Stevenson is named for early settler George H. Stevenson. The Stevenson family, who settled in the Gorge in the 1800s from Missouri, founded the town of Stevenson on the old Shepard donation land claim. Under the auspices of the Stevenson Land Company, George Stevenson purchased the original town site for $24,000 in 1893, building the town along the lower flat near the river. Settlers expanded the original dock to serve the daily arrivals of sternwheelers unloading passengers, cargo and loading logs.
In 1893, in a dispute over rental fees, an unknown crew transported the county records from the town of Cascades to Stevenson. Stevenson became the county seat of Skamania overnight. Stevenson was officially incorporated on December 16, 1907. In 1908 the SP&S Railroad arrived, pushing the town up the hill away from the river. Streets were graded, wooden sidewalks constructed and the city asked residents to keep their cows from roaming the streets.
Stevenson is located at 45°41′46″N 121°53′18″W / 45.69611°N 121.88833°W / 45.69611; -121.88833 (45.696203, −121.888424).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.79 square miles (4.64 km2), of which, 1.65 square miles (4.27 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,465 people, 640 households, and 390 families residing in the city. The population density was 887.9 inhabitants per square mile (342.8/km2). There were 703 housing units at an average density of 426.1 per square mile (164.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.9% White, 0.6% African American, 1.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.8% of the population.
There were 640 households of which 28.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.1% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.86.
The median age in the city was 42.1 years. 23% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 30.6% were from 45 to 64; and 15.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,200 people, 474 households, and 307 families residing in the city. The population density was 813.4 people per square mile (313.1/km²). There were 523 housing units at an average density of 354.5 per square mile (136.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.92% White, 0.17% African American, 2.42% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 1.75% from other races, and 3.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.33% of the population.
There were 474 households out of which 31.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.2% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 25.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $31,979, and the median income for a family was $38,750. Males had a median income of $36,042 versus $25,893 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,602. About 17.8% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.2% of those under age 18 and 17.0% of those age 65 or over.