|Named for||Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham|
|• Total||795.2 sq mi (2,060 km2)|
|• Land||695.4 sq mi (1,801 km2)|
|• Water||99.9 sq mi (259 km2) 12.6%|
|• Density||400/sq mi (150/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||1st, 2nd|
Rockingham County is a county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. At the 2020 census, the population was 314,176, making it New Hampshire's second-most populous county. The county seat is Brentwood. Rockingham County is part of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area and the greater Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area. Per the 2020 census, it was New Hampshire's fastest growing county from 2010 to 2020.
As of 2014-2018 estimates from the American Community Survey, Rockingham County was the 4th wealthiest county in New England, with a median household income of $90,429.
The area that today is Rockingham County was first settled by Europeans moving north from the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts as early as 1623. The government was linked tightly with Massachusetts until New Hampshire became a separate colony in 1679, but counties were not introduced until 1769.
Rockingham was identified in 1769 as one of five original counties for the colony. It is named for Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marquess of Rockingham, who had been Prime Minister from 1765 to 1766. The county was organized in 1771, with its county seat at Exeter. In 1823, a portion of Hillsborough Country became part of the formation of Merrimack County. In 1844, its area was further reduced by the formation of Belknap County to the northwest. In 1997, the county court facilities were moved to Brentwood, a rural town adjacent to Exeter.
The county occupies the southeastern corner of the state of New Hampshire, and it contains the state's easternmost point. The county contains all of New Hampshire's Atlantic coast, which, at approximately 18 miles (29 km), is the shortest ocean coastline of any state in the U.S. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 795 square miles (2,060 km2), of which 695 square miles (1,800 km2) are land and 100 square miles (260 km2) (13%) are water. Its highest point is Nottingham Mountain, at 1,340 feet (410 m), in Deerfield.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1990-2000 2010-2020 
As of the census of 2000, there were 277,359 people, 104,529 households, and 74,320 families living in the county. The population density was 399 inhabitants per square mile (154/km2). There were 113,023 housing units at an average density of 163 per square mile (63/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 96.80% White, 0.58% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 1.11% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.38% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. 1.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 18.1% were of Irish, 14.6% English, 11.8% Italian, 10.5% French, 8.0% French Canadian, 6.0% German and 5.6% American ancestry. 94.3% spoke English, 1.8% French and 1.3% Spanish as their first language.
There were 104,529 households, out of which 35.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.50% were married couples living together, 8.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.90% were non-families. 22.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.11.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.40% under the age of 18, 6.20% from 18 to 24, 32.80% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 10.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $58,150, and the median income for a family was $66,345. (These figures had risen to $72,600 and $85,361 respectively, as of a 2007 estimate.) Males had a median income of $45,598 versus $30,741 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,656. About 3.10% of families and 4.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.00% of those under age 18 and 6.40% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 295,223 people, 115,033 households, and 79,832 families living in the county. The population density was 425.0 inhabitants per square mile (164.1/km2). There were 126,709 housing units at an average density of 182.4 per square mile (70.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.5% white, 1.7% Asian, 0.7% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 2.1% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 26.9% were Irish, 19.0% were English, 14.8% were Italian, 9.7% were German, 7.3% were French Canadian, 5.6% were Polish, and 3.8% were American.
Of the 115,033 households, 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.4% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 30.6% were non-families, and 23.5% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.03. The median age was 42.2 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $75,825 and the median income for a family was $90,463. Males had a median income of $61,443 versus $42,478 for females. The per capita income for the county was $35,889. About 3.0% of families and 4.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.9% of those under age 18 and 6.0% of those age 65 or over.
Rockingham County has historically been a Republican stronghold, but the county is now competitive. Three Democratic presidential nominees have won it since 1964, including Joe Biden in 2020, who was the first to win a majority since Lyndon B. Johnson.
The county is divided between the Democratic stronghold that is the Seacoast Region, and the conservative western portions of the county.
Rockingham County is one of only thirteen counties to have voted for Obama in 2008, Romney in 2012, Trump in 2016, and Biden in 2020.[a]
The executive power of Rockingham County's government is held by three county commissioners, each representing one of the three commissioner districts within the county.
|District 1||Kate Coyle||Portsmouth, NH||Democratic|
|District 2||Thomas Tombarello||Sandown, NH||Republican|
|District 3||Brian Chirichiello||Derry, NH||Republican|
In addition to the County Commission, there are five directly elected officials: they include County Attorney, Register of Deeds, County Sheriff, Register of Probate, and County Treasurer.
|County Attorney||Patricia Conway (R)|
|Register of Deeds||Cathy Stacey (R)|
|County Sheriff||Chuck Massahos (R)|
|Register of Probate||Ray Tweedie (R)|
|County Treasurer||Scott Priestley (R)|
The legislative branch of Rockingham County is made up of the members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from the county. In total, as of August 2018 there are 90 members from 37 different districts.
After redistricting based on the 2010 United States Census, Rockingham County was split between 8 state senate districts:
|District||Areas of Rockingham County||Senator||Party||First elected||Residence|
|14||Londonderry, Auburn||Sharon Carson||Republican||2010||Londonderry|
|17||Raymond, Northwood, Nottingham, Deerfield||John Reagan||Republican||2012||Deerfield|
|19||Windham, Derry, Hampstead||Regina Birdsell||Republican||2014||Hampstead|
|21||Portsmouth, Newington, Newmarket, Newfields||Rebecca Perkins Kwoka||Democratic||2020||Portsmouth|
|22||Salem, Atkinston, Plaistow||Chuck Morse||Republican||2010||Salem|
|23||Exeter, Brentwood, Epping, Fremont, Kingston, East Kingston, Danville, Sandown, Chester||Bill Gannon||Republican||2020||Sandown|
|24||New Castle, Rye, Stratham, North Hampton, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Seabrook, Kensington, South Hampton Newton||Tom Sherman||Democratic||2018||Rye|
Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth is a collection of historic buildings from the 17th through 19th centuries. Canobie Lake Park, in Salem, is an amusement park that opened in 1902. Rockingham Park racetrack, which featured weekly horse racing until 2009, was also in Salem. The site of the former track, next to the Mall at Rockingham Park, is being redeveloped as Tuscan Village, a mixed-use development. America's Stonehenge, which claims to be a pre-Columbian collection of stone structures, is in northern Salem. Derry was home to poet Robert Frost, who taught at nearby Pinkerton Academy. His home, the Robert Frost Farm, has been preserved as a state park.
Rockingham County is also home to New Hampshire's entire seacoast and features several popular resort towns. Hampton Beach has a boardwalk and Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom. Rye features several undeveloped beaches such as Odiorne Point State Park and contains New Hampshire's portion of the Isles of Shoals. Seabrook contains Seabrook Greyhound Racing Park and the Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant, the last nuclear plant opened in the United States.
School districts include:
There is also a privately-endowed, publicly-funded school, Pinkerton Academy in Derry. Towns in Rockingham County that send their public high school students to Pinkerton, other than Derry, include: Auburn, Candia, Chester, and Hampstead. Prior to 1978 Londonderry sent its high schoolers to Pinkerton. Previously Auburn and Candia sent high school students to the Manchester School District.