Berkley is a town in Bristol County, Massachusetts, United States, located south of Boston and east of Providence, Rhode Island. The population was 6,411 at the 2010 census, making it the least populated town in the county.
The present town of Berkley, then belonging to the neighboring towns of Dighton and Taunton, was first settled in 1638. It was officially incorporated as a separate town in 1735. The town was named for the philosopher and bishop George Berkeley (1685-1753), who lived in Newport, Rhode Island from 1728 to 1731. The change in the spelling to “Berkley” was likely due to the carelessness of the engrossing clerk of the Massachusetts General Court.
Berkley’s old Town Hall, a two-story white clapboard building located on Berkley Common, was built in 1849. When a new Town Hall was built across the street in 2015, the Old Town Hall became home to the Berkley Historical Society. The new 9,778-square-foot Town Hall was built in 2014-2015, at a cost of $3.5 million. The new building contains a senior center, office, kitchen, and high-efficiency LED lighting.
High school students may also attend Bristol County Agricultural High School in Dighton, Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School in Taunton, or local private and parochial schools; the closest Catholic high school is Coyle and Cassidy High School in Taunton.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,749 people, 1,843 households, and 1,566 families residing in the town. The population density was 347.6 people per square mile (134.2/km2). There were 1,885 housing units at an average density of 114.0 per square mile (44.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.7% White, 0.6% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.06% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.0% of the population.
There were 1,843 households, out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 73.8% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 15.0% were non-families. 10.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.11 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 30.5% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 36.0% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 6.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $66,295, and the median income for a family was $69,222. Males had a median income of $45,154 versus $31,639 for females. The per capita income for the town was $21,652. About 0.7% of families and 2.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.