Palm Beach is an upscale incorporated town in Palm Beach County, Florida, United States. The Intracoastal Waterway separates it from the neighboring cities of West Palm Beach and Lake Worth. As of 2000, Palm Beach had a year-round population of 10,468, with an estimated seasonal population of 30,000. As of 2004, the year-round population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 9,860.
Flagler's houselots were bought by the beneficiaries of the Gilded Age, and in 1902 Flagler himself built a Beaux-Arts mansion, Whitehall, designed by the New York-based firm Carrère and Hastings and helped establish the Palm Beach winter "season" by constant entertaining. The town was incorporated on April 17 1911.
The per capita income for the town is $109,219. Males have a median income of $71,685 versus $42,875 for females. 5.3% of the population and 2.4% of families are below the poverty line. 4.6% of those under the age of 18 and 2.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
The racial makeup of the town is 96.00% White (93.8% were Non-Hispanic White,) 2.57% Black or African American, 0.53% Asian, 0.04% Native American, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 2.56% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The 10,468 people in the town are organized into 5,789 households and 3,021 families. The population density is 1,031.1/km² (2,669.2/mi²). There are 9,948 housing units at an average density of 979.8/km² (2,536.6/mi²). 7.7% of the households have children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% are married couples living together, 3.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 47.8% are non-families. 42.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 27.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 1.81 and the average family size is 2.38.
Many of Palm Beach's residents are affluent, with a median household income of $94,562 and a median family income of $137,867. The town's affluence, and its "abundance of pleasures" and "strong community-oriented sensibility" were cited when it was selected in June, 2003 as America's "Best Place to Live" by Robb Report magazine.
As of 2000, speakers of English was the first language of 87.81% of all residents, while French comprised 4.48%, Spanish consisted of 3.65%, German made up 2.16%, Italian speakers made up 0.45%, Yiddish made up 0.36%, Russian was at 0.30% (even though those of Russian ancestry made up 10.30% of the population), Arabic and Swedish at 0.25%, and Polish was the mother tongue of 0.24% of the population.
As of 2000, Palm Beach's had the fortieth highest percentage of Russian residents in the U.S., with 10.30% of the populace (tied with Pomona, NY and the township of Lower Merion, PA). It also had the twenty-sixth highest percentage of Austrian residents in the US, at 2.10% of the town's population (which tied with 19 other US areas).
The northern portion of Palm Beach is served by the Route 41 bus which travels from the northern most portion of Palm Beach at the inlet and then down to Royal Palm Way, across the Royal Park Bridge into West Palm Beach and up to the government center, and then follows the same route in reverse. This Island of Palm Beach was served by the Route 42 Palm Tran bus from Lantana in the south going along State Road A1A up to Royal Poncianna Way where it crosses over the Flagler Memorial Bridge into West Palm Beach to the government center and then back again for the southbound trip. Route 42 ended on May 10. 2008 due to low ridership.
Private vehicles and taxis are the predominant means of transport in Palm Beach. Bicycles are a popular transport on the island, although most areas have no bicycle trails, so safe and comfortable travel is not always assured. The Lake Trail, exclusively for pedestrian and bike traffic, extends from Royal Palm Way (State Road 704) in the south up to the north end of the island. The trail follows the edge of the Lake Worth Lagoon (part of the intercoastal waterway) except for a section between the Flagler Museum and the Biltmore Condominiums, where the trail follows the streets. Another break occurs to pass around the Sailfish Yacht Club in the north end of the island.
Traveling by bike along the ocean can be hazardous. Only a short section in the downtown area has sidewalks, and then largely used by pedestrians. Biking on the sidewalks is discouraged due to the chance of collision between bikes and walkers. The roads along the ocean are narrow and have small or no shoulders, making biking a potentially dangerous activity in those areas.
In the southern end of the island, south of Sloan's Curve, through South Palm Beach to East Ocean Avenue (linking to Lantana) is a two-mile long, relatively wide pedestrian path that is popular with walkers, runners, and bikers alike.