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Bristol, Rhode Island

Bristol is a town in Rhode Island, and the county seat of Bristol County. Bristol is a deep water port, and was named after Bristol, England.

The area's first importance in the history of New England was as the center of an Indian resistence known as King Philip's War. After that war the town was settled in 1680 as a part of the Plymouth Colony. It remained a part of Massachusetts until the crown transferred it to the Rhode Island colony in 1747.

During the American Revolutionary War the British Navy bombarded Bristol twice. On October 7, 1775 a group of ships, led by Captain Wallace and HMS Rose shelled the town with some damage. The attack was stopped when Lieutenant Governor Bradford rowed out to the Rose to negotiate a cease fire. A second attack on May 25, 1778 partly destroyed the town.


Bristol is situated on 10.1 square miles of a peninsula between Narragansett Bay on the west and Mount Hope Bay on the east. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 53.4 km² (20.6 mi²). 26.2 km² (10.1 mi²) of it is land and 27.2 km² (10.5 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 50.99% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 22,469 people, 8,314 households, and 5,653 families residing in the town. The population density is 858.1/km² (2,222.2/mi²). There are 8,705 housing units at an average density of 332.4 persons/km² (860.9 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 97.14% White, 0.62% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.03% from two or more races. 1.29% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 8,314 households out of which 28.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.8% are married couples living together, 10.1% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 32.0% are non-families. 26.3% 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 2.45 and the average family size is 2.99.

In the town the population is spread out with 19.6% under the age of 18, 13.8% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 38 years. For every 100 females there are 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $43,689, and the median income for a family is $54,656. Males have a median income of $37,587 versus $26,413 for females. The per capita income for the town is $21,532. 8.1% of the population and 5.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 9.2% are under the age of 18 and 10.8% are 65 or older.