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Ulster County, New York facts for kids

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Ulster County
The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge
Flag of Ulster County
Official seal of Ulster County
Map of New York highlighting Ulster County
Location within the U.S. state of New York
Map of the United States highlighting New York
New York's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  New York
Founded 1683
Named for Ulster
Seat Kingston
Largest city Kingston
 • Total 1,161 sq mi (3,010 km2)
 • Land 1,124 sq mi (2,910 km2)
 • Water 37 sq mi (100 km2)  3.1%
 • Total 181,851
 • Density 161.8/sq mi (62.5/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 19th

Ulster County is a county in the U.S. state of New York. It is situated along the Hudson River. As of the 2020 census, the population was 181,851. The county seat is Kingston. The county is named after the Irish province of Ulster.


Beers Atlas Page018-019
Ulster County in 1875

The area of present-day Ulster County was called "Esopus" by Dutch settlers: it was then part of the New Netherland Colony. In 1652, Thomas Chambers, a freeholder from the Manor of Rensselaerswyck, purchased land at Esopus and began trading there. In 1654, Johan de Hulter, owner of 20% of the Killian van Rensselaer Company was granted a patent, together with the patents of Christoffel Davids, and Jacob Jansen Stoll, this supplies evidence of the first permanent settlement, that grows into the village of Wiltwijck, later: Kingston. In 1683, the Duke of York created twelve counties in his province. Ulster County was one of them. Its boundaries at that time included the present Sullivan County, and portions of the present Delaware, Orange, and Greene Counties.

In 1777, the capital of New York State (the first state capital of independent New York) was established at Kingston, though it was subsequently moved to Kerhonkson when the British burned Kingston.

In 1797, portions of Otsego and Ulster Counties were split off to create Delaware County.

In 1798, the southernmost towns in Ulster County were moved into Orange County, to compensate Orange for breaking away the southernmost portion of that county in order to form Rockland County.

In 1800, portions of Albany and Ulster Counties were split off to create Greene County.

In 1809, Sullivan County was split off from Ulster County.

During the American Civil War volunteers were recruited from the more affluent families of the County to form the 139th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The Lake Mohonk Mountain House on Shawangunk Ridge was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986.


Lake Minnewaska Minnewaska State Park Preserve
Lake Minnewaska

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,161 square miles (3,010 km2), of which 1,124 square miles (2,910 km2) is land and 37 square miles (96 km2) (3.1%) is water.

Ulster County is in the southeast part of New York State, south of Albany, immediately west of the Hudson River. Much of the county is within the Catskill Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Ulster County has Minnewaska State Park, Mohonk Preserve, Sundown State Park, VerNooykill State Forest, Witches Hole State Forest, and Shawangunk Ridge State Forest and Sam's Point Preserve, which includes rare dwarf pine trees and VerKeerderkill falls.

The highest point is Slide Mountain, at approximately 4,180 feet (1,270 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level along the Hudson River.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Shawangunk Grasslands National Wildlife Refuge


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 29,370
1800 24,855 −15.4%
1810 26,576 6.9%
1820 30,934 16.4%
1830 36,550 18.2%
1840 45,822 25.4%
1850 59,384 29.6%
1860 76,381 28.6%
1870 84,075 10.1%
1880 85,838 2.1%
1890 87,062 1.4%
1900 88,422 1.6%
1910 91,769 3.8%
1920 74,979 −18.3%
1930 80,155 6.9%
1940 87,017 8.6%
1950 92,621 6.4%
1960 118,804 28.3%
1970 141,241 18.9%
1980 158,158 12.0%
1990 165,304 4.5%
2000 177,749 7.5%
2010 182,493 2.7%
2020 181,851 −0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2020

As of the census of 2010, the county had 181,440 people, 67,499 households, and 43,536 families. The population density was 158 people per square mile (61/km2). There were 77,656 housing units at an average density of 69 per square mile (27/km2). The county's racial makeup, as of 2008, was 83.2% white, 6.50% black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.15% from other races, and 1.70% from two or more races. 7.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 19.2% were of Italian, 16.8% Irish, 15.5% German, 6.8% English, and 4.7% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 90.3% spoke English, 4.5% Spanish, 1.2% Italian, and 1.0% German as their first language.

There were 67,499 households, of which 30.70% had children under age 18 living with them, 49.20% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.50% were non-families. Of all households, 27.90% were made up of individuals, and 10.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.03.

23.50% of the county's population was under age 18, 8.70% was from age 18 to 24, 29.70% was from age 25 to 44, 24.70% was from age 45 to 64, and 13.30% was age 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.60 males.

The county's median household income was $42,551, and the median family income was $51,708. Males had a median income of $36,808 versus $27,086 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,846. About 7.20% of families and 11.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.00% of those under age 18 and 8.70% of those age 65 or over.


Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
Ashokan Reservoir from Wittenberg
Cow at Ulster County Fair
A cow at the Ulster County Fair

Ulster County contains a large part of Catskill Park and the Catskill Forest Preserve. The former Delaware and Hudson Canal brought Pennsylvania coal to Kingston on the Hudson. Former Orleans band member John Hall served in the Ulster County legislature before moving to the 19th Congressional District to run for Congress.

Ulster County has continued to be a popular vacation destination for many decades. The County is home to many outdoor landscapes, including the Catskill Mountains, the Hudson River, Minnewaska State Park, Catskill Park, Shawangunk Mountains and the Shawangunk Ridge. Each offers various recreation opportunities, including hiking, bicycling, skiing, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, hunting and fishing.

The County also includes more than 40 miles of rail trails along the Hudson Valley Rail Trail, Wallkill Valley Rail Trail, and O&W Rail Trail. The Walkway Over the Hudson, the world’s longest pedestrian and bicycle bridge which spans the Hudson River, is connected within Ulster County trails.

Ulster County has also played a leading role in highly significant moments in U.S. history. The Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, New York is where, in early 1777, American colonists met to ratify the New York Constitution.

The Ulster County Fair has been held in New Paltz for many years and is promoted as "The Best Six Days of Summer". County run recreation areas include the Ulster County Pool in New Paltz and the Ulster Landing Park in Saugerties.


44 NY 55
A shield assembly of NY 55, US 44, and US 9W after the Mid-Hudson Bridge

The New York State Thruway (I-87) runs north–south through the county, carrying traffic between New York City and Albany and its surroundings.

NY 55, NY 52, and NY 28 are all major east-west highways that run through the county, and US 209, US 9W, and NY 32 are major north-south highways.

Public transportation in Ulster County is provided by Trailways of New York to and from New York City and Albany, and along Routes 28 and 32, Ulster County Area Transit on major state and U.S. road corridors in the county, and by Kingston Citibus in Kingston.





Census-designated places


Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Ulster para niños

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