Hampshire County, Massachusetts facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Old Hampshire County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Hampshire, England|
|• Total||545 sq mi (1,410 km2)|
|• Land||527 sq mi (1,360 km2)|
|• Water||18 sq mi (50 km2) 3.3%%|
|• Density||308.0/sq mi (118.9/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd|
Hampshire County is a historical and judicial county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Following the dissolution of the county government in 1999, county affairs were managed by the Hampshire Council of Governments, which itself ceased operations in 2019, due to a "fundamentally flawed, unsustainable operational model". As of the 2020 census, the population was 162,308. Its most populous municipality is Amherst, its largest town in terms of landmass is Belchertown, and its traditional county seat is Northampton. The county is named after the county Hampshire, in England.
Hampshire County is part of the Springfield, MA Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Together with Hampden County, Hampshire County municipalities belong to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
Hampshire County was constituted in 1662 from previously unorganized territory comprising the entire western part of Massachusetts Bay Colony. It included the original towns of Springfield, Northampton, and Hadley. The original Hampshire County included territory that is now in modern-day Hampden County, Franklin County, and Berkshire County, as well as small parts of modern-day Worcester County. By 1683, three new towns (Westfield (now Southwick), Suffield, and Enfield) had been incorporated south of Springfield. These towns were partly or wholly in the modern state of Connecticut at the time of their incorporation and resulted in a border dispute between the Connecticut Colony and Massachusetts Bay Colony.
In 1731, Worcester County was created, which included the original town of Brookfield (incorporated in 1718 as part of Hampshire County). More territory was lost to Worcester County in 1742 when the town of Western (now Warren) was created and added to Worcester County. Further territorial losses occurred in 1749 when the towns of Enfield, Somers (split off from Enfield in 1734), and Suffield unilaterally joined Connecticut Colony. In 1761, Berkshire County was created resulting in even more territorial loss for Hampshire County. In 1811, Franklin County was split off from the northern part of Hampshire, and in the following year, Hampden County was split off from the southern part of Hampshire.
Like a number of Massachusetts counties, Hampshire County exists today both as a historical geographic region and a judicial district; it has no county government. Many former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected county-wide to perform duties within the region. The Hampshire Council of Governments, with elected councilors from 15 towns, provides many regional services, though otherwise there is no county council or commissioners. Together with Hampden County, Hampshire County municipalities belong to the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 545 square miles (1,410 km2), of which 527 square miles (1,360 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (3.3%) is water.
Hampshire County is the middle section of the Pioneer Valley, and the northern tip of the Hartford-Springfield Knowledge Corridor.
Hampshire County is the only county in Massachusetts surrounded in all directions by other counties of Massachusetts: all other counties in the state are adjacent to at least one other state or the open ocean.
- Franklin County (north)
- Worcester County (east)
- Hampden County (south)
- Berkshire County (west)
|U.S. Decennial Census
At the 2010 census, there were 158,080 people, 58,702 households, and 34,480 families living in the county. The population density was 299.8 inhabitants per square mile (115.8/km2). There were 62,603 housing units at an average density of 118.7 per square mile (45.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.7% white, 4.5% Asian, 2.5% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 1.5% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.7% of the population. The largest ancestry groups were:
- 22.2% Irish
- 14.4% French
- 14.3% Polish
- 14.2% English
- 10.8% German
- 9.1% Italian
- 7.1% French Canadian
- 3.2% Scottish
- 2.6% American
- 2.3% Puerto Rican
- 2.3% Scotch-Irish
- 2.1% Russian
- 1.7% Chinese
- 1.5% Swedish
- 1.4% Portuguese
- 1.0% Lithuanian
- 1.0% Dutch
Of the 58,702 households, 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 41.3% were non-families, and 29.7% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.89. The median age was 36.6 years.
The median household income was $59,505 and the median family income was $80,891. Males had a median income of $52,686 versus $43,219 for females. The per capita income for the county was $28,367. About 6.2% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.8% of those under age 18 and 7.8% of those age 65 or over.
Demographic breakdown by town
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.
- Northampton (traditional county seat)
Other unincorporated communities
- Mount Tom
- South Hadley Falls
The following towns were disincorporated for the creation of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Hampshire County is notable for the presence within its borders of the "Five Colleges", comprising the University of Massachusetts flagship campus and four well-known private colleges:
- Amherst College, Amherst
- Hampshire College, Amherst
- Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley
- Smith College, Northampton
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
The Five College Consortium provides course cross-registration between the schools and funds free bus service, provided by Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, between the campuses.
|Mary the Jewess|