Worcester County, Massachusetts

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Worcester County
Worcester County Courthouse - Worcester, MA - DSC05778.jpg
Worcester County Courthouse
Seal of Worcester County, Massachusetts.svg
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Worcester County.svg
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts in United States.svg
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°21′N71°55′W / 42.35°N 71.91°W / 42.35; -71.91
CountryFlag of the United States.svg United States
StateFlag of Massachusetts.svg  Massachusetts
FoundedApril 2, 1731
Named for Worcester, Massachusetts
Seat Worcester
Largest cityWorcester
Area
  Total1,579 sq mi (4,090 km2)
  Land1,511 sq mi (3,910 km2)
  Water68 sq mi (180 km2)  4.3%%
Population
 (2020)
  Total862,111 Increase2.svg
  Density570.7/sq mi (220.3/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Mount Wachusett, the highest point in Worcester County Wachusett Mountain in winter.gk.jpg
Mount Wachusett, the highest point in Worcester County

Worcester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2020 census, the population was 862,111, making it the second-most populous county in Massachusetts while also being the largest in area. The largest city and traditional shire town is the city of Worcester. [1] Worcester County is included in the Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.

Contents

History

Worcester County was formed from the eastern portion of colonial Hampshire County, the western portion of the original Middlesex County and the extreme western portion of the original Suffolk County. When the government of Worcester County was established on April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as its shire town (later known as a county seat). From that date until the dissolution of the county government, it was the only county seat. Because of the size of the county, there were fifteen attempts over 140 years to split the county into two counties, but without success.

Initially, Lancaster was proposed as the seat of the northern county; later, Petersham was proposed once and Fitchburg was proposed repeatedly, most recently in 1903. Perhaps as a concession, in August 1884 the Worcester County Registry of Deeds was split in two, with the Worcester Northern registry placed in Fitchburg.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,579 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 1,511 square miles (3,910 km2) is land and 68 square miles (180 km2) (4.3%) is water. [2]

It is the largest county in Massachusetts by area. The county is larger geographically than the entire state of Rhode Island even including Rhode Island's water ocean limit boundaries. The county constitutes Central Massachusetts, separating the Greater Springfield area from the Greater Boston area. It stretches from the northern to the southern border of the state. The geographic center of Massachusetts is in Rutland. [3]

Worcester County is one of two Massachusetts counties that borders three different neighboring states; the other being Berkshire County. They are also the only two counties to touch both the northern and southern state lines.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1790 56,764
1800 61,1927.8%
1810 64,9106.1%
1820 73,62513.4%
1830 84,35514.6%
1840 95,31313.0%
1850 130,78937.2%
1860 159,65922.1%
1870 192,71620.7%
1880 226,89717.7%
1890 280,78723.8%
1900 346,95823.6%
1910 399,65715.2%
1920 455,13513.9%
1930 491,2427.9%
1940 504,4702.7%
1950 546,4018.3%
1960 583,2286.7%
1970 637,9699.4%
1980 646,3521.3%
1990 709,7059.8%
2000 750,9635.8%
2010 798,5526.3%
2020 862,1118.0%
U.S. Decennial Census [4]
1790-1960 [5] 1900-1990 [6]
1990-2000 [7] 2010 [8] 2020 [9]

In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705. [10]

2000 census

At the 2000 census there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km2). There were 298,159 housing units at an average density of 197 per square mile (76/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.61% White, 2.73% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.62% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.93% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 6.77%. [11] were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.9% were of Irish, 12.3% Italian, 11.7% French, 8.0% French Canadian, 8.0% English, 5.6% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.1% spoke English, 6.1% Spanish and 1.9% French as their first language.

