Bristol County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 548,285. The county seat is Taunton. 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.
Bristol County is part of the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area. The county is adjacent to the state of Rhode Island.
|Bristol County, Massachusetts|
Bristol County Courthouse in Taunton
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Founded||June 2, 1685|
(from Plymouth Colony)
|Named for||Bristol, Rhode Island|
|Largest city||New Bedford|
|• Total||691 sq mi (1,790 km2)|
|• Land||553 sq mi (1,432 km2)|
|• Water||138 sq mi (357 km2), 20%|
|• Density||1,015.3/sq mi (392.0/km2)|
|Congressional districts||4th, 8th, 9th|
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC−5/−4|
Bristol County was created by the Plymouth Colony on June 2, 1685, and named after its "shire town" (county seat), Bristol. The Plymouth Colony, along with the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the Maine Colony and several other small settlements were rechartered in 1691, by King William III, to become The Province of Massachusetts Bay.
The towns of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren were awarded to Rhode Island in 1746 as part of the settlement 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, a part of Seekonk (that portion of which is 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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 691 square miles (1,790 km2), of which 553 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 138 square miles (360 km2) (20%) 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 discovery at the time of America's discovery. John Cabot set sail from Bristol and sailed down the Severn on which lies Newport in Wales. He then stumbled across mainland U.S.A.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census 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 (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.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 548,285 people, 213,010 households, and 141,338 families residing in the county. The population density was 991.3 inhabitants per square mile (382.7/km2). There were 230,535 housing units at an average density of 416.8 per square mile (160.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% white, 3.3% black, 1.9% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 3.4% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 6.0% of the population. The largest ancestry groups were:
Of the 213,010 households, 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.6% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06. The median age was 39.8 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $54,955 and the median income for a family was $70,161. Males had a median income of $51,785 versus $39,714 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,736. About 8.8% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 10.4% of those age 65 or over.
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.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018|
|Party||Number of voters||Percentage|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Assonet Bay is a lake in Assonet, a village within the town of Freetown, Massachusetts. The Assonet River connects the waters of the bay with the Taunton River.Bailey Flat
Bailey Flat is a small barren island within Westport Harbor in Westport, Massachusetts, USA. The island is just north of the northwestern point of Horseneck Point on Horseneck Beach and far west of the Bascule Bridge on Route 88.Bar Rock (Bristol County, Massachusetts)
Bar Rock is a small barren rock within Rhode Island Sound, in Westport, Massachusetts, USA. The rock is off the connector of Horseneck and Gooseberry Neck at the Horseneck Beach State Reservation. It's just north of the state reservation's campground.
(Coordinates: Lat. = 41.494'N, Lon. = 71.040'W)Big Pine Island (Massachusetts)
Big Pine Island is a forested island located in the East Branch of the Westport River in Westport, Massachusetts.Black Rock (Bristol County, Massachusetts)
Black Rock is a barren, uninhabited island in Bristol County, Massachusetts. It has a beacon structure.Cotley River
The Cotley River is a small river in Taunton and Berkley, Massachusetts that is a tributary of the Taunton River. It flows approximately 5.8 miles (9.2 km) in a northwesterly direction from the southeast part of Taunton near Seekell Street to Barstows Pond near the village of East Taunton where it joins the Taunton River.The river is crossed twice in Berkley by an active railroad line that was originally built as the Taunton and New Bedford Railroad in 1840. It is now operated by CSX.Crow Island (Massachusetts)
Crow Island is an inhabited island located in New Bedford Harbor in Fairhaven, Massachusetts.Lake Rico
Lake Rico is a 166-acre (0.67 km2) freshwater lake within Massasoit State Park in Taunton, Massachusetts. The lake takes up about nearly a quarter of Massasoit State Park. There are many coves, Much of its coastline is heavily forested, although there is a non-designated beach area located at Lake Rico's southeastern coast.Mill River (Taunton River tributary)
The Mill River is a tributary of the Taunton River that flows 4.0 miles (6.2 km) from Lake Sabbatia, through the center of Taunton, Massachusetts, to the Taunton River.Nasketucket River
The Nasketucket River is a small river (stream) arising in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and emptying about 3 miles downstream into Little Bay, a branch of Nasketucket Bay on Buzzards Bay.National Register of Historic Places listings in Bristol County, Massachusetts
List of Registered Historic Places in Bristol County, Massachusetts:
This National Park Service list is complete through NPS recent listings posted May 17, 2019.Segreganset River
The Segreganset River is a small river in Bristol County, Massachusetts that flows 9.6 miles (15.4 km) in a southeasterly direction through Taunton and Dighton into the Taunton River. Named tributaries include the Maple Swamp, Poppasquash Swamp, Sunken Brook and Cedar Swamp.
