Rockland is a town in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, United States. The population was 17,489 at the 2010 census. As of December 31, 2009, there were 11,809 registered voters in the community.
Rockland was settled by European settlers, as a northeastern region of neighboring Abington in 1673. The town separated and incorporated as Rockland on March 9, 1874. It is named for the town’s rocky nature, which was better suited for mills and industry than for farming. During King Philip’s War, the town was the site of an encampment during his raids on the town of Scituate.
During the twentieth century, the town was the site of a portion of the landing strips of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. The airstrip closed in 1996 as a part of the fourth round of closures under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.
In recent years, a growing number of artists have moved into the community, attracted by former factory buildings as a place to work and meet.
Rockland operates its own school system for the town’s approximately 2,500 students. There are three elementary schools (Jefferson, Memorial Park and R. Stewart Esten) which serve students from kindergarten to fourth grade.
The John W. Rogers Middle School is located adjacent to Memorial Park, in a new facility completed in 2012 and connected to the high school. It serves fifth through eighth grades. A newly renovated Rockland Senior High School serves ninth through twelfth grade students.
Rockland High’s athletics teams are known as the Bulldogs (sometimes just ‘Dogs), and their colors are navy blue and white. They compete in the South Shore League and their rival is Abington. The Bulldogs have a strong basketball tradition, with their most recent state championships in 2004 (boys) and 2000 (girls). The football team last won a Super Bowl in 2000 by defeating heavily favored Bishop Feehan High School, 20-3, at Bridgewater State College.
In addition to the high school, students may attend South Shore Vocational Technical High School in Hanover free of charge. The town also has two private schools, Calvary Chapel Academy and Holy Family School. Calvary Chapel Academy is a Christian school serving from kindergarten through twelfth grade. The Holy Family School is a Catholic parochial school which extends to eighth grade, and is associated with the Holy Family Church of Rockland.
Children living in Rockland are also eligible to attend South Shore Charter Public School. Located in neighboring Norwell, the school offers entrance to neighboring towns on the South Shore.
Many students and their families also choose to attend private high schools in the area, including Cardinal Spellman High School in Brockton, Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, Boston College High School in Boston, Xaverian Brothers High School in Westwood, and more.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,670 people, 6,539 households, and 4,583 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,763.1 people per square mile (680.9/km2). There were 6,649 housing units at an average density of 663.4 per square mile (256.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 90.81% White, 5.71% African American, 0.15% Native American, 1.08% Asian, 0.79% from other races, and 1.47% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.02% of the population.
There were over 9,000 households, out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living in them, 52.7% were married couples living together, 13.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.9% were non-families. 24.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.67 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 26.5% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 32.0% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $50,613, and the median income for a family was $60,088. Males had a median income of $41,361 versus $31,907 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,068. About 6.1% of families and 6.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.
Statistically, Rockland is the 103rd most populous community in the Commonwealth, just below the state average. Rockland is the 62nd most densely populated community in the Commonwealth, and the fourth most densely populated in Plymouth County.