New England
"A picture showing New England highlighted in red in a political map of the United States." "A close-up image showing all six of the New England states highlighted in red on a political map."
Regional statistics
Composition Connecticut Connecticut
Maine Maine
Massachusetts Massachusetts
New Hampshire New Hampshire
Rhode Island Rhode Island
Vermont Vermont
Demonym New Englander, Yankee[1]
 - Total

71,991.8 sq mi (186,458.8 km²)
(Slightly larger than Washington.)
 - Total

 - Density

14,444,865 (2010 est.)[2]
198.2/sq mi (87.7/km²)
Governors Dannel Malloy (D-CT)
Paul LePage (R-ME)
Deval Patrick (D-MA)
John Lynch (D-NH)
Lincoln Chafee (I-RI)
Peter Shumlin (D-VT)
Largest city Boston (pop. 617,594)
GDP $763.7 billion (2007)[3]
HDI 5.7 (1st) (2011)
Largest Metropolitan Area Boston-Cambridge-Quincy (pop. 4,522,858)

New England is a region in the northeastern corner of the United States consisting of the six states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. New England is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, Canada (the Canadian Maritimes and Quebec) and the state of New York.

In one of the earliest English settlements in North America, Pilgrims from England first settled in New England in 1620, to form Plymouth Colony. Ten years later, the Puritans settled north of Plymouth Colony in Boston, thus forming Massachusetts Bay Colony. Over the next 130 years, New England fought in four French and Indian Wars, until the British defeated the French and their native allies in North America. In the late 18th century, the New England Colonies initiated the resistance to the British Parliament's efforts to impose new taxes without the consent of the colonists. The Boston Tea Party was a protest that angered Great Britain, which responded with the "Intolerable Acts", stripping the colonies of self-government. The confrontation led to open warfare in 1775, the expulsion of the British from New England in spring 1776, and the Declaration of Independence in July 1776.

Some of the first movements of American literature, philosophy, and education originated in New England. The region played a prominent role in the movement to abolish slavery, and was the first region of the United States to be transformed by the Industrial Revolution. Today, New England is a major world center of education, high technology, insurance, and medicine. Boston is its cultural, financial, educational, medical and transportation center.

Each state is principally subdivided into small incorporated municipalities known as New England towns, which are often governed by town meeting. The only unincorporated territory in New England exists in the sparse, northern regions of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Since 1970, voters have more often supported liberal candidates at the state and federal level than those of any other region in the United States.

New England is the only one of the United States Census Bureau's nine regional divisions whose name does not derive from its geography, and it is the only multi-state region with clear, consistent boundaries. It maintains a strong sense of cultural identity set apart from the rest of the country, although the terms of this identity are often contested, combining Puritanism with liberalism, agrarian life with industry, and isolation with immigration.

Autumn in New England, watercolor, Maurice Prendergast. Ca. 1910–1913

Fall foliage in the town of Stowe, Vermont


Eastern Algonquian peoples

The earliest known inhabitants of New England were American Indians who spoke a variety of the Eastern Algonquian languages.[4] Prominent tribes included the Abenaki, Penobscot, Pequot, Mohegans, Pocumtuck, and Wampanoag.[4] Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Western Abenakis inhabited New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as parts of Quebec and western Maine.[5] Their principal town was Norridgewock, in present-day Maine.[6] The Penobscot lived along the Penobscot River in Maine. The Wampanoag occupied southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. The Pocumtucks lived in Western Massachusetts, and the Mohegan and Pequot tribes in the Connecticut region. The Connecticut River Valley, which includes parts of Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Connecticut, linked different indigenous communities culturally, linguistically, and politically.[4]

As early as 1600, French, Dutch, and English traders, exploring the New World, began to trade metal, glass, and cloth for local beaver pelts.[4][7]

The Virginia Companies

On April 10, 1606, King James I of England issued a charter for each of the Virginia Companies, London and Plymouth.[8][9][10] These were privately-funded ventures, intended to claim land for England, trade, and return a profit.[11]

The Virginia Company of Plymouth's charter included land extending as far as present-day northern Maine.[12] It established the Popham Colony at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine in the fall of 1607. Unlike the Jamestown Settlement, it was not successful, and was abandoned the following spring.[13] Captain John Smith, exploring the shores of the region in 1614, named it "New England"[14] in his account of two voyages there, published as A Description of New England.

The next notable arrival in New England took place in the winter of 1616–1617 at Winter Harbor, afterwards called Biddeford Pool, by Captain Richard Vines.[15] This location is in current-day Biddeford, Maine. Four years later, Plymouth in Massachusetts was settled by Pilgrims from the Mayflower, beginning the history of permanent European settlement in New England.[16]

Plymouth Council for New England

An early English map of New England, c. 1670, depicts the area around modern Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

The name "New England" was officially sanctioned on November 3, 1620,[17] when the charter of the Virginia Company of Plymouth was replaced by a royal charter for the Plymouth Council for New England, a joint stock company established to colonize and govern the region.[18] As the first colonists arrived in Plymouth, they wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact,[19] their first governing document.[20] The Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would come to dominate the area, was established by royal charter in 1629[21][22] with its major town and port of Boston established in 1630.[23]

Massachusetts Puritans began to settle in Connecticut in as early as 1633.[24] Roger Williams, banished from Massachusetts for heresy, led a group south, and founded Providence, in the area that later became the state of Rhode Island, in 1636.[25][26] At this time, Vermont was yet unsettled, and the territories of New Hampshire and Maine were claimed and governed by Massachusetts.[27]

Colonial Wars

New England's Siege of Louisbourg (1745) by Peter Monamy

Relationships between colonists and Native Americans alternated between peace and armed skirmishes, the bloodiest of which was the Pequot War in 1643, which resulted in the Mystic massacre. Six years later, the colonies of Massachusetts Bay, Plymouth, New Haven, and Connecticut joined together in a loose compact called the New England Confederation (officially "The United Colonies of New England"). The confederation was designed largely to coordinate mutual defense, but was never effective and soon collapsed.

In 1675, King Philip's War pitted the colonists and their native American allies against a widespread native American uprising, resulting in massacres and killings on both sides. The colonists won in the south decisively, however, they were forced to sign peace treaties in the North in present-day New Hampshire and Maine.

During the next seventy-four years, there were six colonial wars that took place primarily between New England and New France (see the French and Indian Wars as well as Father Rale's War and Father Le Loutre's War). Throughout these wars, New England was allied with the Iroquois Confederacy and New France was allied with the Wabanaki Confederacy. After the New England Conquest of Acadia in 1710, mainland Nova Scotia was under the control of New England, but both present-day New Brunswick and virtually all of present-day Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. After the British won the war in 1763, the Connecticut River Valley was opened up for settlement into western New Hampshire and what is today Vermont.

The New England colonies were settled largely by farmers, who became relatively self-sufficient. Later, aided by the Puritan work ethic, New England's economy began to focus on crafts and trade, in contrast to the Southern colonies, which had to import many goods from England.[28]

Dominion of New England

The First Flag (and Ensign) of New England, used by colonial merchant ships sailing out of New England ports, 1686-c.1737[29][30]

By 1686, King James II had become concerned about the increasingly independent ways of the colonies, including their self-governing charters, their open flouting of the Navigation Acts, and their growing military power. He therefore established the Dominion of New England, an administrative union comprising all of the New England colonies.[31] In 1688, the former Dutch colonies of New York and New Jersey were added to the Dominion. The union, imposed from the outside and contrary to the rooted democratic tradition of the region, was highly unpopular among the colonists.[32]

The Dominion significantly modified the charters of the colonies, including the appointment of Royal Governors to nearly all of them. There was an uneasy tension between the Royal Governors, their officers, and the elected governing bodies of the colonies. The governors wanted unlimited authority, and the different layers of locally elected officials would often resist them. In most cases, the local town governments continued operating as self-governing bodies, just as they had before the appointment of the governors.[33] After the Glorious Revolution in 1689, Bostonians overthrew the royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros. They seized dominion officials and adherents to the Church of England during a popular and bloodless uprising.[34] These tensions eventually culminated in the American Revolution, boiling over with the outbreak of the American War of Independence in 1775. The first battles of the war were fought in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, later leading to the Siege of Boston by continental troops. In March of 1776, British forces were compelled to retreat from Boston.

