How Many Counties in New Hampshire? Population, Facts & Map

How Many Counties in New Hampshire? Population, Facts & Map

Welcome to the wonderful world of New Hampshire’s counties! Prepare to embark on a journey through the diverse and captivating county landscapes that make up this charming state. Explore the vibrant cities, charming towns, and incorporated places across the United States. From Rockingham to Coos County, each county in NH has its own unique characteristics and stories waiting to be discovered in the towns and incorporated places. Whether you’re exploring a city or a small town, there’s always something new to uncover.

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New Hampshire’s counties are not just about towns and county subdivisions; they are home to a rich tapestry of history, culture, vibrant communities, and incorporated places. Whether you’re exploring the cities or diving into the census data, there is so much to discover in NH. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply curious about the people and places that shape this great state, there is something for everyone within these county borders in the town or city of NH according to the census.

So, get ready to delve into the fascinating tales of New Hampshire’s counties, towns, city, and county subdivisions. From the bustling streets of Rockingham County to the scenic beauty of Coos County, there’s no shortage of surprises in store in this town. Whether you’re exploring the city or taking part in the NH census, you’ll be captivated by the charm and vibrancy of this area. Join us as we explore the hidden gems of nh, tucked away in these nh city and county subdivisions. Discover the charm and beauty of each nh home we encounter on our journey through the Granite State.

List of Current and Former Counties in New Hampshire

In New Hampshire, the county subdivisions, as defined by the county code, have played a significant role in shaping the state’s history and governance. These subdivisions are important for conducting the census and understanding the demographics of the state. Let’s take a closer look at the current and former counties in New Hampshire, including any changes that have occurred to county boundaries over time according to the census data. It is interesting to see how the concept of home has evolved in these areas.

Overview of Current Counties

Currently, there are ten recognized counties in New Hampshire. These county subdivisions, known as census-designated places, serve as administrative divisions within the state and play a crucial role in providing various public services to their residents at home. The ten counties are:

  1. Belknap County
  2. Carroll County
  3. Cheshire County
  4. Coos County
  5. Grafton County
  6. Hillsborough County
  7. Merrimack County
  8. Rockingham County
  9. Strafford County
  10. Sullivan County

Each county, as recorded in the census, has its own unique characteristics and attractions that make it a desirable place to call home. Additionally, local governments play a crucial role in catering to the needs of their respective communities.

Changes in County Boundaries

Over time, there have been changes to home county boundaries in New Hampshire due to various factors such as population growth, political considerations, and geographic features.

One notable change occurred in 1997 when the town of Waterville Valley, a home to many residents, was transferred from Grafton County to Carroll County due to its proximity to other towns within Carroll County.

Another significant change took place back in 1840 when the northern part of Hillsborough County became Merrimack County after the town of Manchester was established as a separate entity.

These boundary adjustments demonstrate how county lines can be modified to better accommodate population distribution and improve administrative efficiency.

Former Counties

While there are currently ten recognized counties in New Hampshire, it is worth noting that there were additional counties that existed in the past but no longer exist today.

One example is Staffordshire (or Straffordshire) County, which was one of the original five counties established by colonial authorities back in 1769. However, it ceased to exist in 1773 when it was divided into five separate counties, including the current Strafford County.

Another former county is Cumberland County, which was established in 1760 and encompassed a significant portion of what is now New Hampshire. However, in 1771, Cumberland County was dissolved, and its territory was divided among other existing counties.

These former counties reflect the changing dynamics of governance and territorial divisions throughout New Hampshire’s history.

Map of New Hampshire Counties

To gain a better understanding of how counties are distributed across New Hampshire, let’s take a look at the map of the state and identify the location and proximity of each county within it.

Visualize the geographical layout of New Hampshire’s counties on a map

Looking at a map can provide us with a visual representation of how New Hampshire’s counties are spread out across the state. By observing the map, we can see that there are ten counties in total: Rockingham, Strafford, Belknap, Merrimack, Hillsborough, Cheshire, Sullivan, Grafton, Coos, and Carroll.

