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State of Connecticut
Flag of ConnecticutState seal of Connecticut
Nickname(s): The Constitution State
The Nutmeg State
The Provisions State
The Land of Steady Habits[1][2]
Motto(s): Qui transtulit sustinet.[1] (Latin)
Map of the United States with Connecticut highlighted
Official languageNone
DemonymConnecticuter,[3] Connecticutian,[4]
Largest cityBridgeport[6]
Largest metroGreater Hartford[7]
AreaRanked 48th
 - Total5,543 sq mi
(14,357 km2)
 - Width70 miles (113 km)
 - Length110 miles (177 km)
 - % water12.6
 - Latitude40°58′ N to 42°03′ N
 - Longitude71°47′ W to 73°44′ W
PopulationRanked 29th
 - Total3,596,080 (2013 est)[8]
 - Density739/sq mi  (285/km2)
Ranked 4th
 - Median household income$68,595 (3rd)
 - Highest pointMassachusetts border on south slope of Mount Frissell[9][10]
2,379 ft (725 m)
 - Mean500 ft  (150 m)
 - Lowest pointLong Island Sound[9][10]
sea level
Before statehoodConnecticut Colony
Admission to UnionJanuary 9, 1788 (5th)
GovernorDannel Malloy (D)
Lieutenant GovernorNancy Wyman (D)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. Senators

Richard Blumenthal (D)

Chris Murphy (D)
U.S. House delegation5 Democrats (list)
Time zoneEastern: UTC −5/−4
AbbreviationsCT, Conn. US-CT
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State of Connecticut
Flag of ConnecticutState seal of Connecticut
Nickname(s): The Constitution State
The Nutmeg State
The Provisions State
The Land of Steady Habits[1][2]
Motto(s): Qui transtulit sustinet.[1] (Latin)
Map of the United States with Connecticut highlighted
Official languageNone
DemonymConnecticuter,[3] Connecticutian,[4]
Largest cityBridgeport[6]
Largest metroGreater Hartford[7]
AreaRanked 48th
 - Total5,543 sq mi
(14,357 km2)
 - Width70 miles (113 km)
 - Length110 miles (177 km)
 - % water12.6
 - Latitude40°58′ N to 42°03′ N
 - Longitude71°47′ W to 73°44′ W
PopulationRanked 29th
 - Total3,596,080 (2013 est)[8]
 - Density739/sq mi  (285/km2)
Ranked 4th
 - Median household income$68,595 (3rd)
 - Highest pointMassachusetts border on south slope of Mount Frissell[9][10]
2,379 ft (725 m)
 - Mean500 ft  (150 m)
 - Lowest pointLong Island Sound[9][10]
sea level
Before statehoodConnecticut Colony
Admission to UnionJanuary 9, 1788 (5th)
GovernorDannel Malloy (D)
Lieutenant GovernorNancy Wyman (D)
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
 - Upper houseSenate
 - Lower houseHouse of Representatives
U.S. Senators

Richard Blumenthal (D)

Chris Murphy (D)
U.S. House delegation5 Democrats (list)
Time zoneEastern: UTC −5/−4
AbbreviationsCT, Conn. US-CT

Connecticut (Listeni/kəˈnɛtɨkət/, kuh-NET-i-kət)[11] is the southernmost state in the northeastern region of the United States known as New England. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, New York to the west, and Long Island Sound to the south. Its capital city is Hartford. The state is named after the Connecticut River, a major U.S. river that approximately bisects the state. The word is a French corruption of the Algonquian word quinetucket, which means "long tidal river".[12]

Connecticut is the 3rd least extensive, 29th most populous and 4th most densely populated of the 50 United States. Called the Constitution State, Nutmeg State, and "The Land of Steady Habits",[1] it was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with the majority of the state's population) is part of the New York metropolitan area: three of Connecticut's eight counties are statistically included in the New York City combined statistical area, which is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut's center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County,[13] which is also located within the Tri-State area.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch. They established a small, short-lived settlement in present-day Hartford at the confluence of the Park and Connecticut rivers, called Huys de Goede Hoop. Initially, half of Connecticut was a part of the Dutch colony, New Netherland, which included much of the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers. The first major settlements were established in the 1630s by England. Thomas Hooker led a band of followers overland from the Massachusetts Bay Colony and founded what would become the Connecticut Colony; other settlers from Massachusetts founded the Saybrook Colony and the New Haven Colony. The Connecticut and New Haven Colonies established documents of Fundamental Orders, considered the first constitutions in North America. In 1662, the three colonies were merged under a royal charter, making Connecticut a crown colony. This colony was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution.

The Connecticut River, Thames River, and ports along Long Island Sound have given Connecticut a strong maritime tradition, which continues today. The state also has a long history of hosting the financial-services industry, including insurance companies in Hartford and hedge funds in Fairfield County. As of the 2010 Census, Connecticut features the highest per-capita income, Human Development Index (0.962), and median household income in the United States.[14][15][16] Although it is a wealthy state by most measures, the income gap between its urban and suburban areas is unusually wide.[17]


Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital and third largest city is Hartford, and other major cities and towns (by population) include Bridgeport, New Haven, Stamford, Waterbury, Norwalk, Danbury, New Britain, Greenwich and Bristol. There are 169 incorporated towns in Connecticut.

Bear Mountain, highest peak in Connecticut

The highest peak in Connecticut is Bear Mountain in Salisbury in the northwest corner of the state. The highest point is just east of where Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York meet (42° 3' N; 73° 29' W), on the southern slope of Mount Frissell, whose peak lies nearby in Massachusetts.[18]

The Connecticut River cuts through the center of the state, flowing into Long Island Sound. The most populous metropolitan region centered within the state lies in the Connecticut River Valley. Despite Connecticut's relatively small size, it features wide regional variations in its landscape; for example, in the northwestern Litchfield Hills, it features rolling mountains and horse farms, whereas in the southeastern New London County, it features beaches and maritime activities.

