Clewiston is a city in Hendry County, Florida. The population was 6,460 at the 2000 census. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2005, the city had a population of 7,173. Clewiston is home to the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum and the Clewiston Museum.
Large sugar plantations were established around Lake Okeechobee. By the 1950s and 1960s, the cultivation of citrus, vegetables and cattle were also important to the economy. United States Sugar, however, remained the dominant manufacturer in Clewiston, which became known as "America's Sweetest Town." On June 24, 2008, however, Governor Charlie Crist announced that the state of Florida has arranged to buy for $1.75 billion the company's 187,000 acres (75,680 hectares), including the refinery in Clewiston. The farmland will be converted into reservoirs and water-filtering areas as part of the ongoing restoration of the Everglades ecosystem. United States Sugar will lease its former facilities from the state for about five years to help defray the cost, and then cease to exist.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 km² (4.7 sq mi). 4.7 square miles (12.1 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.43%) is water. Located in the Florida Heartland, Clewiston is on the southwestern shore of Lake Okeechobee.
The city is crossed by U. S. Route 27 and state routes 80 and 835.
There were 2,174 households out of which 39.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.9% were non-families. 18.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.32.
In the city the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 103.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 104.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $37,143, and the median income for a family was $38,652. Males had a median income of $31,139 versus $21,049 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,527. About 14.8% of families and 18.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.9% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
All three libraries provide Hendry County residents with materials and general information, and each library has a secondary individualized area of focus. The Clewiston Library has a Florida room to house historical reference material and books pertinent to local and state history. The Harlem Community Library is located in a former school building which also houses the Harlem Academy daycare center and its specialty is a growing African American collection. The Barron Library collects genealogical materials.
The Clewiston Library also recently sought and received an LSTA grant to digitize their local newspaper, The Clewiston News and have the digital versions added to the free, open access Florida Digital Newspaper Library.
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