Canaan is a town in Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 3,909 at the 2010 census. It is the location of Mascoma State Forest. Canaan is home to the Cardigan Mountain School, the town’s largest employer.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 55.0 square miles (142 km), of which 53.2 sq mi (138 km) is land and 1.8 sq mi (4.7 km) is water, comprising 3.31% of the town. Canaan is drained by the Indian River and Mascoma River. Canaan Street Lake is in the center, and Goose Pond is in the northwest.
The town center lies in the valley of the Indian River (a tributary of the Mascoma River) at the base of Mount Cardigan, which lies to the east in the neighboring town of Orange. A mountain road leads from Canaan to a trailhead in Cardigan Mountain State Forest, where hiking trails on the west slope of the mountain lead to the bare-rock summit. The highest point in Canaan is the top of an unnamed ridge (approximately 2,270 feet (690 m) above sea level) in the northeast corner of town, overlooking Derby Pond.
Canaan lies almost fully within the Connecticut River watershed, except for a tiny part of the northeast of the town, which is in the Merrimack River watershed.
The town is crossed by U.S. Route 4 and New Hampshire Route 118.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,909 people, 1,588 households, and 1,105 families residing in the town. The population density was 73.5 people per square mile (28.4/km²). There were 1,930 housing units at an average density of 36.3 per square mile (14.0/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.1% White, 0.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.2% some other race, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.8% of the population.
There were 1,588 households, of which 28.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were headed by married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42, and the average family size was 2.81.
In the town, the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 33.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.6 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.
For the period 2007-2011, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $62,226, and the median income for a family was $63,930. Male full-time workers had a median income of $46,250 versus $37,287 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,964. About 4.5% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.7% of those under age 18 and 6.3% of those age 65 or over.
In 2014 the largest ancestry groups reported in Canaan were English (17.8%), “American” (17.4%), French or French Canadian (14.2%), and Irish (12.6%).