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Home Page History and Demographics
Date: November 24, 1997
Location: Town of Billerica, Massachusetts



  • Town of Billerica Historical Summary
  • Town of Billerica Geography
  • Town of Billerica Form of Government
  • Town of Billerica Demographics
  • Town of Billerica Housing Characteristics
  • Historical Summary

    The Town of Billerica Massachusetts is part of Middlesex County and is situated 24 road miles northwest of the City of Boston. The town's abutters are Chelmsford and Lowell to the north, Wilmington and Tewksbury to the east, Carlisle and Bedford to the west and Burlington to the south. Regionally, the Town of Billerica is 19 miles north of Boston, 23 miles northwest of Lynn, 45 miles northeast of Worcester, and 205 miles from New York City.

    The Town of Billerica is the only town in the United States to bear that name and the sister town to Billerica, Billericay, is located in Great Britian. The Town of Billerica, formerly a King's Grant tract from the colonial days, was incorporated as a town in 1655.

    The town, with a population of 10,000 residents, was primarily based in agriculture up to the 1850's, then the Faukner Mills (still standing) and others began business in North Billerica along the northerly flowing Concord River. The town supported a modest level of industrial development until the 1950's. The mills were replaced with a substantial level of industrial development and residential development, largely supported by the town's proximity to the major northeast highway arteries (i.e., Interstate 95 to the south, Interstate 495 to the north and US Route 3 running north and south through Billerica) and stimulated by a relatively poor level of zoning regulations.

    The Town of Billerica has become a major regional employer and home to several high technology firms, many of which are offshoots of companies sited along Interstate 95 (a.k.a. Route 128) primarily in Waltham and Lexington Massachusetts.

    Billerica has a current population of approximately 38,000 residents. The majority of the new housing stock is located within residential subdivisions created by the Zoning Enabling Act (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40 et al). The town's older neighborhoods are located in the center of town, in North Billerica, Pinehurst (to the southeast) and Nuttings Lake (to the southwest).

    The Lowell Regional Transit Authority provides bus service and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) provides rail connections to the City of Boston and the City of Lowell from a regular train stop in North Billerica. The Middlesex Canal, that once provided cross-town water transport, has been preserved, in part, near the Billerica and Wilmington town line along Massachusetts Route 129. In addition to the Concord river, the Shawsheen River in the southerly portion of the town, is the second major waterway in the town and it serves as the emergency water supply of the Town of Burlington. The state operated Middlesex House of Correction located in West Billerica, houses nearly one thousand prisoners and employs a significant staff.

    Even though much of Billerica has been developed, there are still large parcels of undeveloped land. The town has its own sewage disposal plant and more that 45% of the residents and businesses have access to the plant via an in-place sewer pipe network.

    The town is experiencing a modest level of development, both residential and industrial. The town has attempted to maintain its rural character, and consistent with this intent, has acquired ownership (i.e., at considerable expense) of a number of tracts of open land for preservation purposes over the last ten years.

    Geographical Characteristics

    The total area is 26.39 square miles and the total land area is 25.89 square miles.

    The normal average temperatures range from 24F (January) to 72F (July) and daily temperatures can occasionally occur from -15F to 100F. The normal annual precipitation is 44.8 inches comprised of rain and snow.

    "Billerica, Wilmington" is United States Geophisical Survey (USGS) Topographical Plate of reference and the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments is the Regional Planning Agency and the City of Lowell is the Metropolitan Statistical Area (1993 Definition)

    Form of Government

    A five member Board of Selectmen is the Chief Operating Authority of the town. A Town Manager, appointed by, and reporting to, the Board of Selectmen manages the day-to-day business of the town. An elected 241 member (including the Town Moderator) Representative Town Meeting is the legislative and appropriation authority of the town.

    The number of registered voters (certified by the Secretary of State 1992) are 20,444. The total Democrats registered are 7,757 (37.9% of the total registered), the total Republicans registered are 2,492 (12.2% of the total registered), the "Other Parties" registered are 27 (0.1% of the total registered) and the voters independent of party affiliation (Unenrolled) are 10,168 (49.7% of the total registered).

