|Founded||March 7, 1683|
|Named for||Essex, England|
|• County executive||Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr. (D, term ends December 31, 2022)|
|• Total||129.631 sq mi (335.74 km2)|
|• Land||126.212 sq mi (326.89 km2)|
|• Water||3.419 sq mi (8.86 km2) 2.64%|
|• Density||6,843.5/sq mi (2,642.3/km2)|
|Congressional districts||7th, 8th, 10th, 11th|
Essex County is located in the northeastern part of New Jersey. As of the 2020 United States Census, the county's population was 863,728, making it the state's second-most populous county, representing an increase of 79,759 (10.2%) from the 2010 United States Census, when its population was enumerated at 783,969, in turn a decrease of 1.2% (9,664 fewer residents) from the 793,633 enumerated in the 2000 census. Its county seat is Newark, the most populous city in the state. Essex County is one of the centrally located counties in the New York metropolitan area.
In 2015, the county had a per capita personal income of $60,030, the eighth-highest in New Jersey and ranked 153rd of 3,113 counties in the United States. The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 94th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the seventh-highest in New Jersey) as of 2009.
The county is named after Essex, a county in the East of England. Based on data from the 2010 census, Essex County is the 14th-most densely populated county in the United States, and was ranked second in the state after Hudson County (which ranked sixth in the nation at 13,731.4 per square mile).
Newark, with a population density of 11,458.3 people/square mile, is the largest municipality in the county both in terms of land area (24.19 square miles) and population (277,140), while Caldwell is the smallest in terms of land area (1.17 square miles) and Essex Fells has the smallest population (2,113). Many of the county's smallest municipalities have population densities that are comparable to those of 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.
The wide area of Eastern Essex has significant pockets of high population, high building density, high poverty, and high crime rates. Within this general area, however, are numerous areas comprised of safe, mixed and middle-income neighborhoods of diverse populations. For example, north and west sides of Newark have well-kept suburban areas such as Vailsburg and Forest Hill. The east side of Newark is the Ironbound, a working-class Brazilian and Portuguese community. East Orange is home to the Presidential Estate neighborhood, a well-kept area of large, pre-war, single-family homes. Belleville and Bloomfield are suburbs with historic Italian communities that, in spite of retaining a core Italian-American population, now have many immigrants from Latin America and Asia. As of the 2000 Census, 36% of Nutley residents indicated that they were of Italian ancestry, the 12th-highest of any municipality in the nation and third-highest in New Jersey.
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: citywide 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, and reported a gain in median income and drop in poverty rate. This is a turnaround from the deterioration and abandonment experienced in the post-riot 1970s, 1980s and early part of the 1990s.
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. By 2006, crime in Newark had fallen 60% over the previous decade to its lowest levels in 40 years. Neighboring East Orange has also experienced a decline in crimes, dropping 50% in the three years (2005 to 2007). While crime rates have fallen significantly in these cities in recent years, they nonetheless remain high here compared to national crime statistics, as well as Irvington, and Orange. In 2008, Newark had 67 homicides, down from 105 in 2007 and the record of 161 murders set in 1981.
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, West Orange, South Orange and Maplewood. Many of these municipalities are well-known magnets for people moving from New York City, such as Glen Ridge, Montclair, Verona, Cedar Grove, South Orange and West Orange. The communities of Livingston, West Caldwell, South Orange, Maplewood, Millburn, North Caldwell, and Essex Fells are some of the wealthiest towns in the county. Short Hills (in Millburn), South Orange, West Orange, and Livingston have large Jewish communities. Short Hills has a popular upscale shopping mall, The Mall at Short Hills located near affluent communities in Morris and Union counties.
As the poorest place in the county, Newark has a median household income of $33,025 and a per capita income of $17,198; 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 $174,432 and a per capita income of $89,316.
Essex County was the first county in the country to create a county park system (Essex County Park System), to ensure that it did not lose all its land to development.
Some of the county's municipalities, especially Newark, The Oranges, and The Caldwells were seen on episodes of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos, which was set in North Caldwell.
There are various attractions in Essex County, such as The Newark Museum of Art, New Jersey Historical Society, Montclair Art Museum, Turtle Back Zoo, Thomas Edison National Historical Park, and Grover Cleveland Birthplace. Essex County is home to part of the Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal, the largest port on the East Coast and the third largest in the United States, and two airports: Newark Liberty International Airport and Essex County Airport.
Essex was originally formed as one of four administrative districts within Province of East Jersey in 1675, together with Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth districts. Essex County was formed within East Jersey on March 7, 1683. The county was named after the English county of Essex. When the provinces of East Jersey and West Jersey were combined in 1702, the county boundaries were retained.
Portions of Essex were taken in 1741 and transferred to Somerset County. In 1837, Passaic County was formed from portions of Essex and Bergen counties. In 1857, Union County was created from parts of Essex County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the county had an area of 129.631 square miles (335.74 km2), including 126.212 square miles (326.89 km2) of land (97.4%) and 3.419 square miles (8.86 km2) of water (2.6%).
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, reaching 660 feet (200 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level, at Newark Bay.
All of Essex County has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) if the -3 °C isotherm is used. If the 0 °C isotherm is used, Cfa only exists in eastern Newark and the rest of the county has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Dfa). 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.
|Newark, New Jersey|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Newark have ranged from a low of 24 °F (−4 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −14 °F (−26 °C) was recorded in February 1934 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1993. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.99 inches (76 mm) in February to 4.76 inches (121 mm) in July. In Roseland, average monthly temperatures range from 29.2 °F in January to 74.6 °F in July. 
|Historical sources: 1790–1990|
* = Lost territory in previous decade.
The 2010 United States census counted 783,969 people, 283,712 households, and 189,236 families in the county. The population density was 6,211.5 per square mile (2,398.3/km2). There were 312,954 housing units at an average density of 2,479.6 per square mile (957.4/km2). The racial makeup was 42.59% (333,868) White, 40.88% (320,479) Black or African American, 0.39% (3,056) Native American, 4.57% (35,789) Asian, 0.04% (286) Pacific Islander, 8.38% (65,687) from other races, and 3.16% (24,804) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 20.30% (159,117) of the population.
Of the 283,712 households, 33.2% had children under the age of 18; 40.1% were married couples living together; 20.6% had a female householder with no husband present and 33.3% were non-families. Of all households, 27.7% were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68 and the average family size was 3.29.
24.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.4 years. For every 100 females, the population had 92.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 88.6 males.
The non-Hispanic white population was 33.2%.
The county has a notable Jewish population, with 76,200 Jewish residents according to the 2002 results of the National Jewish Population Survey.
Based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Essex County had a gross domestic product (GDP) of $52.3 billion in 2018, which was ranked 4th in the state and represented an increase of 1.4% from the previous year.
Essex County is governed by a County Executive and a nine-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who administer all county business. Essex joins Atlantic, Bergen, Hudson and Mercer counties as one of the five of 21 New Jersey counties with an elected executive. The County Executive is elected by a direct vote of the electorate. Nine freeholders are elected to serve three-year concurrent terms of office. Five of the freeholders represent districts; four are elected from the county on an at-large basis. At an annual organization meeting, the freeholders choose a Freeholder President and Vice-President from among its members to serve one-year terms. The executive's term ends on December 31, 2018. The current freeholders are all serving terms that end concurrently on December 31, 2018. In 2016, freeholders were paid $37,249 and the freeholder president was paid an annual salary of $38,211; freeholder salaries were the second-highest in the state, behind Hudson County. the county executive was paid $161,615 in 2015.
