is a region comprising six states in the Northeastern United States
, New Hampshire
, Rhode Island
, and Vermont
. It is bordered by the state of New York
to the west and by the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick
to the northeast and Quebec
to the north. The Atlantic Ocean is to the east and southeast, and Long Island Sound
is to the southwest. Boston
is New England's largest city, as well as the capital of Massachusetts. Greater Boston
is the largest metropolitan area, with nearly a third of New England's population; this area includes Worcester, Massachusetts
(the second-largest city in New England), Manchester, New Hampshire
(the largest city in New Hampshire), and Providence, Rhode Island
(the capital of and largest city in Rhode Island).
In 1620, the Pilgrims
, Puritan Separatists from England, established Plymouth Colony
, the second successful English settlement in America, following the Jamestown Settlement
in Virginia founded in 1607. Ten years later, more Puritans established Massachusetts Bay Colony
north of Plymouth Colony. Over the next 126 years, people in the region fought in four French and Indian Wars
, until the English colonists and their Iroquois
allies defeated the French and their Algonquian
allies in America. In 1692, the town of Salem, Massachusetts
, and surrounding areas experienced the Salem witch trials
, one of the most infamous cases of mass hysteria
in American history.
The physical geography of New England is diverse for such a small area. Southeastern New England is covered by a narrow coastal plain
, while the western and northern regions are dominated by the rolling hills and worn-down peaks of the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains
. The Atlantic fall line
lies close to the coast, which enabled numerous cities to take advantage of water power along the many rivers, such as the Connecticut River
, which bisects the region from north to south.
Each state is generally subdivided into small municipalities known as towns, many of which are governed by town meetings
. While unincorporated areas do exist, they are limited to roughly half of Maine, along with some isolated, sparsely populated northern regions of New Hampshire and Vermont. New England is one of the Census Bureau's nine regional divisions
and the only multi-state region with clear, consistent boundaries. It maintains a strong sense of cultural identity,
although the terms of this identity are often contrasted, combining Puritanism with liberalism, agrarian life with industry, and isolation with immigration.
Indigenous territories, circa 1600 in present-day southern New England
The earliest known inhabitants of New England were American Indians who spoke a variety of the Eastern Algonquian languages
Prominent tribes included the Abenakis
, and Wampanoag
Prior to the arrival of European colonists, the Western Abenakis inhabited what is modern New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, as well as parts of Quebec and western Maine.
Their principal town was Norridgewock
in present-day Maine.
The Penobscot lived along the Penobscot River
in modern Maine. The Narragansetts and smaller tribes under their sovereignty lived in what is known today as Rhode Island, west of Narragansett Bay, including Block Island
. The Wampanoag occupied the regions of modern southeastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the islands of Martha's Vineyard
. The Pocumtucks lived in what is now Western Massachusetts, and the Mohegan and Pequot tribes lived in the current Connecticut region. The Connecticut River Valley
linked numerous tribes culturally, linguistically, and politically.
As early as 1600, French, Dutch, and English traders began exploring the New World, trading metal, glass, and cloth for local beaver pelts.
Soldier and explorer John Smith
coined the name "New England" in 1616.
With the arrival of colonists, many Native Americans were kidnapped for enslavement. English sailors— like George Waymouth
in 1605 and Harlow in 1611—captured and enslaved Native peoples.
Up until 1700, Native American servitude comprised a majority of the non-white labor present in New England.
In 1616, English explorer John Smith
named the region "New England".
The name was officially sanctioned on November 3, 1620,
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.
The Pilgrims wrote and signed the Mayflower Compact
before leaving the ship,
and it became their first governing document.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony
came to dominate the area and was established by royal charter in 1629
with its major town and port of Boston established in 1630.
Massachusetts Puritans began to establish themselves in Connecticut as early as 1633.Roger Williams
was banished from Massachusetts for heresy, led a group south, and founded Providence Plantation
in the area that became the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
At this time, Vermont was uncolonized, and the territories of New Hampshire and Maine were claimed and governed by Massachusetts. As the region grew, it received many emigrants from Europe due to its religious toleration, economy, and longer life expectancy. 