Although Connecticut has a long maritime history, and a reputation based on that history, Connecticut has no direct access to the sea. The jurisdiction of New York actually extends east at Fishers Island, where New York shares a sea border with Rhode Island dividing Narragansett Bay. Although Connecticut has easy access to the Atlantic, between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound, Connecticut has no direct ocean coast.

Highest point in Connecticut on slope of Mount Frissell, as seen from Bear Mountain

Connecticut's rural areas and small towns in the northeast and northwest corners of the state contrast sharply with its industrial cities, located along the coastal highways from the New York border to New London, then northward up the Connecticut River to Hartford. Many towns center around a "green", such as the Litchfield Green, Lebanon Green (the largest in the state), and Wethersfield Green (the oldest in the state). Near the green typically stand historical visual symbols of New England towns, such as a white church, a colonial meeting house, a colonial tavern or "inne", several colonial houses, and so on, establishing a scenic historic appearance maintained for both historic preservation and tourism.

Connecticut consists of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests. Northeastern coastal forests of oaks, hickories, and maple cover much of the state.[19] In the northwest, these give way to New England-Acadian forests of the Taconic Mountains.[19]

The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the Southwick Jog or Granby Notch, an approximately 2.5 mile (4.0 km) square detour into Connecticut. The actual origin of this anomaly is clearly established in a long line of disputes and temporary agreements which was finally concluded in 1804, when southern Southwick, (whose residents sought to leave Massachusetts), was split in half.[20][21]

The southwestern border of Connecticut, where it abuts New York State, is marked by a panhandle in Fairfield County, containing the towns of Greenwich, Stamford, New Canaan, Darien and part of Norwalk. This irregularity in the boundary is the result of territorial disputes in the late 17th century, culminating with New York giving up its claim to the area, whose residents considered themselves part of Connecticut, in exchange for an equivalent area extending northwards from Ridgefield to the Massachusetts border as well as undisputed claim to Rye, New York.[22]

Areas maintained by the National Park Service include: Appalachian National Scenic Trail; Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor; and Weir Farm National Historic Site.[23]


Much of Connecticut has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot summers. Far southern and coastal Connecticut which is closer to sea level, has a more mild humid temperate/subtropical climate (sometimes statistically meeting this climate's criteria, sometimes not) with seasonal extremes tempered by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. Most of Connecticut sees a fairly even precipitation pattern with rainfall/snowfall spread throughout the 12 months. Connecticut averages 56% of possible sunshine (higher than the USA average), averaging 2,400 hours of sunshine annually.[24]

Summer is hot and humid throughout the state, with average highs in New London of 81 °F (27 °C) and 87 °F (31 °C) in Windsor Locks. Although summers are sunny in Connecticut, summer thunderstorms often bring quick downpours and thunder and lighting. Winters are generally cool to cold from south to north in Connecticut, with average temperatures ranging from 38 °F (3 °C) in the maritime influenced southeast to 29 °F (−2 °C) in the northwest in January. The average yearly snowfall ranges from about 50–60" in the higher elevations of the northern portion of the state to only 20-25" along the southeast coast of Connecticut. Early Spring (April) is coolish and mid and late Spring (May/early June) is warm to hot.

Fall months are mild and bring colorful foliage across northern parts of the state (the southern and coastal areas have more oak and hickory trees and fewer maples) in October and November. During hurricane season, tropical cyclones occasionally affect the region. Thunderstorms are most frequent during the summer, occurring on average 30 times annually. These storms can be severe, and the state usually averages one tornado per year.[25] Connecticut's warmest temperature is 106 °F (41 °C) which occurred in Danbury on July 15, 1995; the coldest temperature is −32 °F (−36 °C) which occurred in Falls Village on February 16, 1943 and Coventry on January 22, 1961.[26]

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures for Various Connecticut Cities


A map of the Connecticut, New Haven, and Saybrook colonies

The name of the state is an Anglicized version of the Algonquian word "quinatucquet", meaning "upon the long river".[29] The Connecticut region was inhabited by the Mohegan tribe prior to European colonization. The first European explorer in Connecticut was the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block. After he explored this region in 1614, Dutch fur traders sailed up the Connecticut River (then known by the Dutch as Versche Rivier – "Fresh River") and built a fort at Dutch Point in what is present-day Hartford, which they called "House of Hope" (Dutch: Huis van Hoop).

John Winthrop, then of Massachusetts, received permission to create a new colony at Old Saybrook at the mouth of the Connecticut River in 1635. This was the first of three distinct colonies that later would be combined to make up Connecticut. Saybrook Colony was a direct challenge to Dutch claims. The colony was not more than a small outpost and never matured. In 1644, the Saybrook Colony merged itself into the Connecticut Colony.

The first English settlers came in 1633 and settled at Windsor, and then at Wethersfield the following year.[30] However, the main body of settlers came in one large group in 1636. The settlers were Puritans from Massachusetts, led by Thomas Hooker. Hooker had been prominent in England and was a professor of theology at Cambridge. He was also an important political writer and made a significant contribution to Constitutional theory. He broke with the political leadership in Massachusetts, and, just as Roger Williams created a new polity in Rhode Island, Hooker and his cohort did the same and established the Connecticut Colony at Hartford in 1636. This was the second of the three colonies. The third colony was founded in March 1638. New Haven Colony (originally known as the Quinnipiack Colony[31]) was established by John Davenport, Theophilus Eaton, and others at New Haven. The New Haven Colony had its own constitution, "The Fundamental Agreement of the New Haven Colony", which was signed on June 4, 1639.

