It was the birthplace of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United States (1933-1945). It is also the site of the Culinary Institute of America, one of the many mansions of Cornelius Vanderbilt, Valkill (the home of Eleanor Roosevelt), and a number of other historic landmarks.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 103.2 km² (39.8 mi²). 95.7 km² (37.0 mi²) of it is land and 7.5 km² (2.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 7.25% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 20,851 people, 7,395 households, and 5,220 families residing in the town. The population density is 217.8/km² (564.2/mi²). There are 7,704 housing units at an average density of 80.5/km² (208.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 91.02% White, 4.25% African American, 0.20% Native American, 1.39% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 1.19% from other races, and 1.86% from two or more races. 3.23% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 7,395 households out of which 34.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.7% are married couples living together, 10.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% are non-families. 23.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.63 and the average family size is 3.10.
In the town the population is spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 99.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $50,870, and the median income for a family is $58,047. Males have a median income of $42,251 versus $28,176 for females. The per capita income for the town is $21,260. 5.7% of the population and 4.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 5.3% are under the age of 18 and 6.0% are 65 or older.