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Essex County, New Jersey
Map of New Jersey highlighting Essex County
Location in the state of New Jersey
Map of the U.S. highlighting New Jersey
New Jersey's location in the U.S.
Founded March 7, 1683[1]
Seat Newark
Largest city Newark
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

130 sq mi (337 km²)
126 sq mi (326 km²)
3 sq mi (8 km²), 2.54%
 - (2010)
 - Density

6,228/sq mi (2,404.8/km²)

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the United States 2010 Census, the population was 783,969, ranking it third in the state after Bergen County and Middlesex County; Essex County's population has declined from 786,147 as of the bureau's 2006 population estimate, and from 793,633 as of the 2000 census.[2] Its county seat is Newark.[3] It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area.

Overview[edit | edit source]

The county is named after Essex, a county in east England.

Essex County is the second most densely populated county in the state after Hudson County,[4] and has the third largest total population after Bergen County and Middlesex County. Newark, with a population density of 11,400 people/square mile, is the largest municipality in the county both in terms of area (24.14 square miles) and population (280,000). Meanwhile, Caldwell is the smallest in terms of land area (1.2 square miles) and Essex Fells has the smallest population (2,071); nevertheless, even these small towns have population densities (6,396 people/square mile and 1,534 people/square mile, respectively) that rival many big cities, and are well above the state's average, which in turn is the highest in the nation.

Like many of the counties of Northern New Jersey near New York City — which tend to have sharp divides between relatively rich suburban neighborhoods and less wealthy, more densely-populated cities nearby — the eastern region of Essex County tends to be poorer and more urbanized, while the western parts tend to be more affluent and suburban.

Eastern Essex This wide area has significant pockets of areas that qualify as inner-city: high building density, high poverty and high crime rates and underperforming school systems. Within this general area however are many stable, mixed and middle-income areas of diverse populations. For example, north and west sides of Newark have well-kept suburban areas such as Vailsburg and Forest Hill, Newark, New Jersey. The east side of Newark is the Ironbound, a thriving Brazilian and Portuguese community. East Orange has the Presidential Estate neighborhood full of large one family homes. Belleville and Bloomfield are old Italian cities that, in spite of retaining a core Italian-American population, now have many immigrants from Latin America and Asia. According to Epodunk, as of 2009, Nutley was 36% Italian.

Beginning at about the turn of the century, this region led the state in the rebuilding and rehab of its housing stock. In the 2000s, Newark led the state in the issuance of building permits. Many reasons were cited: city-wide incentives to encourage construction development, an improving local economy, the rising demand of low-cost housing so close to Manhattan. Newark has since then become one of the fastest growing cities in the entire Northeast.[5][6] and reported a gain in median income and drop in poverty rate.[7] This is a welcome turnaround to the deterioration and abandonment, experienced in the post-riot 70s, 80s and early part of the 90s.

Crime in this part of the county has traditionally been among the highest in the state and the country as well, but recently has also seen significant declines, mirroring its large neighbor to the east, New York City.[8] By 2006, crime in Newark had fallen 60% over 10 years to its lowest levels in 40 years.[9][10] Neighboring East Orange has seen crime fall more recently, dropping 50% in the three years (2005 to 2007).[11] While homicide rates have fallen in Newark and East Orange in recent years, homicide rates in Newark, Irvington, East Orange, and Orange remain stubbornly high. In 2008, Newark had 67 homicides, down from 105 in 2007 and the record of 161 murders set in 1981.[8][12]

In contrast, Western Essex tends to be more suburban and affluent. Within this region are some of the most diverse and racially integrated municipalities in the state and nation, including Montclair, and Maplewood. As well, many neighborhoods are well-known magnets for New Yorkers such as Glen Ridge, Montclair, Verona and the Oranges. The communities of Livingston, Roseland, South Orange, Millburn, North Caldwell, and Essex Fells are some of the wealthiest towns in America. Short Hills, South Orange, and Livingston are regionally well-known as affluent Jewish-American suburbs. Short Hills has a popular upscale shopping mall, the Short Hills Mall.

As the poorest place in the county, Newark has a median household income of $26,913 and a per capita income of $13,009; at the other extreme, Essex Fells, one of the wealthier places in the county and the 4th wealthiest municipality in the state, has a median household income of $148,173 and a per capita income of $77,434. Newark and Essex Fells are only ten miles apart.

While many residents commute to New York City, Organon International, Anheuser-Busch, Automatic Data Processing, Inc., CIT Group, Hoffmann-LaRoche, Grainger, Dun & Bradstreet and Prudential have large facilities in Essex County or are headquartered there, and there are numerous factories and large office parks scattered throughout.

Essex County was one of the first counties in America to become fully urbanized and was the first county in the country to create a county park system (Essex County Park System, New Jersey), to ensure that it did not lose all its land to development.[13]

The various towns of the county, especially Newark, the Oranges, and the Caldwells can be seen in every episode of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos, which is set in North Caldwell.

