Worcester County, Massachusetts

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Worcester County, Massachusetts
Worcester County Courthouse - Worcester, MA - DSC05778.jpg
Worcester County Courthouse
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Worcester County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the United States highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded April 2, 1731
Seat Worcester
Largest city Worcester
Area
 • Total 1,579 sq mi (4,090 km2)
 • Land 1,511 sq mi (3,913 km2)
 • Water 68 sq mi (176 km2), 4.3%
Population
 • (2010) 798,552
 • Density 529/sq mi (204/km²)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Mount Wachusett, the highest point in Worcester County

Worcester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 798,552,[1] making it the second-most populous county in Massachusetts. The largest city and traditional county seat is the city of Worcester.[2]

Worcester County is included in the Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Worcester County was formed from the eastern portion of colonial Hampshire County, the western portion of the original Middlesex County and the extreme western portion of the original Suffolk County. When the government of Worcester County was established on April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as its shire town (later known as a county seat). From that date until the dissolution of the county government, it was the only county seat. Because of the size of the county, there were fifteen attempts over 140 years to split the county into two counties, but without success. Initially, Lancaster was proposed as the seat of the northern county; later, Petersham was proposed once and Fitchburg was proposed repeatedly, most recently in 1903. Perhaps as a concession, in August 1884 the Worcester County Registry of Deeds was split in two, with the Worcester Northern registry placed in Fitchburg.

Government and politics[edit]

Worcester County has had no county government or county commissioners since July 1, 1998, when county functions were assumed by state agencies at local option following a change in state law.[3] Vestiges of the former system include an elected county sheriff, county prosecutor, and court officials, administered under the state department of public safety, the state correctional system, known as the Worcester County Jail or "House of Corrections" at West Boylston, and the Worcester County District courts (state administered) at Worcester, Fitchburg and other district courts within county boundaries.[3] The Worcester County district attorney is a county-wide position even though the district includes one town from a neighboring county. In Massachusetts, Sheriffs have more limited roles than most states and are responsible for corrections, court service and bailiffs and jail release programs.[3] County Sheriffs in Massachusetts are elected to six-year terms.[3] The Worcester County Sheriff is Lewis Evangelidis, (R), and the Worcester County District Attorney is Joseph Early (D).(see the info-box at lower right for elected officials at county level). The Worcester County 4 H fair is in its 63rd year in 2014 with the fairgrounds at Spencer. Worcester County has one commercial airport at Worcester. Worcester County Conservation District has countywide boundaries.[4]

Massachusetts law allows regional compacts, traditional counties and other governmental entities.[3] Traditional County government persists in southeastern Massachusetts. Five traditional county governments include: Norfolk, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties. Barnstable County, which is Cape Cod, functions as a modern regional government. The Massachusetts General Laws describe this relationship of county government and the options for abolishing county governments and/or chartering regional governmental compacts in subchapter 34 B.[3] Four other new county compacts have been created by the state legislature and these are in Hampshire, Franklin, Barnstable Counties, and a regional planning council level for Berkshire County. Thus 9 of 14 Counties have some form of county regional governments. Worcester County could exercise that option if it chooses for example, for public safety and, or preparedness due to its rather large geography, by a request to and a special act of the legislature, by local referendum or by one of three mechanisms. See the references for the state statute, and the League of Women Voters link.

County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joseph D. Early, Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Anthony J. Vigliotti (D)
Register of Probate: Stephen Abraham (D)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): by community
State Senator(s): by community
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): by Congressional district
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
Presidential election results[5]
Year Democratic Republican
2012 53.7% 195,667 44.5% 162,022
2008 55.6% 202,107 41.8% 152,101
2004 56.4% 192,142 42.3% 144,094
2000 56.0% 173,769 36.8% 114,139
Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[6]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 156,454 30.65%
  Republican 66,466 13.02%
  Unaffiliated 283,517 55.54%
  Minor Parties 4,015 0.79%
Total 510,452 100%

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,579 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 1,511 square miles (3,910 km2) is land and 68 square miles (180 km2) (4.3%) is water.[7] It is the largest county in Massachusetts by area. The county is larger geographically than the entire state of Rhode Island even including Rhode Island's water ocean limit boundaries. The county constitutes Central Massachusetts, separating Western Massachusetts on one side from Eastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area on the other side. It stretches from the northern to the southern border of the state. The geographic center of Massachusetts is in Rutland.