New England and the early United States

Boston College: The architecture style is Collegiate Gothic, a subgenre of Gothic Revival architecture, a 19th-century movement.

Postrevolutionary New England

After the War of Independence, New England ceased to be a meaningful political unit, but remained a defined cultural region consisting of its now-sovereign constituent states. By 1784, all of the states in the region had taken steps towards the abolition of slavery, with Vermont and Massachusetts introducing total abolition in 1777 and 1783, respectively.[35]

During the War of 1812, there was a movement within New England for secession from the United States, as New England merchants, only beginning to recover, opposed war with their greatest trading partner—Great Britain.[36] Delegates met in the Hartford Convention in the winter of 1814–15. The twenty-seven delegates met to discuss changes to the U.S. Constitution to protect the region's interests and maintain its political power, feeling used as pawns in the focus on trade restrictions.[37]

After settling a dispute with New York, Vermont was admitted to statehood in 1791, formally completing the defined area of New England. On March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise, the territory of Maine, formerly a part of Massachusetts, was admitted to the Union as a free state.[38] Today, New England is defined as made up of the six states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.[39]

For the rest of the period before the American Civil War, New England remained distinct from the rest of the U.S. Politically, it often disagreed with the rest of the country.[40] Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the last refuges of the Federalist Party, and, when the Second Party System began in the 1830s, New England became the strongest bastion of the new Whig Party. The Whigs were usually dominant throughout New England, except in the more Democratic Maine and New Hampshire. Leading statesmen—including Daniel Webster—hailed from the region. New England was distinct in other ways. Many notable literary and intellectual figures produced by the United States before the American Civil War were New Englanders, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Greenleaf Whittier, George Bancroft, and William H. Prescott.[41]

Industrial Revolution and abolitionist movement

The Slater Mill Historic Site in Pawtucket, Rhode Island

New England was key to the industrial revolution in the U.S.[42] In 1787, the first cotton mill in America, the Beverly Cotton Manufactory, was founded in the North Shore seaport of Beverly, Massachusetts.[43] The Manufactory was also considered the largest cotton mill of its time. Technological developments and achievements from the Manufactory led to the development of more advanced cotton mills, including Slater Mill in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. The Blackstone Valley, running through Massachusetts and Rhode Island, has been called the birthplace of America's industrial revolution.[44] Towns such as Lawrence and Lowell in Massachusetts, Woonsocket in Rhode Island, and Lewiston in Maine became centers of the textile industry following the innovations at Slater Mill and the Beverly Cotton Manufactory.

The rapid growth of textile manufacturing in New England caused a shortage of workers. Recruiters were hired by mill agents to bring young women and children from the countryside to work in the factories. Between 1830 and 1860, thousands of farm girls moved from rural areas to work in the mills. Farmers’ daughters left their homes to aid their families financially, save for marriage, and widen their horizons. Stagecoach and railroad services made it easier for large numbers of workers to travel from the country to the city. The majority of female workers came from farming towns in northern New England. As the textile industry grew, immigration also grew. As the number of Irish workers in the mills increased, the number of young women working in the mills decreased. Mill employment of women caused a population boom in urban centers.[45] New England was, as a whole, the most industrialized part of the U.S.; by 1850, it accounted for well over a quarter of all manufacturing value in the country, and over a third of its industrial workforce.[46] It was also the most literate and most educated region in the country.[46]

New England and areas settled from New England, like Upstate New York, Ohio's Western Reserve and the upper midwestern states of Michigan and Wisconsin, proved to be the center of the strongest abolitionist sentiment in the country. Abolitionists like William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips were New Englanders, and the region was home to anti-slavery politicians like John Quincy Adams, Charles Sumner, and John P. Hale. When the anti-slavery Republican Party was formed in the 1850s, all of New England, including areas that had previously been strongholds for both the Whig and the Democratic Parties, became strongly Republican, as it would remain until the early 20th century, when immigration would begin to turn the formerly solidly Republican states of Lower New England towards the Democrats.

The region had problems transitioning from manufacturing to other industries. In 2000, New England had two of the ten poorest cities (by percentage living below the poverty line) in the U.S.: the state capital cities of Providence, Rhode Island and Hartford, Connecticut.[47] They were no longer in the bottom ten by 2010.


A political and geographical map of New England shows the coastal plains in the east and hills, mountains, and valleys in the west and the north.

The states of New England have a combined area of 71,991.8 sq mi (186,458 km2), making the region slightly larger than the state of Washington and larger than England.[48][49] Maine alone constitutes nearly one-half of the total area of New England, yet is only the 39th-largest state, slightly smaller than Indiana. The remaining states are among the smallest in the U.S., including the smallest state, Rhode Island.


New England's long rolling hills, mountains, and jagged coastline are glacial landforms resulting from the retreat of ice sheets approximately 18,000 years ago, during the last glacial period.[50][51]

New England is geologically a part of the New England province, an exotic terrane region consisting of the Appalachian Mountains, the New England highlands, and the seaboard lowlands.[52] The Appalachian Mountains roughly follow the border between New England and New York. The Berkshires in Massachusetts and the Green Mountains in Vermont, as well as the Taconic Mountains, form a spine of Precambrian rock.[53] The Appalachians extend northwards into New Hampshire as the White Mountains, and then into Maine and Canada. Mount Washington in New Hampshire is the highest peak in the Northeast and the second-highest peak in the Appalachian Mountain system, at 6,288 ft (1,917 m).[54] It is the site of the second highest recorded wind speed on Earth,[55][56] and has the reputation of having the world's worst weather.[54][57]

The coast of the region, extending from southwestern Connecticut to northeastern Maine, is dotted with lakes, hills, swamps, and sandy beaches.[51] Important valleys in the region include the Connecticut River Valley and the Merrimack Valley.[51] The longest river is the Connecticut River, which flows from northeastern New Hampshire for 655 km (407 mi), emptying into Long Island Sound, roughly bisecting the region. Lake Champlain, wedged between Vermont and New York, is the largest lake in the region, followed by Moosehead Lake in Maine and Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.[51]


The White Mountains of New Hampshire are part of the Appalachian Mountains.

