Bristol County, Massachusetts facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Bristol County, Massachusetts
Seal of Bristol County, Massachusetts
Map
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Bristol County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the USA highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded June 2, 1685
(from Plymouth Colony)
Seat Taunton
Largest City New Bedford
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

691 sq mi (1,790 km²)
553 sq mi (1,432 km²)
138 sq mi (357 km²), 20%
Population
 - (2010)
 - Density

548,285
991/sq mi (383/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.countyofbristol.net
Named for: Bristol, Rhode Island

Bristol County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 548,285. The county seat is Taunton. Some governmental functions are performed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, others by the county, and others by local towns and cities. See Administrative divisions of Massachusetts. The property deed records are kept in Taunton, Attleboro, Fall River, and New Bedford.

Bristol County is part of the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area. The county is adjacent to the state of Rhode Island.

The adjacent counties are Plymouth County, Norfolk County, Bristol County, Rhode Island, Newport County, Rhode Island, Providence County, Rhode Island, and Dukes County.

History

Bristol County was created by the Plymouth Colony on June 2, 1685, and named after its "shire town" (county seat), Bristol. The Plymouth Colony merged into the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

The towns of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren were awarded to Rhode Island in 1746 as part of a long-running boundary dispute (see History of Massachusetts), forming Bristol County, Rhode Island. At the same time, Cumberland, Rhode Island was carved out of Attleborough, Massachusetts and annexed to Providence County, Rhode Island; Tiverton and Little Compton were transferred to Newport County, Rhode Island. East Freetown was officially purchased by Freetown, Massachusetts, from Tiverton in 1747, and so remained on the Massachusetts side.

After the departure of Bristol, Taunton was made the shire town of the county. A second county courthouse was constructed in 1828 in the growing town of New Bedford (designed a "half-shire town"). In 1862, part of Seekonk (now East Providence, Rhode Island) and the entirety of East Pawtucket were transferred to Providence County, Rhode Island. At the same time, land ceded from Rhode Island was added to Fall River and Westport. The growing Fall River became the site of the third county courthouse in 1877.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 691 square miles (1,790 km2), of which 553 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 138 square miles (360 km2) (20%) is water. The highest point in Bristol County is Sunrise Hill (Watery Hill) at 390 feet (120 m) above sea level located in World War I Memorial Park in North Attleborough. It is also to note that Bristol, Plymouth and Taunton are all places in South West England. Their Massachusetts cousins were named after the originals as South West England was the focal point for sailing and discovery at the time of America's discovery. John Cabot set sail from Bristol and sailed down the Severn on which lies Newport over in Wales. He then stumbled across mainland U.S.A.

Adjacent counties

To the south, Dukes County, Massachusetts is opposite Buzzards Bay from Bristol County.

Bristol County in Massachusetts and Bristol County in Rhode Island are two of twenty-two counties or parishes in the United States with the same name to border each other across state lines. The others are Union Parish, Louisiana and Union County, Arkansas, Big Horn County, Montana and Big Horn County, Wyoming, Sabine County, Texas and Sabine Parish, Louisiana, Kent County, Maryland and Kent County, Delaware, Escambia County, Alabama and Escambia County, Florida, Pike County, Illinois and Pike County, Missouri, Teton County, Idaho and Teton County, Wyoming, Park County, Montana and Park County, Wyoming, San Juan County, New Mexico and San Juan County, Utah, and Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana. respectively. (Note, despite the different spellings, the source of the name is the same for Vermilion County, Illinois and Vermillion County, Indiana—the Vermillion River which flows through both counties.)

National protected area

  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

Demographics

New England ancestry by county - updated
Largest self-reported ancestry groups in New England. Americans of Portuguese descent plurality shown in grey.
Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 31,696
1800 33,880 6.9%
1810 37,168 9.7%
1820 40,908 10.1%
1830 49,592 21.2%
1840 60,164 21.3%
1850 76,192 26.6%
1860 93,794 23.1%
1870 102,886 9.7%
1880 139,040 35.1%
1890 186,465 34.1%
1900 252,029 35.2%
1910 318,573 26.4%
1920 359,005 12.7%
1930 364,590 1.6%
1940 364,637 0.0%
1950 381,569 4.6%
1960 398,488 4.4%
1970 444,301 11.5%
1980 474,641 6.8%
1990 506,325 6.7%
2000 534,678 5.6%
2010 548,285 2.5%
Est. 2015 556,772 1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 534,678 people, 205,411 households, and 140,706 families residing in the county. The population density was 962 people per square mile (371/km²). There were 216,918 housing units at an average density of 390 per square mile (151/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.98% White, 2.03% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.34% from two or more races. 3.60% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.7% were of Portuguese, 13.0% Irish, 8.9% French, 8.2% English, 6.8% Italian and 6.4% French Canadian ancestry according to Census 2000. 79.1% spoke English, 13.9% Portuguese, 2.9% Spanish and 1.6% French as their first language. The United States Census Bureau reported Bristol County as being one of two counties in the United States with a plurality of people of Portuguese ancestry (the other being the contiguous Bristol County Rhode Island).

