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Hampden County, Massachusetts
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Hampden County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of USA MA
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded 1812
Seat Springfield
County government abolished in 1998
Largest city Springfield
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

634.12 sq mi (1,642 km²)
618.40 sq mi (1,602 km²)
15.71 sq mi (41 km²), 2.48%
 - (2010)
 - Density

750/sq mi (289/km²)

Hampden County is a non-governmental county located in the Knowledge Corridor of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, Hampden County's population was 463,490. Its traditional county seat is Springfield, the Connecticut River Valley's largest city, and economic and cultural capital. Hampden County was split from Hampshire County in 1812, because Northampton, Massachusetts was made Hampshire County's "shire town" in 1794; however, Springfield - theretofore Hampshire County's traditional shire town, dating back to its founding in 1636 - grew at a pace far quicker than Northampton and was granted shire town-status over its own, southerly jurisdiction. To the north of Hampden County is modern-day Hampshire County; to the south is Hartford County, Connecticut. To the west of Hampden County are The Berkshires; to the east of is Worcester County.

Hampden County is part of the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the most urban county in Western Massachusetts. The Knowledge Corridor surrounding Springfield-Hartford is New England's second most populous urban area (after Greater Boston) with 1.9 million people.

Law and government Edit

Like an increasing number of Massachusetts counties, Hampden County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1998. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council or commissioner. Communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. Hampden County and Hampshire County together are part of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission.

See also: MassGov page on counties.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 13, 2010[1]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 116,645 39.66%
  Republican 38,458 13.08%
  Unaffiliated 137,244 46.67%
  Minor Parties 2,177 0.60%
Total 294,099 100%


Presidential election results[2]
Year Democrat Republican
2008 61.4% 121,454 36.1% 71,350
2004 60.9% 113,710 38.0% 70,925
2000 58.2% 100,103 34.6% 59,558


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 634.12 square miles (1,642.4 km2), of which 618.40 square miles (1,601.6 km2) (or 97.52%) is land and 15.71 square miles (40.7 km2) (or 2.48%) is water.[3]

Adjacent countiesEdit

National ParksEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 28,021
1830 31,639 12.9%
1840 37,366 18.1%
1850 51,283 37.2%
1860 57,366 11.9%
1870 78,409 36.7%
1880 104,142 32.8%
1890 135,713 30.3%
1900 175,603 29.4%
1910 231,369 31.8%
1920 300,305 29.8%
1930 335,496 11.7%
1940 332,107 −1.0%
1950 367,971 10.8%
1960 429,353 16.7%
1970 459,050 6.9%
1980 443,018 −3.5%
1990 456,310 3.0%
2000 456,228 0%
2010 463,490 1.6%

As of the census[7] of 2004, there were 461,228 people, 175,288 households, and 115,690 families residing in the county. The population density was 738 people per square mile (285/km²). There were 185,876 housing units at an average density of 301 per square mile (116/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.10% White, 8.10% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 1.30% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 8.85% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 15.17% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.3% were of Irish, 10.9% Polish, 10.2% Italian, 9.6% French, 7.5% French Canadian and 5.6% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 77.9% spoke English, 13.0% Spanish, 1.8% Polish, 1.6% French, 1.4% Portuguese and 1.0% Russian as their first language.

There were 175,288 households out of which 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.80% were married couples living together, 15.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.00% were non-families. 28.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county the age distribution of the population shows 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,718, and the median income for a family was $49,257. Males had a median income of $37,676 versus $27,621 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,541. About 11.40% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.70% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.

Culture Edit

Springfield and Greater SpringfieldEdit

Hampden County is the economic and cultural center of Western Massachusetts. Its largest city -- and economic, civic, and recreational capital of the region is Springfield. The City of Springfield is the largest on the Connecticut River, New England's longest and largest river. Springfield has played a important role throughout American history, and today features many sites of historic and general interest. As of 2011, Springfield is also several years into an economic and cultural resurgence that began during the new millennium, in conjunction with Springfield and Hartford, Connecticut - which is located only 23.9 miles (38 km) south -- forming the Knowledge Corridor metropolitan region. The two cities which once competed for similar businesses have, in the past decade, taken on more complementary roles, with Hartford increasingly defining itself as a business center and Springfield increasingly defining itself as a recreational center. [8] Whereas Hartford features a post-modern skyline and relatively wider thoroughfares, Springfield has retained its human-scale, Victorian architecture and features and increasingly lively Metro Center.

Worldwide, Springfield is best known as the birthplace of the sport of basketball. The Basketball Hall of Fame sits on its riverfront in a $45 million shrine built in 2003. Previous to basketball's popularity boom in the 1980s, Springfield was best known as the site of the Springfield Armory, a site selected by George Washington and Henry Knox in 1777. Closed controversially during the Vietnam War, the Springfield Armory National Park features the largest collection of historic firearms in the world, and has been the site of numerous technical innovations -- including the first uses of interchangeable parts and assembly line mass production. The Springfield Armory helped to give Springfield its nickname, "The City of Firsts," catalyzing developments like the lathe, (Thomas Blanchard, 1819;) the first, American car (1825, Thomas Blanchard;) numerous editions of the Springfield rifle; the gasoline-powered automobile, (1893, the Duryea brothers;) the first successful motorcycle, (1901, "Indian" motorcycle;) and the first modern fire engine and fire department, (1905 & 1907, Knox Automobile and the Springfield Fire Department.) [9]

Other Springfield attractions include The Quadrangle - an impressive museum and outdoor sculpture complex, particularly for a city of only 160,000 residents. The Quadrangle includes five museums located around the Dr. Seuss Memorial sculpture garden -- featuring, in particular, two world-class art museums and one world-class science museum that includes the first U.S. planetarium. The site also features one of Augustus Saint-Gaudens most famous outdoor bronze statues, The Puritan, depicting early Springfield settler, Deacon Samuel Chapin.

