Suffolk County, Massachusetts

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Suffolk County, Massachusetts
County of Massachusetts
County of Suffolk
Suffolk County Courthouse Boston.jpg
Suffolk County Courthouse
Seal of Suffolk County, Massachusetts
Seal
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Suffolk County
Location in the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Map of the United States highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
FoundedMay 10th, 1643
Named forSuffolk
SeatBoston
Largest cityBoston
Area
 • Total120 sq mi (311 km2)
 • Land58 sq mi (150 km2)
 • Water62 sq mi (161 km2), 52%
Population (est.)
 • (2017)797,939
 • Density13,758/sq mi (5,312/km2)
Congressional districts5th, 7th, 8th
Time zoneEastern: UTC−5/−4

Suffolk County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2016, the population was 784,230[1] making it the fourth-most populous county in Massachusetts. The traditional county seat is Boston, the state capital and the largest city in Massachusetts.[2] The county government was abolished in late 1999, and so Suffolk County today functions only as an administrative subdivision of state government and a set of communities grouped together for some statistical purposes. Suffolk County constitutes the core of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the greater Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.

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 (including Milton) 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.

Government and politics[edit]

Like an increasing number of Massachusetts counties, Suffolk County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government.[6] 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.[7] Politically speaking, Suffolk County supports the Democratic Party overwhelmingly. No Republican presidential candidate has won there since Calvin Coolidge in 1924. In 2012 Barack Obama received 77.4% of the vote, compared to 20.8% for Mitt Romney. In the 2014 gubernatorial election, Martha Coakley carried the county by a 32.4% margin, while losing the election statewide by 48.4 to 46.5%.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 15, 2008[8]
Party Number of voters Percentage
Democratic 234,443 54.46%
Republican 31,271 7.26%
Unenrolled 161,320 37.47%
Minor Parties 3,489 0.81%
Total 430,523 100%
Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[9]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 16.1% 50,421 78.4% 245,751 5.5% 17,111
2012 20.8% 59,999 77.5% 223,896 1.8% 5,203
2008 21.2% 57,194 76.9% 207,128 1.8% 4,900
2004 22.8% 54,923 75.9% 182,592 1.3% 3,130
2000 20.5% 44,441 71.4% 154,888 8.2% 17,671
1996 19.9% 39,753 73.0% 145,586 7.1% 14,053
1992 23.4% 51,378 60.6% 132,921 16.0% 34,974
1988 34.4% 77,137 64.0% 143,677 1.6% 3,596
1984 37.4% 91,563 62.3% 152,568 0.4% 866
1980 33.9% 73,271 52.5% 113,416 13.7% 29,520
1976 34.7% 80,623 61.1% 142,010 4.2% 9,739
1972 33.7% 85,272 65.8% 166,250 0.5% 1,299
1968 18.2% 48,952 75.6% 203,406 6.2% 16,619
1964 13.5% 40,251 86.2% 257,161 0.3% 842
1960 25.3% 85,750 74.4% 252,823 0.3% 1,044
1956 45.8% 162,836 53.8% 191,245 0.5% 1,605
1952 40.1% 162,147 59.5% 240,957 0.4% 1,775
1948 27.4% 105,671 69.0% 265,611 3.6% 13,785
1944 37.2% 139,285 62.6% 234,475 0.2% 727
1940 36.1% 138,575 63.3% 243,233 0.6% 2,337
1936 27.6% 96,418 63.9% 223,732 8.5% 29,860
1932 30.0% 88,737 67.1% 198,792 2.9% 8,543
1928 32.5% 99,392 66.8% 204,603 0.7% 2,135
1924 47.1% 104,658 35.5% 78,702 17.4% 38,633
1920 58.1% 108,089 36.3% 67,552 5.6% 10,457
1916 40.0% 42,492 57.5% 61,047 2.5% 2,609
1912 24.7% 24,179 47.1% 46,059 28.2% 27,613
1908 48.5% 46,337 45.8% 43,773 5.7% 5,429
1904 44.1% 43,681 52.3% 51,714 3.6% 3,569
1900 44.8% 40,951 52.0% 47,534 3.2% 2,880
1896 59.9% 53,633 35.5% 31,744 4.7% 4,174
1892 43.4% 35,304 54.7% 44,504 2.0% 1,584
1888 44.2% 31,191 54.6% 38,540 1.3% 921
1884 36.9% 23,283 54.8% 34,621 8.4% 5,278
1880 49.2% 28,346 50.1% 28,861 0.7% 396
1876 47.5% 22,832 52.2% 25,101 0.3% 141

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 120 square miles (310 km2), of which 58 square miles (150 km2) is land and 62 square miles (160 km2) (52%) is water.[10] It is the second-smallest county in Massachusetts by land area and smallest by total area.

