Southeastern Massachusetts

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Southeastern Massachusetts
Region of Massachusetts
New Bedford, Massachusetts-view of harbor.jpeg
A view from New Bedford overlooking Buzzards Bay
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
StateFlag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts
Largest city (population) New Bedford (95,072)
Largest town (area) Plymouth (134 square miles)
Subregions Cape Cod and Islands, South Coast, South Shore
  Total11,231 km2 (4,336.4 sq mi)
  Land6,092 km2 (2,352.3 sq mi)
  Water5,138 km2 (1,983.9 sq mi)
  Density180/km2 (460/sq mi)

Southeastern Massachusetts consists of those portions of Massachusetts located along Buzzards Bay, including the cities of New Bedford and Fall River and their respective suburbs. Despite the location of Cape Cod and the islands to its south, which are the southeasternmost parts of the state, they are not always grouped in this designation. At its broadest definition, it includes all of Massachusetts south of Boston and southeast of Worcester, while at its narrowest definition, it is Bristol County and the Western portion of Plymouth County.



As Southeastern Massachusetts is not an official designation, its borders are not exactly defined.

At its broadest definition, it includes all of Plymouth and Bristol counties (particularly the South Coast along Buzzards Bay and the South Shore along Cape Cod Bay), most of the cities and towns in Norfolk County, and even some towns in Worcester County. At its narrowest definition, it includes all of Bristol County, the western part of Plymouth County and the southwestern part of Norfolk County, with the South Shore and Metro-South areas being counted separately.

The terms "Southeastern Massachusetts," "Southeastern New England", and "Southern New England" are much-used by Providence-area broadcasters and other local companies and organizations but are not used as frequently in other parts of Massachusetts.


The Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDD) task force, which concerns Southeastern Massachusetts in its broadest definition, describes:

For this effort, southeastern[ sic ] Massachusetts is defined as fifty-two cities and towns from Bristol, Plymouth and Norfolk Counties. The region is geographically defined by Massachusetts Bay, Buzzards Bay, The[ sic ] Taunton River watershed, and its location relative to Boston, Rhode Island and Cape Cod. Bristol County, Massachusetts and Bristol County, Rhode Island are contiguous and are the only counties in the nation where Portuguese Americans make up the plurality of the population. This is due to the Portuguese-American population, the Portuguese-Brazilian population, and the Portuguese-Cape Verdean population that came to Southern New England in the 19th century to do the much needed whaling work; in fact, New Bedford is called "the Whaling City."

...[it] is home to approximately one million people residing in over 1,300 square miles (3,400 km2). We have been adding 10,000 new residents and consuming 4.7 square miles (12 km2) of undeveloped land each year for the past thirty years, and new transportation improvements (commuter rail, Route 44 and Route 3 & 24 improvements) continue to attract more growth. Southeastern Massachusetts comprises several clearly defined sub-regions, including the South Shore, the South Coast and the Tri-City area around Brockton, Attleboro and Taunton. Despite the diversity within the region, the fifty-two cities and towns all have common concerns and opportunities. [1]

Taunton, Brockton, Fall River, and New Bedford are the largest cities in Southeastern Massachusetts and are close to one another in size. All four have a strong Portuguese presence. In 2000, 43.9% of Fall River residents identified as being of Portuguese heritage. This is the highest percentage of Portuguese Americans in the country. Most of the population claims to be of Azorean origin, many from São Miguel Island. There are smaller, but significant presences of other Portuguese-speaking communities, such as other Azorean Islanders, Portuguese from mainland Portugal, Madeirans, Cape Verdeans, Brazilians, and Angolans. In 2000 New Bedford had the second highest percentage of Portuguese Americans with 38.6% of residents reporting that ancestry. New Bedford is also 8.0% Cape Verdean, 4.39% African American and 7.1% Puerto Rican, and 3% were other Hispanics, In 2000 it was 75% White alone. [2]

Like most of the state, Southeastern Massachusetts is ethnically, racially, linguistically, and Religiously diverse. However, Portuguese-speakers are especially well represented in this area (especially Bristol County) due to a pattern of immigration that began in the 19th century and was tied to the whaling industry. Today, many people in Southeastern Massachusetts, most notability Bristol County, trace their ancestry to mainland Portugal and the Azores. Quincy, Milton, and Randolph are all in Norfolk County and are included in the Southeastern Massachusetts definition; they are populated by Irish Americans, British Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans and Latin Americans. Irish Americans dominate Norfolk County, Bristol County and Plymouth County which has been known as the "Irish Riviera". Cape Verdean Americans, Brazilian Americans, Angolan Americans, African Americans, Arab Americans, Irish Americans, British Americans, Portuguese Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, Spanish Americans, Chinese Americans, Russian Americans, Turkish Americans, German Americans, Polish Americans, Swedish Americans, French Americans, Lebanese Americans, Italian Americans, and Greek Americans preside over Brockton, Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford. [3] [4]

