New Hampshire

Cities

New Hampshire

New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. Of the 50 U.S. states, New Hampshire is the fifth smallest by area and the tenth least populous, with slightly more than 1.3 million residents. Concord is the state capital, while Manchester is the largest city. New Hampshire’s motto, “Live Free or Die”, reflects its role in the American Revolutionary War; its nickname, “The Granite State”, refers to its extensive granite formations and quarries. It is best known nationwide for holding the first primary (after the Iowa caucus) in the U.S. presidential election cycle.

New Hampshire is part of the six-state New England region of the Northeastern United States. It is bounded by Quebec, Canada, to the north and northwest; Maine and the Gulf of Maine to the east; Massachusetts to the south; and Vermont to the west. New Hampshire’s major regions are the Great North Woods, the White Mountains, the Lakes Region, the Seacoast, the Merrimack Valley, the Monadnock Region, and the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee

area. New Hampshire has the shortest ocean coastline of any U.S. coastal state, with a length of 18 miles (29 km), sometimes measured as only 13 miles (21 km).

The White Mountains range in New Hampshire spans the north-central portion of the state. The range includes Mount Washington, the tallest in the northeastern U.S.—site of the second-highest wind speed ever recorded—as well as Mount Adams and Mount Jefferson. With hurricane-force winds every third day on average, more than a hundred recorded deaths among visitors, and conspicuous krumholtz (dwarf, matted trees much like a carpet of bonsai trees), the climate on the upper reaches of Mount Washington has inspired the weather observatory on the peak to claim that the area has the “World’s Worst Weather”. The White Mountains were home to the rock formation called the Old Man of the Mountain, a face-like profile in Franconia Notch, until the formation disintegrated in May 2003. Even after its loss, the Old Man remains an enduring symbol for the state, seen on state highway signs, automobile license plates, and many government and private entities around New Hampshire.

Climate

New Hampshire experiences a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa in some southern areas, Dfb in most of the state, and Dfc subarctic in some northern highland areas), with warm, humid summers, and long, cold, and snowy winters. Precipitation is fairly evenly distributed all year. The climate of the southeastern portion is moderated by the Atlantic Ocean and averages relatively milder winters (for New Hampshire), while the northern and interior portions experience colder temperatures and lower humidity. Winters are cold and snowy throughout the state, and especially severe in the northern and mountainous areas. Average annual snowfall ranges from 60 inches (150 cm) to over 100 inches (250 cm) across the state.

Average daytime highs are in the mid 70s°F to low 80s°F (24–28 °C) throughout the state in July, with overnight lows in the mid 50s°F to low 60s°F (13–15 °C). January temperatures range from an average high of 34 °F (1 °C) on the coast to overnight lows below 0 °F (−18 °C) in the far north and at high elevations. Average annual precipitation statewide is roughly 40 inches (100 cm) with some variation occurring in the White Mountains due to differences in elevation and annual snowfall. New Hampshire’s highest recorded temperature was 106 °F (41 °C) in Nashua on July 4, 1911, while the lowest recorded temperature was −47 °F (−44 °C) atop Mount Washington on January 29, 1934. Mount Washington also saw an unofficial −50 °F (−46 °C) reading on January 22, 1885, which, if made official, would tie the all-time record low for New England (also −50 °F (−46 °C) at Big Black River, Maine, on January 16, 2009, and Bloomfield, Vermont on December 30, 1933).

Metropolitan Areas

Metropolitan areas in the New England region are defined by the U.S. Census Bureau as New England City and Town Areas (NECTAs). The following is a list of NECTAs fully or partially in New Hampshire:

  • Berlin
  • Boston–Cambridge–Nashua
    • Haverhill–Newburyport–Amesbury Town NECTA Division
    • Lawrence–Methuen Town–Salem NECTA Division
    • Lowell–Billerica–Chelmsford NECTA Division
    • Nashua NECTA Division
  • Claremont
  • Concord
  • Dover–Durham
  • Franklin
  • Keene
  • Laconia
  • Lebanon
  • Manchester
  • Portsmouth

Demographics

Population

As of the 2020 census, the resident population of New Hampshire was 1,377,529, a 4.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The center of population of New Hampshire is in Merrimack County, in the town of Pembroke. The center of population has moved south 12 miles (19 km) since 1950, a reflection of the fact that the state's fastest growth has been along its southern border, which is within commuting range of Boston and other Massachusetts cities.

The most densely populated areas generally lie within 50 miles (80 km) of the Massachusetts border, and are concentrated in two areas: along the Merrimack River Valley running from Concord to Nashua, and in the Seacoast Region along an axis stretching from Rochester to Portsmouth. Outside of those two regions, only one community, the city of Keene, has a population over 20,000. The four counties covering these two areas account for 72% of the state population, and one (Hillsborough) has nearly 30% of the state population, as well as the two most populous communities, Manchester and Nashua.

The northern portion of the state is very sparsely populated: the largest county by area, Coos, covers the northern one-fourth of the state and has only around 31,000 people, about a third of whom live in a single community (Berlin). The trends over the past several decades have been for the population to shift southward, as many northern communities lack the economic base to maintain their populations, while southern communities have been absorbed by the Greater Boston metropolis.

Religion

A Pew survey showed that the religious affiliations of the people of New Hampshire was as follows: Nonreligious 36%, Protestant 30%, Catholic 26%, Jehovah’s Witness 2%, LDS (Mormon) 1%, and Jewish 1%.

A survey suggests people in New Hampshire and Vermont are less likely than other Americans to attend weekly services and only 54% say they are “absolutely certain there is a God” compared to 71% in the rest of the nation. New Hampshire and Vermont are also at the lowest levels among states in religious commitment. In 2012, 23% of New Hampshire residents in a Gallup poll considered themselves “very religious”, while 52% considered themselves “non-religious”. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) the largest denominations are the Catholic Church with 311,028 members; The United Church of Christ with 26,321 members; and the United Methodist Church with 18,029 members.

Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that New Hampshire’s total state product in 2018 was $86 billion, ranking 40th in the United States. Median household income in 2017 was $74,801, the fourth highest in the country (including Washington, DC). Its agricultural outputs are dairy products, nursery stock, cattle, apples and eggs. Its industrial outputs are machinery, electric equipment, rubber and plastic products, and tourism is a major component of the economy.

New Hampshire experienced a major shift in its economic base during the 20th century. Historically, the base was composed of traditional New England textiles, shoe making, and small machine shops, drawing upon low-wage labor from nearby small farms and from parts of Quebec. Today, of the state’s total manufacturing dollar value, these sectors contribute only two percent for textiles, two percent for leather goods, and nine percent for machining. They experienced a sharp decline due to obsolete plants and the lure of cheaper wages in the Southern United States.

Transportation

Highways

New Hampshire has a well-maintained, well-signed network of Interstate highways, U.S. highways, and state highways. State highway markers still depict the Old Man of the Mountain despite that rock formation's demise in 2003. Several route numbers align with the same route numbers in neighboring states. State highway numbering is arbitrary, with no overall system as with U.S. and Interstate systems.

Air

New Hampshire has 25 public-use airports, three with some scheduled commercial passenger service. The busiest airport by number of passengers handled is Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester and Londonderry, which serves the Greater Boston metropolitan area.

Public Transportation

Long-distance intercity passenger rail service is provided by Amtrak's Vermonter and Downeaster lines. Greyhound, Concord Coach, Vermont Translines and Dartmouth Coach all provide intercity bus connections to and from points in New Hampshire and to long-distance points beyond and in between. As of 2013, Boston-centered MBTA Commuter Rail services reach only as far as northern Massachusetts. The New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority is working to extend "Capital Corridor" service from Lowell, Massachusetts, to Nashua, Concord, and Manchester, including Manchester-Boston Regional Airport; and "Coastal Corridor" service from Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Plaistow, New Hampshire. Legislation in 2007 created the New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority (NHRTA) with the goal of overseeing the development of commuter rail in the state of New Hampshire. In 2011, Governor John Lynch vetoed HB 218, a bill passed by Republican lawmakers, which would have drastically curtailed the powers and responsibilities of NHRTA. The I-93 Corridor transit study suggested a rail alternative along the Manchester and Lawrence branch line which could provide freight and passenger service. This rail corridor would also have access to Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Freight Railways

Freight railways in New Hampshire include Claremont & Concord Railroad (CCRR), Pan Am Railways via subsidiary Springfield Terminal Railway (ST), the New England Central Railroad (NHCR), the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (SLR), and New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation (NHN).

Education

High Schools

The first public high schools in the state were the Boys' High School and the Girls' High School of Portsmouth, established either in 1827 or 1830 depending on the source. New Hampshire has more than 80 public high schools, many of which serve more than one town. The largest is Pinkerton Academy in Derry, which is owned by a private non-profit organization and serves as the public high school of a number of neighboring towns. There are at least 30 private high schools in the state.

New Hampshire is also the home of several prestigious university-preparatory schools, such as Phillips Exeter Academy, St. Paul's School, Proctor Academy, Brewster Academy, and Kimball Union Academy. In 2008 the state tied with Massachusetts as having the highest scores on the SAT and ACT standardized tests given to high school students.

Colleges and Universities

• Antioch University New England
• Colby-Sawyer College
• Community College System of New Hampshire:
• Franklin Pierce University
• Hellenic American University
• Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts
• MCPHS University
• New England College
• New Hampshire Institute of Art
• Rivier University
• Saint Anselm College
• Southern New Hampshire University
• Thomas More College of Liberal Arts

Culture

In the spring, New Hampshire’s many sap houses hold sugaring-off open houses. In summer and early autumn, New Hampshire is home to many county fairs, the largest being the Hopkinton State Fair, in Contoocook. New Hampshire’s Lakes Region is home to many summer camps, especially around Lake Winnipesaukee, and is a popular tourist destination. The Peterborough Players have performed every summer in Peterborough since 1933. The Barnstormers Theatre in Tamworth, founded in 1931, is one of the longest-running professional summer theaters in the United States.

In September, New Hampshire is host to the New Hampshire Highland Games. New Hampshire has also registered an official tartan with the proper authorities in Scotland, used to make kilts worn by the Lincoln Police Department while its officers serve during the games. The fall foliage peaks in mid-October. In the winter, New Hampshire’s ski areas and snowmobile trails attract visitors from a wide area. After the lakes freeze over they become dotted with ice fishing ice houses, known locally as bobhouses. Funspot, the world’s largest video arcade (now termed a museum), is in Laconia.

Theater

The fictional New Hampshire town of Grover's Corners serves as the setting of the Thornton Wilder play Our Town. Grover's Corners is based, in part, on the real town of Peterborough. Several local landmarks and nearby towns are mentioned in the text of the play, and Wilder himself spent some time in Peterborough at the MacDowell Colony, writing at least some of the play while in residence there.

Comics

Al Capp, creator of the comic strip Li'l Abner, used to joke that Dogpatch, the setting for the strip, was based on Seabrook, where he would vacation with his wife.

Television

In the AMC drama Breaking Bad ("Granite State") series lead Walter White escapes to a cabin in a fictional county in northern New Hampshire. In the sixth season of HBO hit series The Sopranos, in an episode named for New Hampshire's famous slogan of "Live Free or Die", character Vito Spatafore flees New Jersey for the small fictional town of Dartford, New Hampshire, because of his inadvertently being outed as a gay man.

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