Essex County, Massachusetts
Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the total population was 743,159, making it the third-most populous county in the state. It is part of the Greater Boston area (the Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH Metropolitan Statistical Area). The largest city in Essex County is Lynn. The county was named after the English county of Essex.
Former Essex County Courthouse in Salem
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
|Coordinates: 42°38′08″N 70°58′15″W|
|Seat||Salem and Lawrence|
|• Total||828 sq mi (2,140 km2)|
|• Land||493 sq mi (1,280 km2)|
|• Water||336 sq mi (870 km2) 41%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,509/sq mi (583/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|Congressional districts||3rd, 6th|
It has two traditional county seats: Salem and Lawrence. Prior to the dissolution of the county government in 1999, Salem had jurisdiction over the Southern Essex District, and Lawrence had jurisdiction over the Northern Essex District, but currently these cities do not function as seats of government. However, the county and the districts remain as administrative regions recognized by various governmental agencies, which gathered vital statistics or disposed of judicial case loads under these geographic subdivisions, and are required to keep the records based on them. The county has been designated the Essex National Heritage Area by the National Park Service.
The county was created by the General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires". Named after the county in England, Essex then comprised the towns of Salem, Lynn, Wenham, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Gloucester, and Andover. In 1680, Haverhill and Salisbury, both located north of the Merrimack River, were annexed to Essex County. These communities had been part of Massachusetts' colonial-era Norfolk County. The remaining four towns within colonial Norfolk County, which included Exeter and what is now Portsmouth, were transferred to what became Rockingham County in the Province of New Hampshire. The ten large founding Massachusetts-based settlements were then subdivided over the centuries to produce Essex County's modern composition of cities and towns.
Law and government
From the founding of the Republican Party until the New Deal, Essex County was a Republican stronghold in presidential elections. Since 1936, it has trended Democratic, with Dwight Eisenhower in 1952 and 1956 and Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984 being the only Republicans to carry the county since.
Like several other Massachusetts counties, Essex County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff (currently Kevin Coppinger) and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council, commissioner, or county employees. Communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. See also: League of Women Voters page on Massachusetts counties.
Essex County is roughly diamond-shaped and occupies the northeastern corner of the state of Massachusetts.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 828 square miles (2,140 km2), of which 493 square miles (1,280 km2) is land and 336 square miles (870 km2) (41%) is water. Essex County is adjacent to Rockingham County, New Hampshire to the north, the Atlantic Ocean (specifically the Gulf of Maine and Massachusetts Bay) to the east, Suffolk County to the south, Middlesex County to the west and a very small portion of Hillsborough County, New Hampshire to the far north west in Methuen. All county land is incorporated into towns or cities.
These routes pass through Essex County:
I‑93, in Methuen and Andover I‑95, about five miles from the coast I‑495, from Andover to Salisbury through Lawrence and Haverhill US 1, along the coast Route 1A, along the coast Route 22, in Beverly and Essex Route 28, in Methuen and Andover Route 35, in Peabody and Danvers Route 62, from Middleton to Beverly Route 97, from Haverhill to Beverly Route 99, in Saugus Route 107, in Salem and Lynn Route 108, in Haverhill Route 110, from Methuen to Salisbury through Lawrence and Haverhill Route 113, from Methuen to Newburyport through Haverhill Route 114, from Lawrence to Marblehead through Middleton Route 125, from Andover to Haverhill Route 127, from Beverly to Gloucester Route 127A, at the tip of Cape Ann Route 128, through Cape Ann Route 129, from Lynnfield to Marblehead Route 129A, in Lynn Route 133, from Andover to Gloucester Route 150, in Amesbury Route 213, in Methuen Route 286, in Salisbury
The Lawrence Municipal Airport and Beverly Municipal Airport are regional airports within the county; the nearest commercial airports are Logan Airport in Boston and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH.
The MBTA commuter rail has two lines operating in Essex County: the Haverhill Line and the Newburyport Line, both of which go toward Boston. Close to Boston, MBTA buses also exist. The MVRTA is a bus company that connects cities within the Merrimack Valley portion of Essex County.
National protected areas
Because of Essex County's rich history, which includes 17th century colonial history, maritime history spanning its existence, and leadership in the expansions of the textile industry in the 19th century, the entire county has been designated the Essex National Heritage Area by the National Park Service.
The following areas of national significance have also been preserved:
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 743,159 people, 285,956 households, and 188,005 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,508.8 inhabitants per square mile (582.6/km2). There were 306,754 housing units at an average density of 622.8 per square mile (240.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.9% white, 3.8% black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 8.2% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 16.5% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 23.3% were Irish, 17.1% were Italian, 12.6% were English, 6.1% were German, and 3.6% were American.
Of the 285,956 households, 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.3% were non-families, and 28.1% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14. The median age was 40.4 years.
The median income for a household in the county was $64,153 and the median income for a family was $81,173. Males had a median income of $58,258 versus $44,265 for females. The per capita income for the county was $33,828. About 7.7% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.3% of those under age 18 and 9.4% of those age 65 or over.
Demographic breakdown by town
The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective if the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
|Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018|
|Party||Number of voters||Percentage|
Essex County is home to numerous libraries and schools, both public and private.
