Connecticut

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This article is about the U.S. state of Connecticut. For the river, see Connecticut River. For other uses, see Connecticut (disambiguation).
State of Connecticut
Flag of Connecticut State seal of Connecticut
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Constitution State
The Nutmeg State
The Provisions State
The Land of Steady Habits[1][2]

Motto(s): Qui transtulit sustinet.[1] (Latin)

State Song: "Yankee Doodle"
Map of the United States with Connecticut highlighted
Official language None
Demonym Connecticuter,[3] Connecticutian,[4]
Nutmegger[5]
Capital Hartford
Largest city Bridgeport[6]
Largest metro Greater Hartford[7]
Area Ranked 48th
 - Total 5,543 sq mi
(14,357 km2)
 - Width 70 miles (113 km)
 - Length 110 miles (177 km)
 - % water 12.6
 - Latitude 40°58′ N to 42°03′ N
 - Longitude 71°47′ W to 73°44′ W
Population Ranked 29th
 - Total 3,596,080 (2013 est)[8]
 - Density 739/sq mi  (285/km2)
Ranked 4th
 - Median household income $68,595 (3rd)
Elevation
 - Highest point Massachusetts border on south slope of Mount Frissell[9][10]
2,379 ft (725 m)
 - Mean 500 ft  (150 m)
 - Lowest point Long Island Sound[9][10]
sea level
Before statehood Connecticut Colony
Admission to Union January 9, 1788 (5th)
Governor Dannel Malloy (D)
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman (D)
Legislature General Assembly
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators

Richard Blumenthal (D)

Chris Murphy (D)
U.S. House delegation 5 Democrats (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC −5/−4
Abbreviations CT, Conn. US-CT
Website www.ct.gov

Connecticut (Listeni/kəˈnɛtɨkət/, kuh-NET-i-kət)[11] is the southernmost state in the northeastern region of the United States known as New England. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital city is Hartford. The state is named after the Connecticut River, a major U.S. river that approximately bisects the state. The word is derived from various anglicized spellings of an Algonquian word for "long tidal river."[12]

Connecticut is the third smallest state by area,[13] the 29th most populous,[14] and the fourth most densely populated[13] of the 50 United States. Called the Constitution State, the Nutmeg State, the Provisions State, and the Land of Steady Habits.[1] It was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with the majority of the state's population) is part of the New York metropolitan area: three of Connecticut's eight counties are statistically included in the New York City combined statistical area, which is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut's center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County,[15] which is also located within the Tri-State area.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch. They established a small, short-lived settlement in present-day Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut rivers, called Huys de Goede Hoop. Initially, half of Connecticut was a part of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. The first major settlements were established in the 1630s by England. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded what would become the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven Colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This colony was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.

The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition, which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial-services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County. As of the 2010 Census, Connecticut features the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States.[16][17][18] Although it is a wealthy state by most measures, the income gap between its urban and suburban areas is unusually wide.[19]

Geography[edit]

Bear Mountain, highest peak in Connecticut
Lake Mcdonough reservoir as seen from the Tunxis Trail Overlook Spur trail, Barkhamsted

Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital and third largest city is Hartford, and other major cities and towns (by population) include Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Greenwich and Bristol. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut.

The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (42° 3' N; 73° 29' W), on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts.[20]

The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound. The most populous metropolitan region centered within the state lies in the Connecticut River Valley. Despite Connecticut's relatively small size, it features wide regional variations in its landscape; for example, in the northwestern Litchfield Hills, it features rolling mountains and horse farms, whereas in the southeastern New London County, it features beaches and maritime activities.

Although Connecticut has a long maritime history, and a reputation based on that history, Connecticut has no direct access to the sea. The jurisdiction of New York actually extends east at Fishers Island, where New York shares a sea border with Rhode Island dividing Narragansett Bay. Although Connecticut has easy access to the Atlantic, between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound, Connecticut has no direct ocean coast.

Further information: List of Connecticut rivers

Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New London, then northward up the Connecticut River to Hartford. Many towns center around a "green," such as the Litchfield Green, Lebanon Green (the largest in the state), and Wethersfield Green (the oldest in the state). Near the green typically stand historical visual symbols of New England towns, such as a white church, a colonial meeting house, a colonial tavern or "inne," several colonial houses, and so on, establishing a scenic historic appearance maintained for both historic preservation and tourism.

Connecticut consists of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. Northeastern coastal forests of oaks, hickories, and maple cover much of the state.[21] In the northwest, these give way to New England-Acadian forests of the Taconic Mountains.[21]

The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the Southwick Jog or Granby Notch, an approximately 2.5 mile (4.0 km) square detour into Connecticut. The actual origin of this anomaly is clearly established in a long line of disputes and temporary agreements which was finally concluded in 1804, when southern Southwick, (whose residents sought to leave Massachusetts), was split in half.[22][23]

The southwestern border of Connecticut, where it abuts New York State, is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and part of Norwalk. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 17th century, culminating with New York giving up its claim to the area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield to the Massachusetts border as well as undisputed claim to Rye, New York.[24]

Further information: Connecticut panhandle

Areas maintained by the National Park Service include Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor, and Weir Farm National Historic Site.[25]

Climate[edit]

Scenery upon Barndoor Hills in autumn

Much of Connecticut has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Far southern and coastal Connecticut which is closer to sea level, has a more mild humid temperate/subtropical climate (sometimes statistically meeting this climate's criteria, sometimes not) with seasonal extremes tempered by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of Connecticut sees a fairly even precipitation pattern with rainfall/snowfall spread throughout the 12 months. Connecticut averages 56% of possible sunshine (higher than the USA average), averaging 2,400 hours of sunshine annually.[26]

Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, with average highs in New London of 81 °F (27 °C) and 87 °F (31 °C) in Windsor Locks. Although summers are sunny in Connecticut, summer thunderstorms often bring quick downpours and thunder and lighting. Winters are generally cool to cold from south to north in Connecticut, with average temperatures ranging from 38 °F (3 °C) in the maritime influenced southeast to 29 °F (−2 °C) in the northwest in January. The average yearly snowfall ranges from about 50–60" in the higher elevations of the northern portion of the state to only 20-25" along the southeast coast of Connecticut. Early spring (April) is coolish and mid and late spring (May/early June) is warm to hot.

