Amherst is a town located in Hampshire County, Massachusetts. As of the 2000 census, the town had a total population of 34,874. It is located in the Connecticut River valley. It is home to Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

For geographic and demographic information on specific parts of the town of Amherst, please see the articles on Amherst Center, North Amherst, and South Amherst.

On October 29, 1901 nurse Jane Toppan was arrested in Amherst for the murder of the Davis family of Boston by an overdose of morphine.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 71.9 km² (27.8 mi²). 71.8 km² (27.7 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.14% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 34,874 people, 9,174 households, and 4,550 families residing in the town. The population density is 485.7/km² (1,258.2/mi²). There are 9,427 housing units at an average density of 131.3/km² (340.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 79.33% White, 5.10% African American, 0.21% Native American, 9.02% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 2.89% from other races, and 3.35% from two or more races. 6.19% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 9,174 households out of which 27.0% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.4% are married couples living together, 10.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 50.4% are non-families. 28.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 8.6% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.45 and the average family size is 2.97.

In the town the population is spread out with 12.8% under the age of 18, 50.0% from 18 to 24, 17.2% from 25 to 44, 13.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 22 years. For every 100 females there are 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town is $40,017, and the median income for a family is $61,237. Males have a median income of $44,795 versus $32,672 for females. The per capita income for the town is $17,427. 20.2% of the population and 7.2% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 9.3% are under the age of 18 and 3.5% are 65 or older.