Worcester County is one of two Massachusetts counties that borders three different neighboring states; the other being Berkshire County. They are also the only two counties to touch both the northern and southern state lines.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 56,764
1800 61,192 7.8%
1810 64,910 6.1%
1820 73,625 13.4%
1830 84,355 14.6%
1840 95,313 13.0%
1850 130,789 37.2%
1860 159,659 22.1%
1870 192,716 20.7%
1880 226,897 17.7%
1890 280,787 23.8%
1900 346,958 23.6%
1910 399,657 15.2%
1920 455,135 13.9%
1930 491,242 7.9%
1940 504,470 2.7%
1950 546,401 8.3%
1960 583,228 6.7%
1970 637,969 9.4%
1980 646,352 1.3%
1990 709,705 9.8%
2000 750,963 5.8%
2010 798,552 6.3%
Est. 2013 809,106 1.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]

In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705.[12]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families residing in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km²). There were 298,159 housing units at an average density of 197 per square mile (76/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.61% White, 2.73% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.62% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.93% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 6.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.9% were of Irish, 12.3% Italian, 11.7% French, 8.0% French Canadian, 8.0% English, 5.6% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.1% spoke English, 6.1% Spanish and 1.9% French as their first language.

There were 283,927 households out of which 33.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $47,874, and the median income for a family was $58,394. Males had a median income of $42,261 versus $30,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,983. About 6.80% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 9.50% 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.[14][15][16]

