Salem is a town in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, United States. The population was 28,776 at the 2010 census. Being located on Interstate 93 as the first town in New Hampshire, which lacks any state sales tax, Salem has grown into a commercial hub, anchored by the Mall at Rockingham Park. Other major sites include the Canobie Lake Park, a large amusement park, and America’s Stonehenge, a stone structure of disputed origins. It is the former home of Rockingham Park, a horse racetrack. The Sununu political family hails from Salem, including former New Hampshire governor and White House Chief of Staff John H. Sununu, and his sons John E. Sununu, a former U.S. senator, and Chris Sununu, current New Hampshire governor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 25.9 square miles (67 km), of which 24.7 sq mi (64 km) is land and 1.2 sq mi (3.1 km) is water, comprising 4.49% of the town. Salem is drained by the Spicket River and Policy Brook. Canobie Lake is on the western boundary, Arlington Mill Reservoir is in the north, and World End Pond is in the southeast. None of the town’s residential water supply incorporates sodium fluoride, a water additive that helps ensure strong teeth enamel. The highest point in Salem is the summit of Gordon’s Hill, at 380 feet (120 m) above sea level, along the town’s western border.
Salem is the first New Hampshire town encountered when traveling north from Massachusetts on Interstate 93. The interstate’s first two New Hampshire exits are within town. Via I-93, Boston is 35 miles (56 km) to the south and Manchester is 20 miles (32 km) to the northwest.
At the 2000 census, there were 28,112 people, 10,402 households and 7,603 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,138.0 per square mile (439.4/km²). There were 10,866 housing units at an average density of 439.9 per square mile (169.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.01% White, 0.55% African American, 0.21% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 1.07% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.
There were 10,402 households of which 34.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.6% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. Of all households 21.2% were made up of individuals and 7.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.16.
Age distribution was 25.3% under the age of 18, 6.2% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.9 males.
The median household income was $58,090, and the median family income was $67,278. Males had a median income of $46,330 versus $31,031 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,170. About 3.1% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.1% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.