Worcester County
Worcester County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Massachusetts
Massachusetts's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°21′N 71°55′W / 42.35°N 71.91°W / 42.35; -71.91
Country United States
State Massachusetts
FoundedApril 2, 1731
SeatWorcester
Largest cityWorcester
Area
 • Total1,579 sq mi (4,090 km2)
 • Land1,511 sq mi (3,910 km2)
 • Water68 sq mi (180 km2)  4.3%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2019)
862,111
 • Density570.7/sq mi (220.3/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th
Mount Wachusett, the highest point in Worcester County
Mount Wachusett, the highest point in Worcester County

Worcester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2020 census, the population was 798,552, making it the second-most populous county in Massachusetts while also being the largest in area. The largest city and traditional shire town is the city of Worcester.[1]

Worcester County is included in the Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.

History

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Worcester County was formed from the eastern portion of colonial Hampshire County, the western portion of the original Middlesex County and the extreme western portion of the original Suffolk County. When the government of Worcester County was established on April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as its shire town (later known as a county seat). From that date until the dissolution of the county government, it was the only county seat. Because of the size of the county, there were fifteen attempts over 140 years to split the county into two counties, but without success.

Initially, Lancaster was proposed as the seat of the northern county; later, Petersham was proposed once and Fitchburg was proposed repeatedly, most recently in 1903. Perhaps as a concession, in August 1884 the Worcester County Registry of Deeds was split in two, with the Worcester Northern registry placed in Fitchburg.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,579 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 1,511 square miles (3,910 km2) is land and 68 square miles (180 km2) (4.3%) is water.[2]

It is the largest county in Massachusetts by area. The county is larger geographically than the entire state of Rhode Island even including Rhode Island's water ocean limit boundaries. The county constitutes Central Massachusetts, separating the Greater Springfield area from the Greater Boston area. It stretches from the northern to the southern border of the state. The geographic center of Massachusetts is in Rutland.[citation needed]

Worcester County is one of two Massachusetts counties that borders three different neighboring states; the other being Berkshire County. They are also the only two counties to touch both the northern and southern state lines.[citation needed]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
179056,764
180061,1927.8%
181064,9106.1%
182073,62513.4%
183084,35514.6%
184095,31313.0%
1850130,78937.2%
1860159,65922.1%
1870192,71620.7%
1880226,89717.7%
1890280,78723.8%
1900346,95823.6%
1910399,65715.2%
1920455,13513.9%
1930491,2427.9%
1940504,4702.7%
1950546,4018.3%
1960583,2286.7%
1970637,9699.4%
1980646,3521.3%
1990709,7059.8%
2000750,9635.8%
2010798,5526.3%
2020862,1118.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[3]
1790-1960[4] 1900-1990[5]
1990-2000[6] 2010[7] 2020[8]

In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705.[9]

2000 census

At the 2000 census there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km2). There were 298,159 housing units at an average density of 197 per square mile (76/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.61% White, 2.73% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.62% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.93% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 6.77%.[10] were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.9% were of Irish, 12.3% Italian, 11.7% French, 8.0% French Canadian, 8.0% English, 5.6% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.1% spoke English, 6.1% Spanish and 1.9% French as their first language.

Of the 283,927 households 33.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 26.20% of households were one person and 10.40% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

The age distribution was 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median household income was $47,874 and the median family income was $58,394. Males had a median income of $42,261 versus $30,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,983. About 6.80% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

At the 2010 census, there were 798,552 people, 303,080 households, and 202,602 families in the county.[11] The population density was 528.6 inhabitants per square mile (204.1/km2). There were 326,788 housing units at an average density of 216.3 per square mile (83.5/km2).[12] The racial makeup of the county was 85.6% white, 4.2% black or African American, 4.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 3.6% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.4% of the population.[11] In terms of ancestry, 22.2% were Irish, 15.1% were French as well as 6.7% French Canadians, 14.4% were Italian, 11.7% were English, 7.0% were Polish, 6.9% were German, and 3.2% were American.[13]