Weather patterns vary throughout the region. Most of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have a humid continental short summer climate,[58] with mild summers and cold winters. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, southern coastal Maine, and southern New Hampshire and Vermont have a humid continental long summer climate,[58] with warm summers and cold winters. Owing to thick deciduous forests, fall in New England brings bright and colorful foliage, which comes earlier than in other nearby regions, attracting tourism by "leaf peepers."[59] In general, springs are wet and cloudy. Average rainfall ranges from 40 to 60 inches (1,000 to 1,500 mm) a year, although the northern parts of Vermont and Maine experience slightly less, from 20 to 40 inches (510 to 1,000 mm). Snowfall often exceeds 98 in (2,500 mm) annually. As a result, the mountains and ski resorts of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont are popular destinations in the winter.[42][60]

The lowest recorded temperature in New England was −50 °F (−45.6 °C) at Bloomfield, Vermont, on December 30, 1933. This was tied by Big Black River, Maine in 2009.[61] Rhode Island is the warmest state in New England, Maine the coolest; the former is the 27th warmest in the U.S., the latter, the 48th warmest (3rd coolest).[62]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 1,009,408
1800 1,233,011 22.2%
1810 1,471,973 19.4%
1820 1,660,065 12.8%
1830 1,954,717 17.7%
1840 2,234,822 14.3%
1850 2,728,116 22.1%
1860 3,135,283 14.9%
1870 3,487,924 11.2%
1880 4,010,529 15.0%
1890 4,700,749 17.2%
1900 5,592,017 19.0%
1910 6,552,681 17.2%
1920 7,400,909 12.9%
1930 8,166,341 10.3%
1940 8,437,290 3.3%
1950 9,314,453 10.4%
1960 10,509,367 12.8%
1970 11,841,663 12.7%
1980 12,348,493 4.3%
1990 13,206,943 7.0%
2000 13,922,517 5.4%
2010 14,444,865 3.8%

Boston is considered to be the cultural and historical capital of New England.[64][65]

According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey, New England had a population of 14,265,187, of which 48.7% were male and 51.3% were female. Approximately 22.4% of the population were under 18 years of age; 13.5% were over 65 years of age.

In terms of race and ethnicity, White Americans made up 84.9% of New England's population, of which 81.2% were whites of non-Hispanic origin. Black Americans comprised 5.7% of the region's population, of which 5.3% were blacks of non-Hispanic origin. Native Americans made up 0.3% of the population, numbering 37,234. There were just over 500,000 Asian Americans residing in New England at the time of the survey, making up 3.5% of the region's population. There were 158,282 Chinese Americans, constituting 1.1% of the region's total population, and 119,140 Indian Americans (0.8%). Japanese Americans numbered 14,501 (0.1%).

Pacific Islander Americans numbered 4,194, 0.03% of the populace. There were 138 Samoan Americans residing in the region. Multiracial Americans made up 1.8% of New England's population. The largest mixed-race group comprised those of African and European descent; there were 84,143 people of black and white ancestry, making up 0.6% of the population. People of Native American and European American ancestry made up 0.4% of the population, and people of Asian and European heritage 0.3%.

Hispanic and Latino Americans are New England's largest minority, and they are the second-largest group in the region behind non-Hispanic European Americans. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 7.9% of New England's population, and there were over 1.1 million Hispanic and Latino individuals reported in the survey. Puerto Ricans were the most numerous of the Hispanic and Latino subgroups. Over half a million (507,000) Puerto Ricans live in New England, forming 3.6% of the population. There are also just over 100,000 Mexican Americans. The Dominican population is more than 70,000.[66] Americans of Cuban descent are scant in number; there were roughly 20,000 Cuban Americans in the region. People of other Hispanic and Latino ancestries, for example Salvadoran, Colombian, and Bolivian, formed 3.5% of New England's population, and numbered over 492,000.[67]

New England's European American population is ethnically diverse. The majority of the Euro-American population is of Irish, Italian, English, French, and German descent. Smaller but significant populations of Poles, French Canadians, and Portuguese exist as well.

According to the 2006–2008 survey, the top ten largest European ancestries were the following:

  • Irish: 21.1% (Over 3 million)
  • French and French Canadian: 15.3% (1.5 million French and roughly 700,000 French Canadian)
  • Italian: 14.4% (Over 2 million)
  • English: 13.7% (1.9 million)
  • German: 8.2% (1.2 million)
  • Polish: 5.6% (Roughly 800,000)
  • Portuguese: 3.5% (Over 500,000)
  • Scottish: 3.1% (Over 440,000)
  • Scotch-Irish: 2.1% (Over 290,000)

English is, by far, the most common language spoken at home. Approximately 82.7% of all residents (11.1 million people) over the age of five spoke only English at home. Roughly 885,000 people (6.6% of the population) spoke Spanish at home, and roughly 1,023,000 people (7.6% of the population) spoke other Indo-European languages at home. Over 313,000 people (2.3% of the population) spoke an Asian or Pacific Island language at home. Slightly fewer (about 2%) spoke French at home, although this figure is above 20% in northern New England, which borders francophone Québec.[68] Roughly 99,000 people (0.7% of the population) spoke languages other than these at home.

The vast majority of New England's inhabitants, roughly 12.3 million people or 86.3% of the population, were born in the U.S. However, there is a significant foreign-born population in the region. 2.2% of the population (315,000 people) were born in Puerto Rico, in a U.S. territory, or abroad to American parents. Altogether, the native population totals roughly 12,630,000 people, or 88.5% of the population. The foreign-born population forms over ten percent (11.5%) of New England's total population. There are roughly 1.6 million foreigners residing in the region. Thirty-five percent of foreigners were born in Latin America, 27.9% were born in Europe, 24.5% were born in Asia, and 6.9% were born in Africa. People born in other parts of North America made up 5.3% of the foreign-born populace. Oceania-born residents formed 0.4% of the foreign population, just over 6,000. Of the 1.6 million foreigners, 47.7% were naturalized citizens of the U.S., and the majority (52.3%) were not U.S. citizens.[69]

The six states of New England have the lowest birth rate in the U.S.[70]

In 2005, the total population of New England was 14,239,724 people, roughly a 50% increase from its 1929 population of 9,813,000.[71] The region's average population density is 221.66 inhabitants/sq mi (85.59/km²), although a great disparity exists between its northern and southern portions. The population density is much greater than that of the U.S. as a whole (79.56/sq mi) or even just the contiguous 48 states (94.48/sq mi).

Three-quarters of the population of New England, and most of the major cities, are in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Their combined population density is 786.83/sq mi, compared to northern New England's 63.56/sq mi (2000 census). The most populous state is Massachusetts, and the most populous city is Massachusetts' political and cultural capital, Boston.

Providence claims the largest contiguous area of National Register of Historic Places-listed buildings in the U.S.

The coastline is more urban than the western parts of the region, which are typically rural, even in urban states like Massachusetts. This is due mainly to historical factors; the original colonists settled mostly on the coastline of Massachusetts Bay. The only New England state without access to the Atlantic Ocean, Vermont, is also the least urbanized.[72] After nearly 400 years, the region still maintains, for the most part, its historical population layout.

New England's coast is dotted with urban centers, such as Portland, Portsmouth, Boston, New Bedford, Fall River, Providence, New Haven, Bridgeport, and Stamford, as well as smaller cities such as Newburyport, Gloucester, Biddeford, Bath, Rockland, Newport, Westerly, and the small twin cities of Groton and New London in Connecticut.