Cities and towns

MunicipalityType [5] County [6] Form of government [5] Population
(2010) [6]
established [7]
Abington TownPlymouthOpen town meeting15,9851712
Acushnet TownBristolOpen town meeting10,3031860
Aquinnah TownDukesOpen town meeting3111870
Attleboro CityBristolMayor-council43,5931694
Avon TownNorfolkOpen town meeting4,3561888
Barnstable City [8] BarnstableCouncil-manager45,1931639
Bellingham TownNorfolkOpen town meeting16,3321719
Berkley TownBristolOpen town meeting6,4111735
Blackstone TownWorcesterOpen town meeting9,0261845
Bourne TownBarnstableOpen town meeting19,7541884
Braintree City [8] NorfolkMayor-council35,7441640
Brewster TownBarnstableOpen town meeting9,8201803
Bridgewater City [8] PlymouthCouncil-manager26,5631656
Brockton CityPlymouthMayor-council93,8101821
Canton TownNorfolkOpen town meeting21,5611797
Carver TownPlymouthOpen town meeting11,5091790
Chatham TownBarnstableOpen town meeting6,1251712
Chilmark TownDukesOpen town meeting8661714
Cohasset TownNorfolkOpen town meeting7,5421775
Dartmouth TownBristolRepresentative town meeting34,0321664
Dedham TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting24,7291636
Dennis TownBarnstableOpen town meeting14,2071793
Dighton TownBristolOpen town meeting7,0861712
Douglas TownWorcesterOpen town meeting8,4711775
Dover TownNorfolkOpen town meeting5,5891836
Duxbury TownPlymouthOpen town meeting15,0591637
East Bridgewater TownPlymouthOpen town meeting13,7941823
Eastham TownBarnstableOpen town meeting4,9561646
Easton TownBristolOpen town meeting23,1121725
Edgartown TownDukesOpen town meeting4,0671671
Fairhaven TownBristolRepresentative town meeting15,8731812
Fall River CityBristolMayor-council88,8571803
Falmouth TownBarnstableRepresentative town meeting31,5311686
Foxborough TownNorfolkOpen town meeting16,8651778
Franklin City [8] NorfolkCouncil-administrator31,6351778
Freetown TownBristolOpen town meeting8,8701683
Grafton TownWorcesterOpen town meeting17,7651735
Gosnold TownDukesOpen town meeting751864
Halifax TownPlymouthOpen town meeting7,5181734
Hanover TownPlymouthOpen town meeting13,8791727
Hanson TownPlymouthOpen town meeting10,2091820
Harwich TownBarnstableOpen town meeting12,2431694
Hingham TownPlymouthOpen town meeting22,1571635
Holbrook TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting10,7911872
Hopedale TownWorcesterOpen town meeting5,9111886
Hull TownPlymouthOpen town meeting10,2931644
Kingston TownPlymouthOpen town meeting12,6291726
Lakeville TownPlymouthOpen town meeting10,6021853
Mansfield TownBristolOpen town meeting23,1841775
Marion TownPlymouthOpen town meeting4,9071852
Marshfield TownPlymouthOpen town meeting25,1321640
Mashpee TownBarnstableOpen town meeting14,0061870
Mattapoisett TownPlymouthOpen town meeting6,0451857
Medfield TownNorfolkOpen town meeting12,0241651
Medway TownNorfolkOpen town meeting12,7521713
Mendon TownWorcesterOpen town meeting5,8391667
Middleborough TownPlymouthOpen town meeting23,1161669
Milford TownWorcesterRepresentative town meeting27,9991780
Millbury TownWorcesterOpen town meeting13,2611813
Millis TownNorfolkOpen town meeting7,8911885
Millville TownWorcesterOpen town meeting3,1901916
Milton TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting27,0031662
Nantucket TownNantucketOpen town meeting10,1721671
New Bedford CityBristolMayor-council95,0721787
Norfolk TownNorfolkOpen town meeting11,2271870
North Attleborough TownBristolRepresentative town meeting28,7121887
Northbridge TownWorcesterOpen town meeting15,7071775
Norton TownBristolOpen town meeting19,0311711
Norwell TownPlymouthOpen town meeting10,5061849
Norwood TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting28,6021872
Oak Bluffs TownDukesOpen town meeting4,5271880
Orleans TownBarnstableOpen town meeting5,8901797
Pembroke TownPlymouthOpen town meeting17,8371712
Plainville TownNorfolkOpen town meeting8,2641905
Plymouth TownPlymouthRepresentative town meeting56,4681620
Plympton TownPlymouthOpen town meeting2,8201707
Provincetown TownBarnstableOpen town meeting2,9421727
Quincy CityNorfolkMayor-council92,2711792
Randolph City [8] NorfolkCouncil-manager32,1121793
Raynham TownBristolOpen town meeting13,3831731
Rehoboth TownBristolOpen town meeting11,6081645
Rochester TownPlymouthOpen town meeting5,2321686
Rockland TownPlymouthOpen town meeting17,4891874
Sandwich TownBarnstableOpen town meeting20,6751638
Scituate TownPlymouthOpen town meeting18,1331636
Seekonk TownBristolOpen town meeting13,7221812
Sharon TownNorfolkOpen town meeting17,6121775
Somerset TownBristolOpen town meeting18,1651790
Stoughton TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting26,9621726
Sutton TownWorcesterOpen town meeting8,9631714
Swansea TownBristolOpen town meeting15,8651667
Taunton CityBristolMayor-council55,8741639
Tisbury TownDukesOpen town meeting3,9491671
Truro TownBarnstableOpen town meeting2,0031709
Upton TownWorcesterOpen town meeting7,5421735
Uxbridge TownWorcesterOpen town meeting13,4571727
Walpole TownNorfolkRepresentative town meeting24,0701724
Wareham TownPlymouthOpen town meeting21,8221739
Wellfleet TownBarnstableOpen town meeting2,7501775
West Bridgewater TownPlymouthOpen town meeting6,9161822
West Tisbury TownDukesOpen town meeting2,7401892
Westport TownBristolOpen town meeting15,5321787
Westwood TownNorfolkOpen town meeting14,6181897
Weymouth City [8] NorfolkMayor-council53,7431635
Whitman TownPlymouthOpen town meeting14,4891875
Wrentham TownNorfolkOpen town meeting10,9551673
Yarmouth TownBarnstableOpen town meeting23,7931639