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]

Major Highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
179044,865
180028,015−37.6%
181034,38122.7%
182043,94027.8%
183062,16341.5%
184095,77354.1%
1850144,51750.9%
1860192,70033.3%
1870270,80240.5%
1880387,92743.3%
1890484,78025.0%
1900611,41726.1%
1910731,38819.6%
1920835,52214.2%
1930879,5365.3%
1940863,248−1.9%
1950896,6153.9%
1960791,329−11.7%
1970735,190−7.1%
1980650,142−11.6%
1990663,9062.1%
2000689,8073.9%
2010722,0234.7%
Est. 2017797,939[11]10.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[16]

Of the 292,767 households, 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.1% were married couples living together, 16.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 52.0% were non-families, and 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.11. The median age was 31.5 years.[17]

The median income for a household in the county was $50,597 and the median income for a family was $58,127. Males had a median income of $48,887 versus $43,658 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,720. About 15.7% of families and 20.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.1% of those under age 18 and 19.1% of those age 65 or over.[18]

Suffolk County Racial Breakdown of Population (2017)[19][20]
Race Percentage of
Suffolk County
population
Percentage of
Massachusetts
population
Percentage of
United States
population
County-to-State
Difference
County-to-USA
Difference
White 61.7% 81.3% 76.6% –19.6% –14.9%
White (Non-Hispanic) 45.4% 72.1% 60.7% –26.7% –15.3%
Black 24.9% 8.8% 13.4% +16.1% +11.5%
Hispanic 22.9% 11.9% 18.1% +11.0% +4.8%
Asian 9.1% 6.9% 5.8% +2.2% +3.3%
Native Americans/Hawaiians 0.9% 0.6% 1.5% +0.3% –0.6%
Two or more races 3.4% 2.4% 2.7% +1.0% +0.7%

Ancestry[edit]

According to the 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, the largest ancestry groups in Suffolk County, Massachusetts are:[21][22]

Ancestry Percentage of
Suffolk County
population
Percentage of
Massachusetts
population
Percentage of
United States
population
County-to-State
Difference
County-to-USA
Difference
Irish 13.73% 21.16% 10.39% –7.42% +3.35%
Italian 9.50% 13.19% 5.39% –3.69% +7.80%
West Indian 6.05% 1.96% 0.90% +4.09% +1.05%
Puerto Rican 5.32% 4.52% 1.66% +0.80% +3.66%
English 4.32% 9.77% 7.67% –5.45% –3.35%
German 4.21% 6.00% 14.40% –1.79% –10.19%
Chinese 4.02% 2.28% 1.24% +1.74% +2.78%
American 3.96% 4.26% 6.89% –0.30% –2.93%
Sub-Saharan African 3.78% 2.00% 1.01% +1.78% +2.76%
Haitian 3.13% 1.15% 0.31% +1.98% +2.82%
Polish 2.41% 4.67% 2.93% –2.26% –0.53%
French 2.01% 6.82% 2.56% –4.81% –0.55%
Cape Verdean 1.99% 0.97% 0.03% +1.02% +1.96%
Vietnamese 1.61% 0.69% 0.54% +0.92% +1.07%
Russian 1.56% 1.65% 0.88% –0.08% +0.69%
Arab 1.54% 1.10% 0.59% +0.44% +0.95%
Jamaican 1.47% 0.44% 0.34% +1.03% +1.12%
Scottish 1.27% 2.28% 1.71% –1.02% –0.45%
Asian Indian 1.22% 1.39% 1.09% –0.17% +0.13%
Mexican 1.18% 0.67% 11.96% +0.51% –10.78%
French Canadian 1.19% 3.91% 0.65% –2.72% +0.53%

Demographic breakdown by town[edit]

Income[edit]

Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.[23][24][25]

Rank Town Area (land) Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Winthrop City 2.0 sq mi (5.2 km2) $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 48.42 sq mi (125.41 km2) $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 5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2) $25,085 $50,592 $58,345 50,845 19,425
4 Chelsea City 2.2 sq mi (5.7 km2) $20,214 $43,155 $46,967 34,872 12,035

Communities[edit]

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Suffolk County, Massachusetts". Census Bureau QuickFacts. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. 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. ^ "History of Norfolk County - Norfolk County". www.norfolkcounty.org. Archived from the original on 23 November 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  6. ^ "CIS: Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts". www.sec.state.ma.us. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  7. ^ See also: League of Women Voters page on counties Archived 2004-04-21 at the Wayback Machine..
  8. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08.
  9. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  10. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Archived from the original on May 29, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 16, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 28, 2015. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
  17. ^ "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  18. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  19. ^ "Suffolk County, Massachusetts QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". census.gov.
  20. ^ "Massachusetts QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". census.gov.
  21. ^ "PEOPLE REPORTING ANCESTRY 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  22. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  23. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  24. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  25. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-07-23. 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