Because the Dutch were outnumbered by the flood of English settlers from Massachusetts, they left their fort in 1654.

Neither the establishment of the Connecticut Colony or the Quinnipiack Colony was carried out with the sanction of the English Crown, and they were independent political entities. They naturally were presumptively English, but in a legal sense, they were only secessionist outposts of Massachusetts Bay. In 1662, Winthrop took advantage of this void in political affairs and obtained in England the charter by which the colonies of Connecticut and Quinnipiack were united. Although Winthrop's charter favored the Connecticut colony, New Haven remained a seat of government with Hartford until after the American Revolution.

Winthrop was very politically astute and secured the charter from the newly restored Charles II, who granted the most liberal political terms.

A 1799 map of Connecticut which shows The Oblong. From Low's Encyclopaedia.

Historically important colonial settlements included:

Windsor (1633)
Wethersfield (1634)
Saybrook (1635)
Hartford (1636)
New Haven (1638)
Fairfield (1639)
Guilford (1639)
Milford (1639)
Stratford (1639)
Farmington (1640)
Stamford (1641)
New London (1646)

Its first constitution, the "Fundamental Orders", was adopted on January 14, 1639, while its current constitution, the third for Connecticut, was adopted in 1965. Connecticut is the fifth of the original 13 states. The original constitutions influenced the US Constitution as one of the leading authors was Roger Sherman of New Haven.

View of New London in 1854

The western boundaries of Connecticut have been subject to change over time. According to the Hartford Treaty with the Dutch, signed on September 19, 1650, but never ratified by the British, the western boundary of Connecticut ran north from Greenwich Bay for a distance of 20 miles[32][33] "provided the said line come not within 10 miles (16 km) [16 km] of Hudson River. This agreement was observed by both sides until war erupted between England and The Netherlands in 1652. No other limits were found. Conflict over uncertain colonial limits continued until the Duke of York captured New Netherland in 1664."[32][33] On the other hand, Connecticut's original Charter in 1662 granted it all the land to the "South Sea", i.e. the Pacific Ocean.[34][35] Most colonial royal grants were for long east-west strips. Connecticut took its grant seriously, and established a ninth county between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers, named Westmoreland County. This resulted in the brief Pennamite Wars with Pennsylvania.

Connecticut's lands also extended across northern Ohio, called the Western Reserve lands. The Western Reserve section was settled largely by people from Connecticut, and they brought Connecticut place names to Ohio. Agreements with Pennsylvania and New York extinguished the land claims by Connecticut within its neighbors, creating the Connecticut Panhandle. The Western Reserve lands were relinquished to the federal government, which brought the state to its present boundaries other than minor adjustments with Massachusetts.


Historical population
Est. 20133,596,0800.6%
Connecticut Population Density Map

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Connecticut was 3,596,080 on July 1, 2013, a 0.6% increase since the 2010 United States Census.[8]

As of 2012, Connecticut had an estimated population of 3,590,347,[39] which is an increase of 9,638, or 0.2%, from the prior year and an increase of 16,250, or 0.5%, since the year 2010. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 67,427 people (that is 222,222 births minus 154,795 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 41,718 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 75,991 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 34,273 people. Based on the 2005 estimates, Connecticut moves from the 29th most populous state to 30th.[39]

6.6% of its population was reported as being under 5 years old, 24.7% under 18 years old, and 13.8% were 65 years of age or older. Females made up approximately 51.6% of the population, with 48.4% male.

In 1790, 97% of the population in Connecticut was classified as "rural". The first census in which less than half the population was classified as rural was 1890. In the 2000 census, it was only 12.3%. Most of western and southern Connecticut (particularly the Gold Coast) is strongly associated with New York City; this area is the most affluent and populous region of the state. Eastern Connecticut is more culturally influenced by the greater New England area, including the cities of Boston and Providence. The center of population of Connecticut is located in the town of Cheshire.[40]

Race, ancestry, and language[edit]

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Connecticut had a population of 3,574,097. Racially and ethnically the state was:

In the same year Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 13.4% of the population.[41]

The state's most populous ethnic group, Non-Hispanic White, has declined from 98% in 1940 to 71% in 2010.[42]

Connecticut Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition1990[43]2000[44]2010[45]
Native Hawaiian and
other Pacific Islander
Other race2.9%4.3%5.6%
Two or more races-2.2%2.6%

As of 2004, 11.4% of the population (400,000) was foreign-born. In 1870, native-born Americans had accounted for 75% of the state's population, but that had dropped to 35% by 1918.

As of 2000, 81.69% of Connecticut residents age 5 and older spoke English at home and 8.42% spoke Spanish, followed by Italian at 1.59%, French at 1.31% and Polish at 1.20%.[46]

The largest ancestry groups are:[47]

Connecticut has large Italian American, Irish American and English American populations, as well as German American and Portuguese American populations, second highest percentage of any state, behind Rhode Island (19.3%). Italian is the largest ancestry group in five of the state's counties, while the Irish are the largest group in Tolland county, French Canadians the largest group in Windham county. African Americans and Hispanics (mostly Puerto Ricans) are numerous in the urban areas of the state. Connecticut is also known for its relatively large Hungarian American population, the majority of which live in and around Fairfield, Stamford, Naugatuck and Bridgeport. Connecticut also has a sizable Polish American population, with New Britain containing the largest Polish American population in the state.

More recent immigrant populations include those from India, Philippines, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica, Haiti, Cape Verde and former Soviet countries.