As of 2018[update], the Essex County Executive is Democrat Joseph N. DiVincenzo Jr., who is serving his fourth term in office and whose four-year term of office ends December 31, 2018. Essex County's Freeholders, all serving concurrent terms of office ending December 31, 2020, are:
The seat representing District 3 that had been held by Britnee Timberlake became vacant following her resignation as a freeholder in January 2018 to take office in the New Jersey General Assembly to replace Sheila Oliver. The freeholders appointed Janine Bauer in March to fill the vacant seat on an interim basis until the November general election.
Pursuant to Article VII Section II of the New Jersey State Constitution, each county in New Jersey is required to have three elected administrative officials known as "constitutional officers." These officers are the County Clerk and County Surrogate (both elected for five-year terms of office) and the County Sheriff (elected for a three-year term). Essex County's constitutional officers are:
The Acting Essex County Prosecutor is Theodore N. Stephens II, who was appointed as acting prosecutor in September 2018. Stephens previously served as Essex County Surrogate from 2012 until his appointment as Acting Prosecutor. Essex County constitutes Vicinage 5 of the New Jersey Superior Court, which is seated at the Veterans' Courthouse in Newark, which also houses the Criminal Part; civil and probate cases are heard at both the historic Essex County Courthouse and at the Essex County Hall of Records, also in Newark, while family and chancery cases are heard at the Robert N. Wilentz Court Complex, also in Newark, with additional facilities in East Orange. The Assignment Judge for the vicinage is Sallyanne Floria.
|1984||73.4% 219,902||25.4% 76,179|
|1990||61.1% 93,052||37.2% 56,722|
|2002||71.1% 114,624||27.3% 44,072|
|2008||75.0% 198,623||23.3% 61,829|
|2013||77.8% 92,384||21.0% 24,929|
|2014||77.2% 106,472||21.4% 29,527|
|2020||77.8% 260,604||20.8% 69,750|
|1982||60.6% 126,766||38.1% 79,654|
|1988||65.0% 170,591||32.4% 85,169|
|1994||62.7% 107,082||35.5% 60,671|
|2000||68.4% 170,756||29.5% 73,757|
|2006||72.1% 122,751||26.6% 45,266|
|2012||78.8% 213,404||19.6% 53,009|
|2018||76.5% 194,068||21.1% 53,537|
Four federal Congressional Districts cover the county, including portions of the 7th, 8th, 10th and 11th Districts. For the 117th United States Congress. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Tom Malinowski (D, East Amwell Township). For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York). For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne Jr. (D, Newark). For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Mikie Sherrill (D, Montclair).
The 22 municipalities of Essex County are represented by six separate legislative districts.
|26th||Joseph Pennacchio (R)||Christian Barranco (R)
Jay Webber (R)
|Fairfield Township (7,466), North Caldwell (6,615), Verona Township (13,420) and West Caldwell (10,868).|
|27th||Richard Codey (D)||John F. McKeon (D)
Mila Jasey (D)
|Caldwell Borough (7,969), Essex Fells (2,110), Livingston (30,054), Maplewood (25,232),
The remainder of this district covers portions of Morris County.
|28th||Ronald Rice (D)||Ralph R. Caputo (D)
Cleopatra Tucker (D)
|Bloomfield (49,973), Glen Ridge (7,584), Irvington (54,233) and Nutley (28,500) and a portion of Newark (281,054).|
|29th||Teresa Ruiz (D)||Eliana Pintor Marin (D)
Shanique Speight (D)
|Belleville (36,602) and a portion of Newark (281,054)|
|34th||Nia Gill (D)||Thomas P. Giblin (D)||East Orange (67,374), Montclair (38,676) and The City Of Orange (30,658).