Fall months are mild and bring colorful foliage across northern parts of the state (the southern and coastal areas have more oak and hickory trees and fewer maples) in October and November. During hurricane season, tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region. Thunderstorms are most frequent during the summer, occurring on average 30 times annually. These storms can be severe, and the state usually averages one tornado per year.[27] Connecticut's warmest temperature is 106 °F (41 °C) which occurred in Danbury on July 15, 1995; the coldest temperature is −32 °F (−36 °C) which occurred in Falls Village on February 16, 1943, and Coventry on January 22, 1961.[28]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures for Various Connecticut Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bridgeport 37/23 39/25 47/32 57/41 67/51 76/60 82/66 81/65 74/58 63/46 53/38 42/28
Hartford 35/16 39/19 47/27 59/38 70/48 79/57 84/63 82/61 74/51 63/40 52/32 40/22
[29][30]

History[edit]

A map of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies

Exploration and early settlement[edit]

The name Connecticut is derived from anglicized versions of the Algonquian word that has been translated as "long tidal river" and "upon the long river."[31] The Connecticut region was inhabited by multiple Native American tribes prior to European settlement and colonization, including the Mohegans, the Pequots, and the Paugusetts.[32] The first European explorer in Connecticut was the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block.[33] After he explored this region in 1614, Dutch fur traders sailed up the Connecticut River (then known by the Dutch as Versche Rivier – "Fresh River") and built a fort at Dutch Point in what is present-day Hartford, which they called "House of Hope" (Dutch: Huis van Hoop).[34]

John Winthrop, then of Massachusetts, received a commission to create a new colony at Old Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635.[35] This was the first of three distinct colonies that later would be combined to make up Connecticut. Saybrook Colony was a direct challenge to Dutch claims. The colony was not more than a small outpost and never matured. In 1644, the Saybrook Colony merged itself into the Connecticut Colony.[36]

The first English settlers came in 1633 and settled at Windsor, and then at Wethersfield the following year.[37] However, the main body of settlers came in one large group in 1636. The settlers were Puritans from Massachusetts, led by Thomas Hooker. Hooker had been prominent in England and was a professor of theology at Cambridge. He was also an important political writer and made a significant contribution to Constitutional theory. He broke with the political leadership in Massachusetts, and, just as Roger Williams created a new polity in Rhode Island, Hooker and his cohort did the same and established the Connecticut Colony at Hartford in 1636.[38] This was the second of the three colonies. The third colony was founded in March 1638. New Haven Colony (originally known as the Quinnipiack Colony[39]) was established by John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton, and others at New Haven. The New Haven Colony had its own constitution, "The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony," which was signed on June 4, 1639.[40]

Because the Dutch were outnumbered by the flood of English settlers from Massachusetts, they left their fort in 1654.[41]

Neither the establishment of the Connecticut Colony or the Quinnipiack Colony was carried out with the sanction of the English Crown, and they were independent political entities.[42] They naturally were presumptively English, but in a legal sense, they were only secessionist outposts of Massachusetts Bay. In 1662, Winthrop took advantage of this void in political affairs and obtained in England the charter by which the colonies of Connecticut and Quinnipiack were united from the newly restored Charles II, who granted liberal political terms.[43] Although Winthrop's charter favored the Connecticut colony, New Haven remained a seat of government with Hartford until after the American Revolution.[44]

A 1799 map of Connecticut which shows The Oblong. From Low's Encyclopaedia.

Historically important colonial settlements included: Windsor (1633), Wethersfield (1634), Saybrook (1635), Hartford (1636), New Haven (1638), Fairfield (1639), Guilford (1639), Milford (1639), Stratford (1639), Farmington (1640), Stamford (1641), and New London (1646).

The Pequot War marked the first major clash between European settlers and Native Americans in New England. With the Pequot people reacting with increasing aggression to European settlers encroaching on their territory, settlers responded in 1636 with a raid on a Pequot village on Block Island. The Pequots laid siege to Saybrook Colony's garrison that autumn, then in the spring of 1637 raided Wethersfield. Colonists there declared war on the Pequots, organized a band of militia and Native Americans, and attacked a Pequot village on the Mystic River, with death toll estimates ranging between 300 and 700 Pequots. After suffering another major loss at a battle in Fairfield, the Pequots asked for a truce and peace terms.[45]

View of New London in 1854

Colonial Connecticut[edit]

Connecticut developed a conservative elite that would dominate colonial affairs in the years leading up to the American Revolution.[46] The forces of liberalism and democracy emerged slowly, encouraged by the entrepreneurship of the business community, and the new religious freedom stimulated by the First Great Awakening.[47]

With the establishment of Yale College in 1701, Connecticut had an important institution to educate clergy and civil leaders.[48] Just as Yale dominated Connecticut's intellectual life, the Congregational church dominated religious life in the colony, and by extension, town affairs in many parts.[49]

The western boundaries of Connecticut have been subject to change over time. According to the Hartford Treaty with the Dutch, signed on September 19, 1650, but never ratified by the British, the western boundary of Connecticut ran north from Greenwich Bay for a distance of 20 miles[50][51] "provided the said line come not within 10 miles (16 km) [16 km] of Hudson River. This agreement was observed by both sides until war erupted between England and The Netherlands in 1652. No other limits were found. Conflict over uncertain colonial limits continued until the Duke of York captured New Netherland in 1664."[50][51] On the other hand, Connecticut's original Charter in 1662 granted it all the land to the "South Sea," i.e. the Pacific Ocean.[52][53] Most colonial royal grants were for long east-west strips. Connecticut took its grant seriously, and established a ninth county between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, named Westmoreland County. This resulted in the brief Pennamite Wars with Pennsylvania.[54]

The American Revolution[edit]

Connecticut designated four delegates to the Second Continental Congress who would sign the Declaration of Independence: Samuel Huntington, Roger Sherman, William Williams, and Oliver Wolcott.[55]

In 1775, in the wake of the clashes between British regulars and Massachusetts militia at Lexington and Concord, Connecticut's legislature authorized the outfitting of six new regiments, with some 1,200 Connecticut troops on hand at the Battle of Bunker Hill in June 1775.[56]

Getting word in 1777 of Continental Army supplies in Danbury, the British landed an expeditionary force of some 2,000 troops in Westport, who marched to Danbury and destroyed much of the depot along with homes in Danbury. On the return march, Continental Army troops and militia led by General David Wooster and General Benedict Arnold engaged the British at Ridgefield in 1777.[57]

For the winter of 1778–79, General George Washington decided to split the Continental Army into three divisions encircling New York City, where British General Sir Henry Clinton had taken up winter quarters.[58] Major General Israel Putnam chose Redding as the winter encampment quarters for some 3,000 regulars and militia under his command. The Redding encampment allowed Putnam's soldiers to guard the replenished supply depot in Danbury and support any operations along Long Island Sound and the Hudson River Valley.[59] Some of the men were veterans of the winter encampment at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania the previous winter. Soldiers at the Redding camp endured supply shortages, cold temperatures and significant snow, with some historians dubbing the encampment "Connecticut's Valley Forge."[60]

The state was also the launching site for a number of raids against Long Island orchestrated by Samuel Holden Parsons and Benjamin Tallmadge,[61] and provided men and material for the war effort, especially to Washington's army outside New York City. General William Tryon raided the Connecticut coast in July 1779, focusing on New Haven, Norwalk, and Fairfield.[62] New London and Groton Heights were raided in September 1781 by Arnold, who at that point had turned to the British.[63]

Early National Period and Industrial Revolution[edit]

On January 9, 1788, Connecticut ratified the U.S. Constitution, becoming the fifth state.[64]

Connecticut prospered during the era following the American Revolution, as mills and textile factories were built and seaports flourished from trade[65] and fisheries.

In 1786, Connecticut ceded territory to the U.S. government that became part of the Northwest Territory. Connecticut retained land extending across the northern part of present-day Ohio, called the Connecticut Western Reserve.[66] The Western Reserve section was settled largely by people from Connecticut, and they brought Connecticut place names to Ohio. Agreements with Pennsylvania and New York extinguished the land claims by Connecticut within its neighbors, creating the Connecticut Panhandle. Connecticut ceded the Western Reserve in 1800 to the federal government,[66] which brought the state to its present boundaries other than minor adjustments with Massachusetts.

