Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bridgeport (41n10, 73w12 EST) is the largest city by population in Connecticut, and is located in southeastern Fairfield County, Connecticut. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 139,529. The city is considered to be part of the greater New York metropolitan area. Its nickname within Connecticut is The Park City.
Bridgeport's early years were marked by a reliance on fishing and farming, much like other towns in New England. The city's location on the deep Black Rock Harbor fostered a boom in shipbuilding and whaling in the mid-19th century, especially after the opening of a railroad to the city in 1840. The city rapidly industrialized in the late-19th century, becoming a manufacturing center producing such goods as brass fittings, carriages, sewing machines, saddles, and ammunition. By 1930, Bridgeport was a thriving industrial center with more than 500 factories and a booming immigrant population.
Like other urban centers in Connecticut, Bridgeport fared less well during the deindustrialization of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s. Unemployment rose, crime soared, and the city became known for a large drug problem and for having an exploding AIDS rate. Many former-industrial sites within the city were discovered to be heavily-polluted, leaving the city with extensive environmental costs and damage. Other sites were simply abandoned and left to burn down, leaving some areas of the city resembling ghost towns.
In the early 21st century, Bridgeport is rebounding after a loss of jobs and population, and is transitioning into a role as a center of service industries and as an outlying region of the New York metropolitan area. It remains the largest city in the state of Connecticut, although it is often ignored or overlooked by residents of the state.
Colleges and Universities
Bridgeport is home to University of Bridgeport, as well as Housatonic Community College .
Railroad and Ferries
The city is connected to nearby New York City by way of both Amtrak and Metro-North commuter trains. Many residents commute to New York by these trains, and the city is developing as an outpost of New York-based artists and workers seeking cheaper rents and larger living spaces. Connecting service is also available to Waterbury via Metro-North, and New Haven via Amtrak and Metro-North.
Bridgeport is at the intersection of many major highways which have contributed greatly to its industrial past. Interstate 95, the Merritt Parkway, Connecticut Routes 8 and 25, and US Route 1 (The Boston Post Road) all run through the city, with the intersection of Route 8 and Interstate 95 located downtown.
Nearby Stratford Sikorsky Airport provides local and regional flights; however, most residents of Bridgeport use other airports, such as Tweed-New Haven, Bradley International near Hartford, or JFK and LaGuardia in New York for major air tarvel services.
Culture and Notable Features
Bridgeport is quite marked by its attachment to famed resident, circus-promoter, and once-mayor P.T. Barnum. Barnum built three houses in the city, and housed his circus in-town during winters.
- ‘At the end of an hour we saw a far-away town sleeping in a valley by a winding river; and beyond it on a hill, a vast gray fortress, with towers and turrets, the first I had ever seen out of a picture.
- ‘“Bridgeport?” said I, pointing.
- ‘“Camelot,” said he.’
Edward Cardinal Egan was once bishop for Bridgeport.
Museums and Zoos
As befits his in-town legend, the Barnum Museum is headquartered in Bridgeport. The city is also home to the Discovery Museum and Planetarium , which emphasizes exhibits on science, as well as the Housatonic Museum of Art .
The Beardsley Zoo is also located in Bridgeport, and is the only zoological center in the entire state of Connecticut.
Sports Teams and Entertainment
The recently-built Arena at Harbor Yard serves as the city's sports and hospitality center, and its high success has drawn business away from competitor sites in New Haven and Hartford. The Arena serves as the home rink of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL hockey team, as well as the home court of the Fairfield University's basketball team. It seats 10,000.
The Ballpark at Harbor Yard serves as a minor-league baseball stadium, and was built in 1998 to serve as the homefield of the Bridgeport Bluefish. It is located downtown on a former brownfield site, and is visually prominent to commuters on I-95 or on passing trains.
Bridgeport had a Socialist mayor for 24 years. Jasper McLevy Its more recent mayors, including Joseph Ganim , have been plagued with corruption scandals, reflecting a similar pattern found in other urban centers in Connecticut.
For a time Bridgeport had the dubious distinction as having the highest per-capita murder rate in the United States, as well as being the first city in the United States to officially declare bankruptcy. Its status as a struggling postindustrial city marked by poverty is well-known within Connecticut, and stands out markedly from its Gold Coast neighbors.
Famous People from Bridgeport
Famous people born or bred in Bridgeport include : circus midget Tom Thumb, art collector and donor Roy Neuberger, entertainers John Ratzenberger, Richard Belzer and Kevin Nealon, cartoonist Walt Kelly, and actors Michael Jai White, Deborah Walley Tony Musante, Brian Dennehy, Arline Judge and Robert Mitchum.
The Men in Black and Albert Bender Controversy started in Bridgeport.
The Voice of Snow White Adrianna Caselotti was also born in the city.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 139,529 people, 50,307 households, and 32,749 families residing in the city. The population density is 3,367.0/km² (8,720.9/mi²). There are 54,367 housing units at an average density of 1,312.0/km² (3,398.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 45.02% White, 30.76% African American, 0.48% Native American, 3.25% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 14.81% from other races, and 5.57% from two or more races. 31.88% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 50,307 households out of which 34.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.0% are married couples living together, 24.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% are non-families. 29.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.70 and the average family size is 3.34.
In the city the population is spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 11.2% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 18.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 91.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $34,658, and the median income for a family is $39,571. Males have a median income of $32,430 versus $26,966 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,306. 18.4% of the population and 16.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.8% of those under the age of 18 and 13.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
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