As of 2011, 46.1% of Connecticut's population younger than age 1 were minorities.[48]

Majority Racial and Ethnic Groups in Connecticut, 2010


A Pew survey of Connecticut residents' religious self-identification showed the following distribution of affiliations: Protestant 27%, Mormonism 0.5%, Jewish 1%, Roman Catholic 43%, Orthodox 1%, Non-religious 23%, Jehovah's Witness 1%, Hinduism 0.5%, Buddhism 1% and Islam 0.5%.[49] Jewish congregations had 108,280 (3.2%) members in 2000.[50] The Jewish population is concentrated in the towns near Long Island Sound between Greenwich and New Haven, in Greater New Haven and in Greater Hartford, especially the suburb of West Hartford. According to the Association of Religion Data Archives, the largest Christian denominations, by number of adherents, in 2010 were: the Catholic Church, with 1,252,936; the United Church of Christ, with 96,506; and non-denominational Evangelical Protestants, with 72,863.[50]

Recent immigration has brought other non-Christian religions to the state, but the numbers of adherents of other religions are still low. Connecticut is also home to New England's largest Protestant Church: The First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Connecticut located in Hartford County. Hartford is seat to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, which is sovereign over the Diocese of Bridgeport and the Diocese of Norwich.


Connecticut state welcome sign in Enfield, Connecticut
Entering the Merritt Parkway from New York in Greenwich, Connecticut

The total gross state product for 2010 was $237 billion.[51] The per capita income for 2007 was $64,833, ranking fourth, behind the District of Columbia, Delaware, and Alaska.[52] There is, however, a great disparity in incomes throughout the state; although New Canaan has one of the highest per capita incomes in America, Hartford is one of the ten cities with the lowest per capita incomes in America. As with Bridgeport, New Haven and other cities in the state, Hartford is surrounded by wealthier suburbs. The state's unemployment rate in August 2011 was 9.0%.[53]

According to a 2013 study by Phoenix Marketing International, Connecticut had the third-largest number of millionaires per capita in the United States, with a ratio of 7.32 percent.[54] New Canaan is the wealthiest town in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $85,459. Darien, Greenwich, Weston, Westport and Wilton also have per capita incomes over $65,000. Hartford is the poorest municipality in Connecticut, with a per capita income of $13,428 in 2000.[55] There are other lower-income and blue-collar towns, mostly parts of towns, in the eastern part of the State.


Prior to 1991, Connecticut had an investment-only income tax system. Income from employment was untaxed, but income from investments was taxed at 13%, the highest rate in the U.S., with no deductions allowed for costs of producing the investment income, such as interest on borrowing.

In 1991, under Governor Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., an Independent, the system was changed to one in which the taxes on employment income and investment income were equalized at a maximum rate of 4%. Since then, Greenwich has become the headquarters for a large number of America's largest hedge funds.[citation needed] As of 2011, the income tax rates on Connecticut individuals are divided into six tax brackets of 3%, 5%, 5.5%, 6%, 6.5% and 6.7%.[56] All wages of Connecticut residents are subject to the state's income tax, even if earned outside the state. However, in those cases, Connecticut income tax must be withheld only to the extent the Connecticut tax exceeds the amount withheld by the other jurisdiction. Since New York and Massachusetts have higher tax rates than Connecticut, this effectively means that Connecticut residents that work in those states have no Connecticut income tax withheld. Connecticut permits a credit for taxes paid to other jurisdictions, but since residents who work in other states are still subject to Connecticut income taxation, they may owe taxes if the jurisdictional credit does not fully offset the Connecticut tax amount.

Connecticut levies a 6.35% state sales tax on the retail sale, lease, or rental of most goods.[56] Some items and services in general are not subject to sales and use taxes unless specifically enumerated as taxable by statute. A provision excluding clothing under $50 from sales tax was repealed as of July 1, 2011.[56] There are no additional sales taxes imposed by local jurisdictions. During the summer, there is one week during which sales tax on certain items and quantities of clothing is not imposed in order to assist those with children returning to school.[citation needed]

All real and personal property located within the state of Connecticut is taxable unless specifically exempted by statute. All assessments are at 70% of fair market value. Another 20% of the value may be taxed by the local government though. The maximum property tax credit is $500 per return and any excess may not be refunded or carried forward.[57] Connecticut does not levy an intangible personal property tax. According to the Tax Foundation, the 2010 Census data shows Connecticut residents paying the 2nd highest average property taxes in the nation with only New Jersey ahead of them.[58]

Real estate[edit]

Homes in Connecticut vary widely with a median price of approximately $226,000. By contrast, the median value for a home in Fairfield County, for example, is about $370,000.[59][60] Connecticut has the most multi-million dollar homes in the Northeast, and the second most in the nation after California, with 3.3% of homes in Connecticut priced over $1 million in 2003.[61]


The agricultural produce of the state includes nursery stock; eggs; clams and lobster (shellfish); dairy products; cattle; and tobacco. Its industrial output includes transportation equipment, especially helicopters, aircraft parts, and nuclear submarines; heavy industrial machinery and electrical equipment; military weaponry; fabricated metal products; chemical and pharmaceutical products; and scientific instruments. Connecticut was an historical center of gun manufacturing, and, as of December 2012, 4 gun-manufacturing firms, Colt, Stag, Ruger, and Mossberg, employing 2,000 employees, continued to operate in the state.[62] Marlin, by then owned by Remington, closed in April 2011.[63]

Oyster harvesting has historically been an important source of income to towns along the Connecticut coastline. In the 19th century, oystering boomed in New Haven, Bridgeport and Norwalk and achieved modest success in neighboring towns. In 1911, Connecticut's oyster production reached its peak at nearly 25 million pounds of oyster meats. This was, at the time, higher than production in New York, Rhode Island, or Massachusetts.[64] During this time, the Connecticut coast was known, in the shellfishing industry, as the oyster capital of the world. Until 1969, Connecticut laws enacted before World War I restricted the harvesting of oysters in state-owned beds to vessels under sail. These laws prompted the construction of the oyster sloop style vessel to last well into the 20th century.[65] Hope, completed in Greenwich in 1948, is believed to be the last oyster sloop built in Connecticut.

