The population was 4,189 at the 2008 census. It is sometimes confused with a city of the same name in South Carolina; the two are distinguished by different pronunciations.
Beaufort is located in North Carolina's Inner Banks region. The town is home to the North Carolina Maritime Museum, the Duke University Marine Laboratory (Nicholas School of the Environment), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research. It is also the location of the Rachel Carson Coastal Reserve.
Beaufort is located at 34°43′N 76°39′W (34.7207, −76.6525).According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2), of which, 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of it is land and 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2) of it (22.82%) is water.
As of the census of 2008, there were 4,189 people, 1,780 households, and 1,048 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,374.4 people per square mile (531.4/km²). There were 2,187 housing units at an average density of 797.1 per square mile (308.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 75.87% White, 19.99% African American, 0.37% Asian, 0.11% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.39% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races.o Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.77% of the population.There were 1,780 households out of which 21.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.1% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.65.
In the town the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $28,763, and the median income for a family was $39,429. Males had a median income of $30,859 versus $22,955 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,356. About 13.3% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 35.0% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.
According to Beaufort Sister Cities, Inc., the city of Beaufort has 19 sister cities: