Aroostook County, Maine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Aroostook County, Maine
Backside of Houlton Courthouse.jpg
Seal of Aroostook County, Maine
Map of Maine highlighting Aroostook County
Location in the state of Maine
Map of the United States highlighting Maine
Maine's location in the U.S.
Founded May 1, 1839
Named for Indian word meaning "beautiful river" [1]
Seat Houlton
Largest city Presque Isle
 • Total 6,828 sq mi (17,684 km2)
 • Land 6,671 sq mi (17,278 km2)
 • Water 156 sq mi (404 km2), 2.3%
 • (2010) 71,870
 • Density 11/sq mi (4/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Aroostook County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maine. As of the 2010 census, the population was 71,870.[2] Its seat is Houlton.[3]

Known locally in Maine simply as "The County," it is the largest American county by land area east of the Rocky Mountains (St. Louis County, Minnesota is larger by total area) and the largest county by total area in Maine. As Maine's northernmost county, its northernmost village, Estcourt Station, is therefore also the northernmost community in New England and in the contiguous United States east of the Great Lakes.

Aroostook County is known for its potato crops, as well as its Acadian culture. In the northernmost region of the county, which borders Madawaska County, New Brunswick, many of the residents are bilingual (English and French). The county is also an emerging hub for wind power.


Aroostook County was formed in 1839 from parts of Penobscot and Washington counties. In 1843, Aroostook gained land from Penobscot County; in 1844, Aroostook again gained land from Penobscot, plus it exchanged land with Piscataquis County. In 1889, Aroostook gained slightly from Penobscot, but gave back the land in 1903 when Aroostook County gained its final form.[4] Some of the territory in this county was part of the land dispute that led to the "Aroostook War" that would eventually be settled by the Webster–Ashburton Treaty.

Children gathering potatoes on a large farm in Aroostook County, 1940. Schools did not open until the potatoes were harvested. Photo by Jack Delano.

The county was also part of a route on the Underground Railroad, and was one of the last stops before entering Canada. Slaves would meet and hide just outside Aroostook[5] or in deserted areas. Friends Quaker Church near Fort Fairfield was often a final stop.[6]

During the post World War II era, much of Aroostook County's economy was dominated by military spending. In 1947, the Limestone Army Air Field was built in Limestone, Maine. It began use in 1953 and was renamed the Loring Air Force Base. Aroostook County was chosen due to its strategic location as the closest point in the Continental United States to Europe. The 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission recommended closure of Loring and the Base closed in 1994.[7]

The 2014 Acadian World Congress was held along the Canada–United States border, co-hosted by Aroostook County and a number of neighboring counties in Canada (Témiscouata in Quebec, and Victoria, Madawaska and Restigouche in New Brunswick). Organizers planned a Tintamarre that was held in the town of Madawaska, Maine, as well as a giant tug of war across the Saint John River.[8]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 6,828 square miles (17,680 km2), of which 6,671 square miles (17,280 km2) is land and 156 square miles (400 km2) (2.3%) is water.[9] Aroostook County is the largest county in Maine by area, about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

Adjacent counties and municipalities[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Government and politics[edit]

Presidential election results[10]
Year Democrat Republican
2012 52.50% 17,777 44.88% 15,196
2008 53.75% 19,345 44.17% 15,898
2004 51.86% 19,569 46.55% 17,564
2000 48.93% 17,196 47.11% 16,555

Although the county is more socially conservative than Maine's southern and coastal counties, it has gone consistently for the Democratic Presidential candidate in the last five elections, most recently by more than 8% of the vote.[11] In the Maine Legislature, the county's delegation includes three Democrats and seven Republicans.[12] In 2009 it voted 73% in favor of a referendum rejecting same-sex marriage and 54% against the Maine Medical Marijuana Act.[13] In 2012, it voted 67% against a measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Maine.[14]

Due to remoteness from the rest of Maine and a perceived lack of connection with Maine government, as well as a strong connection with neighboring Canada, politicians of Aroostook County, Maine, have proposed making Aroostook part of New Brunswick or spinning off the county as its own state, probably named Aroostook, since the 1990s. As recently as 2005 the question has been brought up before the state legislature.[15]

Voter registration[edit]

Voter registration

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of June 10, 2014[16]
Party Total Voters Percentage
  Unenrolled 16,915 34.45%
  Democratic 16,776 34.16%
  Republican 13,922 28.35%
  Green Independent 1,486 3.02%
Total 49,099 100%


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 9,413
1850 12,529 33.1%
1860 22,479 79.4%
1870 29,609 31.7%
1880 41,700 40.8%
1890 49,589 18.9%
1900 60,744 22.5%
1910 74,664 22.9%
1920 81,728 9.5%
1930 87,843 7.5%
1940 94,436 7.5%
1950 96,039 1.7%
1960 106,064 10.4%
1970 92,463 −12.8%
1980 91,331 −1.2%
1990 86,936 −4.8%
2000 73,938 −15.0%
2010 71,870 −2.8%
Est. 2014 69,447 [17] −3.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790–1960[19] 1900–1990[20]
1990–2000[21] 2010–2013[2]

As of the census[22] of 2000, there were 73,938 people, 30,356 households, and 20,429 families residing in the county. The population density was 11 people per square mile (4/km²). There were 38,719 housing units at an average density of 6 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.80% White, 0.38% Black or African American, 1.36% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 0.60% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 22.6% were of French, 15.4% United States or American, 14.6% English, 14.3% French Canadian and 10.2% Irish ancestry. As of 2010, 18.0% of the population speak French at home, with no other language group (besides English) accounting for a full percent.[23]

There were 30,356 households out of which 28.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 8.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.70% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.60% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 26.30% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 17.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,837, and the median income for a family was $36,044. Males had a median income of $29,747 versus $20,300 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,033. About 9.80% of families and 14.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.20% of those under age 18 and 16.00% of those age 65 or over.



Incorporated towns[24][edit]


Census-designated places[edit]

Unorganized territories[edit]

Indian reservations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aroostook County Government". January 5, 2012. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Adrian Ettlinger. AniMap Plus: County Boundary Historical Atlas. Gold Bug Software, Alamo, CA.
  5. ^ "Fort Fairfield | Maine: An Encyclopedia". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Crown of Maine Productions". Crown of Maine Productions. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ Earth Tech, Inc. (1994). "Loring Air Force Base" (PDF). Historic American Buildings Survey. Limestone, Maine: Historic American Engineering Record. Retrieved 11 May 2013. 
  8. ^ Olmstead, Kathryn (10 April 2014). "Van Buren, Canadian towns reach across border to get ready for World Acadian Congress in August". Bangor Daily News. Archived from the original on 11 April 2014. Retrieved 11 April 2014. 
  9. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "New York Times Election Map". December 9, 2008. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Maine Senate site". Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  13. ^ Bangor Daily News Archived April 14, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "2012 Election Results Map by State – Live Voting Updates". Politico.Com. February 6, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ Bill calls for close look at secession Archived November 11, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of June 10, 2014" (PDF). Maine Bureau of Corporations. 
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  20. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 7, 2014. 
  22. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  23. ^ "American Community Survey Aggregate Data, 5-Year Summary File, 2006–2010". Data Center. Aroostook County, Maine: Modern Language Association. 2006–2010. Retrieved 23 Aug 2013. 
  24. ^ [< "Map of Aroostook County"] Check |url= scheme (help) (PDF). Aroostook County Website. HTL. Retrieved April 10, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Dickey: Populated Place Profile". ME Hometown Locator. HTL. Retrieved October 12, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Aroostook County, Maine at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 46°39′N 68°35′W / 46.65°N 68.59°W / 46.65; -68.59