On October 19, 1652, the Massachusetts General Court
decreed that "for the prevention of clipping of all such pieces of money as shall be coined with-in this jurisdiction, it is ordered by this Courte and the authorite thereof, that henceforth all pieces of money coined shall have a double ring on either side, with this inscription, Massachusetts
, and a tree in the center on one side, and New England and the yeare of our Lord on the other side. "These coins were the famous "tree" pieces. There were Willow Tree Shillings, Oak Tree Shillings, and Pine Tree Shillings" minted by John Hull
and Robert Sanderson in the "Hull Mint" on Summer Street
. "The Pine Tree was the last to be coined, and today there are specimens in existence, which is probably why all of these early coins are referred to as Pine Tree shillings." 
The "Hull Mint" was forced to close in 1683. In 1684 the charter of Massachusetts was revoked by the king Charles II
French and Indian Wars
Relationships between colonists and local Indian tribes alternated between peace and armed skirmishes, the bloodiest of which was the Pequot War
in 1637 which resulted in the Mystic massacre
On May 19, 1643, 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, and it gained some importance during King Philip's War
which pitted the colonists and their Indian allies against a widespread Indian uprising from June 1675 through April 1678, resulting in killings and massacres on both sides.
During the next 74 years, there were six colonial wars that took place primarily between New England and New France
during which New England was allied with the Iroquois Confederacy
and New France was allied with the Wabanaki Confederacy
. Mainland Nova Scotia came under the control of New England after the Siege of Port Royal (1710)
, but both New Brunswick and most of Maine remained contested territory between New England and New France. The British eventually defeated the French in 1763, opening the Connecticut River Valley for British settlement into western New Hampshire and Vermont.
The New England Colonies were settled primarily by farmers who became relatively self-sufficient. Later, New England's economy began to focus on crafts and trade, aided by the Puritan work ethic
, in contrast to the Southern colonies which focused on agricultural production while importing finished goods from England.
Dominion of New England
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.
In 1688, the former Dutch colonies of New York
, East New Jersey
and West New Jersey
were added to the Dominion. The union was imposed from the outside and contrary to the rooted democratic tradition of the region and it was highly unpopular among the colonists.
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.
New England in the new nation
After the dissolution of the Dominion of New England, the colonies of New England ceased to function as a unified political unit but remained a defined cultural region. There were often disputes over territorial jurisdiction, leading to land exchanges such as those regarding the Equivalent Lands
and New Hampshire Grants
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.
The nickname "Yankeeland" was sometimes used to denote the New England area, especially among Southerners and the British.
Vermont was admitted to statehood in 1791 after settling a dispute with New York. The territory of Maine had been a part of Massachusetts, but it was granted statehood on March 15, 1820, as part of the Missouri Compromise
Today, New England is defined as the six states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.
New England's economic growth relied heavily on trade with the British Empire
and the region's merchants and politicians strongly opposed trade restrictions. As the United States and the United Kingdom fought the War of 1812
, New England Federalists
organized the Hartford Convention
in the winter of 1814 to discuss the region's grievances concerning the war, and to propose changes to the Constitution
to protect the region's interests and maintain its political power.
Radical delegates within the convention proposed the region's secession
from the United States, but they were outnumbered by moderates who opposed the idea.
Politically, the region often disagreed with the rest of the country.
Massachusetts and Connecticut were among the last refuges of the Federalist Party
, and New England became the strongest bastion of the new Whig Party
when the Second Party System
began in the 1830s. The Whigs were usually dominant throughout New England, except in the more Democratic
Maine and New Hampshire. Leading statesmen hailed from the region, including Daniel Webster
New England was key to the industrial revolution
in the United States.
The Blackstone Valley
running through Massachusetts and Rhode Island has been called the birthplace of America's industrial revolution.
In 1787, the first cotton mill in America was founded in the North Shore
seaport of Beverly, Massachusetts
, as the Beverly Cotton Manufactory
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
. Towns such as Lawrence, Massachusetts
, Lowell, Massachusetts
, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
, and Lewiston, 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 between 1815 and 1860 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 where there was no paid employment to work in the nearby mills, such as the famous Lowell Mill Girls
. As the textile industry grew, immigration also grew. By the 1850s, immigrants began working in the mills, especially French Canadians
New England as a whole was the most industrialized part of the U.S. By 1850, the region accounted for well over a quarter of all manufacturing value in the country and over a third of its industrial workforce.
It was also the most literate and most educated region in the country.
