Population Density Maps of New England

New England Population Density Map

The population density of the northeast United States is dense, for sure, especially if you consider the the New York to Boston corridor. Southern New England is population dense. However, there are vast large rural regions of low population density and wilderness in central and northern New England. Since I live there, I thought I would put together several maps illustrating New England population density. Just for fun…

Looking to live in an area further away from elbow-to-elbow people? Well, there are lots of rural regions all over the United States. You don’t necessarily have to look west of the Mississippi River either. Yes, lots of people do live in the eastern US. Some areas are ridiculously population dense in this regard. But I want to briefly focus on New England population density. I grew up there. So I know a thing or two about it… Oh, and I’m currently living here in New England (northern NH). Though I grew up in Massachusetts.

New England is comprised of six states. These states are Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. As of 2020, the region has a total population of 15,116,205.

The population density as a whole is nearly 235 people per square mile on average. Although averages don’t tell the whole story. In fact that statistic isn’t worth too much – because it depends on what part of New England you’re talking about. There are big differences (as most anywhere).

New England Population Density Map

Let me get it started with an animated-gif map that I put together. It cycles through New England population density numbers based on county data. The color hues represent average number of people per square mile per county.


New England Population Density By Town – Municipalities

Although the following map is sourced from 2010 data, it’s likely very proportionally close to today’s data.

The most populous cities in New England

As of the 2020 census…

  1. Boston, Massachusetts: 675,647
  2. Worcester, Massachusetts: 206,518
  3. Providence, Rhode Island: 190,934
  4. Springfield, Massachusetts: 155,929
  5. Bridgeport, Connecticut: 148,654
  6. Stamford, Connecticut: 135,470
  7. New Haven, Connecticut: 134,023
  8. Hartford, Connecticut: 121,054
  9. Cambridge, Massachusetts: 118,403
  10. Manchester, New Hampshire: 115,644
  11. Lowell, Massachusetts: 115,554
  12. Waterbury, Connecticut: 114,403

The most population dense county in New England is Suffolk county (Boston) with 13,180 people per square mile. Worse yet, the Chelsea subdivision within Suffolk county (directly across the Mystic River from the city of Boston) boasts 17, 263 per square mile! Wow, that’s a lot of people density!

Whereas I also live in New England, my county in New Hampshire ranges from zero people per square mile, to about 17 averaged across the entire county. Looking at my own 1/4 mile square (about 30 acres), it looks like it’s just two of us – me, and Mrs.J (and our dog – oh, and usually several bears, 4 – 6 whitetail deer, the howling coyotes, fox, bobcat, dozens of turkeys, the wood chuck, the snow-shoe hares, red and gray squirrels and chipmunks, porcupines, skunks, raccoons, and… oh wait a minute — they don’t count on the census!). I only say this to point out the dramatic differences – depending where you live.

Northeast – New England Population Density – Satellite Lights At Night

Here’s another way to look at New England population density. I put together a map that overlays the state boundaries (google earth) blended with a pretty interesting satellite image at night. The night lights of the populous regions puts perspective on population density versus geographical area.

Here’s an image of just the satellite view at night (no state line boundaries for reference)…

Given survival and preparedness, southern New England is certainly a zone of risk should there be a SHTF breakdown of societal order. However it is interesting to overlay 200-mile diameter zones over the Boston and NYC region, a distance that some may consider to be the maximum typical ‘reach’ of negative influence during a societal collapse.


There are lots of rural low population regions in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. In fact nearly all of those states are quite rural. On the other hand, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are packed with people. While the majority of those states are shoulder to shoulder quaint New England towns, each with their charm, there are still lots and lots of people.

From a prepping and preparedness point of view, the northeast is not necessarily an ideal solution for insulation from risks during a SHTF societal collapse, when comparing to other choices within the entire country. While there are plenty of rural regions in central and northern New England with low population density, the growing season is short. The winters are cold and longer. Some of the terrain is rough and rugged. But you can make it work. Adapt and Overcome, right?

It is a beautiful place though, once you’re out of the city regions (unless you happen to like city living – which apparently many do. It’s just not for me). New England’s four seasons each bring their own unique beauty. Consequently the weather is always changing. We get it all here. I’ve been (almost) all over the country in my travels over the years. There are so many unique, beautiful, fantastic places in the United States.