The British blockade during the War of 1812 hurt exports, and bolstered the influence of Federalists who opposed the war.[67] The cessation of imports from Britain stimulated the construction of factories to manufacture textiles and machinery. Due in part to the inventions of Eli Whitney and other early innovators of the Industrial Revolution, Connecticut would come to be recognized as a major center for manufacturing.[68]

The state was known for its political conservatism, typified by its Federalist party and the Yale College of Timothy Dwight. The foremost intellectuals were Dwight and Noah Webster,[69] who compiled his great dictionary in New Haven. Religious tensions polarized the state, as the established Congregational Church, in alliance with the Federalists, tried to maintain its grip on power. The failure of the Hartford Convention in 1814 hurt the Federalist cause, with the Republican Party gaining control in 1817.[70]

Having been governed under the "Fundamental Orders" since 1639, Connecticut adopted in 1818 a new constitution.[71]

Civil War era[edit]

1895 map from Rand McNally

Connecticut manufacturers played a major role in supplying the Union forces with weapons and supplies during the Civil War. The state furnished 55,000 men. They were formed into thirty full regiments of infantry, including two in the U.S. Colored Troops, with several Connecticut men becoming generals. The Navy attracted 250 officers and 2100 men, and Gideon Welles was Secretary of the Navy. Connecticut casualties included 2088 killed in combat, 2801 dying from disease, and 689 dying in Confederate prison camps.[72][73][74]

A surge of national unity in 1861 brought thousands flocking to the colors from every town and city. However as the war became a crusade to end slavery, many Democrats (especially Irish Catholics) pulled back. The Democrats took a peace position and included many Copperheads willing to let the South secede. The intensely fought 1863 election for governor was narrowly won by the Republicans.[75][76]

Second Industrial Revolution[edit]

Connecticut's extensive industry, dense population, flat terrain, and wealth encouraged the construction of railroads, starting in 1839. By 1840, 102 miles of line were in operation, growing to 402 in 1850 and 601 in 1860.[77]

The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, called the New Haven or "The Consolidated," became the dominant Connecticut railroad company after 1872. Starting in the 1890s J. P. Morgan began financing the major New England railroads, and dividing territory so they would not compete. The New Haven purchased 50 smaller companies, including steamship lines, and built a network of light rails (electrified trolleys) that provided inter-urban transportation for all of southern New England. By 1912, the New Haven operated over 2000 miles of track, and 120,000 employees.[78]

In 1875, the first telephone exchange in the world was established in New Haven.[79]

World War I[edit]

When World War I broke out in 1914, Connecticut became a major supplier of weaponry to the U.S. military; by 1918, 80% of the state's industries were producing goods for the war effort.[80] Remington Arms in Bridgeport produced half the small-arms cartridges used by the U.S. Army;[81] with other major suppliers including Winchester in New Haven and Colt in Hartford.[82]

Connecticut was also an important U.S. Navy supplier, with Electric Boat receiving orders for 85 submarines,[83] Lake Torpedo Boat building more than 20 subs,[84] and the Groton Iron Works building freighters.[85] On June 21, 1916, the U.S. Navy made Groton the site for its East Coast submarine base and school.[86]

The state enthusiastically supported the American war effort in 1917 and 1918, with large purchases of war bonds and a further expansion of war industry, and emphasis on increasing food production in the farms. Thousands of state, local, and volunteer groups mobilized for the war effort, and were coordinated by the Connecticut State Council of Defense.[87] Manufacturers wrestled with manpower shortages; with American Brass and Manufacturing running at half capacity, the federal government agreed to furlough soldiers to join the Waterbury company.[88]

Interwar period[edit]

In 1919, Henry Roraback started the Connecticut Light & Power Co.,[89] which would grow to become the state's dominant electric utility.

In 1925, Frederick Rentschler spurred the creation of Pratt & Whitney in Hartford to develop engines for aircraft; the company would become an important military supplier in World War II and in time one of the three major manufacturers of jet engines in the world.[90]

On September 21, 1938, the most destructive storm in New England history struck eastern Connecticut, killing hundreds of people.[91] The eye of the "Long Island Express" passed just west of New Haven and devastated the Connecticut shoreline between Old Saybrook and Stonington, which lacked the partial protection provided by Long Island, N.Y. to points west from the full force of wind and waves. The hurricane caused extensive damage to infrastructure, homes, and businesses. In New London, a 500-foot sailing ship was driven into a warehouse complex, causing a major fire. Heavy rainfall caused the Connecticut River to flood downtown Hartford and East Hartford. An estimated 50,000 trees fell onto roadways.[92]

World War II[edit]

The advent of Lend-Lease in support of Britain helped lift Connecticut from the Great Depression,[93] with the state a major production center for weaponry and supplies used in World War II. Connecticut manufactured 4.1 percent of total U.S. military armaments produced during World War II, ranking ninth among the 48 states,[94] with major factories including Colt[95] for firearms, Pratt & Whitney for aircraft engines, Chance Vought for fighter planes, Hamilton Standard for propellers,[96] and Electric Boat for submarines and PT boats.[97] In Bridgeport, General Electric would produce a significant new weapon to counter opposing tanks: the bazooka.[98]

On May 13, 1940, Igor Sikorsky made an untethered flight of what was the first practical helicopter.[99] While the helicopter would see only limited use in World War II, future military production would make Sikorsky Aircraft's Stratford plant Connecticut's largest single manufacturing site by the start of the 21st century.[100]

Post-World War II economic expansion[edit]

While Connecticut saw the loss of some wartime factories following the end of hostilities, the state shared in a general post-war expansion that included the construction of highways,[101] resulting in middle-class growth in suburban areas.

Prescott Bush represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate from 1952 to 1963; his son George H.W. Bush and grandson George W. Bush both would become presidents of the United States.[102]

In 1965, Connecticut ratified its current constitution, replacing the document that had served since 1818.[103]

In 1968, commercial operation began for the Connecticut Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in East Haddam; in 1970, the Millstone Nuclear Power Station would begin operations in Waterford.[104]

In 1974 Connecticut elected as governor Democrat Ella T. Grasso, who became the first woman in any state to be elected governor in her own right.[105]

Late 20th century[edit]

Connecticut's dependence on the defense industry posed an economic challenge at the end of the Cold War. The resulting budget crisis helped elect Lowell Weicker as governor on a third-party ticket in 1990. Weicker's remedy, a state income tax, proved effective in balancing the budget but politically unpopular, and Weicker did not run for a second term.[106]

In 1992, initial construction was completed on Foxwoods Casino at the Mashantucket Pequots reservation in eastern Connecticut, which would become the largest casino in the Western Hemisphere. Mohegan Sun would follow four years later.[107]

Early 21st century[edit]

In August 2000, presidential candidate Al Gore chose as his running mate Senator Joe Lieberman, marking the first time a major party presidential ticket included someone of the Jewish faith.[108] Gore and Lieberman fell five votes short of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney in the Electoral College.