Of the 303,080 households, 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 26.2% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09. The median age was 39.2 years.[11]

The median household income was $64,152 and the median family income was $79,121. Males had a median income of $56,880 versus $42,223 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,557. About 6.9% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.[14]

Demographic breakdown by town

Income

See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income

The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective of the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.[15][16][17]

Rank Town Per capita
income
Median
household
income
Median
family
income
Population Number of
households
1 Southborough Town $57,436 $142,520 $161,419 9,671 3,285
2 Bolton Town $52,282 $137,120 $149,120 4,827 1,583
3 Boylston Town $52,129 $91,734 $110,321 4,320 1,676
Cordaville CDP $51,707 $151,836 $175,217 2,558 845
4 Harvard Town $50,971 $142,411 $161,250 6,483 1,822
5 Northborough Town $47,953 $104,420 $122,592 14,180 5,114
6 Westborough Town $46,631 $99,394 $127,052 18,285 6,720
7 Sterling Town $44,089 $102,270 $117,240 7,768 2,811
8 Princeton Town $43,836 $108,319 $123,864 3,412 1,253
9 Sutton Town $43,275 $107,500 $116,288 8,908 3,128
10 Upton Town $43,252 $110,083 $132,703 7,364 2,588
11 Berlin Town $41,503 $94,712 $99,375 2,819 1,029
Sturbridge CDP $41,479 $77,692 $93,167 2,027 860
Westborough CDP $40,901 $71,731 $87,375 3,883 1,590
12 Mendon Town $40,523 $93,245 $108,173 5,787 2,055
13 Hopedale Town $40,422 $98,220 $104,398 5,909 2,275
Barre CDP $39,556 $77,602 $102,650 1,053 418
14 Grafton Town $39,479 $89,950 $109,729 17,472 6,376
Northborough CDP $39,266 $89,033 $108,636 6,226 2,381
Hopedale CDP $38,687 $88,974 $101,280 3,947 1,590
15 Holden Town $38,639 $89,660 $104,928 17,197 6,296
16 Shrewsbury Town $38,223 $88,985 $104,035 35,269 13,095
17 Sturbridge Town $37,480 $79,044 $98,693 9,133 3,655
18 Paxton Town $37,328 $105,072 $106,625 4,767 1,591
Upton CDP $37,247 $92,676 $120,962 2,867 1,099
19 Douglas Town $35,931 $81,000 $97,383 8,342 3,206
20 Lunenburg Town $35,868 $83,265 $95,000 10,034 3,728
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
Lunenburg CDP $34,770 $73,750 $79,750 1,217 470
21 Lancaster Town $34,374 $87,962 $101,196 7,896 2,426
22 Uxbridge Town $34,346 $86,912 $94,830 13,233 4,931
23 Barre Town $33,647 $73,687 $93,250 5,383 2,065
24 Millbury Town $33,467 $77,883 $86,855 13,250 5,166
25 Auburn Town $33,447 $73,559 $87,958 16,183 6,318
26 Charlton Town $33,250 $91,653 $98,789 12,827 4,306
27 Blackstone Town $32,988 $73,586 $87,752 9,028 3,472
South Lancaster CDP $32,942 $70,625 $81,167 1,988 766
28 Ashburnham Town $32,880 $81,842 $98,056 6,033 2,184
29 Hubbardston Town $32,618 $83,333 $95,203 4,341 1,538
30 New Braintree Town $32,568 $88,571 $93,458 1,124 380
31 Milford Town $32,219 $64,860 $80,127 27,925 10,493
32 Royalston Town $32,031 $59,609 $73,125 1,058 455
33 Hardwick Town $31,974 $61,298 $72,458 2,953 1,153
Worcester County County $31,470 $65,772 $81,342 794,981 299,089
34 Westminster Town $31,391 $78,632 $82,596 7,250 2,611
