Bristol County, Rhode Island

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Bristol County is a county located in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. As of 2000, the population was 50,648.



The county was formed by the transfer of part of Bristol County, Massachusetts, to the state of Rhode Island, and was the subject of a long-running border dispute. [1]

The original county was part of the Plymouth Colony and named after its "shire town" (county seat), what is now Bristol, Rhode Island. The new Rhode Island county was formed in 1746 with the full modern territory of Bristol, Barrington, and Warren.[2]

See Bristol County, Massachusetts for later land transfers between Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


Bristol County is the smallest county in area in Rhode Island. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 45 square miles (116.5 km2), of which 25 square miles (64.7 km2) is land and 20 square miles (51.8 km2) (44.80%) is water.

Adjacent counties


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 50,648 people, 19,033 households, and 13,361 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,052 people per square mile (792/km²). There were 19,881 housing units at an average density of 805 per square mile (311/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.81% White, 0.69% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 1% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. 1.13% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.7% were of Portuguese, 18.6% Italian, 12.4% Irish, 10.5% English and 5.9% French ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.4% spoke English, 10.4% Portuguese and 1.3% Spanish as their first language. The United States Census Bureau reports Bristol County as one of two counties in the country with a plurality Portuguese population (the other being the contiguous Bristol County, Massachusetts).

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