Suffolk County, Massachusetts

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Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Suffolk County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the United States highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded 1643
Named for Suffolk
Seat Boston
Largest city Boston
Area
 • Total 120 sq mi (311 km2)
 • Land 58 sq mi (150 km2)
 • Water 62 sq mi (161 km2), 51.33%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013) 755,503
 • Density 12,912/sq mi (4,750/km²)
Congressional districts 5th, 7th, 8th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Suffolk County is a county of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 722,023.[1] The county seat is Boston, the state capital and largest city.[2] The county government was abolished in the late 1990s and Suffolk remains only as a geographic area, still used by entities such as the National Weather Service to define a weather alert affecting its footprint without listing every single town/city that embraces.

History[edit]

Old Suffolk County Courthouse 1810-1841

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 shires". Suffolk initially contained Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Dedham, Braintree, Weymouth, and Hingham.[3] The county was named after Suffolk, England, which means "southern folk."[4]

In 1731, the extreme western portions of Suffolk County, which included Uxbridge, were split off to become part of Worcester County. In 1793, most of the original Suffolk County except for Boston, Chelsea, Hingham, and Hull (which remained in Suffolk) split off and became Norfolk County. Hingham and Hull would leave Suffolk County and join Plymouth County in 1803.[5] Revere was set off from Chelsea and incorporated in 1846 and Winthrop was set off from Revere and incorporated in 1852. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Boston annexed several adjacent cities and towns including Hyde Park, Roxbury, West Roxbury, and Dorchester from Norfolk County and Charlestown and Brighton from Middlesex County, resulting in an enlargement of Suffolk County.

Law and government[edit]

Presidential election results[6]
Year Democrat Republican
2012 77.6% 219,208 20.8% 58,872
2008 76.9% 207,128 21.2% 57,194
2004 75.9% 182,592 22.8% 54,923
2000 71.4% 154,888 20.5% 44,441

Like an increasing number of Massachusetts counties, Suffolk County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government.[7] All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff, district attorney, 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, executives or commissioners. Immediately prior to the abolition of county government, the authority of the Suffolk County Commission had for many years been exercised by the Boston City Council, even though three communities in the county are not part of the city. However, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services.[8]

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[9]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 234,443 54.46%
  Republican 31,271 7.26%
  Unaffiliated 161,320 37.47%
  Minor Parties 3,489 0.81%
Total 430,523 100%

Geography[edit]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 120.19 square miles (311.3 km2), of which 58.52 square miles (151.6 km2) (or 48.69%) is land and 61.68 square miles (159.8 km2) (or 51.32%) is water.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Suffolk County has no land border with Plymouth County to its southeast, but the two counties share a water boundary in the middle of Massachusetts Bay.

National protected areas[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 44,865
1800 28,015 −37.6%
1810 34,381 22.7%
1820 43,940 27.8%
1830 62,163 41.5%
1840 95,773 54.1%
1850 144,517 50.9%
1860 192,700 33.3%
1870 270,802 40.5%
1880 387,927 43.3%
1890 484,780 25.0%
1900 611,417 26.1%
1910 731,388 19.6%
1920 835,522 14.2%
1930 879,536 5.3%
1940 863,248 −1.9%
1950 896,615 3.9%
1960 791,329 −11.7%
1970 735,190 −7.1%
1980 650,142 −11.6%
1990 663,906 2.1%
2000 689,807 3.9%
2010 722,023 4.7%
Est. 2013 755,593 4.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
2013 Estimate[11]
Map of Suffolk County showing (clockwise from bottom) Boston (red), Chelsea (yellow), Revere (green), and Winthrop (blue). Interior water features such as Boston Harbor are filled in by the color of the containing city.

As of the census[12] of 2010, there were 722,023 people, 315,522 households, and 139,082 families residing in the county. The population density was 12,415.7 people per square mile (4,551/km²). There were 292,520 housing units at an average density of 4,999 per square mile (1,930/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 48.1% White, 21.6% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 8.2% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 8.17% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. 19.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.3% were of Irish, 11.1% Italian and 6.4% West Indian ancestry according to Census 2000. 66.3% spoke only English at home; 14.5% spoke Spanish, 3.1% French Creole, 2.4% Chinese or Mandarin, 2.2% Portuguese, 1.7% Vietnamese, 1.6% Italian and 1.3% French.

There were 278,722 households out of which 23.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.30% were married couples living together, 16.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.10% were non-families. 36.30% 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 2.34 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.2% under the age of 18, 15.1% from 18 to 24, 35.5% from 25 to 44, 18.1% from 45 to 64, and 11% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,355, and the median income for a family was $44,361. Males had a median income of $37,174 versus $32,176 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,766. About 14.90% of families and 19.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.90% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic breakdown by town[edit]

Income[edit]

Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.[13][14][15]

Rank Town Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Winthrop City $36,624 $61,744 $81,647 17,430 7,356
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
2 Boston City $33,158 $51,739 $61,035 609,942 247,621
Suffolk County County $32,034 $51,638 $60,342 713,089 286,437
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
3 Revere City $25,085 $50,592 $58,345 50,845 19,425
4 Chelsea City $20,214 $43,155 $46,967 34,872 12,035

Cities and towns[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Davis, William T. Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, p. 44. The Boston History Company, 1895.
  4. ^ Thomas Cox, Anthony Hall, Robert Morden, Magna Britannia Antiqua & Nova: Or, A New, Exact, and Comprehensive Survey of the Ancient and Present State of Great Britain, Volume 5, (Caesar Ward and Richard Chandler: London, 1738), pg. 171 (accessed on Google Book Search, June 22, 2008)
  5. ^ http://www.norfolkcounty.org/index.cfm?pid=10429
  6. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  7. ^ CIS: Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
  8. ^ See also: League of Women Voters page on counties.
  9. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved August 26, 2013. 
  11. ^ "State and County Quick Facts". Census.gov. Retrieved June 22, 2014. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  14. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  15. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′32″N 71°03′28″W / 42.35892°N 71.05781°W / 42.35892; -71.05781