Aerial view of Nahant Island near Boston, Massachusetts in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nahant, Massachusetts

Nahant is a small town located in Essex County in the US State of Massachusetts. It is considered the state's smallest municipality by area. Nahant is primarily a residential community and has access to numerous famous tourist beaches, including the “Long Beach” and “Short Beach” along the eastern side.

Geography And Climate Of Nahant 

Cottages on a peninsula in Nahant, Massachusetts
Cottages on a peninsula in Nahant, Massachusetts, at the beach on a sunny day. 

The town lies just northeast of Boston and adjacent to the city of Lynn on a peninsula which comprises the near-islands of Little Nahant ad Nahant. The near-islands are joined to the mainland by Lynn Beach (Long Beach), a 2.4 -km isthmus of sand. According to the United States Census Bureau, Nahant covers a total area of 40 sq. km, of which 2.7 sq. km only is occupied by land, which makes it the smallest municipality in the state, and 37.4 sq. km is covered by water.

According to the Köppen climate classification, Nahant experiences a warm summer continental climate, with warm summers and extremely cold, snowy winters. The warm season lasts from June to September, with July being the hottest month, having an average high temperature of 27.2°C and a low temperature of 18.8°C. The cold season lasts from December to March, with January being the coldest month, having an average low temperature of -4.4°C and a high temperature of 2.7°C. 

The Population Of Nahant

Nahant Beach, Nahant, Massachusetts
Nahant Beach, Nahant, Massachusetts. 

In 2020, Nahant was home to a population of 3,504 people with a median age of 52.3 and a population density of 1,234 people per square kilometer. The population has increased by 2.70% since the last census, which recorded a population of 3,410 in 2010. The largest ethnic groups in Nahant are non-Hispanic White representing up to 95.89% of the town’s population, followed by Asians at 2.23%, other races at 0.94%, and two or more races at 0.94%. As of 2019, 98.1% of the population of Nahant were US citizens, and 8.28% of the residents were born outside the United States. The most common birthplace for foreign-born residents of Massachusetts is China, then comes the Dominican Republic and Brazil.

The Economy Of Nahant 

The median household income in Nahant grew from $90,741 to $97,778, a 7.76% increase between 2018 and 2019. The median household income in Nahant is more than the median household income of $65,712 across the entire United States. Moreover, males tend to earn 1.33 times more than females. The economy of Nahant employs almost two-thirds of the town’s population. The most prominent industries in Nahant are Health Care & Social Assistance, Professional & Technical Services, and Educational Services. 

Brief History Of Nahant 

Gothic chapel built in 1920 in Nahant, Massachusetts
A Gothic Chapel built in 1920 stands in the green lawn cemetery in Nahant, Massachusetts. 

The land where Nahant was built was initially used as a grazing area for cattle, sheep, and goat flocks in early colonial days. Nahant soon became a maritime community with a small population devoted to fishing. Settlers were granted land for homesites to spend time for fishing, and small boat fishing developed in the area before 1640. In due course, several planting lots of equal shares were distributed among all the residents of Lynn as a requirement for clearing all the lots of wood in 6 years. This requirement led Nahant to lose all its first growth woodlands. Nahant became a resort mecca very early, and the first hotel was built by 1803. A steamboat sailed daily to the town from Boston in 1817, and from 1826 onwards, a stage from the Nahant Hotel connected about two times daily between the cities of Boston and Salem. Aside from agriculture and tourism, significant businesses, including fishing and several shoe shops, developed. Nahant was officially incorporated in 1853 and eventually became the location of the most massive complex on the Atlantic Coast. For the next four decades, starting in 1870, the town witnessed an era of skyrocketing growth, and construction firms started setting up hundreds of summer homes for the visitors.

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