The remainder of this district covers a portion of Passaic County.
|40th||Kristin Corrado (R)||Kevin J. Rooney (R)||Cedar Grove (12,549). The remainder of this district covers portions of Bergen County,
Morris County and Passaic County.
|1981||57.9% 129,969||41.1% 92,185|
|1985||31.2% 56,694||67.0% 121,685|
|1989||68.9% 131,835||29.9% 57,206|
|1997||61.2% 120,429||35.3% 69,470|
|2001||71.9% 129,406||27.0% 48,540|
|2005||72.7% 131,312||25.4% 45,789|
|2009||67.2% 122,640||27.5% 50,240|
|2013||61.8% 95,747||37% 57,353|
|2017||79.5% 129,470||18.8% 30,633|
Main article: Politics of Essex County, New Jersey
In presidential elections, the county has long been Democratic and is typically the most Democratic county in the state. It was the only county in the state to be won by Walter Mondale in 1984. 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. In each of the last six elections the Democratic candidate received 69% or more of the county's vote.
As of August 1, 2020, there were a total of 547,263 registered voters in Essex County, of whom 281,782 (51.5%) were registered as Democrats, 54,396 (9.9%) were registered as Republicans and 205,878 (37.6%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5,207 (1%) voters registered to other parties.
Law enforcement at the county level is provided by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office and the Essex County Sheriff's Office. The Essex County Police was completely absorbed by the sheriff's office by 2007. Essex County College and its satellite locations are patrolled by the Essex County College Police Department.
In 2021, the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark ended its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to hold undocumented immigrants, instead entering into a contract with Union County, New Jersey to house their inmates.
Essex County has five public and five private institutions. Another private college closed in 1995.
As of 2010[update], the county had a total of 1,667.98 miles (2,684.35 km) of roadways, of which 1,375.06 miles (2,212.94 km) are maintained by the local municipality, 213.12 miles (342.98 km) by Essex County and 60.68 miles (97.65 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 19.12 miles (30.77 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Essex County is traversed by a number of highways. Three primary interstates and one auxiliary cross the county. This includes two long distance main interstates, one north–south (Interstate 95) from Miami and New Brunswick, Canada signed as the New Jersey Turnpike and one east–west Interstate 80 from San Francisco and Teaneck. East-West Interstate 78 from near Harrisburg and New York City also crosses the county. All of these only have interchanges in one municipality in the county, Newark for I-95 and I-78 and Fairfield for I-80. Interstate 280 passes through the county in a northeast–southwest direction and has exits in Roseland, Livingston, West Orange, Orange, East Orange and Newark, making it one of the most important roads for intracounty travel.
Essex County also has four U.S. Routes that cross it. Route 1/9 are concurrent and a freeway throughout their length in the county. They pass through Newark from Elizabeth in Union County to Kearny in Hudson County. It crosses over the Passaic River on the Pulaski Skyway, which bans trucks, so just before it leaves the county in the north Truck 1/9 splits for the traffic that is not allowed on the bridge. Truck 1/9 is also a freeway its entire length in the county. U.S. Route 22 eastern terminus is in Newark the only municipality it crosses in the county. It is a freeway along it route in Essex County. It connects Newark with points to the east. The last U.S. Route in the county is U.S. Route 46, which passes through Fairfield, where it is a major commercial road that parallels Interstate 80.
The most important state road in the county is the Garden State Parkway which passes north–south through the county, connecting Union Township in the south in Union County to Clifton in the north in Passaic County. It is a toll road, a freeway, and bans trucks of more than 7,000 pounds during its entire length in the county. It has one interchange in Irvington, one in Newark, two in East Orange, and four in Bloomfield. Outside the county, it is the longest road of any kind in the state.
New Jersey Route 7 is a major arterial road in Nutley and Belleville. It has two discontinuous sections. The southern section starts at an overpass for Route 21 and passes over the Belleville Turnpike Bridge into border between Hudson and Bergen counties. The northern section starts at the Newark/Belleville border passes through Belleville and Nutley until in crosses into Clifton.