A report issued by the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism on December 7, 2006, demonstrated that the economic impact of the arts, film, history and tourism generated more than $14 billion in economic activity and 170,000 jobs annually. This provides $9 billion in personal income for Connecticut residents and $1.7 billion in state and local revenue.[66]

As of November 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 9%.[67]


Map of Connecticut showing major highways


The Interstate highways in the state are I-95 (the Connecticut Turnpike) running southwest to northeast along the coast, I-84 running southwest to northeast in the center of the state, I-91 running north to south in the center of the state, and I-395 running north to south near the eastern border of the state. The other major highways in Connecticut are the Merritt Parkway and Wilbur Cross Parkway, which together form State Route 15, running from the Hutchinson River Parkway in New York parallel to I-95 before turning north of New Haven and running parallel to I-91, finally becoming a surface road in Berlin, Connecticut. Route 15 and I-95 were originally toll roads; they relied on a system of toll plazas at which all traffic stopped and paid fixed tolls. A series of terrible crashes at these plazas eventually contributed to the decision to remove the tolls in 1988.[68] Other major arteries in the state include U.S. Route 7 in the west running parallel to the NY border, State Route 8 farther east near the industrial city of Waterbury and running north-south along the Naugatuck River Valley nearly parallel with U.S. 7, and State Route 9 in the east. See List of State Routes in Connecticut for an overview of the state's highway system.

Between New Haven and New York City, I-95 is one of the most congested highways in the United States. Many people now drive longer distances to work in the New York City area. This strains the three lanes of traffic capacity, resulting in lengthy rush hour delays. Frequently, the congestion spills over to clog the parallel Merritt Parkway. The state has encouraged traffic reduction schemes, including rail use and ride-sharing.[69]

Connecticut also has a very active bicycling community, with one of the highest rates of bicycle ownership and use in the United States. New Haven's cycling community, organized in a local advocacy group called ElmCityCycling, is particularly active. According to the US Census 2006 American Community Survey, New Haven has the highest percentage of commuters who bicycle to work of any major metropolitan center on the East Coast.


Southwestern Connecticut is served by MTA's Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line, providing commuter service to New York City and New Haven, with branches servicing New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury. Connecticut lies along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor which features frequent Northeast Regional and Acela Express service. Towns between New Haven and New London are also served by the Shore Line East commuter line. Operation of commuter trains from New Haven to Springfield on Amtrak's New Haven-Springfield Line is under consideration.[70] Amtrak also operates a shuttle service between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts, servicing Hartford and other towns on the corridor.


Statewide bus service is supplied by Connecticut Transit, owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation, with smaller municipal authorities providing local service. Bus networks are an important part of the transportation system in Connecticut, especially in urban areas like Hartford, Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport and New Haven. A three-year construction project to build a BRT busway from New Britain to Hartford began in August 2009.[71][72]


Bradley International Airport is located in Windsor Locks, 15 miles (24 km) north of Hartford. Regional air service is provided at Tweed New Haven Regional Airport. Larger civil airports include Danbury Municipal Airport and Waterbury-Oxford Airport in western Connecticut, and Groton-New London Airport in eastern Connecticut. Sikorsky Memorial Airport is located in Stratford and mostly services cargo, helicopter and private aviation.


The Rocky Hill – Glastonbury Ferry and the Chester–Hadlyme Ferry cross the Connecticut River. The Bridgeport & Port Jefferson Ferry travels between Bridgeport, CT and Port Jefferson, New York by crossing Long Island Sound. Ferry service also operates out of New London, CT to Orient, NY, Fishers Island, NY and Block Island, RI.

Law and government[edit]

The Connecticut State Capitol in downtown Hartford

Hartford has been the sole capital of Connecticut since 1875. Before then, New Haven and Hartford alternated as capitals.[73]

Constitutional history[edit]

Connecticut is known as the "Constitution State". While the origin on this title is uncertain, the nickname may either refer to the Fundamental Orders of 1638–39 or possibly the "Great Compromise" ("Connecticut Compromise") of the 1787 Constitutional convention. These Fundamental Orders represent the framework for the first formal government written by a representative body in Connecticut. The government has operated under the direction of four separate documents in the course of Connecticut Constitutional History. After the Fundamental Orders, Connecticut was granted governmental authority by King Charles II of England through the Connecticut Charter of 1662.

Separate branches of government did not exist during this period, and the General Assembly acted as the supreme authority. A constitution similar to the modern U.S. Constitution was not adopted in Connecticut until 1818. Finally, the current state constitution was implemented in 1965. The 1965 constitution absorbed a majority of its 1818 predecessor, but incorporated a handful of important modifications.

The more likely source of the nickname "Constitution State" comes from Connecticut's pivotal role in the federal constitutional convention of 1787, during which Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth helped to orchestrate what became known as the Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise. This plan combined the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan to form a bicameral legislature, a form copied by almost every state constitution since the adoption of the federal constitution. Although variations of the bicameral legislature had been proposed by Virginia and New Jersey, Connecticut's plan is the one that was in effect until the early 20th century, when Senators ceased to be selected by their state legislatures and were instead directly elected. Otherwise, it is still the design of Congress.


The governor heads the executive branch. Dan Malloy is the current Governor and Nancy Wyman is the Lieutenant Governor, both are Democrats. Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford, won the 2010 general election for Governor, and was sworn in on January 5, 2011. From 1639 until the adoption of the 1818 constitution, the governor presided over the General Assembly. In 1974, Ella Grasso was elected as the governor of Connecticut. This was the first time in United States history when a woman was a governor without her husband being governor first.

