As a community inside the Capital Beltway, Hyattsville enjoys easy access to Washington and Baltimore by the West Hyattsville and Prince George's Plaza stops on the Metro subway system's Green Line or by MARC commuter rail trains on the Camden Line in the neighboring town of Riverdale Park.
In 1982, a portion of the city was placed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Hyattsville Historic District; the district was extended in late 2004.
The city was involved in a minor controversy in April 2006. In the episode airing April 27, the Geena Davis television series Commander in Chief depicted Hyattsville as having the highest murder rate in the United States; it also indirectly depicted the town as being an urban ghetto dominated by poor minorities. The city and Prince George's County were very upset at ABC. On May 1, ABC formally apologized to both the city and county.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.4 km²), of which, 2.43 square miles (6.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.38%) is water.
(taken from the Community Legacy Revitalization Plan) "The City of Hyattsville is often misrepresented in the local news media leading people to believe crime is a problem. Accidents and criminal activities that occur in unincorporated areas outside the City limits but within a Hyattsville zip code are often reported as occurring within Hyattsville. Although Hyattsville maintains its own nationally accredited full-service police department to serve City residents, the negative public perception of the Prince George’s County Police Department also contributes to this issue. The Organization for the City of Hyattsville’s Identity (ORCHID) is working in conjunction with the City’s Police Department to address the mis-identification of Hyattsville. The Hyattsville Police Department reports that the overall crime rate in Hyattsville decreased 12% from January to November, 2002. Of the crimes reported in 2002, 81% were related to non-violent crimes against property (breaking and entering, stolen vehicles, theft, arson); crimes against people, (homicide, rape, robbery, carjacking, assault), increased slightly. Hyattsville maintains an overall low crime rate compared to nearby communities. Of the City’s five wards, Ward 1 experienced the highest crime rate and Ward 2 experienced the lowest rate."
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,733 people, 5,540 households, and 3,368 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,885.9 people per square mile (2,658.2/km²). There were 5,795 housing units at an average density of 2,708.5/sq mi (1,045.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 39.53% White, 41.03% African American, 0.50% Native American, 4.02% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 10.91% from other races, and 3.98% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.14% of the population.
There were 5,540 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.3% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.2% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.59 and the average family size was 3.24.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.2% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 34.0% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 91.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $45,355, and the median income for a family was $51,625. Males had a median income of $33,163 versus $31,088 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,152. About 7.9% of families and 10.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.
Hyattsville is zoned to the following public schools: