Middlesex County, Massachusetts

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Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Middlesex South Registry of Deeds, Cambridge MA.jpg
Middlesex South Registry of Deeds
Seal of Middlesex County, Massachusetts
Seal
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Middlesex County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the United States highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded May 10, 1643
Seat Lowell and Cambridge
Largest city Lowell
Area
 • Total 847 sq mi (2,194 km2)
 • Land 818 sq mi (2,119 km2)
 • Water 29 sq mi (75 km2), 3.5%
Population
 • (2010) 1,503,085
 • Density 1,838/sq mi (710/km²)
Congressional districts 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Middlesex County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. At the 2010 census, the population was 1,503,085,[1] making it the twenty-third most populous county in the United States and the most populous county in New England. For administrative purposes the county held two regions, Middlesex-North with its county seat in Lowell, and Middlesex-South with its county seat in Cambridge.[2]

Middlesex County is included in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The county government was abolished in 1997, but the county boundaries continue to describe a state district for court jurisdictions and for other administrative purposes, such as an indicator for elections. Massachusetts counties also define locations for National Weather Service weather alerts (such as severe thunderstorm warnings).

In 2010, the center of population of Massachusetts was located in Middlesex County, in the town of Natick.[3]

As of 2006, Middlesex County was tenth in the United States on the list of most millionaires per county.[4]

History[edit]

The county was created by the Massachusetts General Court on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four sheires". Middlesex initially contained Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford, Wayland, and Reading.[5] In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Boston annexed several adjacent cities and towns including Charlestown and Brighton from Middlesex County, resulting in an enlargement of Suffolk County.

Law and government[edit]

On July 11, 1997, the Massachusetts State Legislature abolished Middlesex County as a governmental entity due primarily to the county's insolvency. Middlesex County continues to exist as a geographic boundary.[6]

Immediately prior to its abolition, the government of Middlesex County consisted of three County Commissioners elected at-large to staggered four-year terms, a County Treasurer elected to a six-year term, a County Sheriff elected to a six-year term and two Registers of Deeds, one for the Northern District at Lowell and the other for the Southern District at Cambridge, both elected to six-year terms.[7] Middlesex County owned and operated the Superior Courthouses in Cambridge and Lowell and the Middlesex County Hospital in Waltham. Besides the employees of the Sheriff's Department and the two Registries of Deeds, the county had a Maintenance Department, a Security Department, small administrative staffs in the Treasurer's and Commissioners' Offices, and the employees at the hospital. Budgets proposed by the County Commissioners were approved by a County Advisory Board that consisted of a single representative of each of the 54 cities and towns in the county. The votes of the individual members of the Advisory Board were weighted based on the overall valuation of property in their respective communities. The county derived its revenue primarily from document filing fees at the Registries of Deeds and from a Deeds Excise Tax, a transfer tax assessed on the sales price of real estate that was also collected by the Registries of Deeds.[8]

The legislation abolishing Middlesex County retained the Sheriff and Registers of Deeds as independently elected officials and transferred for administrative purposes the Sheriff's Department to the state Department of Public Safety and the two Registry of Deeds offices to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office.[9] Additionally, all county maintenance and security employees were absorbed into the corresponding staffs of the Massachusetts Trial Court. The legislation also transferred ownership of the two Superior Courthouses to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The hospital was closed. Finally, the office of County Commissioner was immediately abolished and the office of County Treasurer was abolished as of December 31, 2002.[10]

Besides the Sheriff and the two Registers of Deeds, the Middlesex District Attorney, the Middlesex Register of Probate and the Middlesex Clerk of Courts (which were already part of state government before the abolition of Middlesex County government) are all elected countywide to six-year terms. In Middlesex County (as in the entire Commonwealth of Massachusetts) governmental functions such as property tax assessment and collection, public education, road repair and maintenance, and elections are all conducted at the city and town level and not by county government.