Forest Park near the southern border of the city, is, at 735 acres, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. It was designed in 1891 by Frederick Law Olmsted, the designer of New York City's Central Park.

Springfield is a city of festivals, featuring a festival nearly every week during the warmer months, and at least monthly during the cooler months. Regardless of the time of year, Springfield's 60-establishment Club Quarter is features bars, discos, restaurants, live music, comedy, and theater. The innovative Springfield Symphony Orchestra plays in a Greek Revival Symphony Hall renowned for its "perfect acoustics." One can watch off-Broadway plays at City Stage on Main Street, or see live comedy at Rascal's at Monarch Place.

Most of Springfield's sites are located in its Metro Center district; however, its famous "City of Homes" architecture is found mostly in neighborhoods like Forest Park, the neighborhood surrounding the park -- and the Quadrangle-Mattoon Street Historic District. The heart of Springfield is Court Square, across from which is the MassMutual Center, named for the Fortune 100 company located in Springfield's Pine Point neighborhood. Springfield is also home to six universities: Springfield College, American International College, Western New England University, Tufts University School of Medicine, UMass Amherst's School of Urban Design, and Springfield Technical Community College, which draw over 20,000 university students to the city annually.

The Town of Agawam, across the South End bridge from Springfield, is the site of Six Flags New England, which is located beside the Connecticut River. Six Flags New England features 10 roller coasters, including the #1 ranked roller-coaster in the world, the Bizarro. It also features a large water park and seasonal events. Excepting Six Flags New England, Agawam is mostly suburban in character.

The Town of West Springfield - technically a city under Massachusetts law - across the Springfield Memorial Bridge and North End Bridge from Springfield, features a mix of urban and suburban development. Its most prominent cultural attraction is the New England States' collective State Fair, The Big E -- the only U.S. fair that includes the participation of more than one state. The 6th largest agricultural fair in the United States, the Big E features rides, games, food, animal shows and various other exhibits. The Avenue of the States features replica state houses of all six New England State Houses, each of which is owned by the particular state. During the Big E, which generally lasts from September 15-October 1 each year, these buildings serve as consulates representing each New England state. Also, the Big E features Storrowton Village, a replica 19th century New England village.

The Town of Longmeadow, bordering Springfield to the south, is the region's most affluent suburb. It is the site of Bay Path College, and dozens of historic homes along Longmeadow Street.

The City of Chicopee, bordering Springfield to the north, is home to Westover Air Reserve Base and Westover Metropolitan Airport, Hampden County's largest airport. (Bradley International Airport, the Knowledge Corridor's largest airport, sits 12 miles south of Springfield in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.) Chicopee hosts the Catholic Elms College, and features a mix of urban and suburban developments.

The City of Westfield features Westfield State University, an institution founded by the renowned education reformer Horace Mann. It was the first institution in the country to admit people regardless of sex, race, age, religion, or economic status. Westfield too features a mix of urban, suburban, and even rural development -- at 48 square miles, it is the largest place in Western Massachusetts. (Plymouth is the largest place in Massachusetts at 96 square miles.)

The City of Holyoke -- one of the first planned, industrial cities in the United States -- features numerous the Holyoke Canal System and numerous bars and nightclubs downtown. As of 2011, Holyoke is in the early stages of an urban revitalization, with high-tech and water power catalyzing its resurgence. Interestingly, while the City of Holyoke currently has a predominately Puerto Rican population, it hosts the second largest St. Patrick's Day parade in the United States, attracting over 400,000 people annually. The city is also home to Holyoke Community College, which educates approximately 6,500 students.

Other towns in Hampden County are located either in the "Springfield Mountains" to the east of the city, or in the foothills of The Berkshires, to the west of the city. Predominately suburban or rural in character, each of these towns feature unique histories and sites. For example, Ludlow, Massachusetts features a large and centralized Portugese diaspora. Palmer, Massachusetts is a well-known railroad city, and also the site of a proposed Mohegan Sun casino. Wilbraham, Massachusetts is a genteel suburb.

Largest CitiesEdit

12 largest cities (2010)

  • Springfield (city) = 153,060
  • Chicopee (city) = 55,298
  • Westfield (city) = 41,094
  • Holyoke (city) = 39,880
  • Agawam (city) = 28,438
  • West Springfield (city) = 28,391
  • Ludlow (town) = 21,103
  • Longmeadow (town) = 15,784
  • East Longmeadow (town) = 15,720
  • Wilbraham (town) = 14, 219
  • Palmer (city) = 12,140
  • Southwick (city) = 9,502

Cities, towns, subdivisions and villages* Edit

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 13, 2010" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  2. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  3. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^
  9. ^

External linksEdit

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Coordinates: 42°08′N 72°38′W / 42.14, -72.63

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Hampden County, Massachusetts. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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