According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), of which, 3.0 square miles (7.7 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (4.53%) is water.
As of the 2000 census, 34.3% of West Paterson residents were of Italian ancestry, the 18th-highest percentage of any municipality in the United States, and seventh-highest in New Jersey, among all places with more than 1,000 residents identifying their ancestry.
There were 4,397 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.9% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.2% were non-families. 25.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the borough the population was spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 33.9% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 15.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.3 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $60,273, and the median income for a family was $67,292. Males had a median income of $47,389 versus $36,814 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $29,758. About 3.2% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.0% of those under age 18 and 3.0% of those age 65 or over.
The Mayor exercises executive power and appoints department heads with Council approval. The Council may adopt the municipal budget proposed by the Mayor, but revisions may be required by a majority of the governing body before final approval.
The Mayor of West Paterson Borough is Pat Lepore (D), whose current term of office ends December 31, 2008, and who also serves on the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Members of the West Paterson Borough Council are Council President Keith Kazmark (D, 2010), Ruth Patterson (D, 2009), Tina Gatti (D, 2009), Rita Pascrell (D, 2010), Dominick Di Domenico (D, 2009), Joseph Spinelli (D, 2010).
For grades 9 - 12, public students attend Passaic Valley Regional High School. The high school serves students from Little Falls Township, Totowa Borough and West Paterson. The school facility is located in Little Falls Township.
The Garrett Mountain campus of Berkeley College is located in West Paterson.