Southern New England forms an integral part of the BosWash megalopolis, a conglomeration of urban centers that spans from Boston to Washington, D.C.. The region includes three of the four most densely populated states in the U.S.; only New Jersey has a higher population density than the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Greater Boston, which includes parts of southern New Hampshire, has a total population of approximately 4.4 million,[73] while over half the population of New England falls inside Boston's Combined Statistical Area of over 7.4 million.[74]

In 2009, two New England states were among the five highest in the U.S. in divorce rates. Maine was second highest with 13.6% of people over the age of 15 divorced; Vermont was fifth with 12.6% divorced.[75] Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, on the other hand, have below-average divorce rates. Massachusetts is tied with Georgia with the lowest divorce rate in the U.S., at 2.4%.[76]

Largest cities

The most populous cities are as of the 2010 Census (metropolitan areas in parentheses):[77]

  1. Massachusetts Boston, Massachusetts: 617,594 (4,552,402)
  2. Massachusetts Worcester, Massachusetts: 181,045 (798,552)
  3. Rhode Island Providence, Rhode Island: 178,042 (1,600,852)
  4. Massachusetts Springfield, Massachusetts: 153,060 (692,942)
  5. Connecticut Bridgeport, Connecticut: 144,229 (916,829)
  6. Connecticut New Haven, Connecticut: 129,779 (862,477)
  7. Connecticut Hartford, Connecticut: 124,775 (1,212,381)
  8. Connecticut Stamford, Connecticut: 122,643 (part of Bridgeport's MSA)
  9. Connecticut Waterbury, Connecticut: 110,366 (228,984)
  10. New Hampshire Manchester, New Hampshire: 109,565 (400,721)
  11. Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts: 106,519 (315,158)
  12. Massachusetts Cambridge, Massachusetts: 105,162 (part of Greater Boston)

During the 20th century, urban expansion in regions surrounding New York City has become an important economic influence on neighboring Connecticut, parts of which belong to the New York Metropolitan Area. The U.S. Census Bureau groups Fairfield, New Haven and Litchfield counties in western Connecticut together with New York City, and other parts of New York and New Jersey as a combined statistical area.[78]


The six states of New England ranked within the top thirteen "healthiest states" of the U.S. in 2007.[79] In 2008, they all placed within the top eleven states. New England also had the largest proportion of its population covered by health insurance.[80]

For 2006, four states in the region, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, joined 12 others nationwide, where the number of deaths caused by drugs had overtaken traffic fatalities. This was due in part to declining traffic fatalities, and in part to increased deaths caused by prescription drugs.[81]

In comparing national obesity rates by state, four of the six lowest obesity states were Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island. New Hampshire and Maine had the 15th and 18th lowest obesity rates, making New England the least overweight part of the U.S.[82]

In 2008, three of New England's states had the least number of uninsured motorists (out of the top five states); Massachusetts – 1%, Maine – 4%, and Vermont – 6%.[83]

In 2006, Massachusetts adopted health care reform that requires nearly all state residents obtain health insurance,[84] which served as an important model for the federal 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[85]

Nursing home care can be expensive in the region. A private room in Connecticut averaged $125,925 annually. A one-bedroom in an assisted living facility averaged $55,137 in Massachusetts. Both are national highs.[86]


Hartford, once known as the "Insurance Capital of the World"[87]


Several factors combine to make the New England economy unique. The region is geographically isolated from the rest of the U.S., and is relatively small. It is an important supplier of natural resources and products, such as granite, lobster, and codfish.

Its population is concentrated on the coast and in its southern states, and its residents have a strong regional identity.[88] America's textile industry began along the Blackstone River with the Slater Mill at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.[89] This was soon duplicated at similar sources of water power such as Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Uxbridge, Massachusetts, and the manufacturing centers of Waltham, Massachusetts, Lowell, Lawrence, Massachusetts, Fall River, Massachusetts, and Manchester, New Hampshire

In the early 20th century, the region underwent a long period of deindustrialization as traditional manufacturing companies relocated to the Midwest. In the mid-to-late 20th century, manufacturing was replaced by education, health services, finance, and high technology (including computer and electronic equipment manufacturing) as the region's most important economic motors.

As of 2007, the inflation-adjusted combined GSPs of the six states of New England was $763.7 billion, with Massachusetts ($365 billion) contributing the most, and Vermont ($25.4 billion) the least.[90]


Portland, Maine, the largest tonnage seaport city in New England[91]

Exports consist mostly of industrial products, including specialized machines and weaponry (aircraft and missiles especially), built by the region's educated workforce. About half of the region's exports consist of industrial and commercial machinery, such as computers and electronic and electrical equipment. This, when combined with instruments, chemicals, and transportation equipment, makes up about three-quarters of the region's exports. Granite is quarried at Barre, Vermont,[92] guns made at Springfield, Massachusetts and Saco, Maine, boats at Groton, Connecticut and Bath, Maine, and hand tools at Turners Falls, Massachusetts. Insurance is a driving force in and around Hartford, Connecticut.[88]

Vermont Maple Syrup

New England exports food products, ranging from fish to lobster, cranberries, Maine potatoes, and maple syrup. The service industry is important, including tourism, education, financial and insurance services, plus architectural, building, and construction services. The U.S. Department of Commerce has called the New England economy a microcosm for the entire U.S. economy.[88]


In 2010, a University of Connecticut study indicated that five of the six states rank 43rd or lower for manufacturing costs, meaning that manufacturing in New England is generally costlier than in other parts of the U.S. Only Maine was less costly. Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire tied for last place.[93] Historic manufacturing cities like Lowell, Massachusetts have attempted to reuse mill buildings for residential and commercial purposes.[94]


Agriculture is limited by the area's rocky soil and cooler climate. Some New England states, however, are ranked highly among U.S. states for particular areas of production. Maine is ranked ninth for aquaculture,[95] and has abundant potato fields in its northeast part. Vermont is fifteenth for dairy products,[96] and Connecticut and Massachusetts seventh and eleventh for tobacco, respectively.[97][98] Cranberries are grown in Massachusetts' Cape Cod-Plymouth-South Shore area, and blueberries in Maine.


Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire

The region is mostly energy efficient compared to the U.S. at large, with every state but Maine ranking within the ten most energy-efficient states;[99] every state in New England also ranks within the ten most expensive states for electricity prices.[100]

Three of the six New England states are among the country's highest consumers of nuclear power: Vermont (first, 73.7%), Connecticut (fourth, 48.9%), and New Hampshire (sixth, 46%).[101]


Unemployment Rates in New England
Employment Area October 2010 October 2011 Net change
United States 9.7 9.0 −0.7
New England 8.3 7.6 −0.7
Connecticut 9.1 8.7 −0.4
Maine 7.6 7.3 −0.3
Massachusetts 8.3 7.3 −1.0
New Hampshire 5.7 5.3 −0.4
Rhode Island 11.5 10.4 −1.1
Vermont 5.9 5.6 −0.3

As of October 2011, the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with the lowest unemployment rate, 3.6%, was Burlington-South Burlington, Vermont; the MSA with the highest rate, 12.4%, was Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.[102]


In 2001, four of the six states, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, were rated as having among the top ten highest annual median real estate taxes in the U.S., as a percentage of median homeowners' income.[103] A study from 2005 to 2008 listed Rhode Island, Connecticut and New Hampshire among the five states with the highest average property taxes, in percent of home value.[104] On the other hand, New Hampshire has neither a sales nor income tax.[105] Massachusetts and New Hampshire have below-average per capita tax burdens; Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont have above-average per capita tax burdens.[106] In 2011, four of the top ten state governments with budget problems in the country were in New England: Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont.[107]

In 2009, four of the six states, Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont, were within the top ten U.S. states in terms of overall tax burden. Despite its colloquial nickname of "Taxachusetts", Massachusetts was not in the top ten, while New Hampshire has the 2nd lowest overall tax burden.[108] In terms of per capita income, however, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire are also three of the wealthiest states, with Connecticut being ranked first in the U.S.[109]

Real estate

In 2011, three of the six states, Connecticut, Maine and Vermont, were among the ten states with the greatest backlog of foreclosures needing court processing, ranging from an estimated 20 years for Connecticut to 16 years for Maine. The U.S. average was eight years.[110]


Historical background

The early European settlers of New England were English Protestants fleeing religious persecution. Despite this, religion was legislated to an extreme in the colonies they founded, and those who deviated from the established doctrine were persecuted greatly. The early history of much of New England is marked by religious intolerance and harsh laws. In the beginning, there was no separation of church and state, and the activities of the individual were severely restricted.[111] This contrasts sharply with the strong principles of separation of church and state underlying the foundation of Rhode Island. Providence had no public burial ground and no Common until the year 1700 (64 years after its founding) because religious and government institutions were so rigorously kept distinct.[112]

