Aroostook County, Maine facts for kids

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Aroostook County, Maine
Seal of Aroostook County, Maine
Map
Map of Maine highlighting Aroostook County
Location in the state of Maine
Map of the USA highlighting Maine
Maine's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded May 1, 1839
Seat Houlton
Largest City Presque Isle
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

6,828 sq mi (17,684 km²)
6,671 sq mi (17,278 km²)
156 sq mi (404 km²), 2.3%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

71,870
11/sq mi (4/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.aroostook.me.us
Named for: Indian word meaning "beautiful river"

Aroostook County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maine along the Canada–US border. As of the 2010 census, the population was 71,870. Its seat is Houlton.

Known locally in Maine simply as "The County," it is the largest American county by land area east of the Rocky Mountains (St. Louis County, Minnesota is larger by total area) and the largest county by total area in Maine. As Maine's northernmost county, its northernmost village, Estcourt Station, is therefore also the northernmost community in New England and in the contiguous United States east of the Great Lakes.

Aroostook County is known for its potato crops, as well as its Acadian culture. In the Saint John Valley in the northern part of the county, which borders Madawaska County, New Brunswick, many of the residents are bilingual in English and Acadian French. Elsewhere in Maine, New England French is the predominant form of French spoken (apart from standard French).

The county is also an emerging hub for wind power.

History

Aroostook County was formed in 1839 from parts of Penobscot and Washington counties. In 1843, Aroostook gained land from Penobscot County; in 1844, Aroostook again gained land from Penobscot, plus it exchanged land with Piscataquis County. In 1889, Aroostook gained slightly from Penobscot, but gave back the land in 1903 when Aroostook County gained its final form. Some of the territory in this county was part of the land dispute that led to the "Aroostook War" that would eventually be settled by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty.

Child Laborers in a Maine field (1940)
Children gathering potatoes on a large farm in Aroostook County, 1940. Schools did not open until the potatoes were harvested. Photo by Jack Delano.

The county was also part of a route on the Underground Railroad, and was one of the last stops before entering Canada. Slaves would meet and hide just outside Aroostook or in deserted areas. Friends Quaker Church near Fort Fairfield was often a final stop.

During the post World War II era, much of Aroostook County's economy was dominated by military spending. In 1947, the Limestone Army Air Field was built in Limestone, Maine. It began use in 1953 and was renamed the Loring Air Force Base. Aroostook County was chosen due to its strategic location as the closest point in the Continental United States to Europe. The 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended closure of Loring and the Base closed in 1994.

The 2014 Acadian World Congress was held along the Canada–United States border, co-hosted by Aroostook County and a number of neighboring counties in Canada (Témiscouata in Quebec, and Victoria, Madawaska and Restigouche in New Brunswick). Organizers planned a Tintamarre that was held in the town of Madawaska, Maine, as well as a giant tug of war across the Saint John River.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,828 square miles (17,680 km2), of which 6,671 square miles (17,280 km2) is land and 156 square miles (400 km2) (2.3%) is water. Aroostook County is the largest county in Maine by area, about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Adjacent counties and municipalities

  • Washington County, Maine – southeast
  • Penobscot County, Maine – south
  • Piscataquis County, Maine – south
  • Somerset County, Maine – southwest
  • Montmagny Regional County Municipality, Quebec – west
  • L'Islet Regional County Municipality, Quebec – west
  • Kamouraska Regional County Municipality, Quebec – northwest
  • Témiscouata Regional County Municipality, Quebec – north
  • Madawaska County, New Brunswick – northeast
  • Victoria County, New Brunswick – east
  • Carleton County, New Brunswick – east
  • York County, New Brunswick – southeast

National protected area

  • Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge

Major highways

  • I-95
  • US 1
  • US 1A
  • US 2
  • US 2A
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]
  • [[Template:Infobox road/ME/link ME|Template:Infobox road/ME/abbrev ME]]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 9,413
1850 12,529 33.1%
1860 22,479 79.4%
1870 29,609 31.7%
1880 41,700 40.8%
1890 49,589 18.9%
1900 60,744 22.5%
1910 74,664 22.9%
1920 81,728 9.5%
1930 87,843 7.5%
1940 94,436 7.5%
1950 96,039 1.7%
1960 106,064 10.4%
1970 92,463 −12.8%
1980 91,331 −1.2%
1990 86,936 −4.8%
2000 73,938 −15.0%
2010 71,870 −2.8%
Est. 2015 68,628 −4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2013

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 73,938 people, 30,356 households, and 20,429 families residing in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 38,719 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.80% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 1.36% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 0.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.6% were of French, 15.4% United States or American, 14.6% English, 14.3% French Canadian and 10.2% Irish ancestry. As of 2010, 18.0% of the population reported speaking French at home; other than speakers of English, there were no other significant linguistic groups.

There were 30,356 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 8.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.70% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,837, and the median income for a family was $36,044. Males had a median income of $29,747 versus $20,300 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,033. About 9.80% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.20% of those under age 18 and 16.00% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 71,870 people, 30,961 households, and 19,578 families residing in the county. The population density was 10.8 inhabitants per square mile (4.2/km2). There were 39,529 housing units at an average density of 5.9 per square mile (2.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.7% white, 1.7% American Indian, 0.6% black or African American, 0.4% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 0.9% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 27.2% were French, 18.1% were English, 17.4% were Irish, 8.2% were French Canadian, 8.1% were American, and 5.2% were German.

Of the 30,961 households, 25.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 36.8% were non-families, and 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.79. The median age was 45.3 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,574 and the median income for a family was $47,114. Males had a median income of $37,222 versus $28,244 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,251. About 10.6% of families and 15.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.4% of those under age 18 and 11.7% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Incorporated towns

Plantations

Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities within towns

Unorganized territories

Indian reservations

  • Aroostook Band of Mi'kmaq Indians Reservation, located in Presque Isle
  • Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Reservation, located in Houlton

Aroostook County, Maine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.