During the same period, New England and areas settled by New Englanders (upstate New York, Ohio's Western Reserve
, and the upper midwestern states of Michigan
) were the center of the strongest abolitionist and anti-slavery movements in the United States, coinciding with the Protestant Great Awakening
in the region.
Abolitionists who demanded immediate emancipation such as William Lloyd Garrison
, John Greenleaf Whittier
and Wendell Phillips
had their base in the region. So too did anti-slavery politicians who wanted to limit the growth of slavery, such as 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. New England remained solidly Republican until Catholics began to mobilize behind the Democrats, especially in 1928, and up until the Republican party realigned its politics in a shift known as the Southern strategy
. This led to the end of "Yankee Republicanism" and began New England's relatively swift transition into a consistently Democratic stronghold
in national elections.
20th century and beyond
The flow of immigrants continued at a steady pace from the 1840s until cut off by World War I
. The largest numbers came from Ireland and Britain before 1890, and after that from Quebec, Italy, and Southern Europe. The immigrants filled the ranks of factory workers, craftsmen, and unskilled laborers. The Irish assumed a larger and larger role in the Democratic Party in the cities and statewide, while the rural areas remained Republican. Yankees left the farms, which never were highly productive; many headed west, while others became professionals and businessmen in the New England cities.
The Democrats appealed to factory workers and especially Catholics, pulling them into the New Deal coalition
and making the once-Republican region into one that was closely divided. However, the enormous spending on munitions, ships, electronics, and uniforms during World War II
caused a burst of prosperity in every sector.
The region lost most of its factories starting with the loss of textiles in the 1930s and getting worse after 1960. The New England economy was radically transformed after World War II. The factory economy practically disappeared. Like urban centers in the Rust Belt
, once-bustling New England communities fell into economic decay following the flight of the region's industrial base. The textile mills one by one went out of business from the 1920s to the 1970s. For example, the Crompton Company, after 178 years in business, went bankrupt in 1984, costing the jobs of 2,450 workers in five states. The major reasons were cheap imports, the strong dollar, declining exports, and a failure to diversify.
The shoe industry subsequently left the region as well.
What remains is very high technology manufacturing, such as jet engines, nuclear submarines, pharmaceuticals, robotics, scientific instruments, and medical devices. MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology) invented the format for university-industry relations in high tech fields and spawned many software and hardware firms, some of which grew rapidly.
By the 21st century, the region had become famous for its leadership roles in the fields of education, medicine, medical research, high-technology, finance, and tourism.
Some industrial areas were slow in adjusting to the new service economy. In 2000, New England had two of the ten poorest cities in the U.S. (by percentage living below the poverty line): the state capitals of Providence, Rhode Island
and Hartford, Connecticut
They were no longer in the bottom ten by 2010; Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire remain among the ten wealthiest states in the United States in terms of median household income and per capita income.
A political and geographical map of New England shows the coastal plains
in the southeast, and hills, mountains and valleys in the west and the north.
The states of New England have a combined area of 71,991.8 square miles (186,458 km2
), making the region slightly larger than the state of Washington
and slightly smaller than Great Britain
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
The areas of the states (including water area) are:
- Maine, 35,380 square miles (91,600 km2)
- Massachusetts, 10,554 square miles (27,330 km2)
- Vermont, 9,616 square miles (24,910 km2)
- New Hampshire, 9,349 square miles (24,210 km2)
- Connecticut, 5,543 square miles (14,360 km2)
- Rhode Island, 1,545 square miles (4,000 km2)
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, although it is not among the ten highest peaks in the eastern United States.
It is the site of the second highest recorded wind speed
and has the reputation of having the world's most severe weather.
The coast of the region, extending from southwestern Connecticut to northeastern Maine, is dotted with lakes, hills, marshes and wetlands, and sandy beaches.
Important valleys in the region include the Champlain Valley
, the Connecticut River Valley
and the Merrimack Valley
The longest river is the Connecticut River
, which flows from northeastern New Hampshire for 407 mi (655 km), emptying into Long Island Sound
, roughly bisecting the region. Lake Champlain
, which forms part of the border between Vermont and New York, is the largest lake in the region, followed by Moosehead Lake
in Maine and Lake Winnipesaukee
in New Hampshire.
