Nelson is a town in Cheshire County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 729 at the 2010 census. Nelson includes the village of Munsonville.
Nelson is located in the eastern part of Cheshire County, in southwestern New Hampshire. Its eastern border is the Hillsborough County line. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 23.2 square miles (60 km), of which 21.9 sq mi (57 km) is land and 1.4 sq mi (3.6 km) is water, comprising 5.94% of the town. The eastern part of the town drains towards the Contoocook River, a tributary of the Merrimack River and part of the Gulf of Maine watershed, while the western part of the town feeds tributaries of the Ashuelot River, part of the Connecticut River watershed draining to Long Island Sound. Spoonwood Pond and part of Nubanusit Lake are in the east. Part of Silver Lake is in the south, and part of Granite Lake is in the north. The village of Munsonville is located at the outlet of Granite Lake. The highest point in Nelson is the summit of Osgood Hill (also known as Nelson Pinnacle), with an elevation of 2,253 feet (687 m) above sea level.
The town is crossed by the Monadnock-Sunapee Greenway, a 50-mile (80 km) hiking trail that traverses the highlands of southern New Hampshire from Mount Monadnock in Jaffrey to Mount Sunapee in Newbury. The trail passes directly through the center of Nelson.
The town is crossed by New Hampshire Route 9.
As of the census of 2010, there were 729 people, 303 households, and 208 families residing in the town. The population density was 33.3 people per square mile (12.9/km²). There were 460 housing units, of which 157, or 34.1%, were vacant. 144 of the vacant units were for seasonal or recreational use. The racial makeup of the town was 97.7% White, 0.0% African American, 0.0% Native American, 0.5% Asian, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
Of the 303 households in the town, 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were headed by married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 24.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41, and the average family size was 2.79.
19.1% of the town population were under the age of 18, 9.1% were from 18 to 24, 20.1% were from 25 to 44, 35.3% were from 45 to 64, and 16.3% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.2 years. For every 100 females, there were 105.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.1 males.
For the period 2013-17, the estimated median annual income for a household in the town was $71,500, and the median income for a family was $90,313. Male full-time workers had a median income of $48,000 versus $48,542 for females. The per capita income for the town was $38,514. About 12.4% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18.