Other highways in the county include:
There are many buses that operate around the county, with NJ Transit (NJT) headquarters located just behind Newark Penn Station, a transit hub in the eastern part of the county. There are two major bus terminals in the county, Newark Penn Station and the Irvington Bus Terminal. DeCamp Bus Lines, Community Coach, and OurBus operate buses from Essex County to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City. Some of the NJ Transit bus lines follow former streetcar lines.
Essex County has a large rail network, but most of the network is focused at commuting to Newark and New York City. All of the passenger rail lines in the county are electrified, although not all trains that use the lines are electric, because they connect to non-electrified track.
NJ Transit has five lines that make stops in the county. All of them stop at either Newark Penn Station or Newark Broad Street Station. The Northeast Corridor Line from Trenton with connections from Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, Camden, and Princeton has stops at Newark Airport and Newark Penn Stations before continuing to Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station. The North Jersey Coast Line from Bay Head or Long Branch also stops at Newark Airport and Newark Penn Stations before continuing to Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station or Hoboken Terminal. The Raritan Valley Line from High Bridge usually terminates in Newark Penn Station, but mid-day trains continue to New York and one eastbound morning train terminates at Hoboken Terminal.
The Montclair-Boonton Line from Hackettstown or Little Falls has six stations in Montclair, one in Glen Ridge, and two in Bloomfield before reaching Newark Broad Street Station and continuing to Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station or Hoboken Terminal. The Morris and Essex Lines from Hackettstown and Peapack-Gladstone has two stops in Millburn, one in Maplewood, and two each in South Orange, Orange and East Orange before reaching Newark Broad Street and continuing to Secaucus Junction and New York Penn Station or Hoboken Terminal.
The Newark Light Rail is completely contained within the county. It has 17 stations in Newark, Belleville, and Bloomfield and also operates out of Newark Penn Station. It is composed of two lines: the Newark City Subway and the Broad Street Extension.
The Newark City Subway is the only survivor of the many street car lines that once crossed New Jersey, although it no longer uses street cars. It survived in part because it does not include street running, instead following the abandoned Morris Canal right of way before going underground. It has one station in Bloomfield and one in Belleville on the old Orange Branch of the New York & Greenwood Lake Service of the Erie Railroad before entering Newark and turning onto the Morris Canal right of way. From there it follows Branch Brook Park before turning into downtown Newark as a subway. It has nine stops in Newark before terminating in Newark Penn Station.
The Broad Street Extension was built to provide connections between Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street Station and service to the waterfront of Newark. Leaving Penn Station, the line comes up from the subway and runs on streets or at grade for most of its length. It stops at NJPAC/Center Street, Atlantic Street, and Riverfront Stadium before reaching Broad Street Station. From Broad Street it takes a different route stopping at Washington Park and NJPAC/Center Street before arriving at Penn Station.
The PATH also operates out of Newark Penn Station. It has direct service to Harrison, Jersey City, and Lower Manhattan. With a free transfer, the PATH also provides service to Hoboken, as well as Greenwich Village Chelsea, and Midtown Manhattan.
Amtrak has two stations in the county, Newark Penn Station and Newark Airport, both on the Northeast Corridor. Newark Penn Station has service on the only high speed train in the Western Hemisphere, the Acela Express, to Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. Newark Penn Station also offers services on the Cardinal to Chicago; Carolinian to Charlotte; Crescent to New Orleans; Keystone Service to Harrisburg; Palmetto to Charleston; Pennsylvanian to Pittsburgh; Northeast Regional to Newport News, Norfolk, and Lynchburg; Silver Star and Silver Meteor to Miami; and Vermonter to St. Albans all with intermediate stops. Newark Airport is served by Northeast Regional and Keystone Service trains.
Newark Liberty International Airport has a monorail called AirTrain Newark that connects the terminals, four parking areas, and the Newark Liberty International Airport Station on the Northeast Corridor. The monorail is free except for service to and from the train station.
