Norfolk County, Massachusetts

Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Flag of Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Seal of Norfolk County, Massachusetts
Map of Massachusetts highlighting Norfolk County
Location in the state of Massachusetts
Map of the U.S. highlighting Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location in the U.S.
Founded 1793
Seat Dedham
Largest city Quincy
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

399.58 sq mi (1,035 km²)
44.35 sq mi (115 km²), 10%
 - (2010)
 - Density

1,677/sq mi (648/km²)

Norfolk County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of 2010, the population was 670,850. Its county seat is Dedham.[1] It is the 28th highest-income county in the United States with a per capita income of $32,484. It is the wealthiest county in Massachusetts. The county was named after Norfolk, England and means "northern folk."[2]



Norfolk County, Massachusetts was created on March 26, 1793 by legistation signed by Gov. John Hancock. Most of the towns were originally part of Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The towns of Dorchester and Roxbury were part of Norfolk County when it was created but, as Boston gradually annexed them, they returned to be part of Suffolk County. Hingham and Hull were originally part of the Norfolk County legislation but petitioned to remain in Suffolk county and in June 1793 their removal to Norfolk county was repealed. Later in 1803 they were moved into Plymouth County, Massachusetts. The county is also the birthplace of four of the individuals who have held the office of President of the United States (John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John F. Kennedy, and George H.W. Bush), resulting in the moniker "County of Presidents."[3]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 443.94 square miles (1,149.8 km2), of which 399.58 square miles (1,034.9 km2) (or 90.01%) is land and 44.35 square miles (114.9 km2) (or 9.99%) is water.[4] The county is not fully contiguous; the towns of Brookline and Cohasset are each part of Norfolk County but are separated from the majority of Norfolk County (and each other) by either water or other counties. At the county's formation, Hingham and Hull were to be part of it, but joined Plymouth County instead, leaving Cohasset as an exclave of Norfolk County and an enclave of Plymouth County. Brookline became an exclave of Norfolk County in 1873 when the neighboring town of West Roxbury was annexed by Boston (thus leaving Norfolk County to join Suffolk County) and Brookline refused to be annexed by Boston after the Brookline-Boston annexation debate of 1873.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 27,216
1810 31,245 14.8%
1820 36,471 16.7%
1830 41,972 15.1%
1840 53,140 26.6%
1850 78,892 48.5%
1860 109,950 39.4%
1870 89,443 −18.7%
1880 96,507 7.9%
1890 118,950 23.3%
1900 151,539 27.4%
1910 187,506 23.7%
1920 219,081 16.8%
1930 299,426 36.7%
1940 325,180 8.6%
1950 392,308 20.6%
1960 510,256 30.1%
1970 605,051 18.6%
1980 606,587 0.3%
1990 616,087 1.6%
2000 650,308 5.6%
2010 670,850 3.2%
Presidential election results[8]
Year Democrat Republican
2008 58.2% 200,675 39.7% 136,841
2004 60.2% 199,392 38.6% 127,763
2000 59.4% 188,450 33.8% 107,033
Norfolk County Administration Offices (including the County Commissioners and the County Treasurer) in Dedham.

As of the census[9] of 2000, there were 650,308 people, 248,827 households, and 165,967 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,628 people per square mile (628/km²). There were 255,154 housing units at an average density of 639 per square mile (247/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 89.02% White or European American, 3.18% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 5.50% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. 1.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.6% were of Irish, 13.4% Italian, 7.7% English and 5.0% descendants of colonists ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.7% spoke English, 2.3% Chinese or Mandarin, 2.0% Spanish, 1.0% Italian and 1.0% French as their first language.

There were 248,827 households out of which 31.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.30% were non-families. 26.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.40% under the age of 18, 7.00% from 18 to 24, 31.60% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.60 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $63,432, and the median income for a family was $77,847 (these figures had risen to $77,294 and $95,243 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[10]). Males had a median income of $51,301 versus $37,108 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,484. About 2.90% of families and 4.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.40% of those under age 18 and 5.70% of those age 65 or over.

Voter Registration and Party Enrollment as of October 15, 2008[11]
Party Number of Voters Percentage
  Democratic 163,231 35.98%
  Republican 55,220 12.17%
  Unaffiliated 232,885 51.34%
  Minor Parties 2,276 0.50%
Total 453,612 100%

Cities, towns, and villages

Note: West Roxbury (annexed to Boston 1874), Roxbury (annexed to Boston 1868), Dorchester (founded 1630, annexed to Boston 1870), Hyde Park (incorporated 1868 from Dorchester, Milton, and Dedham, annexed to Boston 1912), and Hingham and Hull were originally part of Norfolk County when the county was incorporated in 1793.

* Villages are census divisions, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in.

Today's Norfolk County communities.

See also


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ 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)
  3. ^ The County of Norfolk, Massachusetts. Last accessed December 21, 2006.
  4. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 15, 2008" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2010-05-08. 

External links

Coordinates: 42°10′N 71°11′W / 42.17°N 71.19°W / 42.17; -71.19

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