Nantucket is an island south of Cape Cod. Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the town of Nantucket, Massachusetts and the coextensive Nantucket County. It was formerly the leading whaling port in the world. Although now primarily a tourist destination, it still houses a small fishing industry. It also is the root of the famous limerick: "There once was a man from Nantucket...".
Along with the island of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket voted in 1977 to secede from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The secession movement was sparked by a proposed change to the Massachusetts Constitution, which would cut eighty members from the 240-strong state House of Representatives, reducing the islands' representation. Needless to say, the movement was not carried to fruition, as the islands remain a part of Massachusetts.
45 miles south of Nantucket on July 25, 1956, the Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria sunk after colliding with the SS Stockholm in heavy fog. 51 were killed in the crash but none lost their lives in the sinking.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Nantucket County has a total area of 786 km² (304 mi²). 124 km² (48 mi²) of it is land and 663 km² (256 mi²) of it is water. The total area of the county is 84.25% water. The area of Nantucket Island proper is 123.8 km² (47.8 mi²).
As of the census of 2000, there are 9,520 people, 3,699 households, and 2,104 families residing in Nantucket. The population density is 76.9/km² (199.1/mi²). There are 9,210 housing units at an average density of 74.4 persons/km² (192.6 persons/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 87.85% White, 8.29% African American, 0.01% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.60% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. 2.23% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 3,699 households out of which 26.9% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% are married couples living together, 8.0% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 43.1% are non-families. 29.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.90.
In the town the population is spread out with 19.2% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 40.4% from 25 to 44, 22.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 105.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 105.0 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $55,522, and the median income for a family is $66,786. Males have a median income of $41,116 versus $31,608 for females. The per capita income for the town is $31,314. 7.5% of the population and 3.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 2.3% are under the age of 18 and 7.1% are 65 or older.