Identify the location and proximity of each county within the state

Each county has its own distinct shape and borders. For instance:

  • Rockingham County is located in the southeastern part of New Hampshire and shares its border with Massachusetts.
  • Strafford County is situated just north of Rockingham County.
  • Belknap County is located in central New Hampshire.
  • Merrimack County is adjacent to Belknap County towards the southeast.
  • Hillsborough County is one of the largest counties in terms of population and covers a significant portion of southern New Hampshire.
  • Cheshire County lies to the west of Hillsborough County.
  • Sullivan County shares its border with both Vermont and Massachusetts.
  • Grafton County occupies much of northern New Hampshire.
  • Coos County is situated in the far north near the Canadian border.
  • Carroll County is positioned in eastern-central New Hampshire.

Gain a better understanding of how counties are distributed across New Hampshire

By examining their locations on a map, we can observe that some counties are clustered together while others are more geographically isolated. For example:

  • Rockingham and Strafford Counties form a contiguous region along with parts of Maine to create an urbanized area known as Greater Boston.
  • In contrast, Coos County is the northernmost county and is more remote due to its proximity to the White Mountains and its distance from other counties.

Understanding the distribution of counties in New Hampshire can provide insights into various aspects, such as population density, economic development, and political representation. It allows us to see how different regions within the state are organized administratively and geographically.

Population and Geographic Information of New Hampshire Counties

Let’s take a closer look at the data for each county, including their population size, land area coverage, and population density.

Population Data for Each County

New Hampshire is divided into ten counties, each with its own unique characteristics. Here is a breakdown of the population data for each county:

  1. Belknap County: With a total population of approximately 61,000 residents.
  2. Carroll County: Home to around 48,000 people.
  3. Cheshire County: Boasting a population of about 76,000 individuals.
  4. Coos County: The largest county in terms of land area but has a smaller population size of roughly 31,000 residents.
  5. Grafton County: Houses around 90,000 inhabitants.
  6. Hillsborough County: The most populous county in New Hampshire with over 420,000 residents.
  7. Merrimack County: Approximately 152,000 people call this county home.
  8. Rockingham County: Another highly populated county with more than 310,000 individuals residing here.
  9. Strafford County: Hosting around 130,000 residents.
  10. Sullivan County: The smallest in terms of both land area and population size with roughly 43,000 inhabitants.

Land Area Coverage by Each County

The counties in New Hampshire vary not only in terms of their populations but also in land area coverage measured in square miles:

  • Belknap County covers an area of approximately 400 square miles.
  • Carroll County spans around 930 square miles.
  • Cheshire County stretches across roughly 700 square miles.
  • Coos County is the largest county by land area and covers about 1,800 square miles.
  • Grafton County encompasses approximately 1,700 square miles.
  • Hillsborough County has a land area of around 880 square miles.
  • Merrimack County covers roughly 930 square miles.
  • Rockingham County spans approximately 700 square miles.
  • Strafford County encompasses around 380 square miles.
  • Sullivan County is the smallest county in terms of land area, covering about 540 square miles.

Population Density Variation

Population density refers to the number of people per unit of land area. Let’s explore how population density varies among different counties in New Hampshire:

  • Hillsborough County has the highest population density due to its large population and relatively smaller land area. This means that there are more people living in a smaller space compared to other counties.
  • Coos County, on the other hand, has a lower population density as it has a larger land area but a smaller population size. This results in fewer people spread out across a larger space.

It is interesting to note how population density can differ significantly within a state, highlighting the diverse landscapes and communities found throughout New Hampshire.

Historical Facts about Belknap, Merrimack, and Hillsborough Counties

Uncover fascinating historical facts specific to Belknap County.

Belknap County, located in the heart of New Hampshire, is steeped in rich history. One fascinating historical fact about Belknap County is its origin story. It was named after Dr. Jeremy Belknap, a renowned historian and clergyman who played a significant role in documenting the early history of New Hampshire.

Another intriguing aspect of Belknap County’s past is its connection to the Native American tribes that once inhabited the area. The region was home to several Native American tribes, including the Abenaki people. These tribes left behind traces of their culture and heritage throughout the county.

In addition to its Native American roots, Belknap County has a strong agricultural history. The fertile lands in this region have long been used for farming and agriculture. In fact, many historic farms still exist today, preserving the county’s agricultural heritage.