The climate of New England varies greatly across its 500 miles (800 km) span from northern Maine to southern Connecticut:
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and western Massachusetts have a humid continental
climate (Dfb in Köppen climate classification
). In this region the winters are long and cold, and heavy snow is common (most locations receive 60 to 120 inches (1,500 to 3,000 mm) of snow annually in this region). The summer's months are moderately warm, though summer is rather short and rainfall is spread through the year.
In central and eastern Massachusetts, northern Rhode Island, and northern Connecticut, the same humid continental prevails (Dfa), though summers are warm to hot, winters are shorter, and there is less snowfall (especially in the coastal areas where it is often warmer).
Southern and coastal Connecticut is the broad transition zone from the cold continental climates
of the north to the milder subtropical
climates to the south. The frost free season is greater than 180 days across far southern/coastal Connecticut, coastal Rhode Island, and the islands (Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard). Winters also tend to be much sunnier in southern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island compared to the rest of New England.
Largest self-reported ancestry groups in New England. Americans of Irish descent form a plurality in most of Massachusetts, while Americans of English descent form a plurality in much of the central parts of Vermont and New Hampshire as well as nearly all of Maine.
In 2020, New England had a population of 15,116,205, a growth of 4.6% from 2010.
Massachusetts is the most populous state with 7,029,917 residents, while Vermont is the least populous state with 643,077 residents.
Boston is by far the region's most populous city and metropolitan area.
Although a great disparity exists between New England's northern and southern portions, the region's average population density is 234.93 inhabitants/sq mi (90.7/km2). New England has a significantly higher population density 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. The combined population density of these states is 786.83/sq mi, compared to northern New England's 63.56/sq mi (2000 census).
According to the 2006–08 American Community Survey
, 48.7% of New Englanders 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. The six states of New England have the lowest birth rate in the U.S.
World's largest Irish flag in Boston
. People who claim Irish
descent constitute the largest ethnic group in New England.
make up the majority of New England's population at 83.4% of the total population, 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
. As of 2014, Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 10.2% of New England's population. Connecticut had the highest proportion at 13.9%, while Vermont had the lowest at 1.3%. There were nearly 1.5 million Hispanic and Latino individuals reported in New England in 2014. Puerto Ricans
were the most numerous of the Hispanic and Latino subgroups. Over 660,000 Puerto Ricans lived in New England in 2014, forming 4.5% of the population. The Dominican
population is over 200,000, and the Mexican
populations are each over 100,000. Americans of Cuban descent
are scant in number; there were roughly 26,000 Cuban Americans in the region in 2014. People of all other Hispanic and Latino ancestries, including Salvadoran
, formed 2.5% of New England's population and numbered over 361,000 combined.
According to the 2014 American Community Survey, the top ten largest reported European ancestries were the following:
is, by far, the most common language spoken at home. Approximately 81.3% of all residents (11.3 million people) over the age of five spoke only English at home. Roughly 1,085,000 people (7.8% of the population) spoke Spanish at home, and roughly 970,000 people (7.0% of the population) spoke other Indo-European languages
Over 403,000 people (2.9% of the population) spoke an Asian
or Pacific Island language at home.
Slightly fewer (about 1%) spoke French at home,
although this figure is above 20% in northern New England, which borders francophone Québec.
Roughly 99,000 people (0.7% of the population) spoke languages other than these at home.
As of 2014, approximately 87% of New England's inhabitants were born in the U.S., while over 12% were foreign-born.
35.8% of foreign-born residents were born in Latin America, 28.6% were born in Asia,
22.9% were born in Europe, and 8.5% were born in Africa.
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.
, which includes parts of southern New Hampshire, has a total population of approximately 4.8 million,
while over half the population of New England falls inside Boston's Combined Statistical Area
of over 8.2 million.