Of the 283,927 households 33.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 26.20% of households were one person and 10.40% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

The age distribution was 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median household income was $47,874 and the median family income was $58,394. Males had a median income of $42,261 versus $30,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,983. About 6.80% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

At the 2010 census, there were 798,552 people, 303,080 households, and 202,602 families in the county. [12] The population density was 528.6 inhabitants per square mile (204.1/km2). There were 326,788 housing units at an average density of 216.3 per square mile (83.5/km2). [13] The racial makeup of the county was 85.6% white, 4.2% black or African American, 4.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 3.6% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.4% of the population. [12] In terms of ancestry, 22.2% were Irish, 15.1% were French as well as 6.7% French Canadians, 14.4% were Italian, 11.7% were English, 7.0% were Polish, 6.9% were German, and 3.2% were American. [14]

Of the 303,080 households, 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 26.2% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09. The median age was 39.2 years. [12]

The median household income was $64,152 and the median family income was $79,121. Males had a median income of $56,880 versus $42,223 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,557. About 6.9% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over. [15]

Demographic breakdown by town

Income

The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective of the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. [16] [17] [18]

RankTownPer capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
PopulationNumber of
households
1 Southborough Town$57,436$142,520$161,4199,6713,285
2 Bolton Town$52,282$137,120$149,1204,8271,583
3 Boylston Town$52,129$91,734$110,3214,3201,676
Cordaville CDP$51,707$151,836$175,2172,558845
4 Harvard Town$50,971$142,411$161,2506,4831,822
5 Northborough Town$47,953$104,420$122,59214,1805,114
6 Westborough Town$46,631$99,394$127,05218,2856,720
7 Sterling Town$44,089$102,270$117,2407,7682,811
8 Princeton Town$43,836$108,319$123,8643,4121,253
9 Sutton Town$43,275$107,500$116,2888,9083,128
10 Upton Town$43,252$110,083$132,7037,3642,588
11 Berlin Town$41,503$94,712$99,3752,8191,029
Sturbridge CDP$41,479$77,692$93,1672,027860
Westborough CDP$40,901$71,731$87,3753,8831,590
12 Mendon Town$40,523$93,245$108,1735,7872,055
13 Hopedale Town$40,422$98,220$104,3985,9092,275
Barre CDP$39,556$77,602$102,6501,053418
14 Grafton Town$39,479$89,950$109,72917,4726,376
Northborough CDP$39,266$89,033$108,6366,2262,381
Hopedale CDP$38,687$88,974$101,2803,9471,590
15 Holden Town$38,639$89,660$104,92817,1976,296
16 Shrewsbury Town$38,223$88,985$104,03535,26913,095
17 Sturbridge Town$37,480$79,044$98,6939,1333,655
18 Paxton Town$37,328$105,072$106,6254,7671,591
Upton CDP$37,247$92,676$120,9622,8671,099
