State of Connecticut
Flag of Connecticut State seal of Connecticut
Flag Seal
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 language(s) None
Demonym Connecticuter,[3] Nutmegger[4]
Capital Hartford
Largest city Bridgeport[5]
Largest metro area Greater Hartford[6]
Area  Ranked 48th in the U.S.
 - Total 5,543 sq mi
(14,357 km2)
 - Width 70 miles (113 km)
 - Length 110 miles (177 km)
 - % water 12.6
 - Latitude 40°58′ N to 42°03′ N
 - Longitude 71°47′ W to 73°44′ W
Population  Ranked 29th in the U.S.
 - Total (2010) 3,574,097[7]
Density 702.9/sq mi  (271.40/km2)
Ranked 4th in the U.S.
 - Median income  $68,595 (3rd)
 - Highest point Massachusetts border on south slope of Mount Frissell[8][9]
2,379 ft (725 m)
 - Mean 500 ft  (150 m)
 - Lowest point Long Island Sound[8][9]
sea level
Before statehood Connecticut Colony
Admission to Union  January 9, 1788 (5th)
Governor Dannel Malloy (D)
Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman (D)
Legislature General Assembly
 - Upper house Senate
 - Lower house House of Representatives
U.S. Senators Joe Lieberman (ID)
Richard Blumenthal (D)
U.S. House delegation 5 Democrats (list)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Abbreviations CT Conn. US-CT

Connecticut Listeni/kəˈnɛtɨkət/[10] is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south (with which it shares a water boundary in Long Island Sound).

Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately bisects the state. Its capital city is Hartford. Much of southern and western Connecticut (along with 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, the same area is widely referred to as the Tri-State area. Connecticut's center of population is in Cheshire, New Haven County,[11] which is also located within the Tri-State area.

Connecticut is the 29th most populous state, with 3.5 million residents, and is ranked 48th in size by area, making it the 4th most densely populated state. Called the Constitution State, Nutmeg State, and "The Land of Steady Habits",[1] Connecticut was influential in the development of the federal government of the United States.

Connecticut's first European settlers were Dutch and 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 the English. 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. Both 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 the Long Island Sound have given the state a strong maritime tradition, which continues today. Connecticut's other traditional industry is financial services; for example, 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.[12][13][14] Although Connecticut is a wealthy state by most measures, the income gap between its urban and suburban areas is striking, with several of Connecticut's cities ranking among the nation's poorest and most dangerous.[15][16]



Connecticut is bordered on the south by Long Island Sound, on the west by New York State, on the north by Massachusetts, and on the east by Rhode Island. The state capital is Hartford, and other major cities (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.[17]

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.[18] In the northwest, these give way to New England-Acadian forests of the Taconic Mountains.[18]

The northern boundary of the state with Massachusetts is marked by the distinctive 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.[19][20]

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.[21]

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.[22]

The Scoville Memorial Libraries collection began in 1771, when Richard Smith, owner of a local blast furnace, used community contributions to buy 200 books in London. Patrons could borrow and return books on the third Monday of every third month. Fees were collected for damages, the most common being "greasing" by wax dripped from the candles by which the patrons read.


Interior portions of Connecticut have a humid continental climate, while the Connecticut shoreline (the state's southern four counties) has a borderline humid subtropical climate (sometimes statistically meeting this climate's criteria, sometimes not) with seasonal extremes tempered by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The city of Bridgeport (on Long Island Sound), like most other areas in metropolitan New York, typically falls within the humid subtropical climate zone under the Köppen Climate Classification system. Hartford (35 miles inland) has a humid continental climate. Consistent with its coastal reputation, Connecticut is a moderately sunny state, averaging between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine annually.[23]

Winters are generally considered to be cold, 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 is about 20–60"(54–189 cm) across the state, with higher totals in the northwest. Spring has variable temperatures with frequent rainfall. 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. Fall months are mild and bring colorful foliage across the state 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.[24] 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.[25]

Monthly Normal High and Median Temperatures for Various Connecticut Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Bridgeport 37/23 39/25 47/32 57/41 67/51 76/60 82/66 81/65 74/58 63/46 53/38 42/28
Hartford 35/16 39/19 47/27 59/38 70/48 79/57 84/63 82/61 74/51 63/40 52/32 40/22


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".[28] 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.[29] 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) 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.

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.

