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Rye, New Hampshire
Jenness State Beach at sunset
Official seal of Rye, New Hampshire
Location in Rockingham County and the state of New Hampshire
Location in Rockingham County and the state of New Hampshire
Country United States
State New Hampshire
County Rockingham
Founded 1623
Incorporated 1785
 • Total 36.8 sq mi (95.2 km2)
 • Land 12.6 sq mi (32.7 km2)
 • Water 24.1 sq mi (62.5 km2)  65.63%
75 ft (23 m)
 • Total 5,543
 • Density 438/sq mi (169.3/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Codes
03870 (Rye)
03871 (Rye Beach)
Area code(s) 603
FIPS code 33-66180
GNIS feature ID 0873712

Rye is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 5,543 at the 2020 census. The town is home to several state parks along the Atlantic coastline.


The first settlement in New Hampshire, originally named Pannaway Plantation, was established in 1623 at Odiorne's Point by a group of fishermen led by David Thompson. An early settler in Rye was William Berry. Prior to its incorporation in 1726 as a parish of New Castle, Rye was called Sandy Beach and included land in New Castle, Portsmouth, Greenland and Hampton.

Rock formation near Odiorne Point


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.7 square miles (95.1 km2), of which 12.6 square miles (32.6 km2) is land and 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is water, comprising 65.65% of the town. The town is located on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean and includes four of the nine islands known as the Isles of Shoals, which lie approximately 10 miles (16 km) out from the mainland. The highest point in Rye is the summit of Breakfast Hill, at 151 feet (46 m) above sea level, on the town's border with Greenland.

The unincorporated community of Rye Beach is in the southern part of the town. Rye Beach has its own U.S. post office, as well as its own zoning enforcement and planning regulations.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 865
1800 890 2.9%
1810 1,020 14.6%
1820 1,127 10.5%
1830 1,172 4.0%
1840 1,205 2.8%
1850 1,295 7.5%
1860 1,199 −7.4%
1870 993 −17.2%
1880 1,111 11.9%
1890 978 −12.0%
1900 1,142 16.8%
1910 1,014 −11.2%
1920 1,196 17.9%
1930 1,081 −9.6%
1940 1,246 15.3%
1950 1,982 59.1%
1960 3,244 63.7%
1970 4,083 25.9%
1980 4,508 10.4%
1990 4,612 2.3%
2000 5,182 12.4%
2010 5,298 2.2%
2020 5,543 4.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,298 people, 2,252 households, and 1,531 families residing in the town. There were 2,852 housing units, of which 600, or 21.0%, were vacant. 471 of the vacant units were for seasonal or vacation use. The racial makeup of the town was 97.8% white, 0.3% African American, 0.02% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.04% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.2% some other race, and 0.8% from two or more races. 1.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 2,252 households, 26.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.3% were headed by married couples living together, 8.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.0% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34, and the average family size was 2.80.

In the town, 20.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.3% were from 18 to 24, 18.2% from 25 to 44, 37.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.7% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48.8 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.

For the period 2012–2016, the estimated median annual income for a household was $99,417, and the median income for a family was $122,064. Male full-time workers had a median income of $60,368 versus $50,588 for females. The per capita income for the town was $60,071. 5.1% of the population and 2.3% of families were below the poverty line. 4.4% of the population under the age of 18 and 5.6% of those 65 or older were living in poverty.

In culture

Rye was the setting (in part) of the short story "Marjorie Daw" by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907).



  • Parsons, Langdon B. (1905). History of the Town of Rye New Hampshire. Concord, NH: Rumford Printing Co.


Children who live in Rye can attend public schools in town from kindergarten through eighth grade. School Administrative Unit 50 (SAU-50) is the school district that serves Rye, as well as the towns of Greenland, Newington, and New Castle. High school students from Rye attend Portsmouth High School.

Rye Elementary School is home to kindergarten through fifth grade and is the first and largest school students from Rye will attend in SAU-50. All grades are co-ed and the school has an 11 to 1 student per teacher ratio with three hundred and thirty students enrolled in October 2013. Rye Junior High handles grades six, seven, and eight. The neighboring town of New Castle sends its students to Rye Junior High after sixth grade, but only contributes a few students to each year's seventh grade class. All grades are coed and contain two hundred and twenty students as of October 2013 with a ratio of nine students to each teacher.

There are two private pre-schools in the town. Rye Country Day is the larger of the two pre-schools in town, currently enrolling one hundred and forty students (as of October 2013). The second, The Children's House Montessori school, is located at 80 Sagamore Road and has a student per teacher ratio of eleven to one.

Learning Skills Academy is a private non-profit school catering to students with learning capabilities. The organization has a location at 1237 Washington Road in Rye and accepts students in fifth through eleventh grade, as well as third. 32 kids make up the student body at the Rye location as of October 2013.

Notable people

  • Craig Benson (born 1954), 79th governor of New Hampshire
  • William Berry (1610–1654), first settler of Rye
  • Dan Brown (born 1964), author (The Da Vinci Code)
  • Scott Brown (born 1959), former U.S. senator from Massachusetts
  • Judd Gregg (born 1947), 76th governor of New Hampshire and U.S. senator
  • Chip Kelly (born 1963), head football coach, UCLA Bruins
  • Dave O'Brien (born 1963), ESPN play-by-play announcer, television voice of the Boston Red Sox on NESN
  • Herbert Philbrick (1915–1993), advertising executive, business owner in Rye; worked with the FBI to infiltrate the Communist Party USA in the 1940s (see: I Led Three Lives)
  • Laurence Tosi (born 1968), Chief Financial Officer of Airbnb

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Rye (Nuevo Hampshire) para niños

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