19 Douglas Town$35,931$81,000$97,3838,3423,206
20 Lunenburg Town$35,868$83,265$95,00010,0343,728
Massachusetts State$35,051$65,981$83,3716,512,2272,522,409
Lunenburg CDP$34,770$73,750$79,7501,217470
21 Lancaster Town$34,374$87,962$101,1967,8962,426
22 Uxbridge Town$34,346$86,912$94,83013,2334,931
23 Barre Town$33,647$73,687$93,2505,3832,065
24 Millbury Town$33,467$77,883$86,85513,2505,166
25 Auburn Town$33,447$73,559$87,95816,1836,318
26 Charlton Town$33,250$91,653$98,78912,8274,306
27 Blackstone Town$32,988$73,586$87,7529,0283,472
South Lancaster CDP$32,942$70,625$81,1671,988766
28 Ashburnham Town$32,880$81,842$98,0566,0332,184
29 Hubbardston Town$32,618$83,333$95,2034,3411,538
30 New Braintree Town$32,568$88,571$93,4581,124380
31 Milford Town$32,219$64,860$80,12727,92510,493
32 Royalston Town$32,031$59,609$73,1251,058455
33 Hardwick Town$31,974$61,298$72,4582,9531,153
Worcester CountyCounty$31,470$65,772$81,342794,981299,089
34 Westminster Town$31,391$78,632$82,5967,2502,611
East Brookfield CDP$31,316$66,339$84,5501,270479
35 Oakham Town$31,237$79,700$83,6761,822680
36 Rutland Town$30,961$83,734$101,4867,8122,558
37 Northbridge Town$30,945$68,981$87,35915,4755,538
Milford CDP$30,678$60,840$72,92725,1949,494
38 Clinton Town$30,563$61,796$77,96413,6145,672
39 Leicester Town$30,301$72,471$80,28810,9343,858
Fiskdale CDP$30,230$75,655$89,5952,9071,133
40 Oxford Town$30,149$68,567$83,16113,7025,343
41 North Brookfield Town$30,106$64,009$76,6904,6861,931
42 West Brookfield Town$29,782$62,685$84,8683,7301,488
East Douglas CDP$29,760$73,372$74,8282,8351,146
43 Spencer Town$29,687$59,420$77,38411,7154,686
44 East Brookfield Town$29,416$62,350$82,7502,058737
45 Brookfield Town$29,392$62,390$77,9933,3631,353
46 Millville Town$29,049$73,426$84,0003,1541,060
West Brookfield CDP$28,704$56,625$95,5561,853705
47 West Boylston Town$28,547$73,600$89,6817,6602,308
48 Leominster City$28,445$58,585$73,70440,88416,095
49 Phillipston Town$28,273$74,043$75,2341,894648
North Brookfield CDP$28,163$50,346$64,1812,035912
50 Warren Town$28,112$51,188$69,8735,1062,067
Oxford CDP$27,990$67,054$79,8326,5662,418
United States Country$27,915$52,762$64,293306,603,772114,761,359
South Ashburnham CDP$27,758$76,932$77,3861,104345
51 Petersham Town$27,475$65,781$81,2501,263445
52 Webster Town$27,430$49,621$65,20416,7527,344
53 Dudley Town$27,319$72,500$78,92011,2763,780
Whitinsville CDP$27,135$58,846$62,3146,8942,424
Spencer CDP$27,059$47,183$66,9325,3922,417
54 Templeton Town$26,891$70,116$75,7537,8962,846
Baldwinville CDP$26,585$66,700$77,0612,061750
Clinton CDP$26,256$54,514$72,8597,4923,032
Rutland CDP$25,987$62,500$78,9292,352758
55 Winchendon Town$25,845$58,137$73,16210,2503,743
Warren CDP$25,245$41,200$71,7221,408564
56 Gardner City$24,974$48,108$63,41320,3238,037
57 Worcester City$24,544$45,846$55,927180,51970,248
58 Athol Town$24,384$50,866$59,09511,5764,551
Webster CDP$24,109$43,702$53,14511,6825,195
59 Fitchburg City$24,061$48,064$55,29340,28614,741
60 Southbridge City$21,923$43,965$52,57716,8006,548
Winchendon CDP$21,914$36,711$52,8683,8601,638
Athol CDP$21,553$47,330$52,1397,8673,150
Devens CDP$13,933$72,986$73,1941,704113

