Somerset County, New Jersey
|Somerset County, New Jersey|
A walking trail in Basking Ridge.
Location in the state of New Jersey
New Jersey's location in the U.S.
|Founded||May 14, 1688|
|Named for||English county of Somerset|
|Largest city||Franklin Township (population)
Hillsborough Township (area)
|• Total||304.86 sq mi (790 km2)|
|• Land||301.81 sq mi (782 km2)|
|• Water||3.04 sq mi (8 km2), 1.00%|
|• Density||1,059/sq mi (409/km²)|
|Congressional districts||7th, 12th|
Somerset County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the county's population was 323,444, increasing by 25,954 (+8.7%) from the 297,490 counted in the 2000 Census, retaining its position as the state's 13th-most populous county. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is Somerville. The most populous place was Franklin Township, with 62,300 residents at the time of the 2010 Census, while Hillsborough Township, covered 55.00 square miles (142.4 km2), the largest total area of any municipality.
Somerset County, as of the 2000 Census, was the seventh-wealthiest county in the United States by median household income at $76,933 (third in New Jersey behind Hunterdon County at $79,888 and Morris County at $77,340), fourth in median family income at $90,655 (second in New Jersey behind Hunterdon County at $91,050) and ranked seventh by per capita income at $37,970 (highest in New Jersey). The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 11th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the highest in New Jersey) as of 2009.
According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 304.86 square miles (789.6 km2), of which 301.81 square miles (781.7 km2) of it (99.0%) was land and 3.04 square miles (7.9 km2) of it (1.0%) was water.
The high point is on Mine Mountain in Bernardsville, at approximately 860 feet (260 m) above sea level. The lowest point is just above sea level on the Raritan River at the Middlesex County line.
- Morris County, New Jersey – north
- Union County, New Jersey – east
- Middlesex County, New Jersey – southeast
- Mercer County, New Jersey – south
- Hunterdon County, New Jersey – west
|Historical sources: 1790-1990
1970-2010 2000 2010 2000-2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.
At the 2010 United States Census, there were 323,444 people, 117,759 households, and 84,669 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,071.7 inhabitants per square mile (413.8 /km2). There were 123,127 housing units at an average density of 408 per square mile (158 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 70.06% (226,608) White, 8.95% (28,943) Black or African American, 0.17% (556) Native American, 14.11% (45,650) Asian, 0.03% (94) Pacific Islander, 4.13% (13,360) from other races, and 2.55% (8,233) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.01% (42,091) of the population.
There were 117,759 households of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.8% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.1% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.71 and the average family size was 3.22.
In the county, 25% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 29.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.8 males.
At the 2000 United States Census there were 297,490 people, 108,984 households and 78,359 families residing in the county. The population density was 976 per square mile (377/km²). There were 112,023 housing units at an average density of 368 per square mile (142/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.34% White, 7.53% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 8.38% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.74% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. 8.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among those residents listing their ancestry, 18.7% were of Italian, 15.6% Irish, 14.5% German, 9.6% Polish and 7.1% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 108,984 households of which 36.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 8.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 22.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.19.
Age distribution was 25.50% under the age of 18, 5.90% from 18 to 24, 33.80% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.
The median household income was $76,933 and the median family income was $90,605. Males had a median income of $60,602 versus $41,824 for females. The per capita income for the county was $37,970. About 2.3% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.7% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
Somerset County is one of America's oldest counties, and is named after the English county of Somerset. The area was first settled in 1681, in the vicinity of Bound Brook, and the county was established by charter on May 22, 1688. Most of the early residents were Dutch. General George Washington and his troops marched through the county on several occasions and slept in many of the homes located throughout the area. Somerset County also played an important part during both World War I and World War II with weapons depots and the manufacturing of the army's woolen blankets.
For much of its history, Somerset County was primarily an agricultural county. In the late 19th century, the Somerset Hills area of Somerset County became a popular country home for wealthy industrialists. The area is still the home of wealthy pharmaceutical industrialists.