There are several executive departments: Administrative Services, Agriculture, Banking, Children and Families, Consumer Protection, Correction, Economic and Community Development, Developmental Services, Construction Services, Education, Emergency Management and Public Protection, Energy & Environmental Protection, Higher Education, Insurance, Labor, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Military, Motor Vehicles, Public Health, Public Utility Regulatory Authority, Public Works, Revenue Services, Social Services, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. In addition to these departments, there are other independent bureaus, offices and commissions.[74]

In addition to the Governor and Lieutenant Governor, there are four other executive officers named in the state constitution that are elected directly by voters: Secretary of the State, Treasurer, Comptroller and Attorney General. All executive officers are elected to four-year terms.[73]


The legislature is the General Assembly. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of an upper body, the State Senate (36 senators); and a lower body, the House of Representatives (151 representatives).[73] Bills must pass each house in order to become law. The governor can veto the bill, but this veto can be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house. Per Article XV of the state constitution, Senators and Representatives must be at least 18 years of age and are elected to two-year terms in November on even-numbered years. There also must always be between 30 and 50 senators and 125 to 225 representatives. The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate, except when absent from the chamber, when the President pro tempore presides. The Speaker of the House presides over the House.[75] As of 2012, Christopher G. Donovan is the current Speaker of the House of Connecticut.

Connecticut's current United States Senators are Richard Blumenthal (Democrat) and Chris Murphy (Democrat). Connecticut currently has five representatives in the U.S. House, all of whom are Democrats.

Locally elected representatives also develop Local ordinances to govern cities and towns.[76] The town ordinances often include noise control and zoning guidelines.[77] However, the State of Connecticut does also provide state-wide ordinances for noise control as well.[78]


The highest court of Connecticut's judicial branch is the Connecticut Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of Connecticut. The Supreme Court is responsible for deciding on the constitutionality of the law or cases as they relate to the law. Its proceedings are similar to those of the United States Supreme Court, with no testimony given by witnesses, and the lawyers of the two sides each present oral arguments no longer than thirty minutes. Following a court proceeding, the court may take several months to arrive at a judgment. The current Chief Justice is Chase T. Rogers.

In 1818, the court became a separate entity, independent of the legislative and executive branches.[79] The Appellate Court is a lesser state-wide court and the Superior Courts are lower courts that resemble county courts of other states.

The State of Connecticut also offers access to Arrest warrant enforcement statistics through the Office of Policy and Management.[80]

Local government[edit]

and several lists: List of municipalities of Connecticut by population, List of towns in Connecticut, List of cities in Connecticut, Borough (Connecticut), List of counties in Connecticut

Unlike all but one other state (Rhode Island), Connecticut does not have county government. Connecticut county governments were mostly eliminated in 1960, with the exception of sheriffs elected in each county.[81] In 2000, the county sheriff was abolished and replaced with the state marshal system, which has districts that follow the old county territories. The judicial system is divided, at the trial court level, into judicial districts which largely follow the old county lines.[82] The eight counties are still widely used for purely geographical and statistical purposes, such as weather reports, and census reporting.

Connecticut shares with the rest of New England a governmental institution called the New England town. The state is divided into 169 towns, which serve as the fundamental political jurisdictions.[73] There are also 21 cities,[73] most of which are coterminous with their namesake towns and have a merged city-town government. There are two exceptions: City of Groton, which is a subsection of the Town of Groton, and the City of Winsted in the Town of Winchester. There are also nine incorporated boroughs which may provide additional services to a section of town.[73][83] One, Naugatuck, is a consolidated town and borough.

The state (with the exception of the Town of Stafford in Tolland County) is also divided into 15 planning regions defined by the state Office of Planning and Management.[84] The Intragovernmental Policy Division of this Office coordinates regional planning with the administrative bodies of these regions. Each region has an administrative body known as either a regional council of governments, a regional council of elected officials, or a regional planning agency. The regions are established for the purpose of planning "coordination of regional and state planning activities; redesignation of logical planning regions and promotion of the continuation of regional planning organizations within the state; and provision for technical aid and the administration of financial assistance to regional planning organizations."[84]

Same-sex marriage[edit]

On November 12, 2008, Connecticut became the second state (after Massachusetts) to allow marriages of same-sex couples. Connecticut was the third state to do so, but only the second where the decision was not repealed.


Connecticut political party registration 1958–2012 marked with presidential influence

Registered Voters[edit]

Connecticut residents who register to vote have the option of declaring an affiliation to a political party, may become unaffiliated at will, and may change affiliations subject to certain waiting periods. As of 2013 about 58% of registered voters are enrolled (about 1% total in 18 third parties minor parties), and ratios among unaffiliated voters and the two major parties are about 8 unaffiliated for every 7 in the Democratic Party of Connecticut and for every 4 in the Connecticut Republican Party.

(Among the minor parties, the Libertarian Party and Independent Party appeared in the Presidential-electors column in 2012, and drew, respectively, 0.81% and 0.35% of the vote.)

Many Connecticut towns show a marked preference for moderate candidates of either party.[2]

Connecticut voter registration and party enrollment as of October 30, 2012[85]
PartyActive votersInactive votersTotal votersPercentage
 Minor parties18,9601,06320,0230.90%

Political Office[edit]

Elections in Connecticut take place mostly at the levels of town and/or city, state legislative districts for both houses, Congressional districts, and state-wide. In almost all races, the two major parties have some practical advantages granted on the basis of their respective performances in the most recent election covering the same constituency. Several processes, to varying degrees internal to either a major or minor party, are in practice nearly prerequisites to being permitted mention on the provided ballots, and even more so to winning office.

