Essex County, New Jersey

Essex County, New Jersey

Infobox U.S. County
county = Essex County
state = New Jersey

map size = 100
founded = March 7, 1683
seat = Newark | largest city = Newark
area_total_sq_mi =130
area_land_sq_mi =126
area_water_sq_mi =3
area percentage = 2.54%
census yr = 2000
pop = 793633
density_km2 = 2427
web =

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the United States 2000 Census, the population was 793,633, ranking it second in the state after Bergen County; Essex County's population had declined to 786,147 as of the bureau's 2006 population estimate. Its county seat is NewarkGR|6. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area.


Essex County is the second most densely populated county in the state after Hudson County [ [ Buying a Home in Jersey City, New Jersey - Real Estate Agents in Jersey City - Homes in Jersey City ] ] , and has the second largest total population after Bergen 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 and estate 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 a Presidential Estate section. Nutley, Belleville and Bloomfield are old Italian neighborhoods reinvented as destinations for recent immigrants and young couples.

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. [Roberts, Sam. [ "Biggest Urban Growth Is in South and West"] , June 28, 2007. Accessed November 13, 2007.] [ [ Census data for Newark, New Jersey] , accessed November 14, 2006 ] and reported a gain in median income and drop in poverty rate. [ [ Newark city, New Jersey - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder ] ] 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.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."] By 2006, crime in Newark had fallen 60% over 10 years to its lowest levels in 40 years. [ [ Total Crime Rate for US Cities, 1995: Population 40,000+] , accessed November 14, 2006] [ [ Crime in the Cities] , New Jersey State Police. Accessed November 14, 2006] Neighboring East Orange has seen crime fall more recently, dropping 50% in the three years (2005 to 2007). [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.] Despite the overall progress, the murder rates in Newark, Irvington, and East Orange remain stubbornly high. In 2006, Newark had 113 homicides, up from 98 in 2005 and the highest since 1995, but a substantial decrease since the record of 161 murders set in 1981. [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."]

In contrast, Western Essex tends to be more suburban and affluent. However, within this region are some of the most diverse and racially integrated neighborhoods in the state and nation, including Montclair, South Orange, and Maplewood. As well, many neighborhoods are well-known magnets for New Yorkers, with its liberal flavor, downtowns, and architecturally beautiful, pre-war housing stock, such as Glen Ridge, Montclair and the Oranges. As an example of the widespread affluence of the area, the communities of Livingston, Millburn, North Caldwell, and Essex Fells are four of the hundred wealthiest towns in America and have all been known to be home to famous actors, musicians, corporate heads, and members of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. Short Hills is regionally well-known as a conservative, old-money locale with a popular upscale shopping 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, the wealthiest place 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, 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 urbanizedFact|date=February 2007 and was the first county in the country to create a county park system, to ensure that it did not lose all its land to development. [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."]

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.


Essex County has some of the highest property taxes in the state of New Jersey, which is the state with the overall highest level of property taxes in the nation. This has been an issue of contention for some time between the county's wealthier west and its poorer east.

In 2003, the towns of Millburn, Roseland, and Montclair had all voted to secede from Essex County if something was not changed about the towns' taxation. [ [ MONTCLAIR, NEW JERSEY Council minutes] , dated June 22, 2004] In 2004, the towns of Verona and Cedar Grove followed suit, with the secession bill passing overwhelmingly. However, people in favor and opposed to the secession alike stated that the bills were mostly symbolic, as it would take a lot of work for the towns to actually secede from Essex County. Some critics even claimed that the desire to secede was inspired by racism (due to the fact that Newark and surrounding cities are mostly black, and West Essex's towns are mostly white).

If they were to form their own new county, "West Essex County," they would have to have support from several of the county's towns because what would remain Essex County and what would become West Essex County would each need contiguous borders. There was also talk that the towns who wished to secede might choose to become part of Morris County to their west, Passaic County to their north, or Union County to their south. But similarly there would be difficulties if the towns could not all agree on contiguous borders and coordinate the secession with their new county's government.

