Franklin County, Massachusetts
Franklin County is a nongovernmental county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 71,372, which makes it the least-populous county on the Massachusetts mainland, and the third-least populous county in the state. Its traditional county seat and most populous city is Greenfield. Its largest town by area is New Salem.
|County of Franklin|
Franklin County Courthouse in Greenfield
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Coordinates: 42°35′13″N 72°34′26″W|
|Named for||Benjamin Franklin|
|• Total||725 sq mi (1,880 km2)|
|• Land||699 sq mi (1,810 km2)|
|• Water||25 sq mi (60 km2) 3.5%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||97/sq mi (37/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd|
Franklin County was created on June 24, 1811 from the northern third of Hampshire County. It was named for Benjamin Franklin. Franklin County's government was abolished by the state government in 1997, at the county's request.
Law and government
Like several other Massachusetts counties, Franklin County exists today only as a geographic region and has no county government. The Franklin County Commission voted itself out of existence, and all former state-mandated county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1997. The sheriff and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region. Counties in Massachusetts and New England generally are historically weak governmental structures. The primary subdivision of the Commonwealth is the municipal town. Communities are permitted to form regional compacts for sharing services. The municipalities of Franklin County have formed the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. The regional council provides various services on a regional basis, and a majority of the county's towns are members of the Franklin County Solid Waste Management District, which provides municipal waste disposal and recycling services to its members. Public transportation throughout the county and in the North Quabbin area of northwestern Worcester County is provided by the Franklin Regional Transit Authority.
|Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 17, 2018|
|Party||Number of Voters||Percentage|
Geography and climate
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 724.57 square miles (1,876.6 km2), of which 699 square miles (1,810 km2) is land, 25 square miles (65 km2) and (3.5%) is water. Central and southern Franklin County is dominated by the northern end of the Pioneer Valley, with steep hills rising on either side of the Connecticut River.
The climate in Franklin County is typically cool temperate. The area is also somewhat maritime, with relatively high year-round precipitation. Summers are warm and humid with frequent evening storms, and winters are cool to cold with frequent snow and subfreezing (below 31F) temperatures.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 71,535 people, 29,466 households, and 18,416 families residing in the county. The population density was 102 people per square mile (39/km²). There were 31,939 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 95.40% White, 0.89% Black or African American, 0.29% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. 1.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.2% were of English, 12.2% Irish, 12.0% Polish, 10.2% French, 7.0% French Canadian, 6.7% German, 6.1% Italian and 6.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. Most of those claiming to be of "American" ancestry are actually of English descent, but have family that has been in the country for so long, in many cases since the early seventeenth century that they choose to identify simply as "American". 94.5% spoke English and 1.8% Spanish as their first language.
There were 29,466 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.5% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $40,768, and the median income for a family was $50,915. Males had a median income of $36,350 versus $27,228 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,672. About 6.5% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 71,372 people, 30,462 households, and 18,317 families residing in the county. The population density was 102.1 inhabitants per square mile (39.4/km2). There were 33,758 housing units at an average density of 48.3 per square mile (18.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.2% white, 1.3% Asian, 1.1% black, 0.3% American Indian, 1.0% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 3.2% of the population. The largest ancestry groups were:
Of the 30,462 households, 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 10.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 39.9% were non-families, and 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.85. The median age was 44.2 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $52,002 and the median income for a family was $65,760. Males had a median income of $45,480 versus $37,309 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,544. About 7.7% of families and 11.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
Demographic breakdown by town
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.
Franklin County is served by buses run by the Franklin Regional Transit Authority. Southeastern Franklin County is also served by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, with transportation to destinations in neighboring Hampshire County.
- David Dunnels White, Medal of Honor nominee for capturing Major General Custis Lee, son of Robert E. Lee, at the Battle of Sailors Creek, Virginia, April 6, 1865. He was born in Cheshire, Massachusetts, in 1844, and is buried in the Bozrah Cemetery in East Hawley, Massachusetts, in 1924.
- Greenfield (traditional county seat)
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In New England the state and municipalities/townships were most prominent; counties drew almost a complete blank, reflecting their historically weak or non-existent position in that region.
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- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Franklin County, Massachusetts.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Franklin County (Massachusetts).|
- National Register of Historic Places listing for Franklin Co., Massachusetts
- Map of cities and towns of Massachusetts
- Franklin Regional Council of Governments website
- Franklin County Solid Waste Management District website
- Franklin Regional Transit Authority website
- Franklin County Chamber of Commerce website
- Wall & Gray. 1871. Atlas of Massachusetts. Map of Massachusetts. USA. New England. Counties – Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden, Worcester, Middlesex, Essex and Norfolk, Boston - Suffolk, Plymouth, Bristol, Barnstable and Dukes (Cape Cod). Cities – Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill, Newburyport, Salem, Lynn, Taunton, Fall River. New Bedford. These 1871 maps of the counties and cities are useful to see the roads and rail lines.
- Beers, D.G. 1872. Atlas of Essex County Map of Massachusetts Plate 5. Click on the map for a very large image.