Portsmouth is a town located in Newport County, Rhode Island. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 17,149.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 153.6 km² (59.3 mi²). 60.1 km² (23.2 mi²) of it is land and 93.5 km² (36.1 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 60.86% water.
Portsmouth was settled in 1638 by Anne Hutchinson and her followers. It was founded by the signers of the Portsmouth Compact, including Anne Hutchinson's husband William Hutchinson, Jr. Its original Indian name was Pocasset. It was officially named Portsmouth on May 12, 1639.
It became part of the colony of Rhode Island (see Aquidneck Island) and eventually of the colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and the state that bears that name.
Portsmouth is the site of an important capture during the American War for Indepence. Colonel Wiliam Barton of Rhode island captured the British Commander-in-Chief, General Richard Prescott there. It is also the site of Rhode Islands only major battle in that war on August 29, 1778. During this battle the British were defeated by the First Rhode Island Regiment, which was comprised mostly of African-American soldiers.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 17,149 people, 6,758 households, and 4,865 families residing in the town. The population density is 285.3/km² (739.0/mi²). There are 7,386 housing units at an average density of 122.9/km² (318.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 95.82% White, 1.17% African American, 0.19% Native American, 1.36% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.37% from other races, and 1.05% from two or more races. 1.45% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,758 households out of which 33.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.1% are married couples living together, 8.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.0% are non-families. 23.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.53 and the average family size is 3.00.
In the town the population is spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 5.0% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 40 years. For every 100 females there are 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 92.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $58,835, and the median income for a family is $68,577. Males have a median income of $46,297 versus $31,745 for females. The per capita income for the town is $28,161. 3.4% of the population and 2.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 2.8% of those under the age of 18 and 6.4% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.