Machias /məˈtʃaɪ.əs/ is a town in and the county seat of Washington County in downeast Maine, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 2,221. It is home to the University of Maine at Machias and Machias Valley Airport, a small public airport owned by the town. The word Machias roughly translates in Passamaquoddy as “bad little falls”, a reference to the Machias River. Machias is best known as the site of the first naval battle of the American Revolution.
Machias is situated midway on the south shore of the county, on the Machias River, near its mouth. The western portion extends southward to Little Kennebec Bay. Machiasport bounds it on the south-east, also on the east with East Machias and Marshfield. The latter also bounds it on the north, and Whitneyville and Jonesboro on the west. The surface of the town is uneven, but fertile. The rocks along the river are trap but there is an extensive granite quarry within three miles (5 km) of the falls. The water power of this town consists of a series of falls on the Machias River, at the head of navigation, six miles (10 km) above the river’s mouth, and three above its junction with the East Machias River. The gross power of the falls is that of about 937 horses.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 14.80 square miles (38.33 km), of which, 13.87 square miles (35.92 km) of it is land and 0.93 square miles (2.41 km) is water. The town is located at the head of Machias Bay and Little Kennebec Bay on the Gulf of Maine, part of the Atlantic Ocean.
Machias is crossed by U. S. Route 1 and 1A, and by state routes 92 and 192. It is bordered by the towns of Machiasport to the east, Roque Bluffs to the south, Whitneyville to the west, and Marshfield to the north. Separated by water, it is near the town of East Machias to the north.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,221 people, 949 households, and 445 families residing in the town. The population density was 160.1 inhabitants per square mile (61.8/km). There were 1,114 housing units at an average density of 80.3 per square mile (31.0/km). The racial makeup of the town was 94.7% White, 0.9% African American, 1.0% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.
There were 949 households of which 22.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.5% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 53.1% were non-families. 43.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.00 and the average family size was 2.77.
The median age in the town was 37.7 years. 16.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 19.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.8% were from 25 to 44; 23.3% were from 45 to 64; and 19.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 46.3% male and 53.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,353 people, 939 households, and 503 families residing in the town. The population density was 169.4 people per square mile (65.4/km²). There were 1,129 housing units at an average density of 81.3 per square mile (31.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.92% White, 0.64% Black or African American, 0.98% Native American, 1.44% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.55% of the population.
There were 939 households out of which 24.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.4% were non-families. 37.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.75.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.9% under the age of 18, 20.4% from 18 to 24, 21.3% from 25 to 44, 20.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.9 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $24,318, and the median income for a family was $36,705. Males had a median income of $29,107 versus $21,538 for females. The per capita income for the town was $13,902. About 15.6% of families and 23.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 23.6% of those age 65 or over.