Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

Hillsborough County, New Hampshire

Hillsborough County Courthouse in Nashua

Map of New Hampshire highlighting Hillsborough County
Location in the U.S. state of New Hampshire
Map of the United States highlighting New Hampshire
New Hampshire's location in the U.S.
Founded 1769
Named for The Earl of Hillsborough
Seat Manchester and Nashua
Largest city Manchester (by population)
Weare (by area)
  Total 892 sq mi (2,310 km2)
  Land 876 sq mi (2,269 km2)
  Water 16 sq mi (41 km2), 1.8%
Population (est.)
  (2013) 403,985
  Density 457/sq mi (176/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.hillsboroughcountynh.org

Hillsborough County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. As of the 2010 census, the population was 400,721.[1] Its county seats are Manchester and Nashua. Hillsborough is northern New England's most populous county as well as its most densely populated.

Hillsborough County comprises the Manchester-Nashua, NH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.


Hillsborough was one of the five original counties identified for New Hampshire in 1769, and was named for Wills Hill, the Earl of Hillsborough who was British Secretary of State for the Colonies at the time. The county was organized at Amherst on March 19, 1771. In 1823 a number of towns were removed to become part of Merrimack County. Over several years ending in 1869, county administrative functions were moved from Amherst first to Milford in 1866 then to the current seats of Manchester and Nashua.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 892 square miles (2,310 km2), of which 876 square miles (2,270 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (1.8%) is water.[2] The highest point in Hillsborough county is Pack Monadnock Mountain at 2,290 feet (700 m).

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 2015406,678[3]1.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[4]
1790-1960[5] 1900-1990[6]
1990-2000[7] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 400,721 people, 155,466 households, and 103,959 families residing in the county.[8] The population density was 457.4 inhabitants per square mile (176.6/km2). There were 166,053 housing units at an average density of 189.5 per square mile (73.2/km2).[9] The racial makeup of the county was 90.4% white, 3.2% Asian, 2.1% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 2.1% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 5.3% of the population.[8] In terms of ancestry, 22.8% were Irish, 15.0% were English, 10.4% were Italian, 10.2% were French Canadian, 8.9% were German, and 3.6% were American.[10]

Of the 155,466 households, 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.1% were non-families, and 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.05. The median age was 39.3 years.[8]

The median income for a household in the county was $69,321 and the median income for a family was $81,794. Males had a median income of $55,859 versus $40,328 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,108. About 5.2% of families and 7.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.9% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.[11]


Hillsborough County vote
by party in presidential elections
2012 48.6% 99,991 49.7% 102,247
2008 47.5% 97,178 51.2% 104,820
2004 51.0% 99,724 48.1% 94,121
2000 48.7% 80,649 46.8% 77,625
1996 40.5% 59,441 48.6% 71,282
1992 39.0% 61,620 37.0% 58,470
1988 65.0% 88,261 33.7% 45,799
1984 70.7% 81,462 28.9% 33,314
1980 59.8% 68,994 27.6% 31,789
1976 53.1% 53,581 45.1% 45,544
1972 64.4% 65,274 34.3% 34,739
1968 46.0% 42,409 49.3% 45,423
1964 32.9% 29,503 67.1% 60,236
1960 42.4% 38,430 57.6% 52,135

Long the most populated county in New Hampshire, Hillsborough County has played a vital role in shaping the state's politics as a whole, although it has shifted in its own leanings over the years. Historically a Republican county going back to the 19th century, the county's more urban population made it receptive to Democrats in the early 20th century at a time when much of New England was solidly Republican. The county- and the state as a whole- voted Republican in every election since the founding of the Republican Party in 1856 until 1912, when both the county and the state were won by Democrat Woodrow Wilson. Four years later, Wilson's margin of victory in Hillsborough County enabled him to narrowly win the state as a whole despite losing the majority of counties, and making New Hampshire the only state to vote Democratic in New England and the entire Northeast in 1916.

In 1928, Hillsborough was the only county in New Hampshire to vote for Democrat Al Smith over Republican Herbert Hoover, and in the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt would solidify Democratic dominance there. In 1936, FDR would carry only 3 of New Hampshire's 10 counties, but his strong win in Hillsborough allowed him to narrowly win the state while neighboring Vermont and Maine were the only states in the nation to vote against him. In the 1940s, Roosevelt would take over 60% of the vote Hillsborough County, allowing him to win the state of New Hampshire by more comfortable margins in 1940 and 1944. The county would vote Democratic in every presidential election that followed until the 1970s, except for a win by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, although it was still the only county in the state where Eisenhower failed to break 60% of the vote.

In the 1970s, shifting partisan allegiances and the growth of conservative Boston exurbs in southern New Hampshire caused a dramatic shift in Hillsborough County's politics, which also caused the state as a whole to become more conservative. Beginning in 1972, the county became reliably Republican in presidential elections, peaking in 1984, when Ronald Reagan would take over 70% of the vote there.

Although still one of the more Republican regions of the state, in the following years Democrats have made inroads and today it is an important swing county. Both Republicans George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush would win it twice each, but Democrat Bill Clinton won it in 1996, and Barack Obama has won it twice in both 2008 and 2012, bolstering his wins of the state's electoral votes each time. In the 2012 presidential election, Time had listed Hillsborough as one of five critical counties affecting the outcome in the swing state of New Hampshire. Obama ended up winning with a margin of 50%-49%.[12]




Census-designated places


See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 24, 2013.
  2. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  3. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  4. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 11, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  5. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  6. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  7. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  8. 1 2 3 "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  9. "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  10. "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  11. "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  12. "The White House - Obama's Path to Victory", Time, pp. 16–17, November 19, 2012
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Coordinates: 42°55′N 71°43′W / 42.92°N 71.72°W / 42.92; -71.72

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