Bristol County, Massachusetts

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Bristol County, Massachusetts
Bristol Superior Court Taunton.jpg
Bristol Superior Court House
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Bristol County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the United States highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded June 2, 1685
(from Plymouth Colony)
Named for Bristol, Rhode Island
Seat Taunton
Largest city New Bedford
Area
 • Total 691.19 sq mi (1,790 km2)
 • Land 556.00 sq mi (1,440 km2)
 • Water 135.19 sq mi (350 km2), 19.56%
Population
 • (2010) 548,285
 • Density 962/sq mi (371/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 8th, 9th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.countyofbristol.net

Bristol County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, adjacent to the state of Rhode Island. As of the 2010 census, the population was 548,285.[1] The county seat is Taunton.[2] 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.

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

Elected county officials[edit]

Presidential election results[3]
Year Democrat Republican
2012 59.2% 142,962 38.8% 93,752
2008 60.4% 146,861 37.2% 90,531
2004 63.5% 147,854 35.4% 82,524
2000 64.5% 136,325 29.7% 62,848
  • Maria Lopes—Chairperson of County Commission
  • Paul B. Kitchen—County Commissioner 
  • John R. Mitchell—County Commissioner
  • C. Samuel Sutter—District Attorney 
  • Thomas M. Hodgson—Sheriff 
  • Christopher T. Saunders—County Treasurer 
  • Barry Amaral—Register of Deeds, Northern District
  • Bernard McDonald—Register of Deeds, Fall River District
  • J. Mark Treadup—Register of Deeds, Southern District
  • Marc Santos—Clerk of Courts
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 13, 2010[4]
Party  Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 129,735 37.32%
  Republican 35,469 10.20%
  Unaffiliated 180,285 51.86%
  Minor Parties 2,121 0.61%
Total 347,610 100%

History[edit]

Bristol County was created by the Plymouth Colony on June 2, 1685,[5] and named after its "shire town" (county seat), Bristol.[6] 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.[6]

Further information: History of Massachusetts

Geography[edit]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 691.19 square miles (1,790.2 km2), of which 556.00 square miles (1,440.0 km2) (or 80.44%) is land and 135.19 square miles (350.1 km2) (or 19.56%) 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 descovery at the time of Americas 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[edit]

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[edit]

Demographics[edit]

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. 2012 551,082 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]

As of the census[9] 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[10] (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.

Demographic breakdown by town[edit]

Income[edit]

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.[11][12][13]

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

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Bristol County Sheriff's Office maintains its administrative headquarters and operates several jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex in North Dartmouth in Dartmouth. Jail facilities in the Dartmouth Complex include the Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail, the Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center, and the C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center. The office also operates the Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-Up and the Juvenile Secure Alternative Lock Up Program (JALP) in New Bedford.[14]

The Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail has room for 1,100 prisoners. It houses men convicted of crimes who have been sentenced to 2 1/2 years or less. It also houses high-security male pre-trial prisoners, high-security female prisoners, and pre-trial female prisoners.[14]

The women's center, a medium security jail, can house up to 106 women. The self-contained women's center had opened as a minimum security pre-release center for male prisoners in 1990 which could house up to 106 prisoners. When it was a pre-release facility it only housed an average of 60 prisoners because the county sheriff imposed strict conditions upon the pre-release program. In 1999 the sheriff received a federal grant to convert the pre-release center into a women's center, and he moved the pre-release program to modular units at the main jail.[14]

The Carreiro jail houses detained individuals who are scheduled for deportation and individuals who are engaging in proceedings with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The Ash Street jail houses over 200 pre-trial prisoners and a few sentenced inmate workers for the system. JALP houses up to 12 pre-arraingment juvenile prisoners.[14]

Transport[edit]

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.

Cities, towns, and villages*[edit]

Bristol County Superior Courthouse in Taunton.

* Villages are census division, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  4. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 13, 2010" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-01-31. 
  5. ^ Bristol County, Massachusetts, USA
  6. ^ a b History of Bristol County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Part 1 edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd. J.W. Lewis and Co., 1883. [1]. p. 1.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^ Census 2000 Brief - Ancestry
  11. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  12. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  13. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  14. ^ a b c d "Facilities." Bristol County Sheriff's Office. Retrieved on January 30, 2012. "400 Faunce Corner Road, Dartmouth, MA 0274" and "Bristol County House Of Correction and Jail 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "Bristol County Sheriff's Office Women’s Center 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "C. Carlos Carreiro Immigration Detention Center: 400 Faunce Corner Road North Dartmouth, MA 02747" and "Juvenile Secure Alternative Lock Up Program 323 Mill Street New Bedford, MA 02740 " and "Ash Street Jail and Regional Lock-Up 226 Ash Street New Bedford, MA 02740 "

Further reading[edit]

  • The Bristol County Directory, Boston, Mass.: Dean Dudley & Co., 1878 
  • History of Bristol County, Massachusetts with Biographical Sketches of many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men, Part 1 edited by Duane Hamilton Hurd. J.W. Lewis and Co., 1883. [2]
  • The Bristol County Directory, Boston, Mass.: Briggs & Co., 1885, OCLC 8750817 
  • A history of Bristol County, Massachusetts, Volume 1 by Frank Walcott Hutt. Lewis Historical Pub. Co., Inc., 1924.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°45′N 71°05′W / 41.75°N 71.09°W / 41.75; -71.09