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Braintree was founded on land first colonized in 1625 by Captain Wollaston, and initially named Mount Wollaston. Under the rule of Thomas Morton it was renamed Merry Mount. The area was resettled and incorporated as a town in 1640, on land which is now part of the current town of Braintree, from which Randolph, Holbrook, the City of Quincy, and part of Milton were split off.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 37.6 km² (14.5 mi²). 36.0 km² (13.9 mi²) of it is land and 1.6 km² (0.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 4.34% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 33,828 people, 12,652 households, and 8,907 families residing in the town. The population density is 939.6/km² (2,434.4/mi²). There are 12,973 housing units at an average density of 360.4 persons/km² (933.6 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 93.96% White, 1.18% African American, 0.11% Native American, 3.14% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.64% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 1.16% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 12,652 households out of which 29.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% are married couples living together, 11.7% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 29.6% are non-families. 24.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.16.
In the town the population is spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 89.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.4 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $61,790, and the median income for a family is $73,417. Males have a median income of $49,607 versus $36,034 for females. The per capita income for the town is $28,683. 3.8% of the population and 2.1% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 4.6% are under the age of 18 and 3.3% are 65 or older.