The most populous cities as of the Census Bureau's 2014 estimates were (metropolitan areas in parentheses):
- Boston, Massachusetts: 655,884 (4,739,385)
- Worcester, Massachusetts: 183,016 (931,802)
- Providence, Rhode Island: 179,154 (1,609,533)
- Springfield, Massachusetts: 153,991 (630,672)
- Bridgeport, Connecticut: 147,612 (945,816)
- New Haven, Connecticut: 130,282 (861,238)
- Stamford, Connecticut: 128,278 (part of Bridgeport's MSA)
- Hartford, Connecticut: 124,705 (1,213,225)
- Manchester, New Hampshire: 110,448 (405,339)
- Lowell, Massachusetts: 109,945 (part of Greater Boston)
- Major cities of New England
Cities and urban areas
- Bangor, ME MSA
- Barnstable Town, MA MSA (Greater Boston)
- Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH MSA (Greater Boston)
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT MSA (New York-Newark CSA)
- Burlington-South Burlington, VT MSA
- Hartford-East Hartford-Middletown, CT MSA
- Lewiston-Auburn, ME MSA
- Manchester-Nashua, NH MSA
- New Haven-Milford, CT MSA (New York-Newark CSA)
- Norwich-New London, CT MSA
- Pittsfield, MA MSA
- Portland-South Portland, ME MSA
- Springfield, MA MSA
- Providence-Warwick, RI-MA MSA (Greater Boston)
- Worcester, MA-CT MSA (Greater Boston)
Several factors combine to make the New England economy unique. The region is distant from the geographic center of the country, and it is a relatively small region but densely populated. It historically has been an important center of industry and manufacturing and a supplier of natural resource products, such as granite, lobster, and codfish. The service industry is important, including tourism, education, financial and insurance services, and 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.
The region underwent a long period of deindustrialization in the first half of the 20th century, as traditional manufacturing companies relocated to the Midwest, with textile and furniture manufacturing migrating to the South. In the late-20th century, an increasing portion of the regional economy included high technology, military defense industry, finance and insurance services, and education and health services. As of 2018, the GDP of New England was $1.1 trillion.
New England exports food products ranging from fish to lobster, cranberries, potatoes, and maple syrup. About half of the region's exports consist of industrial and commercial machinery, such as computers and electronic and electrical equipment. Granite is quarried at Barre, Vermont
guns made at Springfield, Massachusetts
, and Saco, Maine
, submarines at Groton, Connecticut
, surface naval vessels at Bath, Maine
, and hand tools at Turners Falls, Massachusetts
In 2017, Boston was ranked as having the ninth-most competitive financial center in the world and the fourth-most competitive in the United States.
Boston-based Fidelity Investments
helped popularize the mutual fund in the 1980s and has made Boston one of the top financial centers in the United States.
The city is home to the headquarters of Santander Bank
and a center for venture capital firms. State Street Corporation
specializes in asset management and custody services and is based in the city.
Agriculture is limited by the area's rocky soil, cool climate, and small area. Some New England states, however, are ranked highly among U.S. states for particular areas of production. Maine is ranked ninth for aquaculture
and has abundant potato fields in its northeast part. Vermont is fifteenth for dairy products,
and Connecticut and Massachusetts seventh and eleventh for tobacco, respectively.
Cranberries are grown in Massachusetts' Cape Cod
-Plymouth-South Shore area, and blueberries in Maine.
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;
every state in New England also ranks within the ten most expensive states for electricity prices.
Wind power, mainly from offshore sources, is expected to gain market share in the 2020s.
Unemployment rates in New England
As of January 2017, employment is stronger in New England than in the rest of the United States. During the Great Recession
, unemployment rates ballooned across New England as elsewhere; however, in the years that followed, these rates declined steadily, with New Hampshire and Massachusetts having the lowest unemployment rates in the country, respectively. The most extreme swing was in Rhode Island, which had an unemployment rate above 10% following the recession, but which saw this rate decline by over 6% in six years.
Overall tax burden
In 2018, four of the six New England states were among the top ten states in the country in terms of taxes paid per taxpayer. The rankings included #3 Maine (11.02%), #4 Vermont (10.94%), #6 Connecticut (10.19%) and #7 Rhode Island (10.14%). Additionally New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island took four of the top five spots for "Highest Property Tax as a Percentage of Personal Income".
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.
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."
The use and effectiveness of town meetings is still discussed by scholars, as well as the possible application of the format to other regions and countries.
State and national elected officials in New England recently have been elected mainly from the Democratic Party.
The region is generally considered to be the most liberal in the United States, with more New Englanders identifying as liberals than Americans elsewhere. In 2010, four of six of the New England states were polled as the most liberal in the United States.
Flag of the New England Governor's Conference (NEGC)
As of 2021, five of the six states of New England have voted for every Democratic presidential nominee since 1992. In that time, New Hampshire has voted for Democratic nominees in every presidential election except 2000, when George W. Bush
narrowly won the state. 2020 was a particularly strong year for Democratic nominee Joe Biden
in New England, winning 61.2% of the total vote in the six states, the highest percentage for Democrats since the landslide election of 1964.