In the 1960s, townships that were once exclusively agricultural were quickly transformed into suburban communities. Examples include Bridgewater Township and the Watchung Hills communities of Watchung, Green Brook and Warren Township. This growth was aided by the development of the county's very strong pharmaceutical and technology presence. Warren Township used to be considered "the greenest place in New Jersey." More recently, there has been an influx of New York City commuters who use New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line and Gladstone Branch or use Interstate 78.
Somerset County is served by a number of different routes.
Major county roads that pass through include County Route 512, County Route 514, County Route 518, County Route 523, County Route 525, County Route 527, County Route 529, County Route 531 and County Route 533.
Interstate 95 was planned to run along the Somerset Freeway from its proposed southern end in Hopewell Township, Mercer County to Franklin Township at I-287 in the 1960s. However, this was cancelled in 1983.
NJ Transit provides train service on the Gladstone Branch and the Raritan Valley Line. Public bus transportation is provided by several transit agencies. NJ Transit provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, as well as service to major cities in New Jersey and within Somerset County. Ridewise provides three SCOOT shuttles as well as DASH buses and CAT buses.
Somerset County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members. As of 2013[update], Somerset County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Peter S. Palmer (R, Bernardsville, term ends December 31, 2014), Freeholder Deputy Director Patrick Scaglione (R, Bridgewater Township, 2015). Mark Caliguire (R, Skillman in Montgomery Township, 2015), Patricia L. Walsh (R, Green Brook Township, 2013), and Robert Zaborowski (R, Somerset in Franklin Township, 2014),
Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Brett A. Radi (R, Somerville, 2017), Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano (R, Raritan, 2013) and Surrogate Frank Bruno (R, Branchburg, 2015).
The Freeholders employ a full-time County Administrator who manages the day-to-day operations of County government. The current County Administrator is Richard E. Williams. The Clerk of the Board of Freeholders oversees the work of their offices. Department heads are appointed in accordance with statute and by resolution of the board. Somerset County currently has approximately 1,400 full-time and 250 part-time employees in about 40 divisions (including the Library System).
The 7th and 12th Congressional Districts cover the county. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R, Clinton Township). New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Rush D. Holt, Jr. (D, Hopewell Township).
Somerset County has been known as one of New Jersey's more conservative counties. In the 2004 presidential election, George W. Bush carried Somerset County by a 4.3% margin over John Kerry, with Kerry carrying the state by 6.7% over Bush. However, in 2008, Barack Obama became the first Democratic Presidential nominee to carry the county since Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Obama won Somerset by a 6.1% margin over John McCain, with Obama carrying the state by 15.5% over McCain. In the 2009 Gubernatorial Election, Republican Chris Christie received 56% of the vote, defeating Democrat Jon Corzine, who received around 34%. In the 2012 presidential election, the county was carried by Barack Obama, winning 52.8% of the vote to Mitt Romney's 47.2%, a 5.6% gap that represented a 0.5% drop off for Obama from his 2008 margin of victory in the county.
In 1996, Nicholas L. Bissell, Jr., the then county prosecutor, was charged with embezzlement, tax fraud and abuse of power. He fled to Laughlin, Nevada, near Las Vegas and took his own life when the federal authorities attempted to arrest him.
Based on IRS data for the 2004 tax year, Somerset County taxpayers had the ninth-highest average federal income tax liability per return in the country. Average tax liability was $16,502, representing 16.8% of Adjusted Gross Income.
Somerset County is home to two colleges:
- Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch section of Branchburg Township (public) Rutgers University has a partnership with Raritan Valley Community College which allows students who have an accredited Associate's degree to complete a Bachelor's degree by attending Rutgers classes at RVCC's North Branch campus. The degree completion program is specifically designed to cater to the transfer student looking to complete their bachelors degree while staying close to home.
- Somerset Christian College, now know as Pillar College, is located in the Zarephath section of Franklin Township (private)
Somerset County Technology Institute, located in Bridgewater, is a public institution providing quality post-secondary (adult) education in the areas of General and Computer Technology, Allied Health, Office Administration, Cosmetology and Commercial Art & Multimedia.
Alma White College, which closed in 1978, was a private college located in Zarephath, located in the building now occupied by Somerset Christian College.
Somerset Hills Learning Institute is a state-of-the-art program dedicated to educating children on the autism spectrum by utilizing the principles of ABA.
