|Counties of Massachusetts|
|Location||Commonwealth of Massachusetts|
|Populations||10,172 (Nantucket) – 1,503,085 (Middlesex)|
|Areas||48 square miles (120 km2) (Nantucket) – 1,513 square miles (3,920 km2) (Worcester)|
|Subdivisions||cities, towns, villages, unincorporated communities, census designated place|
The U.S. state of Massachusetts has 14 counties. Massachusetts abolished eightof its fourteen county governments between 1997 and 2000, but the counties in the southeastern portion of the state retain county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) or, in one case, (Nantucket County) consolidated city-county government. Vestigial judicial and law enforcement districts still follow county boundaries even in the counties whose county-level government has been disestablished, and the counties are still generally recognized as geographic entities if not political ones, along with continuing to provide geographical demarcation for National Weather Service weather warnings. Three counties (Hampshire, Barnstable, and Franklin) have formed new county regional compacts to serve as a form of regional governance.
Mismanagement of Middlesex County's public hospital in the mid-1990s left that county on the brink of insolvency, and in 1997 the Massachusetts legislature stepped in by assuming all assets and obligations of the county. The government of Middlesex County was officially abolished on July 11, 1997. Later that year, the Franklin County Commission voted itself out of existence. The law abolishing Middlesex County also provided for the elimination of Hampden County and Worcester County on July 1, 1998. This law was later amended to abolish Hampshire County on January 1, 1999; Essex County and Suffolk County on July 1 of that same year; and Berkshire County on July 1, 2000. Chapter 34B of the Massachusetts General Laws allows other counties either to abolish themselves, or to reorganize as a "regional council of governments", as Hampshire and Franklin Counties have done. The governments of Bristol, Plymouth, and Norfolk Counties remain substantially unchanged. Barnstable and Dukes Counties have adopted modern county charters, enabling them to act as efficient regional governments. Dukes County in particular has a strong regional planning agency known as the Martha's Vineyard Commission.
Jurisdictional areas for District Attorneys are created by state law and while some follow traditional county boundaries, names and geographic areas covered are often different. Criminal matters in Essex County are handled by the District Attorney for the Eastern District; in Middlesex County by the District Attorney for the Northern District; in Worcester County by the District Attorney for the Middle District; in Dukes, Barnstable and Nantucket counties by the District Attorney for the Cape and Islands District and in Franklin and Hampshire counties by the District Attorney for the Northwestern District. The districts for the counties of Berkshire, Bristol, Hampden, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk are the same in geography and nomenclature as the respective counties,and the District Attorneys for the Eastern, Middle, and Northern Districts are commonly known as the Essex County, Worcester County, and Middlesex County District Attorneys, respectively.
Eleven other historical counties have existed in Massachusetts, most becoming defunct when their lands were absorbed into the colony of New Hampshire or the state of Maine, both of which were created out of territory originally claimed by Massachusetts colonists. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County. When these counties were created, they were a part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which would remain separate from the Plymouth Colony and that colony's counties until 1691. Hampden County, created in 1812, is the most recently created county still in Massachusetts, although Penobscot County, Maine bore that distinction until Maine broke off from Massachusetts in 1820.The majority of Massachusetts counties are named in honor of English place names, reflecting Massachusetts' colonial heritage.
The term shire town is the statutory term for the Massachusetts town having a county court and administration offices; a county can have multiple shire towns.County seat is the standard term used in general communications by the Massachusetts government.
The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, used by the United States government to uniquely identify counties, is provided with each entry. FIPS codes are five-digit numbers; for Massachusetts the codes start with 25 and are completed with the three-digit county code. The FIPS code for each county in the table links to census data for that county.
|County||FIPS code||County seat||Est.||Origin||Etymology||Population||Area||Map|
|BarnstableCounty||001||Barnstable||1685||One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony||After its county seat of Barnstable, which is named after the English town of Barnstaple||212,990||396 sq mi|
|BerkshireCounty||003||Pittsfield||1761||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 2000.||For the English county of Berkshire||124,944||931 sq mi|
|BristolCounty||005||Taunton||1685||One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony||For its original county seat of Bristol, Massachusetts, which is named for the English port city of Bristol – when the Town of Bristol joined Rhode Island, the name of the county was kept||565,217||556 sq mi|
|DukesCounty||007||Edgartown||1695||From Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691||Formerly a part of Dukes County, New York until 1691, the land at one time was the possession of the dukes of York||17,332||104 sq mi|
|EssexCounty||009|| Salem, |
|1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.||For the English county of Essex||789,034||498 sq mi|
|FranklinCounty||011||Greenfield||1811||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1997.||For Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), early American scientist, diplomat, and politician||70,180||702 sq mi|
|HampdenCounty||013||Springfield||1812||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 1998.||John Hampden (1595—1643), the famous 17th century English parliamentarian||466,372||618 sq mi|
|HampshireCounty||015||Northampton||1662||From unorganized territory in the western part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished 1999.||For the English county of Hampshire||160,830||529 sq mi|
|MiddlesexCounty||017|| Lowell, |
|1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1997.||For the English county of Middlesex||1,611,699||824 sq mi|
|NantucketCounty||019||Nantucket||1695||From Nantucket Island which had been part of Dukes County, New York until Massachusetts gained it in 1691.||The Town of Nantucket, itself derived from a Wampanoag word meaning "place of peace"||11,399||48 sq mi|
|NorfolkCounty||021||Dedham||1793||From part of Suffolk County.||For the English county of Norfolk||706,775||400 sq mi|