Town meetings

A New England town meeting in Huntington, Vermont

A derivative of meetings held by church elders, town meetings were and are an integral part of governance of many New England towns. At such meetings, any citizen of the town may discuss issues with other members of the community and vote on them. This is the strongest example of direct democracy in the U.S. today, and the form of dialogue has been adopted under certain circumstances elsewhere, most strongly in the states closest to the region, such as New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Such a strong democratic tradition was even apparent in the early 19th century, when Alexis de Tocqueville wrote in Democracy in America that in:

New England, where education and liberty are the daughters of morality and religion, where society has acquired age and stability enough to enable it to form principles and hold fixed habits, the common people are accustomed to respect intellectual and moral superiority and to submit to it without complaint, although they set at naught all those privileges which wealth and birth have introduced among mankind. In New England, consequently, the democracy makes a more judicious choice than it does elsewhere.[113]

By contrast, James Madison wrote in Federalist No. 55 that, regardless of the assembly, "passion never fails to wrest the scepter from reason. Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob."[114] The use and effectiveness of town meetings, as well as the possible application of the format to other regions and countries, is still discussed by scholars.[115]


In the 2000 presidential election, Democratic candidate Al Gore carried all of the New England states except for New Hampshire, and in 2004, John Kerry, a New Englander himself, won all six New England states.[116] In both the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, every congressional district with the exception of New Hampshire's 1st district were won by Gore and Kerry respectively. During the 2008 Democratic primaries, Hillary Clinton won the three New England states containing Greater Boston (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire), while Barack Obama won the three that did not (Connecticut, Maine, and Vermont). In the 2008 presidential election, Obama carried all six states by 9 percentage points or more.[117] He carried every county in New England except for Piscataquis County, Maine, which he lost by 4% to Senator John McCain (R-AZ). As of the 2010 census, New England will collectively have 33 electoral votes.

The six states of New England voted for the Democratic Presidential nominee in the 1992, 1996, 2004, and 2008 elections, and every state but New Hampshire voted for Al Gore in the presidential election of 2000. Currently, the House delegations from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont are all-Democratic, while New Hampshire's is all-Republican. New England is home to the only two independents currently serving in the U.S. Senate; Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist,[118][119] representing Vermont; and Joseph Lieberman, representing Connecticut.

Political party strength

New England today is one of the most liberal regions in the U.S.,[120][121][122] with four of the six states considered to be the most solidly Democratic in the country; New Hampshire leans Republican and Maine is considered "competitive."[123]

State Governor Senior U.S. Senator Junior U.S. Senator U.S. House Delegation Upper House Majority Lower House Majority
CT D. Malloy J. Lieberman R. Blumenthal Democratic 5–0 Democratic 22–14 Democratic 99–52
ME P. LePage O. Snowe S. Collins Democratic 2–0 Republican 20–14–1 Republican 78–72–1
MA D. Patrick J. Kerry S. Brown Democratic 10–0 Democratic 36–4 Democratic 128–31–1
NH J. Lynch J. Shaheen K. Ayotte Republican 2–0 Republican 19–5 Republican 294–103–3
RI L. Chafee J. Reed S. Whitehouse Democratic 2–0 Democratic 29–8–1 Democratic 65–10
VT P. Shumlin P. Leahy B. Sanders Democratic 1–0 Democratic 20–8–2 Democratic 96–46–8

New Hampshire primary

Alumni Hall at Saint Anselm College has served as a backdrop for the media reports during the New Hampshire primary.

Historically, the New Hampshire primary has been the first in a series of nationwide political party primary elections held in the United States every four years. Held in the state of New Hampshire, it usually marks the beginning of the U.S. presidential election process. Even though few delegates are chosen from New Hampshire, the primary has always been pivotal to both New England and American politics. One college in particular, Saint Anselm College, has been home to numerous national presidential debates and visits by candidates to its campus.[124] Local factories and diners are valuable photo opportunities for candidates, who hope to use this quintessential New England image to their advantage by portraying themselves as sympathetic to blue collar workers. Media coverage of the primary enables candidates low on funds to "rally back"; an example of this was President Bill Clinton who referred to himself as "The Comeback Kid" following the 1992 primary. National media outlets have converged on small New Hampshire towns, such as during the 2007 and 2008 national presidential debates held at Saint Anselm College in the town of Goffstown.[125][126] Goffstown and other towns in New Hampshire have been experiencing this influx of national media since the 1950s.


Notable laws and movements

The New England states abolished the death penalty for robbery and burglary in the 19th century, before much of the rest of the U.S. As of 2012, New Hampshire is the only state in New England that has retained capital punishment.[127] Although New Hampshire currently has one death row inmate, it has not held an execution since 1939.[128]

Connecticut and Rhode Island were the only states in the union not to ratify the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, also known as prohibition.[129] This was only a symbolic act, as Congress ratified it on January 16, 1919.

Same-sex marriage is permitted in four New England states. In 2010, it was being debated in the Rhode Island legislature. In Maine, it was legalized by the legislature in 2009, but defeated in a referendum (53% voted to ban it versus 47% who voted to legalize it) later the same year.

New Hampshire has no seatbelt law for persons over 18 years of age,[130] no helmet law for motorcyclists,[131] no mandatory auto-insurance law,[132] and has neither an income tax nor a sales tax.[133]

Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire allow open carrying of firearms in public places without a permit; Vermont also allows concealed carrying without a permit.[134][135]

The national U.S. movement against nuclear power had its roots in New England in the 1970s. In 1974, activist Sam Lovejoy toppled a weather tower at the site of the proposed Montague Nuclear Power Plant in Western Massachusetts.[136] The movement "reached critical mass" with the arrests at Seabrook Station Nuclear Power Plant on May 1, 1977, when 1,414 anti-nuclear activists from the Clamshell Alliance were arrested at the Seabrook site. Harvey Wasserman, a Clamshell spokesman at Seabrook, and Frances Crowe of Northampton, an American Friends Service Committee member, played key roles in the movement.[136]


Colleges and universities

New England is home to four of the eight Ivy League universities. Pictured here is Dartmouth Hall on the campus of Dartmouth College.

New England contains some of the oldest and most renowned institutions of higher learning in the U.S. The first such institution, subsequently named Harvard College, was founded at Cambridge, Massachusetts, to train preachers, in 1636. Yale University was founded in Old Saybrook, Connecticut, in 1701, and awarded the nation's first doctoral (PhD) degree in 1861. Yale moved to New Haven, Connecticut, in 1718, where it has remained to the present day. Brown University, the first college in the nation to accept students of all religious affiliations, and the seventh-oldest U.S. institution of higher learning, was founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1764. Dartmouth College was founded five years later in Hanover, New Hampshire, with the mission of educating the local American Indian population as well as English youth. The University of Vermont, the fifth oldest university in New England, was founded in 1791, the same year Vermont joined the Union.

In addition to four out of eight Ivy League schools, New England also contains the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Little Three, four of the original seven sisters, the bulk of institutions identified as the Little Ivies, the Colleges of Worcester Consortium in central Massachusetts, and the Five Colleges consortium in western Massachusetts.

Private and independent secondary schools

At the pre-college level, New England is home to a number of American independent schools (also known as private schools). The concept of the elite "New England prep school" (preparatory school) and the "preppy" lifestyle is an iconic part of the region's image.[137] The region has several of the highest ranked high schools in the U.S., including the Maine School of Science and Mathematics located in Limestone, Maine.[138]

See the list of private schools for each state:
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Public education

New England is home to some of the oldest public schools in the nation. Boston Latin School is the oldest public school in America, and was attended by several signatories of the Declaration of Independence.[139] Hartford Public High School is the second oldest operating high school in the U.S.[140]

As of 2005, the National Education Association ranked Connecticut as having the highest-paid teachers in the country. Massachusetts and Rhode Island ranked eighth and ninth, respectively.