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[30][31] "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."[30][31] On the other hand, Connecticut's original Charter in 1662 granted it all the land to the "South Sea", i.e. the Pacific Ocean.[32][33] 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 populations
Census Pop.
1790 237,946
1800 251,002 5.5%
1810 261,942 4.4%
1820 275,248 5.1%
1830 297,675 8.1%
1840 309,978 4.1%
1850 370,792 19.6%
1860 460,147 24.1%
1870 537,454 16.8%
1880 622,700 15.9%
1890 746,258 19.8%
1900 908,420 21.7%
1910 1,114,756 22.7%
1920 1,380,631 23.9%
1930 1,606,903 16.4%
1940 1,709,242 6.4%
1950 2,007,280 17.4%
1960 2,535,234 26.3%
1970 3,031,709 19.6%
1980 3,107,576 2.5%
1990 3,287,116 5.8%
2000 3,405,565 3.6%
2010 3,574,097 4.9%
Connecticut Population Density Map.

As of 2005, Connecticut has an estimated population of 3,510,297,[37] which is an increase of 11,331, or 0.3%, from the prior year and an increase of 104,695, or 3.1%, since the year 2000. 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.[37]

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.[38]

Race, ancestry, and language

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Connecticut had a population of 3,574,097. In terms of race and ethnicity, the state was 77.6% White (71.2% Non-Hispanic White Alone), 10.1% Black or African American, 0.3% American Indian and Alaska Native, 3.8% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 5.6% from Some Other Race, and 2.6% from Two or More Races. Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 13.4% of the population.[39]

As of 2004, 11.4% of the population (400,000) was foreign-born, and 10% of the foreign-born in the state were illegal aliens (about 1.1% of the population). 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%.[40]

The largest ancestry groups are:[41]

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, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Guatemala, Panama, Jamaica, Haiti, Cape Verde and former Soviet countries.


A 2001 survey of Connecticut residents' religious self-identification showed the following distribution of affiliations:[42]

Jewish congregations had 108,280 (3.2%) members in 2000;[43] 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 2000 were: the Catholic Church, with 1,372,562; the United Church of Christ, with 124,770; and the Episcopal Church, with 73,550.[43]

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 welcome sign being updated as Rell takes office on July 1, 2004.
Connecticut state welcome sign. Entering Enfield, CT.
Entering the Merritt Parkway from New York. Entering Greenwich, CT.

The total gross state product for 2010 was $237 billion.[44] The per capita income for 2007 was $54,117, ranking first among the states.[45] 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%.[46]

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.[47] 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, Connecticut, has become the headquarters for a large number of America's largest hedge funds. 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%.[48] 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.[48] 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.[48] 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.[49] 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.[50]

Real estate

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.[51][52] 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.[53]


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.

Due to the prominence of the aircraft industry in the state, Connecticut has an official state aircraft, the F4U Corsair, and an official Connecticut Aviation Pioneer, Igor Sikorsky. The state officially recognizes aircraft designer Gustav Whitehead as "Father of Connecticut Aviation" for his research into powered flight in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1901, two years before the Wright brothers at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.[54] Governor John Dempsey also declared August 15 to be "Gustave Whitehead Day".[55]

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.[56]

As of November 2010, the state's unemployment rate is 9%.[57]


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 State 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.[58] 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 the 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.[59]

Connecticut also has a very active bicycling community, with one of the highest rates of bicycling 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 U.S. 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.

Public transportation

A Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line train at Stamford.


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.[60] 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.[61][62]


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. Sikorsky Memorial Airport is located in Stratford and mostly services cargo, helicopter and private aviation. The Westchester County Airport in Harrison, New York serves much of southwestern Connecticut.

Law and government

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.[63]

Constitutional history

Connecticut is known as the "Constitution State". While the origin on this title is uncertain, the nickname is assumed to refer to the Fundamental Orders of 1638–39. 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. Another possible 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.


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. Connecticut was the first state in the United States to elect a woman as governor without electing her husband first, Ella Grasso in 1974.

There are several executive departments: Administrative Services, Agriculture, Banking, Children and Families, Consumer Protection, Correction, Economic and Community Development, Developmental Services, Education, Environmental Protection, Higher Education, Information Technology, Insurance, Labor, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Military, Motor Vehicles, Public Health, Public Safety, Public Utility Control, Public Works, Revenue Services, Social Services, Transportation, and Veterans Affairs. In addition to these departments, there are other independent bureaus, offices and commissions.[64]

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.[63]


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).[63] 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. Senators and representatives, all of whom must be at least 18 years of age, are elected to two-year terms in November on even-numbered years. 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; Chris Donovan is the current Speaker of the House of Connecticut.