The county is also home to Newark Liberty International Airport, Essex County Airport, and Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal.

History[edit | edit source]

Essex Troop, New Jersey National Guard

Essex County Hall of Records

Essex was originally formed as one of four administrative districts within the very brief reign of East Jersey in 1675, together with Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth Counties. Essex County was formed within on March 7, 1683.[1] The county was named in honor the English county of Kingdom of Essex, one of the historical kingdoms of England.

Government[edit | edit source]

Essex County's County Executive is Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. The executive, along with the Board of Chosen Freeholders administer all county business. Nine members are elected to serve concurrent terms. Five of the freeholders represent districts; four are elected from the county on an at-large basis. The Freeholder President and Vice-President serve one-year terms.[14] The County Executive is elected by a direct vote of the electorate.

As of 2011, Essex County's Freeholders are:[15]

Politics[edit | edit source]

In presidential elections the county has long been Democratic and was the only county in the state to be won by Walter Mondale in 1984.[16] In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, John Kerry carried the county by a 41.6% margin over George W. Bush, the highest winning margin in any county in New Jersey, with Kerry carrying the state by 6.7% over Bush.[17] In each of the last four elections the Democratic candidate received 69% or more of the county's vote.[18]

Higher education[edit | edit source]

Essex County has a number of Colleges and Universities:

Transportation[edit | edit source]

Essex County has a well-developed road network and is traversed by a number of highways including:

There are also many buses that operate around the county, with New Jersey Transit headquarters located just behind Newark Penn Station, a transit hub in the eastern part of the county. NJ Transits Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Coastline, Raritan Valley, Montclair Boonton and Morris and Essex Lines all pass through Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street Station as well as other stations throughout the county, with most terminating or offering connections to New York Penn Station and Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. The PATH and Newark Light rail also operate out of Newark Penn Station as well as many bus lines that form a web network around the county.

Amtrak also offeres services on the Acela Express, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Keystone Service, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Northeast Regional, Silver Star, Silver Meteor and Vermonter via Newark Penn Station.

Newark Liberty International Airport is located in the Southeast section of the county and is one of the three New York Metropolitan airports operated by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey

Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is a major component of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Located on the Newark Bay it serves as the principal container ship facility for goods entering and leaving New York-Newark metropolitan area, and the northeastern quadrant of North America. It consists of two components – Port Newark and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal (sometimes called "Port Elizabeth") – which exist side-by-side and are run conjointly by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The facility is located within the boundaries of the two cities of Newark and Elizabeth, New Jersey, just east of the New Jersey Turnpike and Newark Liberty International Airport.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 130 square miles (336.7 km2), of which 126 square miles (326.3 km2) is land and 3 square miles (7.8 km2) (2.54%) is water.

The county rises from generally flat in the east to the twin ridges of the Watchung Mountains in the western half, beyond which the land lowers again into the Passaic River valley.

The highest elevation is found at four areas scattered between Verona, North Caldwell and Cedar Grove, with a point just north of the new water sphere reaching 675 feet (206 m). The lowest point is sea level, at Newark Bay.

Climate[edit | edit source]

All of Essex County has a humid subtropical climate. However temperatures do vary in various locations. In Newark, Eastern Essex County, and Southern/Southeastern Essex County, temperatures are relatively cool to hot, even in the winter months. Western Essex County has similar temperatures to Eastern Essex, but the elevation increase within the Watchung Mountains allows for some minor differences. An example would be that in January on Interstate 280 it could be raining in East Orange. Heading west on 280 there is a large hill that elevates from 150 feet (46 m) to 650 feet (200 m), a 500 feet (150 m) difference. At the top of the hill it could be snowing because of the 3 to 4 degree temperature differences.

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

National protected area[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 17,785
1800 22,269 25.2%
1810 25,984 16.7%
1820 30,793 18.5%
1830 41,911 36.1%
1840 44,621 * 6.5%
1850 73,950 65.7%
1860 98,877 * 33.7%
1870 143,839 45.5%
1880 189,929 32.0%
1890 256,098 34.8%
1900 359,053 40.2%
1910 512,886 42.8%
1920 652,089 27.1%
1930 833,513 27.8%
1940 837,340 0.5%
1950 905,949 8.2%
1960 923,545 1.9%
1970 932,526 1.0%
1980 851,304 −8.7%
1990 778,206 −8.6%
2000 793,633 2.0%
2010 783,969 −1.2%
* lost territory
historical census data source:[19][20]


Census 2000 data[edit | edit source]

As of the census[22] of 2000, there were 793,633 people, 283,736 households, and 193,507 families residing in the county. The population density was 6,285 people per square mile (2,427/km²). There were 301,011 housing units at an average density of 2,384 per square mile (920/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 44.46% White, 41.24% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 3.71% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.88% from other races, and 3.42% from two or more races. 15.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 12.3% were of Italian, 5.7% West Indian and 5.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 283,736 households out of which 33.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.30% were married couples living together, 20.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 26.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.30.