More specifically, the status of "major party" is usually reconfirmed every four years, as belonging to the two parties that polled best, statewide, in the gubernatorial column; this status includes the benefit of appearing in one of the top two rows on the ballot provided the party has at least one candidate on the ballot. Minor parties appear below major parties, and their performance in recent elections determines whether a candidates who wins in their nomination process must also meet a petitioning threshold in order to appear.

In a major party, a party convention for the office's constituency must be held; in practice, at the town level, a major party convention of voters of the town who are enrolled in the party usually is attended almost exclusively by members of the town party committee. The convention may choose to endorse a candidate, who will appear on the ballot unless additional candidates meet a petition threshold for a primary election; if at least one candidate meets the petition threshold, the endorsed candidate and all who meet the threshold appear on the primary ballot, and the winner of the primary election appears on the party line for that office.

A candidate wishing to run on the ballot line of a minor-party which has recently enough met a general-election vote threshold follows similar steps; candidates of other minor parties must meet petition thresholds, and if other candidates of the same party, for the same office, do so as well, only the winner of a resulting primary will appear on the ballot.

Campaigns by candidates not on the ballot generally are entirely symbolic, and while any voter can cast a write-in ballot, write-in ballots are not even tallied by election officials, except for candidates who have submitted a formal request that the tally be made.

In short, most winning candidates have won the endorsement of the applicable major-party convention; nearly all of the rest have won with a professionally-managed primary-election campaign; and successful minor-party candidates are almost without exception major-party figures like Lowell Weicker whose minor parties disappear after that success. (A Connecticut Party, which Weicker founded, became nominally the leading major party, and state law was changed during his administration to provide that in a situation such as his win, the top three parties in the governor's race all became major parties.)

Republican Areas[edit]

Presidential election results[86]

The suburban towns of New Canaan and Darien in Fairfield County are considered the most Republican areas in the state. Westport, a wealthy town a few miles to the east, is often considered one of the most loyally Democratic, liberal towns in Fairfield County. The historically Republican-leaning wealthy town of Wilton voted in the majority for Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential Election. Norwalk and Stamford, two larger, mixed-income communities in Fairfield County, have in many elections favored moderate Republicans including former Governor John G. Rowland and former Congressman Chris Shays, however they have favored Democrats in recent US presidential election years, with Shays being defeated by Democrat Jim Himes in the 2008 election.

The state's Republican-leaning areas are the rural Litchfield County and adjoining towns in the west of Hartford County, the industrial towns of the Naugatuck River Valley, and some of the affluent Fairfield County towns near the New York border.

Lieberman's predecessor, Lowell P. Weicker, Jr., was the last Connecticut Republican to serve as Senator. Weicker was known as a liberal Republican. He broke with President Richard Nixon during Watergate and successfully ran for governor in 1990 as an independent, creating A Connecticut Party as his election vehicle. Before Weicker, the last Republican to represent Connecticut in the Senate was Prescott Bush, the father of former President George H.W. Bush and the grandfather of former President George W. Bush. He served 1953–63.

Democratic Areas[edit]

Waterbury has a Democratic registration edge, but usually favors conservative candidates of both traditional parties. In Danbury unaffiliated voters outnumber voters registered with either major party. Other smaller cities including Meriden, New Britain, Norwich and Middletown favor Democratic candidates.

As of 2011, Democrats controlled all five federal congressional seats. The remaining Republican, Chris Shays, lost his seat to Democrat Jim Himes in the Congressional Election in 2008.


Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal are Connecticut's U.S. senators. Both senators from Connecticut are Democrats.


In April 2012 both houses of the Connecticut state legislature passed a bill (20 to 16 and 86 to 62) that abolished the capital punishment for all future crimes, while 11 inmates who were waiting on the death row at the time could still be executed.[87]

In July 2009 the Connecticut legislature overrode a veto by Governor M. Jodi Rell to pass SustiNet, the first significant public-option health care reform legislation in the nation.[88]



The Connecticut State Board of Education manages the public school system for children in grades K-12. Board of Education members are appointed by the Governor of Connecticut. Statistics for each school are made available to the public through an online database system called "CEDAR."[89] The CEDAR database also provides statistics for "ACES" or "RESC" schools for children with behavioral disorders.[90]

Private Schools[edit]

Colleges and Universities[edit]

Connecticut was home to the nation's first law school, Litchfield Law School, which operated from 1773 to 1833 in Litchfield. Hartford Public High School (1638) is the third-oldest secondary school in the nation after the Collegiate School (1628) in Manhattan and the Boston Latin School (1635).



The state also has many noted private day schools, and its boarding schools draw students from around the world.


Lime Rock – a home of the American Le Mans tournament

Professional Sports[edit]

Connecticut has been the home of multiple teams in the big four sports leagues, though currently hosts none.


Connecticut's longest-tenured and only modern full-time "big four" franchise were the Hartford Whalers of the National Hockey League, who played in Hartford from 1979 to 1997 at the Hartford Civic Center. Their departure to Raleigh, North Carolina, over disputes with the state over the construction of a new arena, caused great controversy and resentment. The former Whalers are now known as the Carolina Hurricanes. Presently, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, a farm team for the New York Islanders, compete at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, CT and the Hartford Wolf Pack, the affiliate of the New York Rangers, play in the XL Center in Hartford.


The Hartford Dark Blues joined the National League for one season in 1876, making them the state's only major league baseball franchise, before moving to Brooklyn, New York and then disbanding one season later.

Connecticut is a battleground between fans of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets.[93] For the Mets and Red Sox, split allegiances among fans of both teams in the state during the 1986 World Series led to an article in The Boston Globe to coin the phrase "Red Sox Nation".[94]


In 1926, Hartford had a franchise in the National Football League known as the Hartford Blues. The NFL would return to Connecticut from 1973–74 when New Haven hosted the New York Giants at Yale Bowl while Giants Stadium was under construction.[95]


From 1975 to 1995, the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association played a number of home games at the Hartford Civic Center.

