HOME – Hampshire County MA

Hampshire County is a non-governmental county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 2000, the population was 152,251. Its most populous municipality is Amherst and its county seat is Northampton.[1]Hampshire County is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Law and government

Hampshire County was formed in 1662 out of Middlesex County, an original county of the Massachusetts Bay Colony which organized counties in 1643. Like a number of Massachusetts counties, Hampshire County exists today only as a historical geographic region and a judicial district and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, yet there is no county council or commissioner. However, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. Hampshire County and Hampden County are part of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

See also: League of Women Voters page on Massachusetts counties and Hampshire Council of Governments.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 545 square miles (1,413 km²), of which, 529 square miles (1,370 km²) of it is land and 16 square miles (42 km²) of it (3.01%) is water.

Hampshire County is the middle section of the Pioneer Valley.

Adjacent counties

Hampshire County is the only county in Massachusetts surrounded in all directions by other counties of Massachusetts: all other counties in the state are adjacent to at least one other state or the open ocean.


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 58,820
1910 63,327 7.7%
1920 69,599 9.9%
1930 72,801 4.6%
1940 72,461 ?0.5%
1950 87,594 20.9%
1960 103,229 17.8%
1970 123,981 20.1%
1980 138,813 12.0%
1990 146,568 5.6%
2000 152,251 3.9%
Est. 2008 154,983 1.8%

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 152,251 people, 55,991 households, and 33,818 families residing in the county. The population density was 288 people per square mile (111/km²). There were 58,644 housing units at an average density of 111 per square mile (43/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.10% White, 1.96% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 3.40% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.50% from other races, and 1.80% from two or more races. 3.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 14.7% were of Irish, 12.8% Polish, 9.6% English, 9.5% French, 8.5% French Canadian, 6.9% Italian and 6.4% German ancestry according to Census 2000. 88.8% spoke English, 3.4% Spanish, 1.7% French and 1.4% Polish as their first language.

There were 55,991 households out of which 28.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.40% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.60% were non-families. 28.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the county the population was spread out with 19.60% under the age of 18, 19.30% from 18 to 24, 26.80% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 87.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,098, and the median income for a family was $57,480. Males had a median income of $39,327 versus $30,362 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,685. About 5.10% of families and 9.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.20% of those under age 18 and 6.70% of those age 65 or over.

Cities, towns, and villages*

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

The Five Colleges

Hampshire County is notable for the presence within its borders of the “Five Colleges,” comprising the University of Massachusetts flagship campus and four well-known private colleges:

A consortium, Five Colleges, Inc., provides easy course cross-registration and free bus service between the campuses.

External links

from wikipedia

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