Three New England states, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, have cooperated in developing a New England Common Assessment Program test under the No Child Left Behind guidelines. These states can compare the resultant scores with each other.

Maine's Maine Learning Technology Initiative program supplies all 7- and 8th-graders, and half of the state's high-schoolers, with Apple MacBook laptops.

Academic journals and press

There are several academic journals and publishing companies in the region, including The New England Journal of Medicine, Harvard University Press, and Yale University Press. Some of its institutions lead the open access alternative to conventional academic publication, including MIT, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Maine. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston publishes the New England Economic Review.[141]


Cushing house, Hingham, Massachusetts

Classic New England Congregationalist church in Peacham, Vermont

New England has a shared heritage and culture primarily shaped by waves of immigration from Europe.[142] In contrast to other American regions, many of New England's earliest Puritan settlers came from eastern England, contributing to New England's distinctive accents, foods, customs, and social structures.[143] Within modern New England a cultural divide exists between urban New Englanders living along the densely-populated coastline, and rural New Englanders in western Massachusetts, northwestern Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where population density is low.[144]

Today, New England is the least religious part of the U.S. In 2009, less than half of those polled in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont claimed that religion was an important part of their daily lives. In Connecticut and Rhode Island, also among the ten least religious states, 55 and 53 percent, respectively, of those polled claimed that it was.[145] According to the American Religious Identification Survey, 34 percent of Vermonters, a plurality, claimed to have no religion; on average, nearly one out of every four New Englanders identifies as having no religion, more than in any other part of the U.S.[146] New England had one of the highest percentages of Catholics in the U.S. This number declined from 50% in 1990 to 36% in 2008.[146]

Cultural roots

For more details on this topic, see New England Puritan culture and recreation.

The first European colonists of New England were focused on maritime affairs such as whaling and fishing, rather than more continental inclinations such as surplus farming. One of the older American regions, New England has developed a distinct cuisine, dialect, architecture, and government. New England cuisine is known for its emphasis on seafood and dairy; clam chowder, lobster, and other products of the sea are among some of the region's most popular foods.

Aside from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, or "New Scotland", New England is the only North American region to inherit the name of a kingdom in the British Isles. New England has largely preserved its regional character, especially in its historic places. Today, the region is more ethnically diverse, having seen waves of immigration from Ireland, Quebec, Italy, Portugal, Poland, Asia, Latin America, Africa, other parts of the U.S., and elsewhere. The enduring European influence can be seen in the region, from use of traffic rotaries to the bilingual French and English towns of northern Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, as innocuous as the sprinkled use of British spelling, and as obvious as the region's heavy prevalence of English town and county names, and its unique, often non-rhotic coastal dialect reminiscent of southeastern England.

Within New England, there are many town (and a few county) names that repeat from state to state, primarily due to settlers throughout the region naming their new towns after their old ones. As one example, every state except Rhode Island has a city or town named Franklin; in addition, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine each contain a Franklin County.


There are several American English accents spoken in the region including New England English and Boston Accent.

The often-parodied Boston accent is native to the region. Many of its most stereotypical features (such as r dropping and the so-called broad A) are believed to have originated in Boston from the influence of England's Received Pronunciation, which shares those features. While at one point Boston accents were most strongly associated with the so-called "Eastern Establishment" and Boston's upper class, today the accent is predominantly associated with blue-collar natives as exemplified by movies like Good Will Hunting and The Departed. The Boston accent and accents closely related to it cover eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.[147]

Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn" or a cross between a New York and Boston accent ("water" becomes "wata"). Many Rhode Islanders distinguish the aw sound [ɔː], as one might hear in New Jersey; e.g., the word coffee is pronounced [ˈkɔːfiː] KAW-fee.[148] This type of accent was brought to the region by early settlers from eastern England in the Puritan migration in the mid-seventeenth century.[149]

Social activities and music

In much of rural New England, particularly Maine, Acadian and Québécois culture are included in music and dance. Contra dancing and country square dancing are popular throughout New England, usually backed by live Irish, Acadian, or other folk music.

Opera houses and theaters, like the Vergennes Opera House in Vergennes, Vermont, are popular in New England towns.

Traditional knitting, quilting and rug hooking circles in rural New England have become less common; church, sports, and town government are more typical social activities. These traditional gatherings are often hosted in individual homes or civic centers; larger groups regularly assemble at special-purpose ice cream parlors that dot the countryside. New England leads the U.S. in ice cream consumption per capita.[150][151]

In the U.S., candlepin bowling is essentially confined to New England, where it was invented in the 19th century.[152]

New England was for some time an important center of American classical music. The Second New England School was instrumental in reinvigorating the tradition in the U.S. Prominent modernist composers also come from the region, including Charles Ives and John Adams. Boston is the site of the New England Conservatory and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

In rock music, the region has produced bands as different as Aerosmith, the Pixies, and Boston. Dick Dale, a Quincy, Massachusetts native, helped popularize surf rock. The region is also home to prominent hardcore and punk scenes.


The leading U.S. cable TV sports broadcaster ESPN is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut. New England has several regional cable networks, including New England Cable News (NECN) and the New England Sports Network (NESN). New England Cable News is the largest regional 24-hour cable news network in the U.S., broadcasting to more than 3.2 million homes in all of the New England states. Its studios are located in Newton, Massachusetts, outside of Boston, and it maintains bureaux in Manchester, New Hampshire; Hartford, Connecticut; Worcester, Massachusetts; Portland, Maine; and Burlington, Vermont.[153] In Connecticut, Litchfield, Fairfield, and New Haven counties it also broadcasts New York based news programs—this is due in part to the immense influence New York has on this region's economy and culture, and also to give Connecticut broadcasters the ability to compete with overlapping media coverage from New York-area broadcasters.

NESN broadcasts the Boston Red Sox baseball and Boston Bruins hockey throughout the region, save for Fairfield County, Connecticut.[154] Most of Connecticut, save for Tolland and Windham counties in the state's northeast corner, and even southern Rhode Island, receives the YES network, which broadcasts the games of the New York Yankees. For the most part, the same areas also carry SNY, Sports New York, which broadcasts New York Mets games.

Comcast SportsNet New England broadcasts the games of the Boston Celtics, New England Revolution and Boston Cannons.

While most New England cities have daily newspapers, The Boston Globe and The New York Times are distributed widely throughout the region. Major newspapers also include The Providence Journal, and Hartford Courant, the oldest continuously published newspaper in the U.S.[155]


New Englanders are well represented in American comedy. Writers for The Simpsons often come by way of the Harvard Lampoon. Family Guy, an animated sitcom situated in Rhode Island, as well as American Dad and The Cleveland Show, were created by Connecticut native and Rhode Island School of Design graduate Seth MacFarlane. A number of Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast members have origins in New England, from Adam Sandler to Amy Poehler, who also stars in the NBC television series Parks and Recreation. Former Daily Show show correspondents Rob Corddry and Steve Carell are from Massachusetts, with the latter also being involved in film and the American adaptation of The Office. Late night television hosts Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien have origins in the Boston area. Notable stand-up comedians, including Dane Cook, Steve Sweeney, Steven Wright, Sarah Silverman, Lisa Lampanelli, Denis Leary, Lenny Clarke and Louis CK, are also from the region. SNL cast member Seth Meyers once attributed the region's imprint on American humor to its "sort of wry New England sense of pointing out anyone who's trying to make a big deal of himself", with the Boston Globe suggesting that irony and sarcasm, as well as Irish influences, are its trademarks.[156]


Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston and spent most of his literary career in Concord, Massachusetts.