In the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 65 state residents were killed. The vast majority were Fairfield County residents who were working in the World Trade Center.[109]

In 2004, Republican Governor John G. Rowland resigned during a corruption investigation,[110] later pleading guilty to federal charges.[111]

In 2011 and 2012, Connecticut was hit by three major storms in the space of just over 14 months, with all three causing extensive property damage and electric outages. Hurricane Irene struck Connecticut August 28 with the storm blamed for the deaths of three residents. Damage totaled $235 million, including 20 houses that were destroyed in East Haven.[112] Two months later in late October, the so-called "Halloween nor'easter" dropped extensive snow onto trees in Connecticut that still had foliage, resulting in a significant numbers of snapped branches and trunks that damaged property and power lines, with some areas not seeing electricity restored for 11 days.[113] Hurricane Sandy had tropical storm-force winds when it reached Connecticut October 29, 2012, with four deaths blamed on the storm.[114] Sandy's winds drove storm surges into coastal streets, toppled trees, and cut power to 98 percent of homes and businesses en route to more than $360 million in damage.[115]

On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 children and 6 staff, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the Sandy Hook village of Newtown, Connecticut, and then killed himself.[116] The massacre would spur renewed efforts by activists for tighter laws on gun ownership nationally.[117]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 237,946
1800 251,002 5.5%
1810 261,942 4.4%
1820 275,248 5.1%
1830 297,675 8.1%
1840 309,978 4.1%
1850 370,792 19.6%
1860 460,147 24.1%
1870 537,454 16.8%
1880 622,700 15.9%
1890 746,258 19.8%
1900 908,420 21.7%
1910 1,114,756 22.7%
1920 1,380,631 23.9%
1930 1,606,903 16.4%
1940 1,709,242 6.4%
1950 2,007,280 17.4%
1960 2,535,234 26.3%
1970 3,031,709 19.6%
1980 3,107,576 2.5%
1990 3,287,116 5.8%
2000 3,405,565 3.6%
2010 3,574,097 4.9%
Est. 2013 3,596,080 0.6%
Sources:[8][118][119][120]
Connecticut Population Density Map

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Connecticut was 3,596,080 on July 1, 2013, a 0.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[8]

As of 2012, Connecticut had an estimated population of 3,590,347,[121] which is an increase of 9,638, or 0.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 16,250, or 0.5%, since the year 2010. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 67,427 people (that is 222,222 births minus 154,795 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 41,718 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 75,991 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 34,273 people. Based on the 2005 estimates, Connecticut moves from the 29th most populous state to 30th.[121]

6.6% of its population was reported as being under 5 years old, 24.7% under 18 years old, and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. Females made up approximately 51.6% of the population, with 48.4% male.

In 1790, 97% of the population in Connecticut was classified as "rural." The first census in which less than half the population was classified as rural was 1890. In the 2000 census, it was only 12.3%. Most of western and southern Connecticut (particularly the Gold Coast) is strongly associated with New York City; this area is the most affluent and populous region of the state. Eastern Connecticut is more culturally influenced by the greater New England area, including the cities of Boston and Providence. The center of population of Connecticut is located in the town of Cheshire.[122]

Race, ancestry, and language[edit]

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, Connecticut's race and ethnic percentages were:

In the same year Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 13.4% of the population.[123]

The state's most populous ethnic group, Non-Hispanic White, has declined from 98% in 1940 to 71% in 2010.[124]

Connecticut Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990[125] 2000[126] 2010[127]
White 87.0% 81.6% 77.6%
Black 8.3% 9.1% 10.1%
Asian 1.5% 2.4% 3.8%
Native 0.2% 0.3% 0.3%
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
- - -
Other race 2.9% 4.3% 5.6%
Two or more races - 2.2% 2.6%

As of 2004, 11.4% of the population (400,000) was foreign-born. In 1870, native-born Americans had accounted for 75% of the state's population, but that had dropped to 35% by 1918.

As of 2000, 81.69% of Connecticut residents age 5 and older spoke English at home and 8.42% spoke Spanish, followed by Italian at 1.59%, French at 1.31% and Polish at 1.20%.[128]

The largest ancestry groups are:[129]

Connecticut has large Italian American, Irish American and English American populations, as well as German American and Portuguese American populations, second highest percentage of any state, behind Rhode Island (19.3%). Italian is the largest ancestry group in five of the state's counties, while the Irish are the largest group in Tolland county, French Canadians the largest group in Windham county. African Americans and Hispanics (mostly Puerto Ricans) are numerous in the urban areas of the state. Connecticut is also known for its relatively large Hungarian American population, the majority of which live in and around Fairfield, Stamford, Naugatuck and Bridgeport. Connecticut also has a sizable Polish American population, with New Britain containing the largest Polish American population in the state.

More recent immigrant populations include those from India, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica, Haiti, Cape Verde and former Soviet countries.

As of 2011, 46.1% of Connecticut's population younger than age 1 were minorities.[130]

Majority Racial and Ethnic Groups in Connecticut, 2010

Religion[edit]

A Pew survey of Connecticut residents' religious self-identification showed the following distribution of affiliations: Protestant 27%, Mormonism 0.5%, Jewish 1%, Roman Catholic 43%, Orthodox 1%, Non-religious 23%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Hinduism 0.5%, Buddhism 1% and Islam 0.5%.[131] Jewish congregations had 108,280 (3.2%) members in 2000.[132] The Jewish population is concentrated in the towns near Long Island Sound between Greenwich and New Haven, in Greater New Haven and in Greater Hartford, especially the suburb of West Hartford. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the largest Christian denominations, by number of adherents, in 2010 were: the Catholic Church, with 1,252,936; the United Church of Christ, with 96,506; and non-denominational Evangelical Protestants, with 72,863.[132]

Recent immigration has brought other non-Christian religions to the state, but the numbers of adherents of other religions are still low. Connecticut is also home to New England's largest Protestant Church: The First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Connecticut located in Hartford County. Hartford is seat to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, which is sovereign over the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Diocese of Norwich.

Economy[edit]

Connecticut state welcome sign in Enfield, Connecticut
Entering the Merritt Parkway from New York in Greenwich, Connecticut

The total gross state product for 2012 was $229.3 billion, up from $225.4 billion in 2011.[133]

Connecticut's per capita personal income in 2013 was estimated at $60,847, the highest of any state.[134] There is, however, a great disparity in incomes throughout the state; after New York, Connecticut had the second largest gap nationwide between the average incomes of the top 1 percent and the average incomes of the bottom 99 percent.[135] According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, Connecticut had the third-largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 7.32 percent.[136] New Canaan is the wealthiest town in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $85,459. Darien, Greenwich, Weston, Westport and Wilton also have per capita incomes over $65,000. Hartford is the poorest municipality in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $13,428 in 2000.[137]

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in March 2014 was 7.0 percent, the 39th highest in the nation.[138]

Taxation[edit]

Prior to 1991, Connecticut had an investment-only income tax system. Income from employment was untaxed, but income from investments was taxed at 13%, the highest rate in the U.S., with no deductions allowed for costs of producing the investment income, such as interest on borrowing.

