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Bristol County, Rhode Island facts for kids

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Bristol County
Bristol County Courthouse in Bristol
Bristol County Courthouse in Bristol
Map of Rhode Island highlighting Bristol County
Location within the U.S. state of Rhode Island
Map of the United States highlighting Rhode Island
Rhode Island's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Rhode Island
Founded 1747
Named for Bristol, England
Seat Bristol
Largest town Bristol
 • Total 45 sq mi (120 km2)
 • Land 24 sq mi (60 km2)
 • Water 21 sq mi (50 km2)  46%%
 • Total 50,793
 • Density 1,129/sq mi (436/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Bristol County is a county located in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. As of the 2020 census, the population was 50,793, making it the least populous county in Rhode Island. In terms of land area, it is the third-smallest county in the United States, at only 25 square miles (65 km2). The county was created in 1747 when it was separated from Bristol County, Massachusetts. Bristol County is included in the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn constitutes a portion of the greater Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.


The county was formed by the transfer of part of Bristol County, Massachusetts, to the state of Rhode Island, and was the subject of a long-running border dispute.

The original county was part of the Plymouth Colony and named after its "shire town" (county seat), what is now Bristol, Rhode Island. The new Rhode Island county was formed in 1746 with the full modern territory of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren.

See Bristol County, Massachusetts for later land transfers between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 45 square miles (120 km2), of which 24 square miles (62 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (46%) is water. It is the smallest county in Rhode Island. In land area only (water area omitted), it is the third-smallest county in the United States, following Kalawao County, Hawaii and New York County, New York (Manhattan), if independent cities of Virginia are not counted as counties. The highest point in the county is Mount Hope, in Bristol, which stands 217 feet (66 m) above sea level.

Adjacent counties

Bristol County in Rhode Island and Bristol County in Massachusetts 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.)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 3,211
1800 3,801 18.4%
1810 5,072 33.4%
1820 5,637 11.1%
1830 5,446 −3.4%
1840 6,476 18.9%
1850 8,514 31.5%
1860 8,907 4.6%
1870 9,421 5.8%
1880 11,394 20.9%
1890 11,428 0.3%
1900 13,144 15.0%
1910 17,602 33.9%
1920 23,113 31.3%
1930 25,089 8.5%
1940 25,548 1.8%
1950 29,079 13.8%
1960 37,146 27.7%
1970 45,937 23.7%
1980 46,942 2.2%
1990 48,859 4.1%
2000 50,648 3.7%
2010 49,875 −1.5%
2020 50,793 1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2019

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 49,875 people, 19,150 households, and 12,750 families living in the county. The population density was 2,064.0 inhabitants per square mile (796.9/km2). There were 20,850 housing units at an average density of 862.8 per square mile (333.1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.7% white, 1.4% Asian, 0.8% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.0% of the population. The largest ancestry groups were:

  • Portugal 24.8% Portuguese
  • Republic of Ireland 22.2% Irish
  • Italy 21.0% Italian
  • England 14.5% English
  • France 9.8% French
  • Germany 8.1% German
  • Canada 4.4% French Canadian
  • Poland 4.3% Polish
  • Scotland 2.9% Scottish
  • United States 2.7% American
  • Sweden 2.4% Swedish
  • Northern Ireland 2.0% Scotch-Irish
  • Greece 1.5% Greek
  • Russia 1.4% Russian

Of the 19,150 households, 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 9.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.4% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.99. The median age was 42.9 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $68,333 and the median income for a family was $87,781. Males had a median income of $59,725 versus $44,060 for females. The per capita income for the county was $35,588. About 3.5% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.


Map of Bristol County Rhode Island With Municipal Labels
Map of Bristol County, Rhode Island showing cities, towns, and CDPs

The following towns are located in Bristol County:

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Bristol (Rhode Island) para niños

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