Records of land ownership in Middlesex County are maintained at the two Registries of Deeds. The first Middlesex County Registry of Deeds was created in 1649 in Cambridge. In 1855, the Massachusetts State Legislature created a Registry of Deeds for the Northern District of Middlesex County in Lowell. The Northern District consists the city of Lowell and the towns of Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford and Wilmington. The remaining 44 cities and towns of Middlesex County are in the Southern District which remained in Cambridge.[11]

Even after the abolition of county government in Middlesex, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services.

County government: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Marian T. Ryan
Register of Deeds: Richard P. Howe, Jr. (North at Lowell)
Maria C. Curtatone (South at Cambridge)
Register of Probate: Tara E. DeCristofaro
County Sheriff: Peter J. Koutoujian [2]
State government
State Representative(s): 37 Representatives: [3]
State Senator(s): 16 Senators: [4]
Governor's Councilor(s):
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-3rd District)
Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-4th District)
Niki Tsongas (D-5th District)
John F. Tierney (D-6th District)
Katherine Clark (D-7th District)
Michael Capuano (D-8th District)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 847 square miles (2,190 km2), of which 818 square miles (2,120 km2) is land and 29 square miles (75 km2) (3.5%) is water.[12] It is the third-largest county in Massachusetts by land area.

It is bounded southeast by the Charles River, and drained by the Merrimack, Nashua, and Concord rivers, and other streams.[13]

The MetroWest region comprises much of the southern portion of the county.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 42,769
1800 46,928 9.7%
1810 52,789 12.5%
1820 61,472 16.4%
1830 77,961 26.8%
1840 106,611 36.7%
1850 161,383 51.4%
1860 216,354 34.1%
1870 274,353 26.8%
1880 317,830 15.8%
1890 431,167 35.7%
1900 565,696 31.2%
1910 669,915 18.4%
1920 778,352 16.2%
1930 934,924 20.1%
1940 971,390 3.9%
1950 1,064,569 9.6%
1960 1,238,742 16.4%
1970 1,397,268 12.8%
1980 1,367,034 −2.2%
1990 1,398,468 2.3%
2000 1,465,396 4.8%
2010 1,503,085 2.6%
Est. 2013 1,552,802 3.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1790-1960[15] 1900-1990[16]
1990-2000[17] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[18] of 2010, there were 1,503,085 people,[19] 580,688 households, and 366,656 families residing in the county.[20] The population density was 1,780/sq mi (687/km²). There were 576,681 housing units at an average density of 700 per square mile (270/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.0% White, 4.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 9.3% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 3.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. 6.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 20.0% were of Irish, 15.7% Italian and 8.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 79.6% spoke English, 4.3% Spanish, 2.7% Portuguese, 1.6% Italian, 1.6% Chinese including Mandarin and other Chinese dialects and 1.5% French as their first language. Middlesex County has the largest Irish-American population of any U.S. county with a plurality of Irish ancestry.[21][22]

There were 561,220 households out of which 30.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.30% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.70% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.50% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 33.40% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 93.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $60,821, and the median income for a family was $74,194 (these figures had risen to $77,004 and $96,325 respectively as of a 2009 estimate[23]). Males had a median income of $49,460 versus $36,288 for females. The per capita income for the county was $31,199. About 4.30% of families and 6.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.20% of those under age 18 and 7.10% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic breakdown by town[edit]

Income[edit]

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.[24][25][26]