Explore interesting tidbits about Merrimack County’s past.

Merrimack County boasts a rich and diverse history that spans centuries. One interesting tidbit about Merrimack County is its connection to famous American author Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hawthorne spent time living in Concord, which is located in Merrimack County when he wrote his iconic novel “The Scarlet Letter.” Visitors can explore sites related to Hawthorne’s life and work while immersing themselves in the county’s literary history.

Another notable aspect of Merrimack County’s past is its involvement in the Industrial Revolution. The county was home to numerous mills and factories during this transformative period in American history. These industrial sites played a crucial role in shaping not only Merrimack County but also the entire state of New Hampshire.

Delve into notable historical events related to Hillsborough County.

Hillsborough County has witnessed significant historical events that have shaped the region and the nation as a whole. One notable event is the Battle of Bennington, which took place during the American Revolutionary War. Although Bennington itself is located in Vermont, this battle had a profound impact on Hillsborough County and its residents.

Hillsborough County played a crucial role in the abolitionist movement and the fight against slavery. Many prominent abolitionists called this county home, including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Their efforts to combat slavery left an indelible mark on Hillsborough County’s history.

Furthermore, Hillsborough County has a strong connection to the early days of railroads in America. The first railroad line in New Hampshire was constructed in Amherst, located in Hillsborough County. This development revolutionized transportation and had far-reaching implications for trade and commerce throughout the region.

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas in New Hampshire

In addition to its counties, New Hampshire is also divided into metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas (MSAs and μSAs). These statistical areas play a significant role in understanding the economic development and urbanization of the state. Let’s delve into what MSAs and μSAs are, as well as their contributions to New Hampshire.

Learn about Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in New Hampshire

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are regions that consist of one or more cities with a high degree of social and economic integration. In New Hampshire, there are two MSAs: Manchester-Nashua MSA and Boston-Cambridge-Newton MSA.

  1. Manchester-Nashua MSA: This MSA encompasses Hillsborough County, including the cities of Manchester, Nashua, and surrounding towns. It is the most populous region in the state, known for its diverse industries such as healthcare, education, technology, manufacturing, and finance.
  2. Boston-Cambridge-Newton MSA: While not entirely within New Hampshire’s borders, this MSA extends into Rockingham County. It includes several cities like Portsmouth and Hampton. Being part of the Greater Boston area provides residents with access to a wide range of employment opportunities across various sectors.

Discover Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs) within the State

Micropolitan Statistical Areas (μSAs) are smaller regions centered around an urban cluster with a population between 10,000 and 50,000 people. In New Hampshire, there are three designated μSAs:

  1. Berlin μSA: Located in Coos County near the Canadian border, Berlin is an industrial town known for its rich history in paper manufacturing. Despite facing economic challenges over the years due to industry shifts, it continues to be an important hub for local businesses.
  2. Claremont-Lebanon μSA: This μSA encompasses parts of Sullivan and Grafton counties, including the cities of Claremont and Lebanon. The area is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and a growing healthcare industry.
  3. Laconia μSA: Situated in Belknap County, the Laconia μSA includes the city of Laconia and surrounding towns. It is renowned for its picturesque lakeside location and serves as a popular tourist destination during the summer months.

Understand How These Statistical Areas Contribute to Economic Development

MSAs and μSAs play a vital role in driving economic development within New Hampshire. They attract businesses, create job opportunities, and contribute to the overall growth of the state’s economy. Here are some ways in which these statistical areas contribute:

  • Employment Opportunities: MSAs provide a diverse range of industries that offer employment opportunities across various sectors. This attracts skilled workers and fosters economic growth.
  • Infrastructure Development: The concentration of population in MSAs and selected urban clusters within μSAs leads to infrastructure development such as transportation networks, educational institutions, healthcare facilities, and commercial centers.
  • Business Clusters: MSAs often become hubs for specific industries or business clusters due to their favorable conditions such as access to resources, talent pool, and market proximity. This concentration promotes innovation, collaboration, and competition among businesses.
  • Tourism Revenue

Origins of County Names in New Hampshire

Have you ever wondered why certain counties in New Hampshire have such unique names? Well, let’s dive into the fascinating origins behind these county names and how they were influenced by prominent individuals or places.

