Essex County, Vermont

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Not to be confused with Essex, Vermont.
Essex County, Vermont
Guildhall, Vermont.jpg
Essex County Courthouse
Map of Vermont highlighting Essex County
Location in the U.S. state of Vermont
Map of the United States highlighting Vermont
Vermont's location in the U.S.
Founded 1800
Named for Essex
Shire Town Guildhall
Largest town Lunenburg
 • Total 675 sq mi (1,748 km2)
 • Land 664 sq mi (1,720 km2)
 • Water 12 sq mi (31 km2), 1.7%
 • (est. 2014) 6,125
 • Density 9.2/sq mi (4/km²)
Congressional district At-large
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the state of Vermont, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,306,[1] making it the least-populous county in both Vermont and New England. Its shire town (county seat) is the municipality of Guildhall.[2] The county was created in 1792 and organized in 1800.[3] Bordered by the Connecticut River next to New Hampshire, Essex County is part of the Berlin, New Hampshire micropolitan area. It is located south of the Canadian Province of Quebec.


Prior to the arrival of colonists of European descent, the local Abenakis had subsisted largely on moose.[4]

Vermont was divided into two counties in March, 1778. In 1781 the legislature divided the northernmost county, Cumberland, into three counties: Windham and Windsor, in approximately the modern location for those counties. The northern remainder was called Orange County. This latter tract nearly corresponded with the old New York county of Gloucester, organized by that province March 16, 1770, with Newbury as the shire town.[5]

On September 3, 1783, as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Paris, the Revolutionary War ended with Great Britain recognizing the independence of the United States. Vermont's border with Quebec was established at 45 degrees north latitude.[6][7]

On November 5, 1792, the legislature divided Chittenden and Orange counties into six separate counties, as follows: Chittenden, Orange, Franklin, Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans.[5] No reason is given for the county being named after the county of Essex in England.[8]

In 1999, a group of investors bought 86,212 acres (34,889 ha) from Champion International Paper for $7.5 million, covering parts of fourteen towns in the county. The state of Vermont and the Freeman Foundation purchased easements for $8.5 million to guarantee traditional uses of the land for logging and recreation. In 2008, Plum Creek Timber company announced plans to purchase this property.[9]

A murder trial was held at the county courthouse in 1923, which was the last murder trial. In 1973, a non-resident murdered another non-resident.[10] In 2008, two residents died by homicide – the first in 85 years – when police said a young woman was shot by her boyfriend and a 59-year-old man shot his mother.[11]

In 2012, a study indicated that county residents, overall, were the least healthy in the state. The rating was based on premature death, low birth weight, smoking, obesity, inactivity, excessive drinking, car crashes, sexually transmitted diseases, graduation rates, poverty, violent crime rates, air pollution, limited access to healthy food, unemployment, and the number of single parent households.[12]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 675 square miles (1,750 km2), of which 664 square miles (1,720 km2) is land and 12 square miles (31 km2) (1.7%) is water.[13]

Adjacent counties[edit]

Major Routes[edit]

U.S. Route 2

Vermont Route 102

Vermont Route 105

Vermont Route 114


In 2011, there were about 1,000 moose in the county. State officials estimated that this was about the "correct number" for a sustainable herd, with the moose not showing signs of starvation, nor the feeding grounds showing signs of overgrazing.[4]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1800 1,479
1810 3,087 108.7%
1820 3,284 6.4%
1830 3,981 21.2%
1840 4,226 6.2%
1850 4,650 10.0%
1860 5,786 24.4%
1870 6,811 17.7%
1880 7,931 16.4%
1890 9,511 19.9%
1900 8,056 −15.3%
1910 7,384 −8.3%
1920 7,364 −0.3%
1930 7,067 −4.0%
1940 6,490 −8.2%
1950 6,257 −3.6%
1960 6,083 −2.8%
1970 5,416 −11.0%
1980 6,313 16.6%
1990 6,405 1.5%
2000 6,459 0.8%
2010 6,306 −2.4%
Est. 2015 6,163 [14] −2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[15]
1790–1960[16] 1900–1990[17]
1990–2000[18] 2010–2014[1]

An estimated 1,000 military veterans reside in the county.[19]