[ Read: The Zombie Hordes Distance From Cities ]

[ Read: Survival Retreat Population Density ]


  1. Ken:

    The site just served this older article up randomly for my reading pleasure. The only comment I might have is that Canada lies just to the north on the landmass, and it is much more heavily populated, including a large urban center of Montreal north of Vermont, as well as Ontario (and megalopolis Toronto) slightly to the west, all within a gas tank or less striking range of New England.

    In a bad situation, the already porous borders will be disregarded as the displaced spread outward.

    1. Thats why i kinda like having an ocean betwixt us and anywhere else, pop on entire island is about 150,000 ish, many very wealthy, many old families and extended families who still have old values and old lifestyles, nobodywill be swimming here from elsewhere and i seriously doubt enough would boat it, those who could are most likely ok

  2. I also live in NH. Close to the Maine border. Peaceful, quiet, out of the way. The land is rough but I can grow enough in the short season. Just have to be on the ball about getting the garden started early. Just finished maple season. Going to end up with a gallon of syrup out of 55 gallons of sap collected. Should last me.

    1. You got that right about the growing season. Last frost and First frost can sure be a pain in the @$$ too. Some years it really shortens up the already fairly short season. I look for varieties that are ideally less than 100 days. 90 even better.

      Isn’t it amazing how much sap it takes to boil down to a gallon of maple syrup? But oh boy, good stuff! Everyone is sugaring around here right now… I don’t, but have friends that do. Some nice sugar shacks around here :-)

  3. New York and New Jersey are not considered to be part of New England? As a life long left coaster I had always thought the were. Learned something new today!

  4. We like visiting your area during the summer and fall. Scenery is Beautiful, but to cold for me. Too many screws holding me together that ache when a cold front blows in.

  5. I looked up our population per sq. mile. There is 1/2 person per sq. mile! I am in a black spot in Western NM. We are known for our dark skies. I do miss the good soil and the 4 good seasons we had where I grew up in IL. but i wouldn’t ever go back there. We also have a very short growing season but I plant out early and cover everything. Works great. It can hit 90 in May and snow in June! Never boring!

    1. Old Lady,
      Don’t forget the nasty spring winds!!!!

      “Oh fair New Mexico
      We love you love you so”

  6. I live in Central New Hampshire eight generations but in the last two years millions of people have moved in to the state of New Hampshire making it more like Massachusetts and not for the better this is because the cities turning into hell holes Real estate is through the roof you can’t go out to eat so many people he can’t go to the store traffic please do not promote New Hampshire there’s enough people here already with the quality of life is change dramatically thank you

    1. Bill, The population of New Hampshire is apparently something like 1,388,992 according to the latest US Census. I found an article from the Boston Herald (2019) which stated that approximately a net of 9,000 people moved to New Hampshire from Mass that year. Thankfully not millions. Although I certainly understand your sentiment. We don’t need Mass politics here in NH! Although I would suspect that out of that 9,000 not all of them are Mass socialists. Probably a good number of them wanted to escape that state :-)

      1. Ken,

        Had a high school buddy who took a job in Boston after graduating college. Job required him to live in Boston…he absolutely hated the city but loved his job. Several years passed, and the company relaxed it’s residency requirement. My buddy and his wife…both Texas raised country folks, moved to New Hampshire. He described the move as similar to moving to the suburbs of a big city in Texas as far as commuting distances were for him.

  7. Don’t complain about your “short” New England growing season. It is literally Tropical compared to the Interior of Alaska.

  8. The difference is People/square Mile versus Square Miles/People.

    1. Deepest South,
      “Growing Season” is a couple of weeks in the summer where Northerners attempt to grow veggies. LOL. True fact – Leadville, Colorado has an official growing season of two weeks. At least Far North gets longer days in the summer to grow stuff.

      1. Minerjim
        True, we do get longer days. Easy to get used to 24 hours of daylight!

    2. Deepest South,
      ‘ Growing Season ‘ ?What’s that ?
      LOL, it’s no rest for the weary here.

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