In 1991, under Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., an Independent, the system was changed to one in which the taxes on employment income and investment income were equalized at a maximum rate of 4%. The new tax policy drew investment firms to Connecticut; as of 2014, Fairfield County was home to the headquarters for 14 of the 200 largest hedge funds in the world.[139]

As of 2014, the income tax rates on Connecticut individuals are divided into six tax brackets of 3% (on income up to $10,000); 5% ($10,000-$50,000); 5.5% ($50,000-$100,000); 6% ($100,000-$200,000); 6.5% ($200,000-$250,000); and 6.7% (more than $250,000), with additional amounts owed depending on the bracket.[140]

All wages of Connecticut residents are subject to the state's income tax, even if earned outside the state. However, in those cases, Connecticut income tax must be withheld only to the extent the Connecticut tax exceeds the amount withheld by the other jurisdiction. Since New York and Massachusetts have higher tax rates than Connecticut, this effectively means that Connecticut residents that work in those states have no Connecticut income tax withheld. Connecticut permits a credit for taxes paid to other jurisdictions, but since residents who work in other states are still subject to Connecticut income taxation, they may owe taxes if the jurisdictional credit does not fully offset the Connecticut tax amount.

Connecticut levies a 6.35% state sales tax on the retail sale, lease, or rental of most goods.[141] Some items and services in general are not subject to sales and use taxes unless specifically enumerated as taxable by statute. A provision excluding clothing under $50 from sales tax was repealed as of July 1, 2011.[141] There are no additional sales taxes imposed by local jurisdictions. In August 2013, Connecticut authorized a sales tax "holiday" for one week during which retailers did not have to remit sales tax on certain items and quantities of clothing.[142]

All real and personal property located within the state of Connecticut is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. All assessments are at 70% of fair market value. Another 20% of the value may be taxed by the local government though. The maximum property tax credit is $500 per return and any excess may not be refunded or carried forward.[143] Connecticut does not levy an intangible personal property tax. According to the Tax Foundation, the 2010 Census data shows Connecticut residents paying the 2nd highest average property taxes in the nation with only New Jersey ahead of them.[144]

The Tax Foundation determined Connecticut residents had the third highest burden in the nation for state and local taxes at 11.86%, or $7,150, compared to the national average of 9.8%.[145]

Real estate[edit]

Of home-sale transactions that closed in March 2014, the median home in Connecticut sold for $225,000, up 3.2% from March 2013.[146] Connecticut ranked ninth nationally in foreclosure activity as of April 2014, with one of every 887 residential units involved in a foreclosure proceeding, or 0.11% of the total housing stock.[147]

Industries[edit]

Finance and insurance is Connecticut's largest industry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, generating 16.4% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009. Major financial industry employers include The Hartford, Travelers, Cigna, Aetna, Mass Mutual, People's United Financial,[148] Royal Bank of Scotland,[149] UBS[150] Bridgewater Associates[151] and GE Capital. Separately, the real estate industry accounted for an additional 15% of economic activity in 2009, with major employers including Realogy;[152] and William Raveis Real Estate.[153]

Manufacturing, the third biggest industry at 11.9% of GDP, is dominated by Hartford-based United Technologies Corporation or UTC, which employs more than 22,000 people in Connecticut.[154] UTC subsidiary Sikorsky Aircraft operates Connecticut's single largest manufacturing plant in Stratford,[153] where it makes helicopters. Other UTC divisions include UTC Propulsion and Aerospace Systems, including the jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney, and UTC Building and Industrial Systems.[155]

Other major manufacturers include the Electric Boat subsidiary of General Dynamics, which makes submarines in Groton;[156] and Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceuticals manufacturer with its U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield.[153]

Connecticut was an historical center of gun manufacturing, and, as of December 2012, four gun-manufacturing firms, Colt, Stag, Ruger, and Mossberg, employing 2,000 employees, continued to operate in the state.[157] Marlin, by then owned by Remington, closed in April 2011.[158]

A report issued by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism on December 7, 2006, demonstrated that the economic impact of the arts, film, history and tourism generated more than $14 billion in economic activity and 170,000 jobs annually. This provides $9 billion in personal income for Connecticut residents and $1.7 billion in state and local revenue.[159] Two casinos, Foxwoods Resort Casino and Mohegan Sun, number among the state's largest employers;[160] both are located on Native American reservations in the eastern part of Connecticut.

Connecticut's agricultural sector employed about 12,000 people as of 2010; with more than a quarter of that number involved in nursery stock production. Other agricultural products include dairy products and eggs; tobacco; fish and shellfish; and fruit.[161]

Oyster harvesting was historically an important source of income to towns along the Connecticut coastline. In the 19th century, oystering boomed in New Haven, Bridgeport and Norwalk and achieved modest success in neighboring towns. In 1911, Connecticut's oyster production reached its peak at nearly 25 million pounds of oyster meats. This was, at the time, higher than production in New York, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts.[162] During this time, the Connecticut coast was known, in the shellfishing industry, as the oyster capital of the world. Until 1969, Connecticut laws enacted before World War I restricted the harvesting of oysters in state-owned beds to vessels under sail. These laws prompted the construction of the oyster sloop style vessel to last well into the 20th century.[163] Hope, completed in Greenwich in 1948, is believed to be the last oyster sloop built in Connecticut.

Transportation[edit]

Map of Connecticut showing major highways

Roads[edit]

The Interstate highways in the state are Interstate 95 (I-95; the Connecticut Turnpike) traveling southwest to northeast along the coast, I-84 traveling southwest to northeast in the center of the state, I-91 traveling north to south in the center of the state, and I-395 traveling north to south near the eastern border of the state. The other major highways in Connecticut are the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway, which together form Connecticut Route 15 (Route 15), traveling from the Hutchinson River Parkway in New York parallel to I-95 before turning north of New Haven and traveling parallel to I-91, finally becoming a surface road in Berlin. I-95 and Route 15 were originally toll roads; they relied on a system of toll plazas at which all traffic stopped and paid fixed tolls. A series of terrible crashes at these plazas eventually contributed to the decision to remove the tolls in 1988.[164] Other major arteries in the state include U.S. Route 7 (US 7) in the west traveling parallel to the New York state line, Route 8 farther east near the industrial city of Waterbury and traveling north–south along the Naugatuck River Valley nearly parallel with US 7, and Route 9 in the east. See List of State Routes in Connecticut for an overview of the state's highway system.

Between New Haven and New York City, I-95 is one of the most congested highways in the United States. Many people now drive longer distances to work in the New York City area. This strains the three lanes of traffic capacity, resulting in lengthy rush hour delays. Frequently, the congestion spills over to clog the parallel Merritt Parkway. The state has encouraged traffic reduction schemes, including rail use and ride-sharing.[165]

Connecticut also has a very active bicycling community, with one of the highest rates of bicycle ownership and use in the United States. New Haven's cycling community, organized in a local advocacy group called ElmCityCycling, is particularly active. According to the US Census 2006 American Community Survey, New Haven has the highest percentage of commuters who bicycle to work of any major metropolitan center on the East Coast.