In the county the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 90.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,944, and the median income for a family was $54,818. Males had a median income of $41,374 versus $32,052 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,943. About 12.80% of families and 15.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.50% of those under age 18 and 12.20% of those age 65 or over.

The county has a high Italian population, with significant percentages of residents (over 25%) in several communities, of the West Essex area and northeastern district, mostly in the northern half of the county, being of Italian descent. This includes the communities of Belleville (30.9%), Bloomfield (26.4%), Caldwell (26.3%), Cedar Grove (34.8%), Fairfield (45.8%), Nutley (44.5%), Roseland (38.7%), Verona (34.3%) and West Caldwell (35.2%).[23]

The county has a notable Jewish population, with 76,200 Jewish residents according to the 2002 results of the National Jewish Population Survey.[24]

As of 2005 36.4% of the population was non-Hispanic whites. African Americans made up 42.6% of the population. Latinos formed 17.5% of the population. 4.2% of the population was Asian, as the municipalities of Belleville, Bloomfield, West Orange, Livingston, Millburn, Nutley, and Cedar Grove have Asian populations of 5% or more.

Census Data 2010[edit | edit source]

The racial makeup of the county was 33.19% Non-Hispanic whites, 39.33% Non-Hispanic blacks, 1.55% Hispanic blacks, 0.39% Native Americans, 4.57% Asians, 0.04% Pacific Islanders, 0.78% Non-Hispanics reporting some other race, 1.69% Non-Hispanics reporting two or more races and 20.30% Hispanic or Latino.

Municipalities[edit | edit source]

Index map of Essex County Municipalities (click to see index key)

Parks[edit | edit source]

Essex county was the first county in the United States to have its own parks department.[25] It is called the Essex County Park System.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. ^ a b "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 125.
  2. ^ "QuickFacts: Essex County, New Jersey". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 2009-12-10. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Buying a Home in Jersey City, New Jersey – Real Estate Agents in Jersey City – Homes in Jersey City
  5. ^ Roberts, Sam. "Biggest Urban Growth Is in South and West", June 28, 2007. Accessed November 13, 2007.
  6. ^ Census data for Newark, New Jersey, accessed November 14, 2006
  7. ^ Newark city, New Jersey – Fact Sheet – American FactFinder
  8. ^ a b Wang, Katie. "County reports largest drop is in violent crime", The Star-Ledger, October 17, 2007. Accessed November 13, 2007. "For the second year in a row, overall crime in Essex County dropped by 10 percent, according to the annual crime statistics released by the State Police yesterday. The county saw the biggest drops in violent crime in 2006, particularly in robberies and aggravated assaults. Those incidents dropped by 6 percent and 7 percent respectively."
  9. ^ Total Crime Rate for US Cities, 1995: Population 40,000+, accessed November 14, 2006
  10. ^ Crime in the Cities, New Jersey State Police. Accessed November 14, 2006
  11. ^ Jones, Richard G. "The Crime Rate Drops, and a City Credits Its Embrace of Surveillance Technology", The New York Times, May 29, 2007. Accessed November 11, 2007.
  12. ^ Lueck, Thomas J. "As Newark Mayor Readies Crime Fight, Toll Rises", The New York Times, January 8, 2007. Accessed October 6, 2007. "For all of 2006, the police said, Newark had 104 homicides, far below its record of 161 in 1981, but more than in any other year since 1995."
  13. ^ Accomando, Peter R. and Liebau, Michelle M. "Essex County park system celebrates 100 years of beauty and service", Parks & Recreation, March 1995. Accessed May 26, 2007. "This picturesque scheme amid the bustling cityscape of Newark is Branch Brook Park, the largest park in Essex County and the first county park in the United States."
  14. ^ Definition of a Freeholder, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 30, 2008.
  15. ^ Essex County Freeholders, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 30, 2008.
  16. ^ David Leip's Presidential Atlas (Maps for New Jersey by election)
  17. ^ New Jersey Presidential Election Returns by County 2004, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Accessed August 31, 2008.
  18. ^ The New York Times electoral map (Zoom in on New Jersey)
  19. ^ "New Jersey Resident Population by County: 1880–1930". 
  20. ^ "Geostat Center: Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved 2007-03-02. 
  21. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau Delivers New Jersey's 2010 Census Population Totals". U.S. Census Bureau. 2011-02-03. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  22. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  23. ^ 2000 Census data for Essex County, New Jersey county subdivisions: Ancestry profile, United States Census Bureau, accessed May 11, 2006
  24. ^ Jewish Population in the United States, 2002, National Jewish Population Survey, accessed May 11, 2006
  25. ^ Essex County parks history, Essex County, new jersey. Accessed August 23, 2007.

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 40°47′N 74°15′W / 40.79, -74.25

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