Derry, New Hampshire

Derry is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 33,109 at the 2010 census,[1] and an estimated 33,485 in 2019.[2] Although it is a town and not a city, Derry is the fourth most populous community in the state. The town's nickname, "Spacetown", derives from the fact that Derry is the birthplace of Alan Shepard, the first astronaut from the United States in space.[3] Derry was also for a time the home of the poet Robert Frost and his family.

The Derry census-designated place, with a 2010 population of 22,015,[1] occupies the central part of the town, extending from the primary settlement of Derry in the west, centered on the intersection of New Hampshire Routes 28 and 102, to the town of Hampstead in the east. The town also includes the village of East Derry.

Although it was first settled by Scots-Irish families in 1719, Derry was not incorporated until 1827. It was originally a part of Londonderry, as were Windham and portions of Manchester, Salem and Hudson. The town was named after the city of Derry in Ireland,[4] the Irish word Doire meaning "oak grove.” The first potato planted in the United States was sown in Derry in the town’s common field in 1719.[5] The town is the location of two of America's oldest private schools, Pinkerton Academy, founded in 1814 and still in operation, and the closed Adams Female Seminary.

Derry was once a linen[6] and leather-making center until New England textile industries moved south in the 20th century. As recently as World War II, Derry was also a sleepy farming community. From 1900 to 1911, poet Robert Frost lived with his family on a farm in Derry purchased for him by his grandfather. The Robert Frost Farm is now a National Historic Landmark and state park and is open to the public for tours, poetry readings and other cultural events from spring through fall.[7]

The post-war suburban boom, the town's proximity to Boston in the south and Manchester to the northwest, and the construction of Interstate 93 through town led to a huge population boom. Although this growth has slowed somewhat, the population of Derry still increased by 15 percent during the 1990s.

The Manchester and Lawrence branch of the B&M ran through Derry, but is now abandoned. The New Hampshire Department of Transportation stated in its I-93 corridor transit study[8] and its 2012 statewide rail plan[9] that it could be feasible to reopen the line.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 36.5 square miles (94.5 km2), of which 35.6 square miles (92.2 km2) are land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) are water, comprising 2.39% of the town.[10] Derry is drained by Beaver Brook. The highest point in the town is Warner Hill, at 605 feet (184 m) above sea level, where from the top one can see the Boston skyline on a clear day. Derry lies almost fully within the Merrimack River watershed, with a small section along the northern border of town lying in the Piscataqua River watershed.[11]

Derry is crossed by Interstate 93 and New Hampshire routes 28, 28 Bypass, and 102.

The urban center of the town is located near the town's western border at the intersection of Routes 102 and 28, and the village of East Derry is located approximately 2 miles (3 km) to the east and close to the geographic center of the town. Both settlements are part of the Derry census-designated place.

Derry has a four-season humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with long, cold, snowy winters, and very warm and somewhat humid summers; spring and fall in between are crisp and relatively brief transitions. Precipitation is well-spread throughout the year, including snowfall in the winter.

As of the census of 2010,[13] there were 33,109 people, 12,537 households, and 8,767 families residing in the town. The population density was 924.8 people per square mile (357.2/km2). There were 13,277 housing units at an average density of 143.2/km2 (370.9/sq mi). The racial makeup of the town was 94.5% White, 1.0% African American, 0.2% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.5% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.9% some other race, and 1.7% from two or more races. 3.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,537 households, out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.4% had a married couple living together, 12.2% had a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 30.1% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62, and the average family size was 3.10.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.7% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 27.0% from 25 to 44, 30.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.

At the 2000 census the median income for a household in the town was $54,634, and the median income for a family was $61,625. Males had a median income of $41,271 versus $30,108 for females. The per capita income for the town was $22,315. 4.6% of the population and 3.3% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 5.0% were under the age of 18 and 7.1% were 65 or older.

In the New Hampshire Senate, Derry is in the 19th District and is currently represented by Republican Regina Birdsell. On the New Hampshire Executive Council, Derry is in District 3 and is currently represented by Republican Russell E. Prescott. In the U.S. House of Representatives, Derry is included in New Hampshire's 1st congressional district and is currently represented by Democrat Chris C. Pappas.

Derry is part of a strongly Republican belt of dense, populous towns along Interstate 93. Derry leans Republican in presidential elections, and has even trended rightwards as of late. Bill Clinton did manage to carry the town with a plurality of the vote in 1996. No Democrat has won a majority of Derry’s voters since Lyndon B. Johnson’s landslide election in 1964.

According to the town's 2019 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] the top employers in the town are:

Five New Hampshire state highways and one Interstate Highway cross the town of Derry:

The nearest air transport is Manchester–Boston Regional Airport. There is currently no passenger rail service in Derry, though a former train depot in the center of town has been converted to a hub for the main commercial district in town.

Derry is home to three media sources, the weekly Derry News, which is owned by The Eagle-Tribune, the weekly Nutfield News, which is locally owned by Nutfield Publishing, and television station WWJE-DT, owned by Univision Communications. Derry is located within the Boston television market and the Manchester radio market. Derry Community Television, also known as DerryCAM, is the town's public-access television station on local cable TV.