Connecticut's U.S. senators are Richard Blumenthal (Democrat) and Joseph I. Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman, Independent Democrat) who is part of the Democratic Caucus. Connecticut currently has five representatives in the U.S. House, all of whom are Democrats. Connecticut and Vermont remain the only two states with Independent Senators.


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.[65] The Appellate Court is a lesser state-wide court and the Superior Courts are lower courts that resemble county courts of other states.

Local government

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

Connecticut has 169 towns, which serve as the fundamental local political subdivision of the state; the entire state is divided into towns.[63] Connecticut shares a local form of government with the rest of New England called the New England town. There are also 21 cities,[63] 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.[63][66] One, Naugatuck, is a consolidated town and borough.

Unlike most other states, Connecticut does not have county government. Connecticut county governments were mostly eliminated in 1960, with the exception of sheriffs elected in each county.[67] 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.[68] The eight counties are still widely used for purely geographical and statistical purposes, such as weather reports, and census reporting.

The state is divided into 15 planning regions defined by the state Office of Planning and Management.[69] 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."[69]

Same-sex marriage

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.


Presidential elections results[70]
Year Republican Democratic
2008 38.77% 620,210 61.23% 979,316
2004 43.95% 693,826 54.31% 857,488
2000 38.44% 561,094 55.91% 816,015
1996 34.69% 483,109 52.83% 735,740
1992 35.78% 578,313 42.21% 682,318
1988 51.98% 750,241 46.87% 676,584
1984 60.73% 890,877 38.83% 569,597
1980 48.16% 677,210 38.52% 541,732
1976 52.06% 719,261 46.90% 647,895
1972 58.57% 810,763 40.13% 555,498
1968 44.32% 556,721 49.48% 621,561
1964 32.09% 390,996 67.81% 826,269
1960 46.27% 565,813 53.73% 657,055

Currently, Connecticut leans strongly towards the Democratic Party. However, Connecticut has a high percentage of voters who are not registered with a major party. As of 2004, 33.7% of registered voters were registered Democratic, 22.0% were registered Republican, and 44.0% were unaffiliated with any party, with 0.2% registered with a minor party.[71]

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

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, affluent 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.

Waterbury has a Democratic registration edge, but usually favors conservative candidates in both 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.

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.[72]

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. Joseph Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal are Connecticut's U.S. senators. The junior Blumenthal is a Democrat while the senior Lieberman serves as an Independent Democrat caucusing with Senate Democrats after his victory on the Connecticut for Lieberman ballot line in the 2006 general election.

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 from 1953–1963.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 27, 2009[73]
Party Active voters Inactive voters Total voters Percentage
  Democratic 751,612 41,322 792,934 36.84%
  Republican 412,746 20,311 433,057 20.12%
  Unaffiliated 853,607 61,286 914,893 42.51%
  Minor parties 10,709 727 11,436 0.53%
Total 2,028,674 123,646 2,152,320 100%


Connecticut is the home of Yale University, established in 1701, one of the most academically renowned and selective universities in the United States.[74] Yale is one of the largest employers in the state, and its research activity has recently spun off dozens of growing biotechnology companies.[75][76]

In addition, Connecticut hosts many other academic institutions, including Trinity College (1823), Wesleyan University (1832), University of Hartford (1877), Post University (1890), Connecticut College (1911), United States Coast Guard Academy (1915) and Quinnipiac University (1929). The University of Connecticut (1881) has been the highest ranked public university in New England from 1998 to 2010, according to U.S. News and World Report.[77]

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.


Mohegan Sun Arena, home of the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.

Connecticut has been the home to 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.

Connecticut has hosted teams from the other big four leagues at various times. The Hartford Dark Blues joined the National League for one season in 1876, becoming the state's first and only major league baseball franchise. In 1926, Hartford had a franchise in the National Football League known as the Hartford Blues. The NFL would return to Connecticut from 1973–1974 when New Haven hosted the New York Giants at Yale Bowl while Giants Stadium was under construction.[78] 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 from 1973–1974.

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 Hartford Civic Center

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 include Yale University, Quinnipiac University, Fairfield University, Central Connecticut State University, Sacred Heart University, and the University of Hartford. Several United States Coast Guard Academy teams compete in Division I as well.

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.[79]

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 is currently home to the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League.

Connecticut is a battleground between fans of the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and New York Mets.[80] 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."[81]

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 is a motorsport track home of American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series and NASCAR Camping World East Series races.