2010 census[edit]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,306 people, 2,818 households, and 1,814 families residing in the county.[20] The population density was 9.5 inhabitants per square mile (3.7/km2). There were 5,019 housing units at an average density of 7.6 per square mile (2.9/km2).[21]

Of the 2,818 households, 24.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 35.6% were non-families, and 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.70. The median age was 47.4 years.[20]

The median income for a household in the county was $37,734 and the median income for a family was $46,263. Males had a median income of $37,021 versus $28,710 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,040. About 13.0% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.8% of those under age 18 and 10.3% of those age 65 or over.[22]



The Essex-Orleans Senate district includes all of Essex County, as well as parts or all of Orleans County, Franklin County and Lamoille County. It is represented in the Vermont Senate by John S. Rodgers (D) and Robert A. Starr (D).


Presidential election results[23]
Year Democrat Republican
2012 55.0% 1,539 41.6% 1,164
2008 55.9% 1,733 41.4% 1,284
2004 43.5% 1,276 54.2% 1,591
2000 39.0% 1,129 54.1% 1,564

In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, Essex County was the only county in Vermont to vote for George W. Bush, by 10.7% over John Kerry, who won statewide by a 20.1% advantage.[24]

In 2008, Essex voted for Barack Obama by a 14.5% margin over John McCain, while Obama carried the state by 37%. In 2012 Barack Obama won the county again by almost exactly the same margin.[25]


Personal income[edit]

The median income for a household in the county was $30,490, and the median income for a family was $34,984. Males had a median income of $27,929 versus $20,583 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,388. About 9.90% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 12.90% of those age 65 or over.

The median wage is the lowest in the state, and that status is expected to continue through 2010.[26]


In 2007, Essex was the only county in the state to have a positive Housing Affordability Index on housing; i.e., the average household can afford to buy the average house. That said, both figures are the lowest in the state.[27]


WVTI 106.9 broadcasts from Island Pond, Vermont.[28]



Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

In Vermont, gores and grants are unincorporated portions of a county which are not part on any town and have limited self-government (if any, as many are uninhabited).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Vermont: Individual County Chronologies". Vermont Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved June 30, 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Starr, Tina (October 19, 2011). "Biologists keep close watch on moose herd". the Chronicle. Barton, Vermont. p. 20. 
  5. ^ a b Gazetteer of Lamoille and Orleans Counties, VT.; 1883–1884. Hamilton Child. May 1887. 
  6. ^ Van Zandt, Franklin K. Boundaries of the United States and the Several States. Geological Survey Professional Paper 909. Washington, DC; Government Printing Office, 1976. The Standard Compilation for its subject. P. 12.
  7. ^ Parry, Clive, ed. Consolidated Treaty Series. 231 Volumes. Dobbs Ferry, New York; Oceana Publications, 1969–1981. Volume 48; pp. 481; 487; 491–492.
  8. ^ Orleans County, Vermont: History and Information. Retrieved on 2014-04-12.
  9. ^ Sutkowski, Matt (September 16, 2008). 86,212 acre land sale in works. Burlington Free Press. 
  10. ^ Ring, Wilson (September 15, 2008). Slaying a novelty for county. Burlington Free Press. 
  11. ^ Silverman, Adam (January 1, 2009). Vermont killings jumped. Burlington Free Press. 
  12. ^ Starr, Tena (April 11, 2012). "Essex is least healthy county in Vermont". the Chronicle. Barton, Vermont. p. 1. 
  13. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  14. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  15. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  17. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Retrieved June 28, 2015. 
  19. ^ The Chronicle, July 1, 2009, page 14, "Veterans ask for clinic closer to home," Joseph Gresser
  20. ^ a b "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  21. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  22. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  23. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  24. ^ 2004 Presidential General Election Results – Vermont
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Vermont Department of Housing and Community Affairs" (PDF). Vermont Statewide Trends. Retrieved 2007-01-05. 
  27. ^ Braithwaite, Chris (December 19, 2007). Vermont law prohibits pre-payment penalties. the Chronicle. 
  28. ^ VPR (October 28, 2008). VPR Classical broadcasts from I.P. the Chronicle. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 44°44′N 71°43′W / 44.73°N 71.72°W / 44.73; -71.72