The following tabular list shows the 12 government divisions of Southeastern Massachusetts which have been officially granted the right to use the city form of government along with the official name in use by each municipality. [Note 1]

MunicipalityOfficial nameWeb reference
AttleboroCity of Attleboro
BarnstableTown of Barnstable
BraintreeTown of Braintree
BridgewaterTown of Bridgewater
BrocktonCity of Brockton
Fall RiverCity of Fall River
FranklinTown of Franklin
New BedfordCity of New Bedford
QuincyCity of Quincy
Randolph [9] Town of Randolph
TauntonCity of Taunton
WeymouthTown of Weymouth

Census-designated places


Institutions of higher learning which serve Southeastern Massachusetts communities include:


  1. The main source for the table is the Massachusetts Municipal Association 2009-2010 Municipal Directory Archived 2013-06-15 at the Wayback Machine . The MMA Directory is not an official state document, but is more up to date and specific than the official list from the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth's office, which is dated 03-11-2008 and does not include Palmer, Randolph and Winthrop, which have since adopted the city form of government.

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  1. (SRPEDD) task force
  2. Largest Cities in Massachusetts
  3. Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers
  4. University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
  5. 1 2 "2009-10 Municipal Directory". Massachusetts Municipal Association. Archived from the original on 2013-06-15. Retrieved 2010-01-25.
  6. 1 2 "Population and Housing Occupancy Status: 2010 - State -- County Subdivision, 2010 Census Redistricting Data (Public Law 94-171) Summary File". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-03-23.[ dead link ]
  7. "Massachusetts City and Town Incorporation and Settlement Dates". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 One of 14 municipalities with a city form of government that refers to itself as "The Town of". "Citizen Information Service: Massachusetts City and Town Incorporation and Settlement Dates". Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
  9. "Chapter 147 of the Acts of 2009". Boston: Massachusetts General Court. November 19, 2009. Retrieved 26 January 2010.