Yale Bowl during "The Game" between Yale and Harvard. The Bowl was also the home of the NFL's New York Giants in 1973–74.


The state hosts several major sporting events. Since 1952, a PGA Tour golf tournament has been played in the Hartford area. Originally called the "Insurance City Open" and later the "Greater Hartford Open", the event is now known as the Travelers Championship. The Pilot Pen Tennis tournament is held annually in the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center at Yale University in New Haven.


Lime Rock Park in Salisbury is a 1.5 mile road racing course, home to American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, SCCA and NASCAR Camping World East Series races. Thompson International Speedway, Stafford Motor Speedway and Waterford Speedbowl are oval tracks holding weekly races for NASCAR Modifieds and other classes, including the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour.


The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA currently play at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville. From 1996 to 1998, Connecticut was home to another professional woman's basketball team, American Basketball League franchise the New England Blizzard, who played at the XL Center.

Non-Professional Sports[edit]

High School[edit]

The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) is the state's sanctioning body for high school sports.

College Sports[edit]

The UConn Huskies play NCAA Division I sports and are popular in the state. Both the men's basketball and women's basketball teams have won multiple national championships, including in 2004, when UConn became the first school in NCAA Division I history to have its men's and women's basketball programs win the national title in the same year. The UConn Huskies football team has played in the Football Bowl Subdivision since 2002, and has played in four bowl games since. Other Connecticut universities which feature Division I sports teams are Yale University, Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University, Central Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and the University of Hartford.

Yale v. Harvard[edit]

New Haven biennially hosts "The Game" between Yale and Harvard, the country's second-oldest college football rivalry. Yale alum Walter Camp, deemed the "Father of American Football", helped develop modern football while living in New Haven.[96]

Arena Football[edit]

Hartford has hosted two Arena Football League franchises, in the Connecticut Coyotes from 1995–1996 and the New England Sea Wolves from 1999–2000, both playing at the Civic Center. Hartford was home to the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League for one season in 2010.

Current professional sports teams[edit]

Bridgeport Sound TigersIce hockeyAmerican Hockey League
Hartford Wolf PackIce hockeyAmerican Hockey League
Danbury WhalersIce hockeyFederal Hockey League
New Britain Rock CatsBaseballEastern League (AA)
Connecticut TigersBaseballNew York-Penn League (A)
Bridgeport BluefishBaseballAtlantic League
Connecticut SunBasketballWomen's National Basketball Association

Etymology and symbols[edit]

Connecticut State symbols
Flag of Connecticut.svg
The Flag of Connecticut.

Animate insignia
Bird(s)American Robin
FishAmerican shad
Flower(s)Mountain Laurel
InsectEuropean Mantis
Mammal(s)Sperm whale
TreeCharter White oak

Inanimate insignia
DanceSquare dance
FossilDinosaur tracks
ShellEastern Oyster
Ship(s)USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Freedom Schooner Amistad
Slogan(s)Full of Surprises
Song(s)Yankee Doodle,
The Nutmeg
TartanConnecticut State Tartan

Route marker(s)
Connecticut Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Connecticut
Released in 1999

Lists of United States state insignia

The name "Connecticut" originates from the Mohegan word quonehtacut, meaning "place of long tidal river".[73] Connecticut's official nickname, adopted in 1959, is "The Constitution State," based on its colonial constitution of 1638–39 which was the first in America and, arguably, the world.[1] Unofficially (but popularly) Connecticut is also known as "The Nutmeg State".[1] The origins of the nutmeg connection to Connecticut are unknown. It may have come from its sailors returning from voyages with nutmeg (which in the 18th and 19th centuries was a very valuable spice). It may have originated in the early machined sheet tin nutmeg grinders sold by early Connecticut peddlers. It is also facetiously said to come from Yankee peddlers from Connecticut who would sell small carved nobs of wood shaped to look like nutmeg to unsuspecting customers.[2] George Washington gave Connecticut the title of "The Provisions State"[1] because of the material aid the state rendered to the American Revolutionary War effort. Connecticut is also known as "The Land of Steady Habits".[1]

According to Webster's New International Dictionary, 1993, a person who is a native or resident of Connecticut is a "Connecticuter". There are numerous other terms coined in print, but not in use, such as: "Connecticotian" – Cotton Mather in 1702. "Connecticutensian" – Samuel Peters in 1781. "Nutmegger" is sometimes used,[2] as is "Yankee" (the official state song is "Yankee Doodle"), though this usually refers someone from the wider New England region (and in the Southern United States, to anyone who lives north of the Mason-Dixon Line). Linguist Allen Walker Read reports a more playful term, 'connecticutie.' The traditional abbreviation of the state's name is "Conn."; the official postal abbreviation is CT.

Commemorative stamps issued by the United States Postal Service with Connecticut themes include Nathan Hale, Eugene O'Neill, Josiah Willard Gibbs, Noah Webster, Eli Whitney, the whaling ship the Charles W. Morgan which is docked in Mystic Seaport, and a decoy of a broadbill duck.

Connecticut state insignia and historical figures[1] except where noted
State heroNathan Hale
State heroinePrudence Crandall
State composerCharles Edward Ives
State statues in Statuary HallRoger Sherman and Jonathan Trumbull
State poet laureateDick Allen
Connecticut State TroubadourKristen Graves[97]
State composer laureateJacob Druckman

Famous residents[edit]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

Civic and business organizations

Preceded by
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Ratified Constitution on January 9, 1788 (5th)
Succeeded by

Coordinates: 41°36′N 72°42′W / 41.6°N 72.7°W / 41.6; -72.7