During the nineteenth and early twentieth century,the manufacture of boots and shoes was its primary industry, with nearly half of the footwear provided for the Union Army during the Civil War being provided by Abington factories. In 1874 and 1875, the towns of Rockland and Whitman, respectively, separated and incorporated as towns. In 1893, the town was the site of a riot between town constables and workers from the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, over the town's rights to build a streetcar line that crossed the railroad's tracks. The town eventually built the line, and as a "peace offering," the railroad built the North Abington Depot building, which was built in the style of H. H. Richardson.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 10.2 square miles (26.3 km²), of which, 9.9 square miles (25.7 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.6 km²) of it (2.16%) is water.
Abington ranks 308th of 351 communities in the Commonwealth, and is the fourth-smallest town (behind Hull, Whitman and Rockland) in Plymouth County. Abington is bordered by Holbrook to the northwest, Weymouth to the northeast, Rockland to the east, Whitman to the south, and Brockton to the west. Abington is considered to be an inland town of the South Shore, and is located approximately twenty miles south of Boston.
Abington has two major waterways; the Shumatuscacant River to the west provides the town's border with Brockton, and the Beaver Brook runs through the eastern part of town, and was the source of much of the water power used by the shoe factories. In the northwestern corner of town lies Ames Nowell State Park, a large forested area around Cleveland Pond. Much of the town's population is centered on the eastern side of town, closer to the former town geographic center. The northeast corner of town is also the site of portions of the runways of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station, which was closed in 1996 as a part of the fourth round of BRAC base closures.
There were 5,263 households out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.8% were non-families. 23.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.74 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the town the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $57,100, and the median income for a family was $68,826. Males had a median income of $44,151 versus $30,923 for females. The per capita income for the town was $23,380. About 2.1% of families and 3.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.1% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
Statistically speaking, Abington is the 125th largest community by population in the Commonwealth, and ranks 71st by population density. Its population is lower than the population average but above the median; the population density is above the average.
On the national level, Abington is a part of Massachusetts's 10th congressional district, and has been represented since 1997 by Bill Delahunt. The state's senior (Class I) member of the United States Senate, re-elected in 2006, is Ted Kennedy. The junior (Class II) Senator, up for re-election in 2008, is John Kerry.
On the state level, Abington is represented in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as a part of the Seventh Plymouth district, which includes the towns of East Bridgewater and Whitman. The town is represented in the Massachusetts Senate as a part of the Norfolk and Plymouth District, which includes Holbrook, Quincy, Rockland and part of Braintree. The town is patrolled by the First (Norwell) Barracks of Troop D of the Massachusetts State Police.
Abington is governed by the open town meeting form of government, and is led by a town manager and a board of selectmen. The town operates its own police and fire department, with firehouses located in the north and south of town along Route 18. There are two post offices in town, on Route 123 east of Route 18 and on Route 58 north of Route 139. The Abington Public Library, a member of the Old Colony Library Network, is located adjacent to the town hall, both of which opened in 1997 across from the high school. The town operates a park, Island Grove Park, located in the southeast of town.
High school students may also choose to attend South Shore Vocational-Technical High School in Hanover free of charge. Abington is also home to Saint Bridget School, a Catholic parochial school along Route 58, which serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade. There are other private schools nearby, located in the neighboring towns of Brockton and Weymouth.
The former Old Colony Railroad line runs through the eastern part of town, and is currently used as a part of the Kingston-Route 3 route of the MBTA's commuter rail line. There is a stop in Abington, just southwest of the intersection of Routes 123 and 58. A spur off the line formerly went into the town of Rockland; that spur is now abandoned. There is no air service in the town; the nearest national and international air service can be found at Logan International Airport in Boston.