in addition to a great series of free summer concerts. Eisenhower Park also includes a major Aquatic Center, site of many major swimming and diving events. It is open to the public as well. Boasting many major public courses, Nassau County is also Nassau County Golfhome to Bethpage Black, site of the 2009 U.S. Open Championship. Challenge yourself on the course that golf’s best have battled. Or, Bethpage offers several other courses of varying difficulty.

Museums and other cultural attractions are also a major part of the landscape here. Nassau County is also home to the historic Belmont Park, where horse racing's best, including the likes of Secretariat, are forever immortalized right here on the Belmont race track. Belmont Race TrackHome of the prestigious third leg of horse racing's Triple Crown, the Belmont race track is where the best of the best come to race, and a few of those will make horse racing history. Residents and visitors to Nassau County can experience some amazing cultural and arts attractions as well, ranging from the outdoor amphitheater at Jones Beach, to the “theater in the round” at Old Westbury; and major art exhibits at the Nassau County Museum of Art to the riveting musical performances at the Tilles Center.

Shopping in Nassau County is another main draw and the county includes some of the best. Visit the Americana Manhasset, known as the Rodeo Drive of the east or pick up some great deals at the huge Roosevelt Field indoor shopping mall. Take a pleasant stroll down one of Nassau County’s charming Main Streets, where you’ll find not only great one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques, but an experience rich in history, fine dining and scenic beauty.