Stratford is the only town in the Stratford District and is located in central Taranaki, New Zealand. It lies beneath the eastern slopes of Mount Taranaki, approximately half-way between New Plymouth and Hawera, near the geographic centre of the Taranaki Region. The town has a population of 5,466, and the district 8,988. The District has a land area of 2,163.35 km², which is divided between the Manawatu-Wanganui Region (including the settlements of Whangamomona, Marco and Tahora, 31.87% of its land area) and the Taranaki Region (68.13% of its land area).
The elevation of the town centre is 312m above sea level. Stratford is also home to the headquarters of the Taranaki Regional Council
Stratford is a rural service centre, serving the agricultural economy of its wider hinterland. The population of the district peaked in 1961 at 11,300, and until the end of the century the town has fluctuated between 5,229 (2001) and 5,664 (1996).
The 21st century has seen significant economic growth and some associated population growth in the town. In the 2013 census the district population was 8,988, with 5,466 in the township and 3,522 in the surrounding rural area. The 2006 census was the first time that the town had recorded population growth since the 1991 census.