New Bedford is located in Bristol County in southeast Massachusetts, 10 miles east of Fall River, between Fairhaven and North Dartmouth. It is situated along Interstate 195, on the banks of the Acushnet River near Southeastern Massachusetts University.
New Bedford, due to its position on Buzzard's Bay, was once a great whaling port. Fishing and allied industries still contribute one-fifth of the city's income. New Bedford also is the base of marine science and technology laboratories, general manufacturing and textiles.
The greater area is home to the Whaling Museum, the largest museum in the country devoted to the history of whaling, and the Schooner Ernestina, a living museum and National Historic Landmark, the oldest surviving Grand Banks schooner. A passenger ferry operates to Martha's Vineyard, leaving from Pier 3.
The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 96,353, a decrease of 3,569 since 1990.
New Bedford is part of the New Bedford, Massachusett metro area.