Somerset County parks include Lord Stirling Park (part of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge), Colonial Park (with a lovely rose garden), Washington Valley Park (with biking and hiking trails), the Sourland Mountain Preserve (hiking and mountain biking trails), and the newest park in development called Raritan River Greenway (which is being developed along the Raritan River in Bridgewater Township).
The following is a list of the municipalities in Somerset County. Other, unincorporated areas in the county are listed below their parent municipality (or municipalities, as the case may be). Most of these areas are census-designated places that have been created by the United States Census Bureau for enumeration purposes within a Township. Other communities, historical areas, unincorporated areas, and enclaves that exist within a municipality are marked as non-CDP next to the name.
- Bedminster Township
- Bernards Township
- Bound Brook
- Branchburg Township
- Bridgewater Township
- Far Hills
- Franklin Township
- Green Brook Township
- Washington Rock non-CDP
- Hillsborough Township
- Montgomery Township
- North Plainfield
- Gladstone non-CDP
- Rocky Hill
- South Bound Brook
- Warren Township
- Mount Bethel non-CDP
Climate and weather
|Somerville, New Jersey|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Somerville have ranged from a low of 18 °F (−8 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −16 °F (−27 °C) was recorded in January 1984 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in August 1955. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.84 inches (72 mm) in February to 4.83 inches (123 mm) in July.
- Duke Gardens
- Hall-Mills Murder
- Meadows Foundation
- Middlebush Giant
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Somerset County, New Jersey
- Old Dutch Parsonage
- Six-Mile Run Reservoir
- Trump National Golf Club of Bedminster, New Jersey
- Snyder, John P. The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 221. Accessed October 30, 2012.
- Somerset County, NJ, National Association of Counties. Accessed January 21, 2013.
- DP1 - Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- DP-1 - Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000; Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- NJ Labor Market Views, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, March 15, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- New Jersey: 2010 - Population and Housing Unit Counts; 2010 Census of Population and Housing, p. 6, CPH-2-32. United States Census Bureau, August 2012, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 31, 2013. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Census 2000 Data Rankings; A data rankings document focused on the Roanoke Valley and Alleghany Highlands region", Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission, p. 22. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- 250 Highest Per Capita Personal Incomes of the 3113 Counties in the United States, 2009, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Accessed April 9, 2012.
- Census 2010 U.S. Gazetteer Files: New Jersey Counties, United States Census Bureau, Backed up by the Internet Archive as of June 11, 2012. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- New Jersey County High Points, Peakbagger.com. Accessed October 1, 2013.
- PEPANNRES: Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012 - 2012 Population Estimates for New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- State & County QuickFacts for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed March 14, 2013.
- Forstall, Richard L. Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 from the Twenty-one Decennial Censuses, pp. 108-109. United States Census Bureau, March 1996. ISBN 9780934213486. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- U.S. Census Bureau Delivers New Jersey's 2010 Census Population Totals, United States Census Bureau, February 3, 2011. Accessed February 5, 2011.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Tables DP-1 to DP-4 from Census 2000 for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau, backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 6, 2008. Accessed October 1, 2013.
- DP-2 - Profile of Selected Social Characteristics: 2000 from the Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) - Sample Data for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 30, 2013.
- DP-3 - Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000 from Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) - Sample Data for Somerset County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 30, 2013.
- Clemence, Sara. "Home of the Week: Peapack Palace", Forbes, March 14, 2005. Accessed May 22, 2008. "It was once the country home of some of the 19th century's wealthiest families, and modern-day residents now include pharmaceuticals and chemicals barons."
- The History of Bridgewater Township, Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. Accessed May 22, 2008. "In the early years, Bridgewater was known as a farming town."
- Sordillo, Victor J. About Warren Township, Warren Township. Accessed October 1, 2013. "Once described as 'the greenest place in New Jersey', Warren Township residents and elected officials are working to keep its rural character and charm while recognizing that there will be growth due to the town's beauty, favorable property taxes and strategic location. Less than 35 miles to Manhattan makes Warren Township a favorite suburb for commuters to New York City."