Rank Town Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Southborough Town $57,436 $142,520 $161,419 9,671 3,285
2 Bolton Town $52,282 $137,120 $149,120 4,827 1,583
3 Boylston Town $52,129 $91,734 $110,321 4,320 1,676
Cordaville CDP $51,707 $151,836 $175,217 2,558 845
4 Harvard Town $50,971 $142,411 $161,250 6,483 1,822
5 Northborough Town $47,953 $104,420 $122,592 14,180 5,114
6 Westborough Town $46,631 $99,394 $127,052 18,285 6,720
7 Sterling Town $44,089 $102,270 $117,240 7,768 2,811
8 Princeton Town $43,836 $108,319 $123,864 3,412 1,253
9 Sutton Town $43,275 $107,500 $116,288 8,908 3,128
10 Upton Town $43,252 $110,083 $132,703 7,364 2,588
11 Berlin Town $41,503 $94,712 $99,375 2,819 1,029
Sturbridge CDP $41,479 $77,692 $93,167 2,027 860
Westborough CDP $40,901 $71,731 $87,375 3,883 1,590
12 Mendon Town $40,523 $93,245 $108,173 5,787 2,055
13 Hopedale Town $40,422 $98,220 $104,398 5,909 2,275
Barre CDP $39,556 $77,602 $102,650 1,053 418
14 Grafton Town $39,479 $89,950 $109,729 17,472 6,376
Northborough CDP $39,266 $89,033 $108,636 6,226 2,381
Hopedale CDP $38,687 $88,974 $101,280 3,947 1,590
15 Holden Town $38,639 $89,660 $104,928 17,197 6,296
16 Shrewsbury Town $38,223 $88,985 $104,035 35,269 13,095
17 Sturbridge Town $37,480 $79,044 $98,693 9,133 3,655
18 Paxton Town $37,328 $105,072 $106,625 4,767 1,591
Upton CDP $37,247 $92,676 $120,962 2,867 1,099
19 Douglas Town $35,931 $81,000 $97,383 8,342 3,206
20 Lunenburg Town $35,868 $83,265 $95,000 10,034 3,728
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
Lunenburg CDP $34,770 $73,750 $79,750 1,217 470
21 Lancaster Town $34,374 $87,962 $101,196 7,896 2,426
22 Uxbridge Town $34,346 $86,912 $94,830 13,233 4,931
23 Barre Town $33,647 $73,687 $93,250 5,383 2,065
24 Millbury Town $33,467 $77,883 $86,855 13,250 5,166
25 Auburn Town $33,447 $73,559 $87,958 16,183 6,318
26 Charlton Town $33,250 $91,653 $98,789 12,827 4,306
27 Blackstone Town $32,988 $73,586 $87,752 9,028 3,472
South Lancaster CDP $32,942 $70,625 $81,167 1,988 766
28 Ashburnham Town $32,880 $81,842 $98,056 6,033 2,184
29 Hubbardston Town $32,618 $83,333 $95,203 4,341 1,538
30 New Braintree Town $32,568 $88,571 $93,458 1,124 380
31 Milford Town $32,219 $64,860 $80,127 27,925 10,493
32 Royalston Town $32,031 $59,609 $73,125 1,058 455
33 Hardwick Town $31,974 $61,298 $72,458 2,953 1,153
Worcester County County $31,470 $65,772 $81,342 794,981 299,089
34 Westminster Town $31,391 $78,632 $82,596 7,250 2,611
East Brookfield CDP $31,316 $66,339 $84,550 1,270 479
35 Oakham Town $31,237 $79,700 $83,676 1,822 680
36 Rutland Town $30,961 $83,734 $101,486 7,812 2,558
37 Northbridge Town $30,945 $68,981 $87,359 15,475 5,538
Milford CDP $30,678 $60,840 $72,927 25,194 9,494
38 Clinton Town $30,563 $61,796 $77,964 13,614 5,672
39 Leicester Town $30,301 $72,471 $80,288 10,934 3,858
Fiskdale CDP $30,230 $75,655 $89,595 2,907 1,133
40 Oxford Town $30,149 $68,567 $83,161 13,702 5,343
41 North Brookfield Town $30,106 $64,009 $76,690 4,686 1,931
42 West Brookfield Town $29,782 $62,685 $84,868 3,730 1,488
East Douglas CDP $29,760 $73,372 $74,828 2,835 1,146
43 Spencer Town $29,687 $59,420 $77,384 11,715 4,686
44 East Brookfield Town $29,416 $62,350 $82,750 2,058 737
45 Brookfield Town $29,392 $62,390 $77,993 3,363 1,353
46 Millville Town $29,049 $73,426 $84,000 3,154 1,060
West Brookfield CDP $28,704 $56,625 $95,556 1,853 705
47 West Boylston Town $28,547 $73,600 $89,681 7,660 2,308
48 Leominster City $28,445 $58,585 $73,704 40,884 16,095
49 Phillipston Town $28,273 $74,043 $75,234 1,894 648
North Brookfield CDP $28,163 $50,346 $64,181 2,035 912
50 Warren Town $28,112 $51,188 $69,873 5,106 2,067
Oxford CDP $27,990 $67,054 $79,832 6,566 2,418
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
South Ashburnham CDP $27,758 $76,932 $77,386 1,104 345
51 Petersham Town $27,475 $65,781 $81,250 1,263 445
52 Webster Town $27,430 $49,621 $65,204 16,752 7,344
53 Dudley Town $27,319 $72,500 $78,920 11,276 3,780
Whitinsville CDP $27,135 $58,846 $62,314 6,894 2,424
Spencer CDP $27,059 $47,183 $66,932 5,392 2,417
54 Templeton Town $26,891 $70,116 $75,753 7,896 2,846
Baldwinville CDP $26,585 $66,700 $77,061 2,061 750
Clinton CDP $26,256 $54,514 $72,859 7,492 3,032
Rutland CDP $25,987 $62,500 $78,929 2,352 758
55 Winchendon Town $25,845 $58,137 $73,162 10,250 3,743
Warren CDP $25,245 $41,200 $71,722 1,408 564
56 Gardner City $24,974 $48,108 $63,413 20,323 8,037
57 Worcester City $24,544 $45,846 $55,927 180,519 70,248
58 Athol Town $24,384 $50,866 $59,095 11,576 4,551
Webster CDP $24,109 $43,702 $53,145 11,682 5,195
59 Fitchburg City $24,061 $48,064 $55,293 40,286 14,741
60 Southbridge City $21,923 $43,965 $52,577 16,800 6,548
Winchendon CDP $21,914 $36,711 $52,868 3,860 1,638
Athol CDP $21,553 $47,330 $52,139 7,867 3,150
Devens CDP $13,933 $72,986 $73,194 1,704 113

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Towns[edit]

Villages[edit]

Villages are census division, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[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. ^ a b c d e f Mass. Gen. L. c. 34B
  4. ^ Worcester County Conservation District
  5. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved November 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  12. ^ Census Worcester County Basic Fact Sheet
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  15. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  16. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  17. ^ Dempsey, James (March 4, 1992). "Many Changes Since Tupper Started Ware". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2011. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Babson Fuhrer, A Crisis of Community: The Trials and Transformation of a New England Town, 1815-1848. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2014.
  • The Worcester County Directory, Boston, Mass.: Briggs & Co., 1878 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°21′N 71°55′W / 42.35°N 71.91°W / 42.35; -71.91