The issue of secession was mainly forgotten for a while until in 2005, representatives from the nineteen suburban Essex towns of Caldwell, West Caldwell, North Caldwell, Fairfield, Essex Fells, Roseland, Livingston, Maplewood, Millburn, Cedar Grove, Verona, West Orange, South Orange, Orange, Montclair, Glen Ridge, Nutley, Bloomfield, and Belleville decided to get together and form a committee. They began to discuss a way that they could potentially all agree to either fight the Essex County government to allow them lower tax rates, or to coordinate a breakaway from the cities of Newark, East Orange, and Irvington, which would alone remain as Essex County.


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."The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 125.]


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. [ [ Definition of a Freeholder] , Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 30, 2008.] The County Executive is elected by a direct vote of the electorate.

As of 2008, Essex County's Freeholders are: [ [ Essex County Freeholders] , Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 30, 2008.]
* [ Blonnie R. Watson] - Freeholder President/ At-Large
*Ralph R. Caputo - Freeholder Vice President/ District 5
* [ Johnny Jones] - Freeholder-At-Large
* [ Donald M. Payne, Jr.] - Freeholder-At-Large
* [ Patricia Sebold] - Freeholder-At-Large
* [ Samuel Gonzalez] - Freeholder District 1
* [ D. Bilal Beasley] - Freeholder District 2
* [ Carol Y. Clark] - Freeholder District 3
* [ Linda Lordi Cavanaugh] - Freeholder District 4


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. [ [ New Jersey Presidential Election Returns by County 2004] , Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Accessed August 31, 2008.]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 130 square miles (336 km²), of which, 126 square miles (327 km²) of it is land and 3 square miles (9 km²) of it (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 Essex Fells, all of which reach at least 660 feet (201 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level, at Newark Bay.

Adjacent counties

*Passaic County, New Jersey - north
*Bergen County, New Jersey - east
*Hudson County, New Jersey - east
*Union County, New Jersey - south
*Morris County, New Jersey - west

National protected area

* Edison National Historic Site


1840=44621 |1840n=*
1860=98877 |1860n=*
estref=cite web
title=QuickFacts: Essex County, New Jersey
publisher=U.S. Census Bureau
footnote=* lost territory historical census data source: [cite web
title=New Jersey Resident Population by County: 1880 - 1930
] [cite web
title=Geostat Center: Historical Census Browser
publisher=University of Virginia Library

Census 2000 data

As of the censusGR|2 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 elsewhere in 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%). [ [ 2000 Census data for Essex County, New Jersey county subdivisions: Ancestry profile] , United States Census Bureau, accessed May 11, 2006]

The county has a notable Jewish population, with 76,200 Jewish residents according to the 2002 results of the National Jewish Population Survey. [ [ Jewish Population in the United States, 2002] , National Jewish Population Survey, accessed May 11, 2006]

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.


*Belleville (township)
*Bloomfield (township)
*Caldwell (borough)
*Cedar Grove (township)
*East Orange (city)
*Essex Fells (borough)
*Fairfield (township)
*Glen Ridge (borough)
*Irvington (township)
*Livingston (township)
*Maplewood (township)
*Millburn (township)
*Montclair (township)
*Newark (city)
*North Caldwell (borough)
*Nutley (township)
*Orange (township)
*Roseland (borough)
*South Orange Village (township)
*Verona (township)
*West Caldwell (township)
*West Orange (township)


Essex county was the first county in the United States to have its own parks department. [ [ Essex County parks history] , Essex County, new jersey. Accessed August 23, 2007.]
*Anderson Park Montclair
*Becker Park, Roseland
*Branch Brook Park, Newark/Belleville (the country's oldest county park)
*Brookdale Park, Montclair/Bloomfield
*Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange/Montclair
*Elmwood Park, East Orange/Newark
*Grover Cleveland Park, Caldwell
*Hilltop Reservation, Caldwell/ Cedar Grove/ North Caldwell/ Verona
*Irvington Park, Irvington
*Kip's Castle Park, Verona
*Mills Reservation, Cedar Grove/Upper Montclair
*Orange Park, Orange
*Oval Park, East Orange
*South Mountain Reservation, West Orange/South Orange/Millburn/Maplewood
*Vailsburg Park, Newark
*Verona Park, Verona
*Weequahic Park, Newark
*West Essex Park, West Caldwell/Roseland
*Westside Park, Newark
*Yanticaw Park, Nutley


External links

* [ Official website]

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