Newark Liberty International Airport is a major commercial airport located in the southeast section of the county in Newark and Elizabeth in Union County. It is one of the New York Metropolitan airports operated by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is a hub for United Airlines. It is also a leading cargo airport and is a hub for FedEx Express and Kalitta Air.
The Essex County Airport in Fairfield is a general aviation airport.
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, just east of the New Jersey Turnpike and Newark Liberty International Airport.
Several important or noteworthy bridges currently or historically exist at least partially in the county. Most of them cross Newark Bay or the Passaic River into Hudson or Bergen counties. The Newark Bay Bridge carries Interstate 78 over Newark Bay from Newark to Bayonne and is currently the most southern bridge crossing the bay. The Upper Bay Bridge, a vertical-lift bridge located just north of the Newark Bay Bridge, carries a freight train line over the bay from Newark to Bayonne.
The PD Draw is an abandoned and partially dismantled railroad bridge across the Passaic River from Newark to Kearny. The Lincoln Highway Passaic River Bridge carries Truck 1/9 across the Passaic River and is currently the southernmost crossing of the river before it reaches the bay. It is a vertical-lift bridge and was the route that the Lincoln Highway used to cross the river. The Pulaski Skyway, the most famous bridge entirely in New Jersey, carries Route 1/9 across the Passaic River, Kearny Point, and the Hackensack River from Newark through Kearny to Jersey City.
The Point-No-Point Bridge is a railroad swing bridge that carries a freight line across the Passaic River between Newark and Kearny. The Jackson Street Bridge is a historic vehicular swing bridge across the Passaic from Newark to Harrison. The Dock Bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places carries four tracks of the Northeast Corridor rail line and two tracks of the PATH on two vertical lift spans from Newark Penn Station to Harrison.
The Center Street Bridge is a former railroad, rapid transit, and road bridge connecting Newark and Harrison. The Bridge Street Bridge is another vehicular swing bridge across the Passaic from Newark to Harrison, as is the Clay Street Bridge, a swing bridge that connects Newark and East Newark.
Municipalities in Essex County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area in square miles) are: Other, unincorporated communities in the county are listed next to their parent municipality. Most of these areas are census-designated places that have been created by the United States Census Bureau for enumeration purposes within a Township. Other communities and enclaves that exist within a municipality are marked as non-CDP next to the name.
|Belleville||15||township||35,926||14,327||3.40||0.06||3.34||10,755.7||4,289.3||Silver Lake CDP, part (3,769)|
|Bloomfield||13||township||47,315||19,470||5.33||0.02||5.30||8,920.5||3,670.7||Brookdale CDP (9,239)|
Silver Lake CDP, part (474)
|Millburn||19||township||20,149||7,106||9.88||0.55||9.32||2,161.3||762.2||Short Hills CDP (13,165)|
|Montclair||12||township||37,669||15,911||6.32||0.01||6.31||5,971.2||2,522.2||Upper Montclair CDP (11,565)|
The municipalities of western Essex County have discussed secession from the county, to create a new county or be annexed to Morris County, spurred mainly by a belief that tax policy benefits the poorer, urban, eastern portions of the county at the expense of the wealthier, more suburban municipalities in the west of the county. From 2001 to 2003, Millburn, Montclair and Roseland all held nonbinding ballot referendums on the issue. Then-Montclair mayor Robert J. Russo gave a statement in 2003 about secession, "I've watched Essex County burden our people, with very little to show for it. We're fiscally conservative here and socially progressive -- and we're finally rebelling."
West Essex Regional School district takes up four towns. Roseland, Essex Fells, North Caldwell, and Fairfield. The district makes up the middle and high school; the elementary schools are in the four separate towns and include grades Pre-K to 6. West Essex Middle School (WEMS) hold grades 7–8, and the high school hold grades 9-12. The other schools districts in Essex County is the same as a regular district. The elementary, middle, and high schools are in the same town.
Essex County was the first county in the United States to have its own parks department. It is called the Essex County Park System.