Townsend, Massachusetts
Townsend Common
Townsend Common
Official seal of Townsend, Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Location in Middlesex County in Massachusetts
Coordinates: 42°40′00″N 71°42′20″W / 42.66667°N 71.70556°W / 42.66667; -71.70556
CountryUnited States
 • TypeOpen town meeting
 • Total33.1 sq mi (85.8 km2)
 • Land32.9 sq mi (85.1 km2)
 • Water0.2 sq mi (0.6 km2)
315 ft (96 m)
 • Total9,127
 • Density280/sq mi (110/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (Eastern)
ZIP Code
01469, 01474
Area code(s)978, 480, 617
FIPS code24-70360
GNIS feature ID0618238

Townsend is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 9,127 at the 2020 census.[1]


Townsend was first settled by Europeans in 1676 in an area known by indigenous people of the area as Wistequassuck,[2] and was officially incorporated in 1732.[3] The town was named after Charles Townshend, English secretary of state and an opponent of the Tories.[4] The town initially used the same spelling as its namesake, but the "h" was dropped in patriotic fervor in response to the Townshend Acts of 1767. The current spelling of Townsend became official by 1780.[5]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.1 square miles (85.8 km2), of which 32.9 square miles (85.1 km2) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.6 km2) (0.72%) is water. The headwaters of the Squannacook River rise in the town's western hills. Townsend has the largest land area of any town in Middlesex County.

Townsend is bordered by Mason, New Hampshire and Brookline, New Hampshire to the north, Pepperell to the east, Groton and Shirley to the southeast, Lunenburg to the south, and Ashby to the west.

Route 119 runs east-west through Townsend, and Route 13 runs north-south.


See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 8,926 people, 3,240 households, and 2,483 families residing in the town. The population density was 279.8 inhabitants per square mile (108.0/km2). There were 3,516 housing units at an average density of 96.9 per square mile (37.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.7% White, 0.6% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 3,240 households, out of which 34% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.7% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.4% were non-families. 18.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.9% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 34.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $76,533, and the median income for a family was $87,227. Males had a median income of $52,714 versus $35,843 for females. The per capita income for the town was $29,862. About 3.3% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.4% of those under age 18 and 3.1% of those age 65 or over.


Townsend is part of the North Middlesex Regional School District, along with Ashby, and Pepperell. The town has one elementary school, the Spaulding Memorial Elementary School. The town has one middle school, Hawthorne Brook Middle School, which also serves as the middle school for neighboring Ashby. High School students then attend North Middlesex Regional High School. Students are also allowed to choose to attend Nashoba Valley Technical High School located in Westford.


Notable people


  1. ^ "Census - Geography Profile: Townsend town, Middlesex County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 7, 2021.
  2. ^ "A Brief History of Townsend". The Townsend Historical Society. February 20, 2020. Retrieved May 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "Townsend, Massachusetts". Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  4. ^ "Profile for Townsend, Massachusetts, MA". ePodunk. Retrieved July 19, 2012.
  5. ^ "Brief History of Townsend". Retrieved December 21, 2020. About 1780, residents and town clerks began to spell Townsend by omitting the "H" and giving it its present orthography.
  6. ^ "Total Population (P1), 2010 Census Summary File 1". American FactFinder, All County Subdivisions within Massachusetts. United States Census Bureau. 2010.
  7. ^ "Massachusetts by Place and County Subdivision - GCT-T1. Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "1990 Census of Population, General Population Characteristics: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1990. Table 76: General Characteristics of Persons, Households, and Families: 1990. 1990 CP-1-23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "1980 Census of the Population, Number of Inhabitants: Massachusetts" (PDF). US Census Bureau. December 1981. Table 4. Populations of County Subdivisions: 1960 to 1980. PC80-1-A23. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  10. ^ "1950 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. 1952. Section 6, Pages 21-10 and 21-11, Massachusetts Table 6. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1930 to 1950. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  11. ^ "1920 Census of Population" (PDF). Bureau of the Census. Number of Inhabitants, by Counties and Minor Civil Divisions. Pages 21-5 through 21-7. Massachusetts Table 2. Population of Counties by Minor Civil Divisions: 1920, 1910, and 1920. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  12. ^ "1890 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. Pages 179 through 182. Massachusetts Table 5. Population of States and Territories by Minor Civil Divisions: 1880 and 1890. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "1870 Census of the Population" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1872. Pages 217 through 220. Table IX. Population of Minor Civil Divisions, &c. Massachusetts. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  14. ^ "1860 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1864. Pages 220 through 226. State of Massachusetts Table No. 3. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  15. ^ "1850 Census" (PDF). Department of the Interior, Census Office. 1854. Pages 338 through 393. Populations of Cities, Towns, &c. Retrieved July 12, 2011.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.

Further reading