Suffolk County, Massachusetts

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Suffolk County, Massachusetts
County
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.
Founded May 10th, 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), 52%
Population (est.)
 • (2015) 778,121
 • Density 13,229/sq mi (5,108/km²)
Congressional districts 5th, 7th, 8th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Suffolk County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2014, the population was 767,254[1] making it the fourth-most populous county in Massachusetts. The county seat is Boston, the state capital and largest city.[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 is included in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan 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]

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] Politically speaking, Suffolk County supports the Democratic Party overwhelmingly. No Republican presidential candidate has won there since 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[9]
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%

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]

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. 2015 778,121 [11] 7.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2013[1]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 722,023 people, 292,767 households, and 140,412 families residing in the county.[16] The population density was 12,415.6 inhabitants per square mile (4,793.7/km2). There were 315,522 housing units at an average density of 5,425.6 per square mile (2,094.8/km2).[17] The racial makeup of the county was 56.0% white, 21.6% black or African American, 8.2% Asian, 0.4% American Indian, 9.7% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 19.9% of the population.[16] In terms of ancestry, 16.4% were Irish, 10.4% were Italian, 5.2% were English, and 2.0% were American.[18]

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.[16]

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.[19]

Demographic breakdown by town[edit]

Income[edit]

Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.[20][21][22]

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. ^ a b "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. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  17. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  18. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  19. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2016-01-12. 
  20. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  21. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-26. 
  22. ^ "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