Rail[edit]

Southwestern Connecticut is served by MTA's Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line, providing commuter service to New York City and New Haven, with branches servicing New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury. Connecticut lies along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor which features frequent Northeast Regional and Acela Express service. Towns between New Haven and New London are also served by the Shore Line East commuter line. Operation of commuter trains from New Haven to Springfield on Amtrak's New Haven-Springfield Line is under consideration.[166] Amtrak also operates a shuttle service between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts, servicing Hartford and other towns on the corridor.

Bus[edit]

Statewide bus service is supplied by Connecticut Transit, owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, with smaller municipal authorities providing local service. Bus networks are an important part of the transportation system in Connecticut, especially in urban areas like Hartford, Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and New Haven. A three-year construction project to build a BRT busway from New Britain to Hartford began in August 2009.[167][168]

Air[edit]

Bradley International Airport is located in Windsor Locks, 15 miles (24 km) north of Hartford. Regional air service is provided at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. Larger civil airports include Danbury Municipal Airport and Waterbury-Oxford Airport in western Connecticut, and Groton-New London Airport in eastern Connecticut. Sikorsky Memorial Airport is located in Stratford and mostly services cargo, helicopter and private aviation.

Ferry[edit]

The Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry and the Chester–Hadlyme Ferry cross the Connecticut River. The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry travels between Bridgeport, CT and Port Jefferson, New York by crossing Long Island Sound. Ferry service also operates out of New London, CT to Orient, NY, Fishers Island, NY and Block Island, RI.

Law and government[edit]

The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford

Hartford has been the sole capital of Connecticut since 1875. Before then, New Haven and Hartford alternated as capitals.[169]

Constitutional history[edit]

Connecticut is known as the "Constitution State." While the origin of this title is uncertain, the nickname may either refer to the Fundamental Orders of 1638–39 or possibly the "Great Compromise" ("Connecticut Compromise") of the 1787 Constitutional convention. These Fundamental Orders represent the framework for the first formal government written by a representative body in Connecticut. The government has operated under the direction of four separate documents in the course of Connecticut Constitutional History. After the Fundamental Orders, Connecticut was granted governmental authority by King Charles II of England through the Connecticut Charter of 1662.

Separate branches of government did not exist during this period, and the General Assembly acted as the supreme authority. A constitution similar to the modern U.S. Constitution was not adopted in Connecticut until 1818. Finally, the current state constitution was implemented in 1965. The 1965 constitution absorbed a majority of its 1818 predecessor, but incorporated a handful of important modifications.

The more likely source of the nickname "Constitution State" comes from Connecticut's pivotal role in the federal constitutional convention of 1787, during which Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth helped to orchestrate what became known as the Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise. This plan combined the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan to form a bicameral legislature, a form copied by almost every state constitution since the adoption of the federal constitution. Although variations of the bicameral legislature had been proposed by Virginia and New Jersey, Connecticut's plan is the one that was in effect until the early 20th century, when Senators ceased to be selected by their state legislatures and were instead directly elected. Otherwise, it is still the design of Congress.

Executive[edit]

The governor heads the executive branch. Dan Malloy is the current Governor and Nancy Wyman is the Lieutenant Governor, both are Democrats. Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, won the 2010 general election for Governor, and was sworn in on January 5, 2011. From 1639 until the adoption of the 1818 constitution, the governor presided over the General Assembly. In 1974, Ella Grasso was elected as the governor of Connecticut. This was the first time in United States history when a woman was a governor without her husband being governor first.

There are several executive departments: Administrative Services, Agriculture, Banking, Children and Families, Consumer Protection, Correction, Economic and Community Development, Developmental Services, Construction Services, Education, Emergency Management and Public Protection, Energy & Environmental Protection, Higher Education, Insurance, Labor, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Military, Motor Vehicles, Public Health, Public Utility Regulatory Authority, Public Works, Revenue Services, Social Services, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. In addition to these departments, there are other independent bureaus, offices and commissions.[170]

In addition to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, there are four other executive officers named in the state constitution that are elected directly by voters: Secretary of the State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General. All executive officers are elected to four-year terms.[169]

Legislative[edit]

The legislature is the General Assembly. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of an upper body, the State Senate (36 senators); and a lower body, the House of Representatives (151 representatives).[169] Bills must pass each house in order to become law. The governor can veto the bill, but this veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house. Per Article XV of the state constitution, Senators and Representatives must be at least 18 years of age and are elected to two-year terms in November on even-numbered years. There also must always be between 30 and 50 senators and 125 to 225 representatives. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate, except when absent from the chamber, when the President pro tempore presides. The Speaker of the House presides over the House.[171] As of 2012, Christopher G. Donovan is the current Speaker of the House of Connecticut.

Connecticut's current United States Senators are Richard Blumenthal (Democrat) and Chris Murphy (Democrat). Connecticut currently has five representatives in the U.S. House, all of whom are Democrats.

Locally elected representatives also develop Local ordinances to govern cities and towns.[172] The town ordinances often include noise control and zoning guidelines.[173] However, the State of Connecticut does also provide state-wide ordinances for noise control as well.[174]

Judicial[edit]

The highest court of Connecticut's judicial branch is the Connecticut Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Connecticut. The Supreme Court is responsible for deciding on the constitutionality of the law or cases as they relate to the law. Its proceedings are similar to those of the United States Supreme Court, with no testimony given by witnesses, and the lawyers of the two sides each present oral arguments no longer than thirty minutes. Following a court proceeding, the court may take several months to arrive at a judgment. The current Chief Justice is Chase T. Rogers.

In 1818, the court became a separate entity, independent of the legislative and executive branches.[175] The Appellate Court is a lesser state-wide court and the Superior Courts are lower courts that resemble county courts of other states.

The State of Connecticut also offers access to Arrest warrant enforcement statistics through the Office of Policy and Management.[176]

Local government[edit]

and several lists: List of municipalities of Connecticut by population, List of towns in Connecticut, List of cities in Connecticut, Borough (Connecticut), List of counties in Connecticut

Unlike all but one other state (Rhode Island), Connecticut does not have county government. Connecticut county governments were mostly eliminated in 1960, with the exception of sheriffs elected in each county.[177] In 2000, the county sheriff was abolished and replaced with the state marshal system, which has districts that follow the old county territories. The judicial system is divided, at the trial court level, into judicial districts which largely follow the old county lines.[178] The eight counties are still widely used for purely geographical and statistical purposes, such as weather reports, and census reporting.

Connecticut shares with the rest of New England a governmental institution called the New England town. The state is divided into 169 towns, which serve as the fundamental political jurisdictions.[169] There are also 21 cities,[169] most of which are coterminous with their namesake towns and have a merged city-town government. There are two exceptions: City of Groton, which is a subsection of the Town of Groton, and the City of Winsted in the Town of Winchester. There are also nine incorporated boroughs which may provide additional services to a section of town.[169][179] One, Naugatuck, is a consolidated town and borough.

The state (with the exception of the Town of Stafford in Tolland County) is also divided into 15 planning regions defined by the state Office of Planning and Management.[180] The Intragovernmental Policy Division of this Office coordinates regional planning with the administrative bodies of these regions. Each region has an administrative body known as either a regional council of governments, a regional council of elected officials, or a regional planning agency. The regions are established for the purpose of planning "coordination of regional and state planning activities; redesignation of logical planning regions and promotion of the continuation of regional planning organizations within the state; and provision for technical aid and the administration of financial assistance to regional planning organizations."[180]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

On November 12, 2008, Connecticut became the second state (after Massachusetts) to allow marriages of same-sex couples. Connecticut was the third state to do so, but only the second where the decision was not repealed.

