|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|
This is a list of the 14 counties of Massachusetts. 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) combined county/town 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.
In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.
Massachusetts, officially known as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It borders on the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island to the south, New Hampshire and Vermont to the north, and New York to the west. The state is named after the Massachusett tribe, which once inhabited the east side of the area, and is one of the original thirteen states. The capital of Massachusetts is Boston, which is also the most populous city in New England. Over 80% of the population of Massachusetts lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, a region influential upon American history, academia, and industry. Originally dependent on agriculture, fishing and trade, Massachusetts was transformed into a manufacturing center during the Industrial Revolution. During the 20th century, Massachusetts's economy shifted from manufacturing to services. Modern Massachusetts is a global leader in biotechnology, engineering, higher education, finance, and maritime trade.
The National Weather Service (NWS) is an agency of the United States federal government that is tasked with providing weather forecasts, warnings of hazardous weather, and other weather-related products to organizations and the public for the purposes of protection, safety, and general information. It is a part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) branch of the Department of Commerce, and is headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland, within the Washington metropolitan area. The agency was known as the United States Weather Bureau from 1890 until it adopted its current name in 1970.
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.
Middlesex County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2018, the estimated population was 1,614,714, making it the 22nd most populous county in the United States, and the most populous county in both Massachusetts and New England. As part of the 2010 national census, the Commonwealth's mean center of population for that year was geo-centered in Middlesex County, in the town of Natick at. Middlesex County is included in the Census Bureau’s Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH Metropolitan Statistical Area.
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.
Hampden County is a non-governmental county located in the Pioneer Valley of the state of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of the 2010 census, Hampden County's population was 463,490. As of 2018, Hampden County's estimated population was 470,406. Its traditional county seat is Springfield, the Connecticut River Valley's largest city, and economic and cultural capital; with an estimated population of 154,758, approximately 1 in 3 residents of Hampden County live in Springfield. Hampden County was split from Hampshire County in 1812, because Northampton, Massachusetts, was made Hampshire County's "shire town" in 1794; however, Springfield—theretofore Hampshire County's traditional shire town, dating back to its founding in 1636—grew at a pace far quicker than Northampton and was granted shire town-status over its own, southerly jurisdiction. It was named for parliamentarian John Hampden. To the north of Hampden County is modern-day Hampshire County; to the west is Berkshire County; to the east is Worcester County; to the south are Litchfield County, Hartford County, and Tolland County in Connecticut.
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.
New Hampshire is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Massachusetts to the south, Vermont to the west, Maine and the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Canadian province of Quebec to the north. New Hampshire is the 5th smallest by area and the 10th least populous U.S. state.
Maine is the northernmost state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Maine is the 12th smallest by area, the 9th least populous, and the 13th least densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. It is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Québec to the northeast and northwest, respectively. Maine is the only state to border just one other state, is the easternmost among the contiguous United States, and is the northernmost state east of the Great Lakes.
Essex County is a county in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the total population was 743,159, making it the third-most populous county in the state. It is part of the Greater Boston area. The largest city in Essex County is Lynn. The county was named after the English county of Essex.
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||215,888||396 sq mi|
|BerkshireCounty||003||Pittsfield||1761||From part of Hampshire County. Government abolished in 2000.||For the English county of Berkshire||131,219||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||548,285||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 literally the possession of the dukes of York||16,535||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||743,159||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||71,372||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||463,490||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||158,080||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||1,503,085||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"||10,172||48 sq mi|
|NorfolkCounty||021||Dedham||1793||From part of Suffolk County.||For the English county of Norfolk||670,850||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||494,919||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||722,023||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||798,552||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; 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|
Hampshire County is a historical and judicial county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. It has no county government. Instead there is a Hampshire Council of Governments. 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.
Suffolk County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2018, the population was 807,252 making it the fourth-most populous county in Massachusetts. The traditional county seat is Boston, the state capital and the largest city in Massachusetts. 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.
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, 2018 is 830,839. The largest city and traditional county seat is the city of Worcester.
The Massachusetts Senate is the upper house of the Massachusetts General Court, the bicameral state legislature of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Senate comprises 40 elected members from 40 single-member senatorial districts in the state. All but one of the districts are named for the counties in which they are located. Senators serve two-year terms, without term limits. The Senate convenes in the Massachusetts State House, in Boston.
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 4th congressional district is located mostly in southern Massachusetts. It is represented by Democrat Joseph P. Kennedy III.
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 last held on November 7, 2006, with all 8 of the seats up for election. The Governor's Council of Massachusetts is a popularly elected board which must, among its duties, approve or disapprove of the governor's judicial nominations, pardons, and commutations. The councillors are elected every two years from eight councillor districts across the Commonwealth. The lieutenant governor of Massachusetts serves as an ex officio member.
The Hampshire Council of Governments is a government entity with principal offices in Northampton, Massachusetts. It was chartered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1998 as a successor to the 18th century government of Hampshire County. The focus of the Council is to help local governments solve problems through regional cooperation and save money, with a commitment to the concept of local control over local affairs.
The Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853 met in order to consider changes to the Massachusetts Constitution. This was the third such convention in Massachusetts history held by delegates selected for the purpose: the first, in 1779–80, had drawn up the original document, while the second, in 1820–21, submitted a number of articles to a popular vote, resulting in the adoption of the first nine amendments and the rejection of a number of other proposals. Since 1853, Massachusetts has had one subsequent constitutional convention, in 1917–18.
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.
The Massachusetts Trial Court Probation Service, more commonly referred to as the Massachusetts Probation Service (MPS), is the Commonwealth's primary supervisory law enforcement agency. Created in 1878, it is the first Probation agency established in the United States. The service was created based on the work of John Augustus, the Boston area bootmaker who is credited as the "Father of Probation".
The 2014 United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts were held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 to elect the nine U.S. Representatives from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one from each of the state's nine congressional districts. The elections coincided with the election of Massachusetts' Class II U.S. Senator and other elections to the United States Senate in other states and elections to the United States House of Representatives and various state and local elections, including the Governor of Massachusetts.
The 2016 United States House of Representatives elections in Massachusetts were held on November 8, 2016, electing the nine U.S. Representatives from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, one from each of the state's nine congressional districts. The elections coincided with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, as well as other elections to the House of Representatives, elections to the United States Senate and various state and local elections. The primaries were held on September 20. All incumbents were re-elected to office.