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

Current professional sports teams

Club Sport League
Bridgeport Sound Tigers Ice hockey American Hockey League
Connecticut Whale Ice hockey American Hockey League
New Britain Rock Cats Baseball Minor League Baseball (AA)
Connecticut Tigers Baseball Minor League Baseball (A)
Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball Atlantic League
Danbury Westerners Baseball New England Collegiate Baseball League
Torrington Titans Baseball Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League
Connecticut Sun Basketball Women's National Basketball Association
New Haven Warriors Rugby League American National Rugby League
Connecticut Wildcats Rugby League American National Rugby League
Hartford Wanderers Rugby Union New England Rugby Football Union
New Haven Old Black RFC Rugby Union New England Rugby Football Union
Hartford Colonials Football United Football League
Connecticut Yankees Rugby Union Metropolitan New York Rugby Union
New England Rugby Football Union
Nutmeg BMX BMX Racing National Bicycle League
CT RollerGirls Roller derby Women's Flat Track Derby Association

Names and symbols

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

Animate insignia
Bird(s) American Robin
Fish American shad
Flower(s) Mountain Laurel
Insect European Mantis
Mammal(s) Sperm whale
Tree Charter White oak

Inanimate insignia
Dance Square dance
Fossil Dinosaur tracks
Mineral Garnet
Shell Eastern Oyster
Ship(s) USS Nautilus (SSN-571), Freedom Schooner Amistad
Slogan(s) Full of Surprises
Song(s) Yankee Doodle,
The Nutmeg
Tartan Connecticut 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".[63] Connecticut's official nickname, adopted in 1959, is "The Constitution State," based on its colonial constitution of 1638–1639 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.[82] 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]

The Charter Oak.

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).[83] 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 hero Nathan Hale
State heroine Prudence Crandall
State composer Charles Edward Ives
State statues in Statuary Hall Roger Sherman and Jonathan Trumbull[84]
State poet laureate Dick Allen
Connecticut State Troubadour Chuck E. Costa[85]
State composer laureate Jacob Druckman

Famous residents

  • George Walker Bush, the forty-third President of the United States, was born in Connecticut. He is a member of the Bush political family, with roots in the state extending three generations.
  • American author Mark Twain resided in his innovative Hartford home from 1871 until 1891, during which time he published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He lived in Redding from 1908 until his death in 1910.[86]
  • Noah Webster was born in Hartford in an area that is now part of West Hartford and was the author of the "Blue Backed Speller," now known as Webster's Dictionary. The Speller was used to teach spelling to five generations of Americans.

See also


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External links

Civic and business organizations

Related information

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

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  • Connecticut — (spr. Kannektiköt), 1) (von den Indianern Quonectacut genannt, d. i. langer [364] Fluß, Fluß ohne Ende) der größte Strom der Neuengland Staaten in den Vereinigten Staaten von Nordamerika; entspringt auf der Landeshöhe an der Grenze zwischen New… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Connecticut — (spr. konnéttiköt, abgekürzt Conn.), einer der 6 Neuenglandstaaten und der 13 ursprünglichen Staaten der nordamerikanischen Union (s. Karte »Vereinigte Staaten«), zwischen 41–42°3 nördl. Br. und 71°55 –73°50 westl. L., wird von Massachusetts,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Connecticut — état du N. E. des È. U., sur l Atlant.; 12 973 km²; 3 287 000 hab.; cap. Hartford. Le relief est formé de collines que draine du N. au S. le Connecticut. Les côtes sont échancrées. Cet état très urbanisé s est tourné vers les industr. à haute… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Connecticut — (spr. – néttikött), bedeutendster Fluß der Neuenglandstaaten, entspringt an der Grenze von Kanada, durchfließt den Staat C., mündet in den Long Island Sund, 656 km lg.; zahlreiche Wasserfälle …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Connecticut [2] — Connecticut (spr. – néttikött), einer der Neuenglandstaaten der Ver. Staaten von Amerika, 14.534 qkm, (1900) 908.420 E.; Hügelland, bewässert vom C., Housatonic und von der Thames, Industrie (bes. Textil und Metallwaren); Hauptstadt Hartford;… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

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  • Connecticut — [kə net′ə kət] [< Algonquin (Mahican), lit., place of the long river] 1. New England state of the U.S.: one of the 13 original states; 4,845 sq mi (12,548 sq km); pop. 3,406,000; cap. Hartford: abbrev. CT or Conn 2. river in NE U.S., flowing… …   English World dictionary

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