- Amesbury High School serves Amesbury and South Hampton, New Hampshire
- Andover High School
- Beverly High School
- Danvers High School
- Georgetown High School
- Gloucester High School
- Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School
- Haverhill High School
- Ipswich High School
- Lawrence High School
- Lynn Classical High School
- Lynn English High School
- Lynnfield High School
- Manchester Essex Regional High School
- Marblehead High School
- Masconomet Regional High School, serves Topsfield, Boxford and Middleton
- Methuen High School
- Newburyport High School
- North Andover High School
- Northshore Academy
- Peabody Veterans Memorial High School
- Pentucket Regional High School, serves Groveland, Merrimac and West Newbury
- Rockport High School
- Salem High School
- Saugus High School
- Swampscott High School, serves Swampscott and Nahant
- Triton Regional High School, serves Newbury, Rowley and Salisbury
As of 2015, the county had total employment of 282,412. The largest employer in the county is Massachusetts General Hospital, with over 5,000 employees.
Essex National Heritage Area
On November 12, 1996, Essex National Heritage Area (ENHA) was authorized by Congress. The heritage area consists of all of Essex County, MA a 500-square-mile (1,300 km2) area between the Atlantic Coast and the Merrimack Valley. The area includes 34 cities and towns; two National Historic Sites (Salem Maritime National Historic Site and Saugus Iron Works National Historic Site); and thousands of historic sites and districts that illuminate colonial settlement, the development of the shoe and textile industries, and the growth and decline of the maritime industries, including fishing, privateering, and the China trade. The Essex National Heritage Area is one of 49 heritage areas designated by Congress, affiliated with the National Park Service.
The Essex National Heritage Commission is a non-profit organization chartered to promote tourism and cultural awareness of the area, connecting people to the places of Essex County, MA. The Commission's mission is to promote and preserve the historic, cultural and natural resources of the ENHA by rallying community support around saving the character of the area. This is accomplished through the commission's projects and programs, which include Partnership Grant Program, Explorers membership program, photo safaris, and the annual September weekend event Trails & Sails, as well as other important regional partnership building projects like the Essex Heritage Scenic Byway, and the Border to Boston trail.
The towns and cities of Essex County are listed below.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- Davis, William T. Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 44. The Boston History Company, 1895.
- "Frequency of Disaster Declarations". New America.
- "Essex County, Massachusetts". New America.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org.
- The leading "other" candidate, Progressive Theodore Roosevelt, received 21,098 votes, while Socialist candidate Eugene Debs received 2,716 votes, Prohibition candidate Eugene Chafin received 444 votes, and Socialist Labor candidate Arthur Reimer received 249 votes.
- "United States Census Bureau QuickFacts: Essex County, Massachusetts". United States Census Bureau.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
- "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau.
- "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau.
- "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau.
- "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau.
- "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Households and Families 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 September 2013.
- "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 17, 2018" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
- Merrimack Valley Library Consortium - Northern Essex and Middlesex County Libraries
- North of Boston Library Exchange - Southern Essex and Middlesex County Libraries
- "Danvers High School". Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
- Lawrence High School
- Lynnfield High School
- Swampscott High School
- "Largest 200 Employers in Essex County". Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
- "Deposit Market Share Report". Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
- The National Parks: Index 2001-2003, Washington, D.C.: National Park Service, p. 104.
- Essex National Heritage Area
- Trails & Sails
- Arrington, Benjamin F., ed. (1922A). Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts. Volume I (Tercentenary ed.). New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.
- Arrington, Benjamin F., ed. (1922B). Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts. Volume II (Tercentenary ed.). New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.
- Arrington, Benjamin F., ed. (1922C). Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts. Volume III (Tercentenary ed.). New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.
- Arrington, Benjamin F., ed. (1922D). Municipal History of Essex County in Massachusetts. Volume IV (Tercentenary ed.). New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company.
- Hurd, Duane Hamilton. History of Essex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many Pioneers and Prominent Men. Volume 1. Volume 2 Published 1888 by J.W. Lewis and Co.
- Newhall, James Robinson. The Essex Memorial, for 1836: Embracing a Register of the County. Published 1836.
- Lewis, Alonzo and James Robinson Newhall. History of Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts: Including Lynnfield,Saugus, Swampscott and Nahant.Published 1865 by John L. Shorey 13 Washington St. Lynn.
- Perley, Sidney. The Essex Antiquarian. Volume 1 1897.Volume 3 1899.Volume 6 1902.Volume 8 1904
- Various. Early Massachusetts Vital Records 1600–1849
- Jeremiah Spofford (1860), "Counties: Essex", Historical and Statistical Gazetteer of Massachusetts (2nd ed.), Haverhill: E.G. Frothingham
- Essex-County History and Directory. Boston: C.A. & J.F. Wood. 1870 – via HathiTrust.
- Joseph Sabin, ed. (1873). "Essex Co., Mass.". Bibliotheca Americana. 6. New York. OCLC 13972268.
- Essex County Directory for 1884-85. Boston, Massachusetts: Briggs & Co. 1884 – via Internet Archive.
- George Chinn; Fred E. Smith (1884). Wheelman's Hand-book of Essex County. Marblehead.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Essex County, Massachusetts.|
- "Merrimack Valley Planning Commission". Official website.
- "PEM Peabody Essex Museum". Official website.
- "Massachusetts - Essex County". National Register of Historic Places. nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- Essex County Sheriff's Department