The USGS maintains a gaging station on the Segreganset River near Center Street in Dighton.Snake River (Massachusetts)
The Snake River is a small river in Bristol County, Massachusetts. It flows 4.0 miles (6.4 km) from
Winnecunnet Pond to Lake Sabbatia in the northern part of Taunton, Massachusetts.
It is part of the Mill River-Taunton River-Narragansett Bay watersheds. The Snake River is part of the Canoe River Aquifer Area of Critical Environmental Concern (Massachusetts) (ACEC).Taunton River Watershed
The Taunton River watershed or Taunton River basin is made up of 562 square miles (1,500 km2) of rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands in southeastern Massachusetts, USA. It is the second largest watershed in the state. Also, it is a significant part of a much larger multi-state watershed, the Narragansett Bay watershed.
The Taunton River watershed is mostly situated in Bristol County and western Plymouth County, while some portions of it extends into parts of southern Norfolk County.
The Taunton River watershed includes:
7 species of freshwater mussels
27 different habitat types
29 species of native fish
114 species of birds.
173 square miles (450 km2) of canoeable river
221 lakes and ponds
Hockomock Swamp of 16,800 acres (6,800 ha)Thacher River
Thacher River is a river in Rehoboth and Attleboro, Massachusetts. It begins at an unnamed pond in Northern Rehoboth and flows north toward the center of Attleboro, before turning toward the west, where it empties into the Ten Mile River near Dodgeville. The river is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long, and is the only river in the Ten Mile Watershed without a dam along its entire course.Three Mile River
The Three Mile River or Threemile River is a river in Bristol County, Massachusetts. It is formed by the junction of the Rumford and Wading rivers in the town of Norton. It flows in a southeasterly direction for 13.5 miles (21.7 km) through the towns of Norton, Taunton and Dighton, where it joins the Taunton River.On August 25, 2008, the Three Mile Watershed was designated an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The ACEC designation imparts certain protections and restrictions within a designated area relating to new development and other human activities.Watson Pond
Watson Pond is a small freshwater lake within Watson Pond State Park, in Taunton, Massachusetts, USA. The lake is connected to Lake Sabbatia and much of its coastline is forested. The lake is open to the public for swimming and ice fishing.
Since 1991 the Watson Pond has been listed as part of the Canoe River Aquifer Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.Westport Town Farm
Westport Town Farm is a 40-acre (16 ha) open space preserve and historic farm complex located in Westport, Massachusetts along the bracken East Branch of the Westport River. The property, owned by the town of Westport and managed by the land conservation non-profit organization The Trustees of Reservations through contract since 2007, was once the town's poor farm and local infirmary.
The preserve includes hiking trails, working farmland, salt marsh frontage, an antique farmhouse, dairy barn, corn crib, and stone walls dating back to Colonial times. It is open to hiking, picnicing, cross country skiing, canoeing, and kayaking. The preserve trailhead is located on Drift Road in Westport.Wilde River
Wilde Brook is a stream in Seekonk, Massachusetts and Pawtucket, Rhode Island. It begins at Bitersweet Pond in Seekonk and flows 5.2 miles to its confluence with the Ten Mile River in Pawtucket.
|Gulf of Maine|
|Long Island Sound|
|Upper New York Bay|
Places adjacent to Bristol County, Massachusetts
Municipalities and communities of Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States
Massachusetts public high schools
Italics indicates closed schools