Rank Town Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Weston Town $96,475 $180,815 $220,441 11,229 3,557
2 Sherborn Town $70,983 $152,083 $183,456 4,102 1,463
3 Wayland Town $70,185 $125,076 $151,812 12,939 4,902
4 Carlisle Town $68,060 $159,063 $171,167 4,814 1,612
5 Lexington Town $67,584 $136,610 $158,888 31,129 11,411
6 Concord Town $67,374 $127,951 $156,352 17,523 6,197
7 Winchester Town $65,172 $127,665 $160,706 21,205 7,611
8 Sudbury Town $63,862 $159,713 $173,587 17,482 5,613
9 Newton City $60,323 $109,724 $141,944 84,583 30,735
10 Lincoln Town $57,471 $130,523 $141,667 6,480 2,150
11 Hopkinton Town $56,939 $126,350 $149,213 14,691 4,893
Chestnut Hill (02467) ZCTA $55,947 $114,140 $151,375 21,952 6,237
12 Belmont Town $54,361 $99,529 $121,250 24,548 9,465
Cochituate CDP $52,936 $107,589 $133,082 6,384 2,496
13 Boxborough Town $51,159 $103,918 $134,583 4,957 1,984
14 Acton Town $49,603 $109,491 $135,000 21,656 7,924
15 Natick Town $49,012 $90,046 $117,259 32,729 13,440
16 Bedford Town $48,899 $101,886 $128,448 13,192 4,951
17 Stow Town $48,448 $112,130 $132,061 6,488 2,328
West Concord CDP $47,633 $103,693 $145,242 6,134 2,069
18 Holliston Town $47,624 $107,374 $125,236 13,512 4,918
19 Westford Town $47,587 $119,511 $135,000 21,716 7,308
20 Arlington Town $47,571 $85,059 $107,862 42,570 19,007
21 Groton Town $47,003 $117,903 $135,143 10,478 3,650
22 Ashland Town $46,626 $93,770 $116,799 16,305 6,484
23 Cambridge City $46,242 $69,017 $94,536 104,322 45,386
24 Reading Town $44,949 $99,131 $117,477 24,504 9,055
25 Chelmsford Town $42,535 $90,895 $110,967 33,610 13,304
26 North Reading Town $42,256 $104,069 $116,729 14,703 5,077
27 Dunstable Town $41,937 $109,205 $121,406 3,128 1,087
28 Littleton Town $41,815 $103,438 $114,094 8,810 3,198
Middlesex County County $41,453 $79,691 $100,267 1,491,762 577,349
29 Watertown Town $41,090 $76,718 $90,521 31,792 14,042
30 Wakefield Town $40,227 $85,379 $112,293 24,794 10,058
31 Burlington Town $40,083 $92,236 $107,339 24,207 9,177
32 Melrose City $39,873 $84,599 $105,893 26,864 10,963
Groton CDP $39,208 $55,446 $127,708 1,077 507
Hopkinton CDP $38,507 $71,536 $105,882 2,110 877
33 Tyngsborough Town $38,067 $101,103 $111,780 11,198 3,797
34 Stoneham Town $37,573 $77,476 $95,490 21,413 8,909
35 Marlborough Town $37,314 $72,853 $94,770 38,087 15,856
36 Wilmington Town $37,084 $100,861 $107,436 22,116 7,200
37 Pepperell Town $37,081 $84,618 $102,946 11,407 4,125
38 Maynard Town $36,818 $77,255 $93,116 10,083 4,222
39 Tewksbury Town $36,509 $86,378 $103,008 28,778 10,670
40 Hudson Town $36,141 $76,714 $95,746 18,845 7,679
Pepperell CDP $35,227 $68,500 $65,417 2,239 852
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
41 Medford City $34,615 $72,033 $83,078 55,843 22,461
Hudson CDP $33,734 $68,812 $86,216 14,797 6,129
42 Woburn City $33,725 $72,540 $87,924 37,831 15,357
43 Waltham City $33,717 $68,326 $82,233 60,209 23,520
44 Framingham Town $33,665 $66,047 $86,977 67,844 26,167
Pinehurst CDP $33,572 $95,038 $100,650 7,289 2,414
45 Billerica Town $33,347 $88,531 $98,371 39,930 13,859
46 Somerville City $32,785 $64,480 $71,518 75,566 31,476
47 Ashby Town $32,434 $82,614 $84,655 3,030 1,060
48 Ayer Town $32,179 $54,899 $78,947 7,370 3,063
Littleton Common CDP $32,058 $80,352 $105,217 2,907 1,131
49 Dracut Town $31,533 $71,824 $88,281 29,249 11,173
50 Townsend Town $31,201 $76,250 $91,023 8,906 3,114
East Pepperell CDP $30,475 $74,077 $79,104 2,195 811
Ayer CDP $30,456 $42,055 $79,708 2,573 1,205
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
Townsend CDP $27,166 $51,512 $71,023 968 453
51 Malden City $26,893 $52,842 $65,763 58,821 23,422
Shirley CDP $24,943 $41,250 $41,838 1,330 593
52 Everett City $24,575 $48,319 $58,045 41,079 15,681
53 Shirley Town $24,427 $71,146 $78,493 7,235 2,189
54 Lowell City $23,600 $51,471 $57,934 105,860 39,399
Devens CDP $13,933 $72,986 $73,194 1,704 113