Prominent Individuals Leaving a Legacy

Many of the counties in New Hampshire were named after influential historical figures who left a lasting impact on the state. These individuals played significant roles in shaping the history and development of their respective regions. For example:

  • Rockingham County: Named after Charles Watson-Wentworth, the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, who served as British Prime Minister during the American Revolutionary War.
  • Strafford County: Named after Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford, an English statesman known for his role as Lord Deputy of Ireland.
  • Grafton County: Named after Augustus FitzRoy, 3rd Duke of Grafton, who served as British Prime Minister from 1768 to 1770.

These county names serve as a tribute to these influential figures and their contributions to history.

Places That Shaped History

Some counties in New Hampshire derive their names from important geographical locations or landmarks within those areas. These place-based names provide insight into the significance of these locations throughout history. Here are a few examples:

  • Merrimack County: Named after the Merrimack River, which flows through several towns within this county. The river played a crucial role in powering mills during the Industrial Revolution.
  • Belknap County: Named after Jeremy Belknap, an early historian and clergyman who wrote extensively about New Hampshire’s history.
  • Carroll County: Named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.

By naming these counties after notable places within their boundaries, there is an acknowledgment and celebration of the historical and geographical significance of these areas.

Unique Names with Rich Histories

New Hampshire also has counties with names that may not immediately reveal their origins. These unique names often have intriguing stories behind them:

  • Cheshire County: Named after Cheshire, England, which is known for its picturesque countryside and historic architecture.
  • Coos County: Derived from an Abenaki word meaning “small pines,” paying homage to the region’s natural beauty.
  • Sullivan County: Named after General John Sullivan, a Revolutionary War hero who later became Governor of New Hampshire.

These distinctive county names add character and reflect the diverse history of New Hampshire.

Understanding New Hampshire’s County Landscape

Congratulations! You’ve now gained a comprehensive understanding of New Hampshire’s county landscape. From learning about the current and former counties to exploring their population and geographic information, you’re equipped with valuable knowledge about this beautiful state. You’ve also delved into historical facts about specific counties like Belknap, Merrimack, and Hillsborough, as well as discovered the metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas in New Hampshire. Lastly, you’ve explored the origins of county names in this region.

Now that you have a deeper understanding of New Hampshire’s counties, it’s time to explore this remarkable state for yourself. Whether you’re planning a visit or considering relocating, take advantage of the diverse landscapes and rich history that each county has to offer. Discover hidden gems tucked away in small towns or immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of bustling cities. The choice is yours!


How can I explore the natural beauty of New Hampshire?

To fully experience the natural beauty of New Hampshire, make sure to visit popular destinations such as White Mountain National Forest, Franconia Notch State Park, or Mount Monadnock State Park. These locations offer breathtaking views, hiking trails for all skill levels, and opportunities for outdoor activities like camping and fishing.

Are there any famous landmarks in New Hampshire?

Yes! One notable landmark is the Old Man of the Mountain site located in Franconia Notch State Park. Although the iconic rock formation collapsed in 2003, visitors can still appreciate its significance through an interactive memorial at the site.

What are some unique cultural experiences I can have in New Hampshire?

New Hampshire offers various cultural experiences such as attending summer music festivals like Prescott Park Arts Festival or exploring historic sites like Strawberry Banke Museum in Portsmouth. Don’t miss out on trying local delicacies including maple syrup products and fresh seafood from coastal regions.

Can I go skiing in New Hampshire?

Absolutely! New Hampshire is renowned for its ski resorts. Popular destinations for skiing and snowboarding include Loon Mountain, Bretton Woods, and Waterville Valley Resort. These resorts offer slopes suitable for all skill levels, making it a great destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

What are the best times to visit New Hampshire?

New Hampshire experiences beautiful foliage during the fall season, making it an ideal time to witness stunning autumn colors. Summer offers pleasant weather for outdoor activities, while winter attracts visitors who enjoy skiing and other winter sports. Consider your preferences and plan accordingly!

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