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Rensselaer is a city in Rensselaer County, New York, U.S.marker, located on the Hudson River, directly opposite Albanymarker. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 7,761; in 1920, it was 10,832. The name is from Kiliaen van Rensselaer, the original landowner of the region in New Netherland. Rensselaer is on the west border of the county.


The area was part of the Rensselaerwyckmarker manor.Rensselaer was originally called Greenbush. The village of Greenbush within the town of Greenbush was incorporated in 1815. In 1897, Greenbush was chartered as a city, and its name was changed to Rensselaer. Its limits were extended in 1902 by the annexation of the village of Bath and the western part of the town of East Greenbushmarker. In 1932 the Port of Albany-Rensselaermarker was built, mostly in neighboring Albanymarker, but also with 35 acres in the southern part of Rensselaer. This part of Rensselaer has been industrial for over 300 years.

Rensselaer is home to historic Fort Crailomarker.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.3 square miles (8.6 km²), of which, 3.0 square miles (7.8 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (9.61%) is water.

The city lies next to the Hudson River with Albany County and the City of Albanymarker on the opposite shore. The towns of North Greenbushmarker and East Greenbushmarker in the county, border the city.


As of the census of 2000, there were 7,761 people, 3,397 households, and 1,946 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,579.2 people per square mile (995.5/km²). There were 3,713 housing units at an average density of 1,233.9/sq mi (476.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 89.11% White, 7.06% African American, 0.27% Native American, 1.10% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.

There were 3,397 households out of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.2% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.0% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 90.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,730, and the median income for a family was $40,688. Males had a median income of $29,685 versus $26,291 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,674. About 9.8% of families and 12.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.0% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

Rail transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Rensselaer through the Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station. The Rensselaer stop also serves Albanymarker, the state capital, and Troymarker, and it is designated in the Amtrak timetable as Albany-Rensselaer. Six Empire Service trains run from Albany-Rensselaer to New York Citymarker on weekday mornings and several depart for New York in the evening, returning and terminating at Albany-Rensselaer in the afternoon and late evening. One section of the Lake Shore Limited originates in New York City and one section originates in Bostonmarker. The two sections are joined at Albany-Rensselaer and travel on to Chicagomarker as a single train. The eastbound Lake Shore Limited reverses the process at Albany-Rensselaer and splits into two trains for onward travel.


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