Government and politics

County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts:Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney:Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds:Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate:Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s):by community
State Senator(s):by community
Governor's Councilor(s):Mary Hurley (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s):by Congressional district
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

Worcester County is one of the 8 [19] (of the total of 14) Massachusetts counties that have had no county government or county commissioners since July 1, 1998, when county functions were assumed by state agencies at local option[ clarification needed ] following a change in state law. [20] The county has an elected county sheriff, county prosecutor, and court officials, administered under the state department of public safety. The state correctional system in the county is known as the Worcester County Jail or "House of Corrections" at West Boylston, and the Worcester County District courts (state administered) are housed at Worcester, Fitchburg and other district courts within county boundaries. [20] The Worcester County district attorney is a county-wide position even though the district includes one town from a neighboring county. In Massachusetts, Sheriffs have more limited roles than most states and are responsible for corrections, court service and bailiffs and jail release programs. [20] County Sheriffs in Massachusetts are elected to six-year terms. [20] The Worcester County Sheriff is Lewis Evangelidis, (R), and the Worcester County District Attorney is Joseph Early Jr. (D).(see the info-box for elected officials at county level). The Worcester County Conservation District has countywide boundaries. [21] The county has a regional planning commission.

Massachusetts law allows regional compacts, traditional counties and other governmental entities. [20] Traditional County governments in the state include: Norfolk, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties. Barnstable County, which is Cape Cod, functions as a modern regional county government. Suffolk County which is mainly Boston is under the Boston City Council. The Massachusetts General Laws describe this relationship of county government and the options for abolishing county governments and/or chartering regional governmental compacts in subchapter 34 B. [20] Four other new county compacts have been created by the state legislature and these are in Hampshire, Franklin, Barnstable Counties, and a regional planning council level for Berkshire County. Thus 9 of 14 Counties have some form of county regional governments. Worcester County could exercise that option if it chooses for example, for public safety and, or preparedness due to its rather large geography, by a request to and a special act of the legislature, by local referendum or by one of three mechanisms. See the references for the state statute, and the League of Women Voters link.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018 [22]
PartyNumber of votersPercentage
Democratic 142,91026.10%
Republican 66,68912.18%
Unenrolled329,23260.12%
Minor Parties2,2310.41%
Total547,585100%

Like all of Massachusetts, Worcester County is a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections.

United States presidential election results for Worcester County, Massachusetts [23]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.%No.%No.%
2020 171,68339.74%248,77357.58%11,5582.68%
2016 157,68240.44%198,77850.98%33,4918.59%
2012 163,39044.27%198,24453.71%7,4782.03%
2008 152,10141.83%202,10755.59%9,3862.58%
2004 144,09442.30%192,14256.41%4,4001.29%
2000 114,13936.80%173,76956.03%22,2407.17%
1996 87,02129.84%169,89258.26%34,70411.90%
1992 101,98432.30%138,12243.74%75,67623.96%
1988 148,36550.59%141,48548.25%3,4061.16%
1984 156,06056.45%119,49843.23%8820.32%
1980 120,10043.11%117,32642.12%41,13514.77%
1976 105,21736.89%172,32060.41%7,7082.70%
1972 127,56046.70%144,13952.77%1,4280.52%
1968 88,35433.32%168,43763.52%8,3883.16%
1964 61,38822.60%209,38377.08%8600.32%
1960 112,73039.37%173,10360.46%5000.17%
1956 163,40160.10%107,88939.68%5800.21%
1952 146,09453.00%128,89846.76%6450.23%
1948 106,75743.62%133,82354.68%4,1771.71%
1944 98,41444.28%123,44055.54%4040.18%
1940 100,46842.92%132,54156.62%1,0990.47%
1936 85,31640.48%114,13654.15%11,3125.37%
1932 88,53549.08%87,58648.55%4,2812.37%
1928 94,29052.09%85,67547.33%1,0450.58%
1924 89,67967.14%31,17123.34%12,7269.53%
1920 81,24168.63%34,66729.29%2,4642.08%
1916 32,54152.76%27,54044.65%1,5992.59%
1912 24,71942.06%17,56529.88%16,49228.06%
1908 34,39462.06%16,80330.32%4,2287.63%
1904 34,12463.83%17,03731.87%2,3004.30%
1900 32,41262.84%17,14833.24%2,0223.92%
1896 35,57973.37%10,85522.38%2,0594.25%
1892 27,13054.84%20,79742.04%1,5443.12%
1888 25,00556.27%17,93040.35%1,5023.38%
1884 21,66155.32%12,71232.47%4,78312.22%
1880 23,04063.17%12,85235.24%5831.60%
1876 22,05460.43%14,31939.23%1230.34%

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hampshire County, Massachusetts</span> County in Massachusetts, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royalston, Massachusetts</span> Town in Massachusetts, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Winchendon, Massachusetts</span> Town in Massachusetts, United States

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  21. Worcester County Conservation District
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Further reading

Coordinates: 42°21′N71°55′W / 42.35°N 71.91°W / 42.35; -71.91