Politics[edit]

Connecticut political party registration 1958–2012 marked with presidential influence

Registered voters[edit]

Connecticut residents who register to vote have the option of declaring an affiliation to a political party, may become unaffiliated at will, and may change affiliations subject to certain waiting periods. As of 2013 about 58% of registered voters are enrolled (about 1% total in 18 third parties minor parties), and ratios among unaffiliated voters and the two major parties are about 8 unaffiliated for every 7 in the Democratic Party of Connecticut and for every 4 in the Connecticut Republican Party.

(Among the minor parties, the Libertarian Party and Independent Party appeared in the Presidential-electors column in 2012, and drew, respectively, 0.81% and 0.35% of the vote.)

Many Connecticut towns show a marked preference for moderate candidates of either party.[2]

Connecticut voter registration and party enrollment as of October 30, 2012[181]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Republican 430,564 19,084 449,648 20.27%
  Democratic 768,176 47,537 815,713 36.77%
  Unaffiliated 872,839 60,440 933,279 42.06%
  Minor parties 18,960 1,063 20,023 0.90%
Total 2,090,539 128,123 2,218,662 100%

Political office[edit]

Elections in Connecticut take place mostly at the levels of town and/or city, state legislative districts for both houses, Congressional districts, and state-wide. In almost all races, the two major parties have some practical advantages granted on the basis of their respective performances in the most recent election covering the same constituency. Several processes, to varying degrees internal to either a major or minor party, are in practice nearly prerequisites to being permitted mention on the provided ballots, and even more so to winning office.

More specifically, the status of "major party" is usually reconfirmed every four years, as belonging to the two parties that polled best, statewide, in the gubernatorial column; this status includes the benefit of appearing in one of the top two rows on the ballot provided the party has at least one candidate on the ballot. Minor parties appear below major parties, and their performance in recent elections determines whether a candidates who wins in their nomination process must also meet a petitioning threshold in order to appear.

In a major party, a party convention for the office's constituency must be held; in practice, at the town level, a major party convention of voters of the town who are enrolled in the party usually is attended almost exclusively by members of the town party committee. The convention may choose to endorse a candidate, who will appear on the ballot unless additional candidates meet a petition threshold for a primary election; if at least one candidate meets the petition threshold, the endorsed candidate and all who meet the threshold appear on the primary ballot, and the winner of the primary election appears on the party line for that office.

A candidate wishing to run on the ballot line of a minor-party which has recently enough met a general-election vote threshold follows similar steps; candidates of other minor parties must meet petition thresholds, and if other candidates of the same party, for the same office, do so as well, only the winner of a resulting primary will appear on the ballot.

Campaigns by candidates not on the ballot generally are entirely symbolic, and while any voter can cast a write-in ballot, write-in ballots are not even tallied by election officials, except for candidates who have submitted a formal request that the tally be made.

In short, most winning candidates have won the endorsement of the applicable major-party convention; nearly all of the rest have won with a professionally managed primary-election campaign; and successful minor-party candidates are almost without exception major-party figures like Lowell Weicker whose minor parties disappear after that success. (A Connecticut Party, which Weicker founded, became nominally the leading major party, and state law was changed during his administration to provide that in a situation such as his win, the top three parties in the governor's race all became major parties.)

Republican areas[edit]

Presidential election results[182]
Year Republican Democratic
Percent Absolute Percent Absolute
2012 40.73% 634,892 58.06% 905,083
2008 38.22% 629,428 60.59% 997,773
2004 43.95% 693,826 54.31% 857,488
2000 38.44% 561,094 55.91% 816,015
1996 34.69% 483,109 52.83% 735,740
1992 35.78% 578,313 42.21% 682,318
1988 51.98% 750,241 46.87% 676,584
1984 60.73% 890,877 38.83% 569,597
1980 48.16% 677,210 38.52% 541,732
1976 52.06% 719,261 46.90% 647,895
1972 58.57% 810,763 40.13% 555,498
1968 44.32% 556,721 49.48% 621,561
1964 32.09% 390,996 67.81% 826,269
1960 46.27% 565,813 53.73% 657,055

The suburban towns of New Canaan and Darien in Fairfield County are considered the most Republican areas in the state. Westport, a wealthy town a few miles to the east, is often considered one of the most loyally Democratic, liberal towns in Fairfield County. The historically Republican-leaning wealthy town of Wilton voted in the majority for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. Norwalk and Stamford, two larger, mixed-income communities in Fairfield County, have in many elections favored moderate Republicans including former Governor John G. Rowland and former Congressman Chris Shays, however they have favored Democrats in recent US presidential election years, with Shays being defeated by Democrat Jim Himes in the 2008 election.

The state's Republican-leaning areas are the rural Litchfield County and adjoining towns in the west of Hartford County, the industrial towns of the Naugatuck River Valley, and some of the affluent Fairfield County towns near the New York border.

Joe Lieberman's predecessor, Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., was the last Connecticut Republican to serve as Senator. Weicker was known as a liberal Republican. He broke with President Richard Nixon during Watergate and successfully ran for governor in 1990 as an independent, creating A Connecticut Party as his election vehicle. Before Weicker, the last Republican to represent Connecticut in the Senate was Prescott Bush, the father of former President George H.W. Bush and the grandfather of former President George W. Bush. He served 1953–63.

Democratic areas[edit]

Waterbury has a Democratic registration edge, but usually favors conservative candidates of both traditional parties. In Danbury unaffiliated voters outnumber voters registered with either major party. Other smaller cities including Meriden, New Britain, Norwich and Middletown favor Democratic candidates.

As of 2011, Democrats controlled all five federal congressional seats. The remaining Republican, Chris Shays, lost his seat to Democrat Jim Himes in the Congressional Election in 2008.

Senators[edit]

Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are Connecticut's U.S. senators. Both senators from Connecticut are Democrats.

Voting[edit]

In April 2012 both houses of the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill (20 to 16 and 86 to 62) that abolished the capital punishment for all future crimes, while 11 inmates who were waiting on the death row at the time could still be executed.[183]

In July 2009 the Connecticut legislature overrode a veto by Governor M. Jodi Rell to pass SustiNet, the first significant public-option health care reform legislation in the nation.[184]

Education[edit]

K-12[edit]

The Connecticut State Board of Education manages the public school system for children in grades K-12. Board of Education members are appointed by the Governor of Connecticut. Statistics for each school are made available to the public through an online database system called "CEDAR."[185] The CEDAR database also provides statistics for "ACES" or "RESC" schools for children with behavioral disorders.[186]

Private schools[edit]

Colleges and universities[edit]

Connecticut was home to the nation's first law school, Litchfield Law School, which operated from 1773 to 1833 in Litchfield. Hartford Public High School (1638) is the third-oldest secondary school in the nation after the Collegiate School (1628) in Manhattan and the Boston Latin School (1635).

Private[edit]

Public universities[edit]

Public community colleges[edit]

The state also has many noted private day schools, and its boarding schools draw students from around the world.