As of the 117th Congress
, all members of the House of Representatives
from New England are members of the Democratic Party, and all but one of its senators
caucus with the Democrats. Two of those senators, although caucusing with Democrats, are the only two independents
currently serving in the Senate: Bernie Sanders
, a self-described democratic socialist
representing Vermont and Angus King
, an Independent representing Maine.
The following table presents the vote percentage for the popular-vote winner for each New England state, New England as a whole, and the United States as a whole, in each presidential election from 1900 to 2020, with the vote percentage for the Republican candidate shaded in red and the vote percentage for the Democratic candidate shaded in blue:
Political party strength
Judging purely by party registration rather than voting patterns, New England today is one of the most Democratic regions in the U.S.
According to Gallup
, Rhode Island
, and Vermont
are "solidly Democratic", Maine
"leans Democratic", and New Hampshire
is a swing state.
Though New England is today considered a Democratic Party stronghold, much of the region was staunchly Republican before the mid-twentieth century. This changed in the late 20th century, in large part due to demographic shifts
and the Republican Party's adoption of socially conservative platforms as part of their strategic shift towards the South
For example, Vermont voted Republican in every presidential election but one from 1856 through 1988 with the exception of 1964, and has voted Democratic every election since. Maine and Vermont were the only two states in the nation to vote against Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt
all four times he ran for president. Republicans in New England are today considered by both liberals and conservatives to be more moderate
(socially liberal) compared to Republicans in other parts of the U.S.
Elected as an independent, but caucuses with the Democratic Party.
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.
Colleges and universities
New England is home to four of the eight Ivy League
universities. Pictured here is Harvard Yard
of Harvard University.
In addition to four out of eight Ivy League
schools, New England contains the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT), the bulk of educational institutions that are identified as the "Little Ivies
", four of the original Seven Sisters
, one of the eight original Public Ivies
, the Colleges of Worcester Consortium
in central Massachusetts, and the Five Colleges
consortium in western Massachusetts. The University of Maine
, the University of New Hampshire
, the University of Connecticut
, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst
, the University of Rhode Island
, and the University of Vermont
are the flagship state universities in the region.
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.
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. Hartford Public High School
is the second oldest operating high school in the U.S.
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.
Academic journals and press
New England has a shared heritage and culture primarily shaped by waves of immigration from Europe.
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.:30–50
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 and northeastern Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, where population density is low.
Today, New England is the least religious region 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. Connecticut and Rhode Island are among the ten least religious states, where 55% and 53% of those polled (respectively) claimed that it was important.
According to the American Religious Identification Survey
, 34% of Vermonters claimed to have no religion; nearly one out of every four New Englanders identifies as having no religion, more than in any other part of the U.S.
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.
Many of the first European colonists of New England had a maritime
orientation toward whaling
(first noted about 1650)
and fishing, in addition to farming. New England has developed a distinct cuisine
, and government. New England cuisine has a reputation 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.
New England has largely preserved its regional character, especially in its historic places. The region has become more ethnically diverse
, having seen waves of immigration from Ireland, Quebec, Italy, Portugal, Germany, Poland, Scandinavia, Asia, Latin America, Africa, other parts of the U.S., and elsewhere. The enduring European influence can be seen in the region in the use of traffic rotaries
, the bilingual French and English towns of northern Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire, 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, many names of towns (and a few counties) repeat from state to state, primarily due to settlers throughout the region having named their new towns after their old ones. For example, the town of North Yarmouth, Maine
, was named by settlers from Yarmouth, Massachusetts
, which was in turn named for Great Yarmouth
in England. As another example, every New England state has a town named Warren, and every state except Rhode Island has a city or town named Andover, Bridgewater, Chester, Franklin, Manchester, Plymouth, Washington, and Windsor; in addition, every state except Connecticut has a Lincoln and a Richmond, and Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine each contains a Franklin County
New England maintains a distinct cuisine and food culture. Early foods in the region were influenced by Native American and English cuisines. The early colonists often adapted their original cuisine to fit with the available foods of the region. New England staples reflect the convergence of American Indian and Pilgrim cuisine, such as johnnycakes
and various seafood recipes. The Wabanaki
tribal nations made nut milk
A version of India pale ale
has recently become popular known as the "New England India Pale Ale" (NEIPA), developed in Vermont in the 2010s.