There were 205,411 households out of which 33.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.60% were married couples living together, 13.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 26.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.60% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 30.50% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,496, and the median income for a family was $53,733. Males had a median income of $39,361 versus $27,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,978. About 7.80% of families and 10.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.00% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of that age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 548,285 people, 213,010 households, and 141,338 families residing in the county. The population density was 991.3 inhabitants per square mile (382.7/km2). There were 230,535 housing units at an average density of 416.8 per square mile (160.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% white, 3.3% black or African American, 1.9% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 3.4% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 6.0% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 30.1% were Portuguese, 19.2% were Irish, 12.5% were English, 9.3% were Italian, 5.7% were French Canadian, 5.0% were German, and 2.5% were American.

Of the 213,010 households, 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.6% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06. The median age was 39.8 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $54,955 and the median income for a family was $70,161. Males had a median income of $51,785 versus $39,714 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,736. About 8.8% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic breakdown by town

Income

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective if the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

Rank Town Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Mansfield Town $39,792 $98,182 $112,788 23,094 8,161
2 Easton Town $39,751 $89,714 $111,045 23,061 7,852
3 Rehoboth Town $38,415 $87,563 $97,711 11,470 4,093
4 Westport Town $35,337 $73,736 $83,289 15,396 5,867
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
5 Raynham Town $34,904 $82,855 $96,190 13,208 4,739
6 North Attleborough Town $34,374 $80,757 $94,469 28,593 10,426
7 Dighton Town $34,258 $85,284 $94,044 7,003 2,386
8 Swansea Town $33,910 $71,716 $79,486 15,886 6,173
North Westport CDP $33,858 $67,614 $82,827 4,188 1,700
9 Seekonk Town $33,136 $78,032 $89,833 13,700 4,752
10 Freetown Town $32,437 $82,208 $93,773 8,828 3,150
11 Dartmouth Town $32,138 $73,007 $86,650 33,759 12,119
Raynham Center CDP $32,034 $84,028 $91,154 4,619 1,563
Mansfield Center CDP $31,762 $71,685 $98,902 7,946 3,022
12 Somerset Town $31,718 $69,449 $80,795 18,172 6,983
13 Norton Town $30,772 $75,538 $91,636 18,970 6,297
North Seekonk CDP $30,705 $65,804 $81,111 2,552 941
14 Attleboro City $30,398 $65,298 $76,563 43,459 16,393
Smith Mills CDP $30,207 $67,907 $79,123 5,030 1,965
15 Acushnet Town $30,084 $64,695 $81,643 10,299 3,818
Bliss Corner CDP $29,569 $52,285 $63,554 6,063 2,534
Bristol County County $28,682 $55,813 $71,416 547,305 210,536
16 Fairhaven Town $28,658 $60,179 $77,089 15,915 6,444
17 Berkley Town $28,206 $81,094 $83,228 6,336 1,970
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
18 Taunton City $26,309 $53,401 $67,447 55,930 21,799
Acushnet Center CDP $26,295 $51,782 $64,750 2,737 1,159
Ocean Grove CDP $25,058 $60,267 $72,594 3,098 1,230
19 New Bedford City $21,558 $37,493 $46,881 95,006 38,869
20 Fall River City $21,118 $34,789 $44,635 89,220 38,245
Norton Center CDP $16,578 $83,465 $84,781 2,977 446

Transportation

Transportation authorities providing public bus service include the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority; and the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority serving the Fall River and New Bedford areas.

Airports include the Mansfield Municipal Airport, Myricks Airport, New Bedford Municipal Airport and Taunton Municipal Airport; of these, the New Bedford airport is a commercial airport, with flights serving the Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard area.

The Providence/Stoughton Line of the MBTA commuter rail has stops in Mansfield, Attleboro, and South Attleboro. The line provides connections to Providence and Boston (at Back Bay Station and South Station), as well as intermediate stops. An extension has been completed that connects to T.F. Green Airport.

Communities

Bristol County Courthouse B&W
Bristol County Superior Courthouse in Taunton.

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other villages

Ghost town


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