    The key governmental officials representing the people of Billerica, Massachusetts are: United States Senators are Edward M. Kennedy (D) and John F. Kerry (D), the United States Congressman is Martin T. Meehan (D), the State Senator is Robert A. Havern, III (D) and the State Representative is William G. Green Jr. (D).


    The town's population (1990 US Census) is comprised of 19,133 males and 18,476 females.

    The age distribution (1990 US Census) is: Under 5 = 2,787 (7.4%), ages 5-14 = 5,202 (13.8%), ages 15-44 = 19,865 (52.8%), ages 45-64 = 7,185 (19.1%), ages 65 & over = 2,570 (6.8%).

    The Race and Ethnicity (1990 US Census) mix is: White = 36,111 (96.0%), Black = 399 (1.1%), American Indian, Eskimo or Aleut = 52 (0.1%), Asian or Pacific Islander = 563 (1.5%), Hispanic Origin = 476 (1.3%), Other = 8 (0.0%)

    The number of households (1990 US Census) was 10,645 in 1980, and 11,695 in 1990, up by 9.9% and the household size (1990 US Census) is 3.13 persons per household

    The number of households by type (1990 US Census) are: Married Couple Family = 8,036 (68.7%), Male Householder = 383 (3.3%), Female Householder = 1,055 (9.0%), Non-Family Household = 2,221 (19.0%).

      Income Distribution
      (1990 US Census)           Households  Percent of Total        
        Less than $5,000             174           1.5
         $5,000 - $9,999             528           4.5
       $10,000 - $24,999           1,222          10.4
       $25,000 - $34,999           1,325          11.3
       $35,000 - $49,999           2,549          21.8
       $50,000 - $74,999           3,608          30.9
       $75-000 - $99,999           1,662          14.2
       $100,000 or more              619           5.3

    The median household income is $50,210, ranked 65 in Massachusetts and the per capita income is $16,395, ranked 181 in Massachusetts.

      Sources of Income 
      (1990 US Census)          Number of      Average
                                Households     Income
       Wage & salary              10,435       $50,738
       Nonfarm self-employed       1,381       $20,542
       Farm self-employed             48        $8,819
       Social Security             2,000        $7,827
       Public assistance             441        $3,946
       Retirement                  1,609        $7,951
       Interest                    5,357        $2,596
       Other                       1,789        $4,662

    The poverty status (1990 US Census) is 844 (2.3%) of 36,406 persons against the state wide of 519,339 (8.9%) of 5,812,415 persons.

    Housing Statistics

     Housing Units (1990 US Census
    (1990 US Census)               Units    Percent of Total        
       Total Units                12,005
       Total Occupied             11,695
         owner occupied            9,630          82.3
         renter occupied           2,065          17.7
       Total vacant                  310
         for sale                     48          15.5
         for rent                    152          49.0
         other vacant                110          35.5
       Owner Vacancy Rate                          0.5
       Rental Vacancy Rate                         6.9
       Median Value (owner occupied) = $162,400
       Median Contract Rent (renter occupied) = $676
     Type of Structure
     (1990 US Census)              Units    Percent of Total
       Single Unit                 9,918          82.6
       2-4 Units                     672           5.6
       5 or More Units             1,286          10.7
       Other                         129           1.1
     Year Structure Built 
     (1990 US Census)              Units    Percent of Total              
       1989-March 1990                72           0.6
       1980-1988                   1,452          12.1
       1970-1979                   2,605          21.7
       1960-1969                   3,210          26.7
       1950-1959                   1,619          13.5
       1940-1949                     862           7.2
       1939 or earlier             2,185          18.2
     Home Sales (Banker & Tradesman)
     (1990 US Census)             Number       %Change
       1990                          379          -9.8
       1991                          452         +19.3  
       1992                          593         +31.2  


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