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West Palm Beach is a city in and the county seat of Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The population was 101,043 at the 2010 census. It is the oldest large municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area, having been incorporated as a city two years before Miami.
According to the United States Census Bureau, this city has a total area of 58.2 square miles (151 km2). 55.1 square miles (143 km2) of it is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) of it (5.26%) is water.
Due to vast areas of swampland immediately to the west of the city’s downtown, growth occurred to the north and south in a linear fashion. Until the 1960s, the city was no more than several blocks wide but over 100 blocks in length. Large scale development finally occurred to the west of the city with improved access and drainage in the 1960s. However, the city boundaries were not expanded much with the exception of the “Water Catchment Area”, an uninhabited area in the northwest part of the city that serves as a reservoir for the city drinking.
Despite being located more than three degrees north of the Tropic of Cancer, West Palm Beach has a tropical rainforest climate (Köppen Af) with mean temperatures in all months above 64.4 °F (18 °C).
The wet season of May through October is hot, humid and wet with the average window for 90 °F (32 °C) temperatures April 20 thru October 8, but 100 °F (38 °C) has only occurred four times since record-keeping began in 1888. During this period, more than half of the summer days bring afternoon thunderstorms and seabreezes that cool the air for the rest of the day.
The dry season of November through April is warm and mostly dry with 80 °F (27 °C) temperatures remaining rather commonplace even from December thru February. However, the area experiences occasional cold fronts during this period, holding daytime temperatures below 65 °F (18 °C) and lows dropping to 45 °F (7 °C) or further, lasting only for few days. During a severe and prolonged cold snap in January 2010, the city recorded 12 consecutive days of low temperatures at or below 45 °F (7 °C) and nine of the twelve days below 40 °F (4 °C) with several mornings at or near freezing.
Annual average precipitation is 63 in (1,600 mm), making it the fourth wettest city in the country after Mobile, Alabama, Pensacola, Florida and New Orleans. Most of the precipitation occurs during the wet season of May through October, mainly as short-lived heavy afternoon thunderstorms.
Occasionally, stalled cold fronts in the fall and spring can also lead to heavy and prolonged rainfall. West Palm Beach has an average of 133 wet days and 234 sunshine days annually. The hurricane season is officially from June 1 through November 30, with the peak months being August, September and October. The city has received direct or near direct hits from hurricanes in 1928, 1947, 1949, 1964, 1965, 1979, 1992, 1999, 2004, and 2005.
As of the census of 2000, there were 82,103 people, 34,769 households, and 18,253 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,488.9 people per square mile (574.9/km⊃2). There were 40,461 housing units at an average density of 733.8 per square mile (283.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 58.09% White, 32.21% African American, 0.33% Native American, 1.46% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 4.35% from other races, and 3.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.21% of the population.
There were 34,769 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.3% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.5% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the city the population was spread out with 21.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 97.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,774, and the median income for a family was $42,074. Males had a median income of $30,221 versus $26,473 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,188. About 14.5% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.2% of those under the age of 18 and 14.8% of those ages 65 and older.
As of 2000, those who spoke only English at home accounted for 72.49% of all residents, while those who spoke Spanish made up 17.71%, French Creole (mainly Haitian Creole) 4.46%, 1.27% spoke French, German was spoken by 0.62%, and Italian speakers made up 0.52% of the population.
K–12 public education is administrated by the School District of Palm Beach County, which is the eleventh-largest school district in the United States by enrollment. The district main office is located in unincorporated West Palm Beach.
Bak Middle School of the Arts is a magnet middle school in West Palm Beach, just south of Mangonia Park, Florida. The school’s campus was formerly that of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, a high school. The first auditions took place in July 1997. The campus property of Bak Middle School of the Arts was also home to North Shore High School from 1965 to 1989. In 2007, the new campus was completed and the original buildings were demolished. The school accepts students from all over Palm Beach County. Students may audition for two out of five art areas: communications, dance, music (consisting of band, keyboard, strings, and vocal arts), theater, and visual arts.
Private schools in the area include Cardinal Newman High School, The King’s Academy and Oxbridge Academy.
References and more area information on Wikipedia here >>