Other regional beverages include Moxie
, one of the first mass-produced soft drinks in the United States, introduced in Lowell, Massachusetts
, in 1876; it remains popular in New England, particularly in Maine today.Coffee milk
is associated with Rhode Island
as the official state drink.
Accents and dialects
Some Rhode Islanders speak with a non-rhotic
accent that many compare to a "Brooklyn
" accent or a cross between a New York and Boston accent, where "water" becomes "wata". Many Rhode Islanders distinguish the aw
], as one might hear in New Jersey
; e.g., the word "coffee" is pronounced /
This type of accent was brought to the region by early settlers from eastern England in the Puritan migration in the mid-seventeenth century.:13–207
Social activities and music
culture are included in music and dance in much of rural New England, particularly Maine. Contra dancing
and country square dancing
are popular throughout New England, usually backed by live Irish, Acadian or other folk music. Fife and drum corps
are common, especially in southern New England and more specifically Connecticut
, with music of mostly Celtic, English, and local origin.
New England leads the U.S. in ice cream consumption per capita.
In popular music, the region has produced Donna Summer
, New Edition, Bobby Brown
, Passion Pit
, Meghan Trainor
, New Kids on the Block
, Rachel Platten
and John Mayer
. In rock music, the region has produced Rob Zombie
, The Modern Lovers
, the Pixies
, Grace Potter
, GG Allin
, the Dropkick Murphys
. Quincy, Massachusetts
native Dick Dale
helped popularize surf rock
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 bureaus in Manchester, New Hampshire
; Hartford, Connecticut
; Worcester, Massachusetts
; Portland, Maine
; and Burlington, Vermont
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.
Late-night television hosts Jay Leno
and Conan O'Brien
have roots in the Boston area. Notable stand-up comedians are also from the region, including Bill Burr
, Steve Sweeney
, Steven Wright
, Sarah Silverman
, Lisa Lampanelli
, Denis Leary
, Lenny Clarke
, Patrice O'Neal
and Louis CK
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 are its trademarks, as well as Irish influences.
New Englanders have made significant contributions to literature. The first printing press in America was set up in Cambridge, Massachusetts
, by Stephen Daye
in the 17th century.
Writers in New England produced many works on religious subjects, particularly on Puritan theology and poetry during colonial times and on Enlightenment
ideas during the American Revolution. The literature of New England has had an enduring influence on American literature in general, with themes that are emblematic of the larger concerns of American letters, such as religion, race, the individual versus society, social repression and nature.
19th century New England was a center for progressive ideals, and many abolitionist
tracts were produced. Leading transcendentalists were from New England, such as Henry David Thoreau
, Ralph Waldo Emerson
, and Frederic Henry Hedge
. Hartford, Connecticut resident Harriet Beecher Stowe
's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin
was an influential book in the spread of abolitionist ideas and is said to have "laid the groundwork for the Civil War
Other prominent New England novelists include John Irving
, Edgar Allan Poe
, Louisa May Alcott
, Sarah Orne Jewett
, H. P. Lovecraft
, Annie Proulx
, Stephen King
, Jack Kerouac
, George V. Higgins
, and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Many New Englander poets have also been preeminent in American poetry
. Prominent poets include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
, David Lindsay-Abaire
, Annie Proulx, Edwin Arlington Robinson
, Amy Lowell
, John Cheever
, Emily Dickinson
, Elizabeth Bishop
, Stanley Kunitz
, E. E. Cummings
, Edna St. Vincent Millay
, Robert P. T. Coffin
and Richard Wilbur
. Robert Frost
who was descibred as an "artistic institution"
frequently wrote about rural New England life. The Confessional poetry
movement features prominent New England writers including Robert Lowell
, Anne Sexton
and Sylvia Plath
Film, television, and acting
New England has a rich history in filmmaking
dating back to the dawn of the motion picture
era at the turn of the 20th century, sometimes dubbed Hollywood East
by film critics. A theater at 547 Washington Street in Boston was the second location to debut a picture projected by the Vitascope
, and shortly thereafter several novels were being adapted for the screen and set in New England, including The Scarlet Letter
and The House of Seven Gables
The New England region continued to churn out films at a pace above the national average for the duration of the 20th century, including blockbuster hits such as Jaws
, Good Will Hunting
and The Departed
, all of which won Academy Awards
. The New England area became known for a number of themes that recurred in films made during this era, including the development of yankee characters, smalltown life contrasted with city values, seafaring tales, family secrets and haunted New England.
