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Some governmental functions are performed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, others by the county, and others by local towns and cities. The property deed records are kept in Taunton, Attleboro, Fall River, and New Bedford.
Bristol County is part of the Providence-Warwick, RI-MA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.
In 1862, part of Seekonk (now East Providence, Rhode Island) and the entirety of East Pawtucket were transferred to Providence County, Rhode Island.
At the same time, land ceded from Rhode Island was added to Fall River and Westport.
The racial makeup of the county was 90.98% White, 2.03% Black or African American, 0.24% Native American, 1.26% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.12% from other races, and 2.34% from two or more races.
The growing Fall River became the site of the third county courthouse in 1877.
The highest point in Bristol County is Sunrise Hill (Watery Hill) at 390 feet (120 m) above sea level located in World War I Memorial Park in North Attleborough.
Of the 213,010 households, 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.6% were non-families, and 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals.
The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.06. The median income for a household in the county was ,955 and the median income for a family was ,161.
After the departure of Bristol, Taunton was made the shire town of the county.