- Overview, Green Brook Historical Society. Accessed October 1, 2013. "As the traffic through the corridor expanded, Green Brook Township developed from a quiet farming community, which it had been for nearly two hundred years, into the suburban community that it is today."
- History, Borough of Watchung. Accessed October 1, 2013. "Watchung was settled in the early eighteenth century and grew slowly until recent years. In 1960 the population was 3,312 and in 2000 it was 5,613."
- Gladstone Branch Raritan Valley Line, New Jersey Transit. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Raritan Valley Line, New Jersey Transit. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Transportation Services, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed October 1, 2013.
- Somerset County Bus / Rail Connections, New Jersey Transit, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 22, 2009. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Scoot, Ridewise. Accessed October 1, 2013.
- DASH, Ridewise. Accessed October 1, 2013.
- Somerset County Government: At Your Service, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Peter S. Palmer, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Patrick Scaglione, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013. A term-end year of 2012 is listed as of date accessed.
- Mark Caliguire, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013. A term-end year of 2012 is listed as of date accessed.
- Patricia Walsh, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Robert Zaborowski, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Wichert, Bill. "Somerset Freeholders name Peter Palmer as director, Patrick Scaglione as deputy director ", The Star-Ledger, January 4, 2013. Accessed January 23, 2013. "Joined by family, friends and elected officials at the state and local levels, the county freeholders tapped Palmer to serve as director in 2013 and named Patrick Scaglione as deputy director. Scaglione and Freeholder Mark Caliguire, both Republicans, also were sworn in today to new three-year terms."
- Biography: Somerset County Clerk Brett A. Radi, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, Somerset County Sheriff's Office. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Sheriff, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Somerset County Surrogate, Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Somerset County Officers of the Board, accessed January 25, 2007.
- 2009 Citizens' Guide to Somerset County Services. Accessed August 22, 2009.
- 2012 Congressional Districts by County, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Plan Components Report, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, December 23, 2011. Accessed January 23, 2013.
- Directory of Representatives: New Jersey, United States House of Representatives. Accessed January 5, 2012.
- Directory of Representatives: New Jersey, United States House of Representatives. Accessed January 5, 2012.
- 2011 Legislative Districts by County, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- New Jersey Presidential Election Returns by County 2004, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Accessed August 31, 2008.
- U.S. Election Atlas
- Toscano, Paul. "Obama Wins 8 of the Nation’s 10 Wealthiest Counties ", CNBC, November 7, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012.
- Official List Candidates for President For GENERAL ELECTION 11/06/2012 Election, New Jersey Department of State, December 6, 2012. Accessed December 10, 2012.
- Glaberson, William (December 1, 1996). "In Prosecutor's Rise and Fall, a Story of Ambition, Deceit and Shame.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-21. "When Nicholas L. Bissell Jr. put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger in a $20 room on a neon strip here, it was almost the cliche ending to an ambitious man's rise and fall. An unexceptional child of New Jersey's modest suburbs, he rose to become a feared prosecutor in Somerset County known for his swaggering assault on drug dealers. Loyal followers said he had a magnetic personality. He capitalized on the attention and he craved more."
- Biggest Income Tax Burdens: Top 10 Places, CNN Money, accessed April 28, 2007.
- RVCC: History, Mission,Diversity Statement & Core Values, Raritan Valley Community College. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Rutgers Off Campus - Raritan Valley, Rutgers University. Accessed October 28, 2013.
- About Pillar College, Pillar College. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Parks & Facilities, Somerset County Park Commission. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Delaware & Raritan Canal State Park, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Division of Parks and Forestry. Accessed October 6, 2013.
- Welcome, Trump National Golf Club. Accessed October 6, 2013. "Greetings from Donald J. Trump: When I saw this beautiful piece of property in Bedminster, New Jersey, I knew that it deserved only the best."
- "Monthly Averages for Somerville, New Jersey". The Weather Channel. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Somerset County website
- Somerset County National Historic Places
- Somerset County Parks Commission
- The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills – Includes Bedminster, Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, Far Hills, Peapack/Gladstone
- Hills List is a local informational website for the Bedminster and Basking Ridge areas
- Rutgers at Raritan Valley Community College
|Hunterdon County||Union County|
|Mercer County||Middlesex County|