These themes are rooted in centuries of New England culture and are complemented by the region's diverse natural landscape and architecture, from the Atlantic Ocean
and brilliant fall foliage to church steeples and skyscrapers.
Since the turn of the millennium, Boston and the greater New England region have been home to the production of numerous films and television series, thanks in part to tax incentive programs put in place by local governments to attract filmmakers to the region.
Notable actors and actresses that have come from the New England area include Ben Affleck
, Matt Damon
, Ryan O’Neal
, Amy Poehler
, Elizabeth Banks
, Steve Carell
, Ruth Gordon
, John Krasinski
, Edward Norton
, Mark Wahlberg
and Matthew Perry
. A full list of those from Massachusetts can be found here
, and a listing of notable films and television series produced in the area here
Museums, historical societies, and libraries
New England has a strong heritage of athletics, and many internationally popular sports were invented and codified in the region, including basketball
, and American football
Before the advent of modern rules of baseball, a different form was played called the Massachusetts Game
. This version of baseball was an early rival of the Knickerbocker Rules
of New York and was played throughout New England. In 1869, there were 59 teams throughout the region which played according to the Massachusetts rules. The New York rules gradually became more popular throughout the United States, and professional and semi-professional clubs began to appear. Early teams included the Providence Grays
, the Worcester Worcesters
and the Hartford Dark Blues
; these did not last long, but other teams grew to renown, such as the Boston Braves
and the Boston Red Sox
. Fenway Park was built in 1912 and is the oldest ballpark still in use in Major League Baseball.
Other professional baseball teams in the region include the Hartford Yard Goats
, Lowell Spinners
, New Hampshire Fisher Cats
, Vermont Lake Monsters
, Portland Sea Dogs
, Bridgeport Bluefish
, New Britain Bees
and the Pawtucket Red Sox
Winter sports are extremely popular and have a long history in the region, including alpine skiing
, and Nordic skiing
. Ice hockey
is also a popular sport. The Boston Bruins
were founded in 1924 as an Original Six
team, and they have a historic rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens
. The Bruins play in the TD Garden
, a venue that they share with the Boston Celtics. College hockey is also a popular spectator sport, with Boston's annual Beanpot
tournament between Northeastern University
, Boston University
, Harvard University
and Boston College
. Other hockey teams include the Maine Mariners
, Providence Bruins
, Springfield Thunderbirds
, Worcester Railers
, Bridgeport Sound Tigers
and the Hartford Wolf Pack
. The Connecticut Whale
hockey team and the Boston Pride
are two of the four teams of the National Women's Hockey League
. The region's largest ice hockey and skating facility is the New England Sports Center
in Marlborough, Massachusetts
, home to the Skating Club of Boston
, one of the oldest ice skating clubs in the United States.
The MBTA Commuter Rail
serves eastern Massachusetts and parts of Rhode Island, radiating from downtown Boston, with planned service to New Hampshire.
The CTrail system operates the Shore Line East
and Hartford Line
, covering coastal Connecticut, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts.
Amtrak provides interstate rail service throughout New England. Boston is the northern terminus of the Northeast Corridor
. The Vermonter
connects Vermont to Massachusetts and Connecticut, while the Downeaster
links Maine to Boston. The long-distance Lake Shore Limited
train has two eastern termini after splitting in Albany
, one of which is Boston. This provides rail service on the former Boston and Albany Railroad
which runs between its namesake cities. The rest of the Lake Shore Limited
continues to New York City.
in Boston is a major center for bus, rail, and light rail lines. Major interstate highways traversing the region include I-95
, and I-90
(the Massachusetts Turnpike
). Logan Airport
is the busiest transportation hub in the region in terms of number of passengers and total cargo, opened in 1923 and located in East Boston
and Winthrop, Massachusetts
. It is a hub for Cape Air
and Delta Air Lines
, and a focus city for JetBlue
. It is the 16th busiest
airport in the United States. Other airports in the region include Burlington International Airport
, Bradley International Airport
, T. F. Green Airport
, Manchester–Boston Regional Airport
, and Portland International Jetport
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