|PlymouthCounty||023|| Brockton, |
|1685||One of three original counties created in the Plymouth Colony.||For its seat of Plymouth, which is named for the English port city of Plymouth||521,202||661 sq mi|
|SuffolkCounty||025||Boston||1643||One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Government abolished in 1999.||For the English county of Suffolk||803,907||58 sq mi|
|WorcesterCounty||027||Worcester||1731||From parts of Hampshire County, Middlesex County and Suffolk County. Government abolished in 1998.||For its county seat of Worcester, which is named in honor of the English city of Worcester and the English Civil War Battle of Worcester in 1651, a Parliamentarian victory||830,622||1,513 sq mi|
|Cumberland County||1760||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Devonshire County||1674||1675||Abolished and then absorbed into Maine|
|Hancock County||1789||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Kennebec County||1799||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Lincoln County||1760||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Norfolk County||1643||1679||Abolished – most of its territory was absorbed into New Hampshire; towns remaining in Massachusetts were absorbed into Essex County. One of four original counties created in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.|
|Oxford County||1805||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Penobscot County||1816||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Somerset County||1809||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|Washington County||1789||1820||Transferred to Maine|
|York County||1652||1820||Transferred to Maine – there were two periods when York County was abolished, 1664 to 1668 and 1680 to 1691|
Franklin County is a nongovernmental county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 71,372, which makes it the least-populous county on the Massachusetts mainland, and the third-least populous county in the state. Its traditional county seat and most populous city is Greenfield. Its largest town by area is New Salem.
Hampshire County is a historical and judicial county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. Following the dissolution of the county government in 1999, county affairs were managed by the Hampshire Council of Governments, which itself ceased operations in 2019, due to a "fundamentally flawed, unsustainable operational model". As of the 2010 census, the population was 158,080. Its most populous municipality is Amherst, its largest town in terms of landmass is Belchertown, and its traditional county seat is Northampton. The county is named after the county Hampshire, in England.
Worcester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 798,552, making it the second-most populous county in Massachusetts while also being the largest in area. The estimated population as of July 1, 2019 is 830,622. The largest city and traditional county seat is the city of Worcester.
Massachusetts shares with the five other New England states a governmental structure known as the New England town. Only the southeastern third of the state has functioning county governments; in western, central, and northeastern Massachusetts, traditional county-level government was eliminated in the late 1990s. Generally speaking, there are four kinds of public school districts in Massachusetts: local schools, regional schools, vocational/technical schools, and charter schools.
Massachusetts's 2nd congressional district is located in central Massachusetts. It contains the cities of Worcester, which is the second-largest city in New England after Boston, and Northampton in the Pioneer Valley. It is represented by Democrat Jim McGovern.
Massachusetts's 9th congressional district is located in eastern Massachusetts. It is represented by Democrat William R. Keating. The 9th district is the least Democratic Congressional District in Massachusetts according to the PVI.
Massachusetts's 10th congressional district is an obsolete district that includes parts of the South Shore of Massachusetts, and all of Cape Cod and the islands. The District has existed since 1795, but was removed for the 113th Congress in 2013 as district lines were redrawn to accommodate the loss of the seat due to reapportionment as a result of the 2010 Census. Effective from the elections of 2012, most of the district falls into the new Massachusetts 9th congressional district, with some northern portions falling in the new 8th district.
This is a list of properties and districts in Massachusetts listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are over 4,300 listings in the state, representing about 5% of all NRHP listings nationwide and the second-most of any U.S. state, behind only New York. Listings appear in all 14 Massachusetts counties.
Elections for the Massachusetts Governor's Council were held on November 7, 2006. Candidates from the Democratic Party were elected or re-elected to all eight districts.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the U.S. Commonwealth of Massachusetts:
The Probate and Family Court of Massachusetts has jurisdiction over family matters such as divorce, paternity, child support, custody, visitation, adoption, termination of parental rights, and abuse prevention. Probate matters include jurisdiction over wills, administrations, guardianships, conservatorships and change of name. The Court also has general equity jurisdiction.
Massachusetts Senate's Worcester and Norfolk district in the United States is one of 40 legislative districts of the Massachusetts Senate. It covers 18.7% of Worcester County and 2.4% of Norfolk County population in 2010. Republican Ryan Fattman of Webster has represented the district since 2015.
The 177th Massachusetts General Court, consisting of the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, met in 1991 and 1992 during the governorship of Bill Weld. William Bulger served as president of the Senate and Charles Flaherty served as speaker of the House.
The 132nd Massachusetts General Court, consisting of the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, met in 1911 during the governorship of Eugene Foss. Allen T. Treadway served as president of the Senate and Joseph H. Walker served as speaker of the House.
The 115th Massachusetts General Court, consisting of the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, met in 1894 during the governorship of Frederic T. Greenhalge. William M. Butler served as president of the Senate and George von Lengerke Meyer served as speaker of the House.
The 95th Massachusetts General Court, consisting of the Massachusetts Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives, met in 1874 during the governorships of William B. Washburn and Thomas Talbot. George B. Loring served as president of the Senate and John E. Sanford served as speaker of the House.
Elections to the Massachusetts Senate were held during 1824 to elect State Senators. Candidates were elected at the county level, with some counties electing multiple Senators.