The literature of New England has had an enduring influence on American literature in general, with themes such as religion, race, the individual versus society, social repression, and nature, emblematic of the larger concerns of American letters.[157]

New England has been the birthplace of American authors and poets. Ralph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston. Henry David Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts, where he famously lived, for some time, by Walden Pond, on Emerson's land. Nathaniel Hawthorne, romantic era writer, was born in historical Salem; later, he would live in Concord at the same time as Emerson and Thoreau. All three of these writers have strong connections to The Old Manse, a home in the Emerson family and a key center of the Transcendentalist movement. Emily Dickinson lived most of her life in Amherst, Massachusetts. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was from Portland, Maine, and Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston. According to reports, the famed Mother Goose, the author of fairy tales and nursery rhymes was originally a person named Elizabeth Foster Goose or Mary Goose who lived in Boston. Poets James Russell Lowell, Amy Lowell, and Robert Lowell, a Confessionalist poet and teacher of Sylvia Plath, were all New England natives. Anne Sexton, also taught by Lowell, was born and died in Massachusetts. Much of the work of Nobel Prize laureate Eugene O'Neill is associated with the city of New London, Connecticut where he spent many summers. The 14th U.S. Poet Laureate Donald Hall, a New Hampshire resident, continues the line of renowned New England poets. Noah Webster, the Father of American Scholarship and Education, was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. Pulitzer Prize winning poets Edwin Arlington Robinson, Edna St. Vincent Millay and Robert P. T. Coffin were born in Maine.

Poets Stanley Kunitz and Elizabeth Bishop were both born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and Pulitzer Prize winning poet Galway Kinnell was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Oliver La Farge, a New Englander of French and Narragansett descent, won the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel, the predecessor to the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, in 1930 for his book Laughing Boy. John P. Marquand grew up in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Novelist Edwin O'Connor, who was also known as a radio personality and journalist, won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel The Edge of Sadness. Pulitzer Prize winner John Cheever, a novelist and short story writer, was born in Quincy, Massachusetts and set most of his fiction in old New England villages based on various South Shore towns around there. E. Annie Proulx was born in Norwich, Connecticut. David Lindsay-Abaire, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2007 for his play Rabbit Hole, was raised in Boston.

Ethan Frome, written in 1911 by Edith Wharton, is set in turn-of-the-century New England, in the fictitious town of Starkfield, Massachusetts. Like much literature of the region, it plays off themes of isolation and hopelessness. New England is also the setting for most of the gothic horror stories of H. P. Lovecraft, who lived his life in Providence, Rhode Island. Real New England towns such as Ipswich, Newburyport, Rowley, and Marblehead featured often in his stories alongside fictional locations such as Dunwich, Arkham, Innsmouth and Kingsport. Lovecraft often expressed an appreciation for New England in his personal correspondence, and believed that returning to the area was the reason that his writing improved after he left New York City.

An illustration from Herman Melville's Moby-Dick

The region has also drawn the attention of authors and poets from other parts of the U.S. Mark Twain found Hartford to be the most beautiful city in the U.S., made it his home, and wrote his masterpieces there. He lived next door to Harriett Beecher Stowe, a local whose most famous work is Uncle Tom's Cabin. John Updike, originally from Pennsylvania, eventually moved to Ipswich, Massachusetts, which served as the model for the fictional New England town of Tarbox in his 1968 novel Couples. Robert Frost was born in California, but moved to Massachusetts during his teen years and published his first poem in Lawrence; his frequent use of New England settings and themes ensured that he would be associated with the region. Arthur Miller, a New York City native, used New England as the setting for some of his works, most notably The Crucible.

Herman Melville, originally from New York City, bought the house now known as Arrowhead in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and there wrote his greatest novel Moby-Dick. Poet Maxine Kumin was born in Philadelphia, and currently resides in Warner, New Hampshire. Pulitzer Prize winning poet Mary Oliver was born in Maple Heights, Ohio, and has lived in Provincetown, Massachusetts for the last forty years. Charles Simic, who was born in Belgrade, Serbia (at that time Yugoslavia) grew up in Chicago and lives in Strafford, New Hampshire, on the shore of Bow Lake. He is the professor emeritus of American literature and creative writing at the University of New Hampshire. Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and short story writer Steven Millhauser, whose short story "Eisenheim the Illusionist" was adapted into the 2006 film The Illusionist, was born in New York City and raised in Connecticut.

More recently, Stephen King, born in Portland, Maine, has used the small towns of his home state as the setting for much of his horror fiction, with several of his stories taking place in or near the fictional town of Castle Rock. Just to the south, Exeter, New Hampshire was the birthplace of best-selling novelist John Irving and Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code. Rick Moody has set many of his works in southern New England, focusing on wealthy families of suburban Connecticut's Gold Coast and their battles with addiction and anomie. Derek Walcott, a playwright and poet who won the 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature, teaches poetry at Boston University. Pulitzer Prize winner Cormac McCarthy, whose novel No Country for Old Men was made into the Academy Award for Best Picture winning film in 2007, was born in Providence, although he moved to Tennessee when he was a boy. New York Times Bestselling author Dennis Lehane, another native of the Boston area, who was born in Dorchester, wrote the novels that were adapted into the films Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Shutter Island.

Largely on the strength of its local writers, Boston was for some years the center of the U.S. publishing industry, before being overtaken by New York in the middle of the nineteenth century. Boston remains the home of publishers Houghton Mifflin and Pearson Education, and was the longtime home of literary magazine The Atlantic Monthly. Merriam-Webster is based in Springfield, Massachusetts. Yankee, a magazine for New Englanders, is based in Dublin, New Hampshire.


Two popular American sports were invented in New England. Basketball was invented by James Naismith (a Canadian) in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891.[158] Volleyball was invented by William G. Morgan in Holyoke, Massachusetts, in 1895.[159] Additionally, Walter Camp is credited with developing modern American football in New Haven, Connecticut in the 1870s and 1880s.[160]

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is an oval racetrack that has hosted several NASCAR and American Championship Car Racing races, whereas Lime Rock Park is a traditional road racing venue home of sports car races. Events at these venues have had the "New England" moniker, such as the NASCAR New England 300 and New England 200, the IndyCar Series New England Indy 200, and the American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix.

Professional and semi-professional sports teams

Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest operating ballpark in the U.S.

The major professional sports teams in New England are based in the Boston area: the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots (based in Foxborough, Massachusetts), the Boston Celtics, the Boston Bruins, the Boston Cannons, and the New England Revolution (also based in Foxborough). Hartford had a professional hockey team, the Hartford Whalers, from 1975 until they moved to North Carolina in 1997. Bridgeport had a professional lacrosse team, the Bridgeport Barrage, until they moved to Philadelphia and later ceased operation. A WNBA team, the Connecticut Sun, are based in southeastern Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun resort.

There are also minor league baseball and hockey teams based in larger cities such as the Pawtucket Red Sox (baseball), the Providence Bruins (hockey), the Worcester Tornadoes (baseball), the Brockton Rox (baseball) and the Worcester Sharks (hockey), the Lowell Spinners (baseball), the Portland Sea Dogs (baseball) and the Portland Pirates (hockey), the Bridgeport Bluefish (baseball) and the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (hockey), the Connecticut Tigers (baseball), the New Britain Rock Cats (baseball), the Vermont Lake Monsters (baseball), the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (baseball) and the Manchester Monarchs (hockey), the Brockton Rox (baseball), the Connecticut Whale (hockey), and the Springfield Falcons (hockey).