Politics[edit]

Presidential Election Results 1960-2012
Year Democratic Republican
2012 62.6% 467,173 35.7% 266,307
2008 64.2% 462,226 34.1% 245,215
2004 63.99% 440,862 34.52% 237,815
2000 61.49% 404,043 30.27% 198,914
1996 63.41% 398,190 27.06% 169,926
1992 49.89% 343,994 28.10% 193,703
1988 54.57% 361,563 43.82% 193,703
1984 50.26% 325,065 49.42% 319,604
1980 42.46% 270,751 40.30% 256,999
1976 55.94% 359,919 40.42% 260,044
1972 55.91% 345,343 43.56% 269,064
1968 64.11% 370,310 32.60% 188,304
1964 76.25% 439,790 23.36% 134,729
1960 59.01% 356,130 40.78% 246,126
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 13, 2010[27]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 351,993 37.45%
  Republican 98,461 10.48%
  Unaffiliated 484,279 51.53%
  Minor Parties 5,156 0.55%
Total 939,889 100%

Communities[edit]

Most municipalities in Middlesex County have a town form of government; the remainder are cities, and are so designated on this list. Villages listed below are census or postal divisions, but have no separate corporate or statutory existence from the cities and towns in which they are located.

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Villages[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Centers of Population by State: 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  4. ^ Sahadi, Jeanne (March 28, 2006). "Top 10 millionaire counties". CNN. 
  5. ^ Davis, William T. Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 44. The Boston History Company, 1895.
  6. ^ Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) c.34B, s.1
  7. ^ MGL c.34, s.4
  8. ^ Middlesex County Directory: 1993-1995, (Cambridge: Middlesex County Commissioners Office, 1995)
  9. ^ MGL c.34B, s.10
  10. ^ MGL c.34B, s.2
  11. ^ MGL c.36, s.1
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Middlesex: I. A N. E. county of Massachusetts". The American Cyclopædia. 1879. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  19. ^ Corrected Census 2000 Counts
  20. ^ DP-1. Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000
  21. ^ [1][dead link]
  22. ^ http://www.census.gov/popest/data/counties/totals/2011/tables/CO-EST2011-01-25.csv
  23. ^ S1901. Income in the Past 12 Months (In 2009 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars)
  24. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  25. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  26. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  27. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 13, 2010" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Jedidiah Morse (1797). "Middlesex". The American Gazetteer. Boston, Massachusetts: At the presses of S. Hall, and Thomas & Andrews. 
  • Edwin P. Conklin, Middlesex County and Its People: A History. In Four Volumes. New York: Lewis Historical Pub. Co., 1927.
  • D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts: With Biographical Sketches of Many of its Pioneers and Prominent Men. In Three Volumes. Philadelphia, PA: J.W. Lewis & Co., 1890. Volume 1 | Volume 2 | Volume 3

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°29′N 71°23′W / 42.49°N 71.39°W / 42.49; -71.39