Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Suffolk County, Massachusetts

Infobox U.S. County
county = Suffolk County
state = Massachusetts

map size = 200
founded = 1643
seat = None (formerly Boston)
County government was abolished in 1999 | area_total_sq_mi = 120
area_total_km2 = 311
area_land_sq_mi = 59
area_land_km2 = 152
area_water_sq_mi = 62
area_water_km2 = 160
area percentage = 51.32%
census yr = 2000
pop = 689807
density_sq_mi = 11692
density_km2 = 4538
web =

Suffolk County is a county of Massachusetts. As of 2000, the population was 689,807. Its county seat is BostonGR|6.


The county was created by the Massachusetts General Court on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered "that the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four shires". Suffolk initially contained Boston, Roxbury, Dorchester, Dedham, Braintree, Weymouth, Hingham, and Hull. [Davis, William T. "Bench and Bar of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts", p. 44. The Boston History Company, 1895.] The county was named after Suffolk, England, and means "southern folk." [ [ Thomas Cox, AnthonyHall, 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)] ]

In 1793 most of the original Suffolk County except for Boston and Chelsea (which remained in Suffolk) and Hingham and Hull (which joined Plymouth County) split off and became Norfolk County.

Law and government

Like an increasing number of Massachusetts counties, Suffolk County exists today only as a historical geographic region, and has no county government. [ [ CIS: Historical Data Relating to the Incorporation of Counties in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts ] ] All former county functions were assumed by state agencies in 1999. The sheriff, district attorney, and some other regional officials with specific duties are still elected locally to perform duties within the county region, but there is no county council or commissioner. (Immediately prior to the abolition of county government, the authority of the Suffolk County Commission had for many years been exercised by the Boston City Council, even though three communities in the county are not part of the city.) However, communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. [See also: [ League of Women Voters page on counties] .]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 120 square miles (311 km²), of which, 59 square miles (152 km²) of it is land and 62 square miles (160 km²) of it (51.32%) is water.

Adjacent Counties

*Essex County (north)
*Norfolk County (south)
*Middlesex County (west)

Suffolk County has no land border with Plymouth County to its southeast, but the two counties share a water boundary in the middle of Massachusetts Bay.

National protected areas

* Boston African American National Historic Site
* Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area (part)
* Boston National Historical Park


1790= 44875
1800= 28015
1810= 34381
1820= 43940
1830= 62163
1840= 95773
1850= 144517
1860= 192700
1870= 270802
1880= 387927
1890= 484780
1900= 611417
1910= 731388
1920= 835522
1930= 879536
1940= 863248
1950= 896615
1960= 791329
1970= 735190
1980= 650142
1990= 663906
2000= 689807
As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 689,807 people, 278,722 households, and 139,082 families residing in the county. The population density was 11,788 people per square mile (4,551/km²). There were 292,520 housing units at an average density of 4,999 per square mile (1,930/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 57.76% White, 22.24% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 7.00% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 8.17% from other races, and 4.38% from two or more races. 15.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.3% were of Irish, 11.1% Italian and 6.4% West Indian ancestry according to Census 2000. 66.3% spoke English, 14.5% Spanish, 3.1% French Creole, 2.4% Chinese or Mandarin, 2.2% Portuguese, 1.7% Vietnamese, 1.6% Italian and 1.3% French as their first language.

There were 278,722 households out of which 23.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 29.30% were married couples living together, 16.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 50.10% were non-families. 36.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.17.

In the county the population was spread out with 20.20% under the age of 18, 15.10% from 18 to 24, 35.50% from 25 to 44, 18.10% from 45 to 64, and 11.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 93.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $39,355, and the median income for a family was $44,361. Males had a median income of $37,174 versus $32,176 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,766. About 14.90% of families and 19.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.90% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns



ee also

* USS "Suffolk County" (LST-1173)
* List of Registered Historic Places in Suffolk County, Massachusetts

External links

* Walling & Gray. [ 1871 Map of Boston, Suffolk, County and Nearby Towns Pages 48-49] from the 1871 [ Atlas of Massachusetts.]

* [ National Register of Historic Places listing for Suffolk Co., Massachusetts]
* [ Map of cities and towns of Massachusetts]

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