The NBA Development League fields two teams in New England: the Maine Red Claws, based in Portland, Maine, and the Springfield Armor in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Red Claws are affiliated with the Boston Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats and the Armor are affiliated with the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, and Philadelphia 76ers. New England is also represented in the Premier Basketball League by the Vermont Frost Heaves of Barre, Vermont and, until recently, the Manchester Millrats from Manchester, New Hampshire.

Thanksgiving Day high school football rivalries date back to the 19th century, and the Harvard-Yale rivalry ("The Game") is the oldest active rivalry in college football. The Boston Marathon, run on Patriots' Day every year, is a New England cultural institution and the oldest annual marathon in the world. While the race offers far less prize money than many other marathons, the race's difficulty and long history make it one of the world's most prestigious marathons.[161]

Notable places

Boats on the Kennebunk River between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, Maine

The New Haven Green was created in 1638, and is preserved as the heart of what could be the first planned city in the U.S.[162]


New England features many of the oldest cities and towns in the country. The following places have historic buildings, parks, and streetscapes (following the coast from New Haven):



Cape Cod National Seashore

The Appalachian Mountains run through northern New England, and provide for recreational hiking and sixteen ski areas that have least 2,000 feet (610 m) of vertical drop in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts are popular tourist destinations for their small-town charm and beaches. All have restrictive zoning laws to prevent sprawl and overdevelopment.

Acadia National Park, off the coast of Maine, preserves most of Mount Desert Island and includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes.

In addition, the coastal New England states are home to many oceanfront beaches.

The financial magazine Money, in a 2006 survey entitled "Best Places to Live", ranked several New England towns and cities in the top one hundred. In Connecticut, Fairfield, part of the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut area, was ranked ninth, while Stamford was ranked forty-sixth. In Maine, Portland ranked eighty-ninth. In Massachusetts, Newton was ranked twenty-second. In New Hampshire, Nashua, a past number one, was ranked eighty-seventh. In Rhode Island, Cranston was ranked seventy-eighth, while Warwick was ranked eighty-third.[163]


The MBTA Commuter Rail serves much of Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island, with plans for expansion into New Hampshire.[164][165]

Amtrak's Northeast Corridor connects southern New England to the Mid-Atlantic.

Six mainline Interstate highways cross New England, with at least one serving each state and its respective capital city:

I-84.svg Interstate 84 enters New England at Danbury, Connecticut, and crosses that state to the northeast, connecting the city of Waterbury and the state capital of Hartford before terminating at a junction with Interstate 90 in Massachusetts.

I-90.svg Interstate 90, also signed east-west, carries the Massachusetts Turnpike designation as it crosses the state. I-90 enters Massachusetts at West Stockbridge and travels eastward to its terminus in Boston; connecting the cities of Springfield and Worcester and intersecting many of New England's major north-south routes.

I-89.svg Interstate 89, signed north-south, begins at a junction with Interstate 93 just south of Concord, New Hampshire. I-89 travels to the northwest towards its terminus at the Canadian border, connecting Lebanon, the state capital of Montpelier, and Burlington (Vermont's largest city) along the way.

I-91.svg Interstate 91 begins in New Haven, Connecticut at a junction with Interstate 95, running north from there through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont until it reaches the Canadian border. I-91 parallels U.S. Route 5 for its entire length, and much of the route also follows the Connecticut River, linking many of the major cities and towns along the river including Hartford, Springfield, and Brattleboro. I-91 is the only Interstate route within New England that intersects five of the others.

I-93.svg Interstate 93 begins in Canton, Massachusetts at a junction with Interstate 95, running northeastward from there through the city of Boston. I-93 travels north from Boston and into New Hampshire, where it serves as the main Interstate highway through that state and links many of the larger cities and towns (including the capital, Concord, and the largest city north of Boston—Manchester). I-93 eventually enters Vermont and reaches its northern terminus at a junction with Interstate 91 at St. Johnsbury.

I-95.svg Interstate 95, which runs along the East Coast, enters New England at Greenwich, Connecticut, and runs in a generally northeastern direction along the Atlantic Ocean, eventually heading through Maine's sparsely-populated north country to its northern terminus at the Canadian border. I-95 serves many of the coastline's cities, including the state capitals of Providence and Augusta, while serving as a partial beltway around Boston. I-95 travels through every New England state except Vermont, and is the only two-digit Interstate highway to enter the states of Rhode Island and Maine.

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) provides rail and subway service within the Boston metropolitan area, bus service in Greater Boston, and commuter rail service throughout Eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island. The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Metro-North Commuter Railroad provides rail, serving many commuters in Southwestern Connecticut, while the Connecticut Department of Transportation operates the Shore Line East commuter rail service along the Connecticut coastline east of New Haven.

Amtrak provides interstate rail service throughout New England. Boston is the northern terminus of the Northeast Corridor line. The Vermonter connects Vermont to Massachusetts and Connecticut, while the Downeaster links Maine to Boston.

All the New England states (except Massachusetts) scored "Best" on the 2011 American State Litter Scorecard in which the fifty states were ranked for overall effectiveness and quality of their public space cleanliness—primarily roadway and adjacent litter—from state and related debris removal efforts.[166]

See also

  • North America 368x348.pngNorth America portal
  • Flag of the United States.svgUnited States portal
  • New England pine flag.svgNew England portal
  • Seal of Connecticut.svgConnecticut portal
  • Flag of Maine.svgMaine portal
  • Portal.svgMassachusetts portal
  • Portal.svgNew Hampshire portal
  • Flag of Rhode Island.svgRhode Island portal
  • Portal.svgVermont portal
  • Extreme points of New England
  • Historic New England
  • List of amusement parks in New England
  • List of beaches in New England
  • New England Fieldstone
  • Mammals of New England
  • Maritimes
  • New Albion
  • New Albion (colony)
  • New England-Acadian forests
  • New England Summer Nationals
  • New England Planters
  • Northeastern coastal forests
  • Southeastern New England wine region
  • Swamp Yankee


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  • New York: Atlas of Historical County Boundaries; John H. Long, Editor; Compiled by Kathryn Ford Thorne; A Project of the Dr. William M. Scholl Center for Family and Community History; The new Berry Library; Simon & Schuster; 1993.
  • U.S. Census Bureau. "Census Regions and Divisions of the United States"PDF (1.06 MB). Retrieved May 11, 2005

Further reading

  • Hall, Donald, Burt Feintuch, and David H. Watters, eds. Encyclopedia of New England (Yale U.P. 2005), 1596 pp; the major scholarly resource to the geography, history and culture of the region. ISBN 0-300-10027-2
  • Bartlett, Ray et al. New England Trips. ISBN 1-74179-728-4
  • Berman, Eleanor. Eyewitness Travel Guides New England. ISBN 0-7566-2697-8
  • Chenoweth, James. Oddity Odyssey: A Journey Through New England's Colorful Past. Holt, 1996. Humorous travel guide. ISBN 0-8050-3671-7
  • Muse, Vance. The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America: Northern New England. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1998. A photographic guide to historic sites in New England. ISBN 1-55670-635-9
  • Riess, Jana. The Spiritual Traveler Boston and New England: A Guide to Sacred Sites and Peaceful Places, HiddenSpring ISBN 1-58768-008-4
  • Sletcher, Michael. New England: The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures (2004)
  • Wiencek, Henry. The Smithsonian Guide to Historic America: Southern New England. Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 1998. A photographic guide to historic sites in New England. ISBN 1-55670-633-2

External links

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Textbooks from Wikibooks
Quotations from Wikiquote
Source texts from Wikisource
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Learning resources from Wikiversity

Related information

Coordinates: 44°12′20.00″N 70°18′23.13″W / 44.20556, -70.306425

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