Sports[edit]

Lime Rock – a home of the American Le Mans tournament

Professional sports[edit]

Connecticut has been the home of multiple teams in the big four sports leagues, though currently hosts none.

NHL[edit]

Connecticut's longest-tenured and only modern full-time "big four" franchise were the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League, who played in Hartford from 1979 to 1997 at the Hartford Civic Center. Their departure to Raleigh, North Carolina, over disputes with the state over the construction of a new arena, caused great controversy and resentment. The former Whalers are now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. Presently, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, a farm team for the New York Islanders, compete at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT and the Hartford Wolf Pack, the affiliate of the New York Rangers, play in the XL Center in Hartford.

MLB[edit]

The Hartford Dark Blues joined the National League for one season in 1876, making them the state's only major league baseball franchise, before moving to Brooklyn, New York and then disbanding one season later.

Connecticut is a battleground between fans of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets.[201] For the Mets and Red Sox, split allegiances among fans of both teams in the state during the 1986 World Series led to an article in The Boston Globe to coin the phrase "Red Sox Nation."[202]

NFL[edit]

In 1926, Hartford had a franchise in the National Football League known as the Hartford Blues. The NFL would return to Connecticut from 1973 to 1974 when New Haven hosted the New York Giants at Yale Bowl while Giants Stadium was under construction.[203]

NBA[edit]

From 1975 to 1995, the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association played a number of home games at the Hartford Civic Center.

Yale Bowl during "The Game" between Yale and Harvard. The Bowl was also the home of the NFL's New York Giants in 1973–74.

PGA[edit]

The state hosts several major sporting events. Since 1952, a PGA Tour golf tournament has been played in the Hartford area. Originally called the "Insurance City Open" and later the "Greater Hartford Open," the event is now known as the Travelers Championship. The Pilot Pen Tennis tournament is held annually in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven.

Motorsports[edit]

Lime Rock Park in Salisbury is a 1.5-mile road racing course, home to American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, SCCA and NASCAR Camping World East Series races. Thompson International Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl are oval tracks holding weekly races for NASCAR Modifieds and other classes, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.

WNBA[edit]

The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA currently play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. From 1996 to 1998, Connecticut was home to another professional woman's basketball team, American Basketball League franchise the New England Blizzard, who played at the XL Center.

Non-professional sports[edit]

High school[edit]

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is the state's sanctioning body for high school sports.

College sports[edit]

The UConn Huskies play NCAA Division I sports and are popular in the state. Both the men's basketball and women's basketball teams have won multiple national championships, including in 2004, when UConn became the first school in NCAA Division I history to have its men's and women's basketball programs win the national title in the same year.[citation needed] In 2014, UConn repeated its feat of being the only school in NCAA Division I to win men's and women's basketball tournaments in the same year.[citation needed] The UConn women's basketball team holds the record for the longest consecutive winning streak in NCAA college basketball at 90 games, a streak that ended in 2008.[citation needed] The UConn Huskies football team has played in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2002, and has played in four bowl games since. Other Connecticut universities which feature Division I sports teams are Yale University, Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University, Central Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and the University of Hartford.

Yale v. Harvard[edit]

New Haven biennially hosts "The Game" between Yale and Harvard, the country's second-oldest college football rivalry. Yale alum Walter Camp, deemed the "Father of American Football," helped develop modern football while living in New Haven.[204]

Arena Football[edit]

Hartford has hosted two Arena Football League franchises, in the Connecticut Coyotes from 1995 to 1996 and the New England Sea Wolves from 1999 to 2000, both playing at the Civic Center. Hartford was home to the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League for one season in 2010.

Current professional sports teams[edit]

Club Sport League
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Ice hockey American Hockey League
Hartford Wolf Pack Ice hockey American Hockey League
Danbury Whalers Ice hockey Federal Hockey League
New Britain Rock Cats Baseball Eastern League (AA)
Connecticut Tigers Baseball New York-Penn League (A)
Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball Atlantic League
Connecticut Sun Basketball Women's National Basketball Association

Etymology and symbols[edit]

Connecticut state symbols
Flag of Connecticut.svg
Seal of Connecticut.svg
Animal and Plant insignia
Bird(s) American robin
Fish American shad
Flower(s) Mountain Laurel
Insect European mantis
Mammal(s) Sperm whale
Tree Charter White oak
Inanimate insignia
Dance Square dance
Fossil Dinosaur tracks
Mineral Garnet
Motto Qui transtulit sustinet
Latin: He who transplanted sustains.
Shell Eastern Oyster
Ship(s) USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Freedom Schooner Amistad
Slogan(s) Full of Surprises
Song(s) Yankee Doodle,
The Nutmeg
Tartan Connecticut State Tartan
Route marker(s)
Connecticut Route Marker
State Quarter
Quarter of Connecticut
Released in 1999
Lists of United States state symbols

The name "Connecticut" originates from the Mohegan word quonehtacut, meaning "place of long tidal river."[169] Connecticut's official nickname, adopted in 1959, is "The Constitution State," based on its colonial constitution of 1638–39 which was the first in America and, arguably, the world.[1] Unofficially (but popularly) Connecticut is also known as "The Nutmeg State."[1] The origins of the nutmeg connection to Connecticut are unknown. It may have come from its sailors returning from voyages with nutmeg (which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a very valuable spice). It may have originated in the early machined sheet tin nutmeg grinders sold by early Connecticut peddlers. It is also facetiously said to come from Yankee peddlers from Connecticut who would sell small carved nobs of wood shaped to look like nutmeg to unsuspecting customers.[2] George Washington gave Connecticut the title of "The Provisions State"[1] because of the material aid the state rendered to the American Revolutionary War effort. Connecticut is also known as "The Land of Steady Habits."[1]

According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 1993, a person who is a native or resident of Connecticut is a "Connecticuter." There are numerous other terms coined in print, but not in use, such as: "Connecticotian" – Cotton Mather in 1702. "Connecticutensian" – Samuel Peters in 1781. "Nutmegger" is sometimes used,[2] as is "Yankee" (the official state song is "Yankee Doodle"), though this usually refers someone from the wider New England region (and in the Southern United States, to anyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon Line). Linguist Allen Walker Read reports a more playful term, 'connecticutie.' The traditional abbreviation of the state's name is "Conn.;" the official postal abbreviation is CT.

Commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service with Connecticut themes include Nathan Hale, Eugene O'Neill, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Noah Webster, Eli Whitney, the whaling ship the Charles W. Morgan which is docked in Mystic Seaport, and a decoy of a broadbill duck.

Connecticut state insignia and historical figures[1]
except where noted
State aircraft Vought F4U Corsair[205]
State hero Nathan Hale
State heroine Prudence Crandall
State composer Charles Edward Ives
State statues in Statuary Hall Roger Sherman and Jonathan Trumbull
State poet laureate Dick Allen
Connecticut State Troubadour Kristen Graves[206]
State composer laureate Jacob Druckman

Famous residents[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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Preceded by
Georgia
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Ratified Constitution on January 9, 1788 (5th)
Succeeded by
Massachusetts

Coordinates: 41°36′N 72°42′W / 41.6°N 72.7°W / 41.6; -72.7