East Brookfield CDP $31,316 $66,339 $84,550 1,270 479
35 Oakham Town $31,237 $79,700 $83,676 1,822 680
36 Rutland Town $30,961 $83,734 $101,486 7,812 2,558
37 Northbridge Town $30,945 $68,981 $87,359 15,475 5,538
Milford CDP $30,678 $60,840 $72,927 25,194 9,494
38 Clinton Town $30,563 $61,796 $77,964 13,614 5,672
39 Leicester Town $30,301 $72,471 $80,288 10,934 3,858
Fiskdale CDP $30,230 $75,655 $89,595 2,907 1,133
40 Oxford Town $30,149 $68,567 $83,161 13,702 5,343
41 North Brookfield Town $30,106 $64,009 $76,690 4,686 1,931
42 West Brookfield Town $29,782 $62,685 $84,868 3,730 1,488
East Douglas CDP $29,760 $73,372 $74,828 2,835 1,146
43 Spencer Town $29,687 $59,420 $77,384 11,715 4,686
44 East Brookfield Town $29,416 $62,350 $82,750 2,058 737
45 Brookfield Town $29,392 $62,390 $77,993 3,363 1,353
46 Millville Town $29,049 $73,426 $84,000 3,154 1,060
West Brookfield CDP $28,704 $56,625 $95,556 1,853 705
47 West Boylston Town $28,547 $73,600 $89,681 7,660 2,308
48 Leominster City $28,445 $58,585 $73,704 40,884 16,095
49 Phillipston Town $28,273 $74,043 $75,234 1,894 648
North Brookfield CDP $28,163 $50,346 $64,181 2,035 912
50 Warren Town $28,112 $51,188 $69,873 5,106 2,067
Oxford CDP $27,990 $67,054 $79,832 6,566 2,418
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
South Ashburnham CDP $27,758 $76,932 $77,386 1,104 345
51 Petersham Town $27,475 $65,781 $81,250 1,263 445
52 Webster Town $27,430 $49,621 $65,204 16,752 7,344
53 Dudley Town $27,319 $72,500 $78,920 11,276 3,780
Whitinsville CDP $27,135 $58,846 $62,314 6,894 2,424
Spencer CDP $27,059 $47,183 $66,932 5,392 2,417
54 Templeton Town $26,891 $70,116 $75,753 7,896 2,846
Baldwinville CDP $26,585 $66,700 $77,061 2,061 750
Clinton CDP $26,256 $54,514 $72,859 7,492 3,032
Rutland CDP $25,987 $62,500 $78,929 2,352 758
55 Winchendon Town $25,845 $58,137 $73,162 10,250 3,743
Warren CDP $25,245 $41,200 $71,722 1,408 564
56 Gardner City $24,974 $48,108 $63,413 20,323 8,037
57 Worcester City $24,544 $45,846 $55,927 180,519 70,248
58 Athol Town $24,384 $50,866 $59,095 11,576 4,551
Webster CDP $24,109 $43,702 $53,145 11,682 5,195
59 Fitchburg City $24,061 $48,064 $55,293 40,286 14,741
60 Southbridge City $21,923 $43,965 $52,577 16,800 6,548
Winchendon CDP $21,914 $36,711 $52,868 3,860 1,638
Athol CDP $21,553 $47,330 $52,139 7,867 3,150
Devens CDP $13,933 $72,986 $73,194 1,704 113

Government and politics

This article needs to be updated. Please help update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2016)
County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): by community
State Senator(s): by community
Governor's Councilor(s): Mary Hurley (D)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): by Congressional district
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)

Worcester County is one of 8[18] of the 14 Massachusetts counties, which has had no county government or county commissioners since July 1, 1998, when county functions were assumed by state agencies at local option following a change in state law.[19] The county has an elected county sheriff, county prosecutor, and court officials, administered under the state department of public safety. The state correctional system in the county is known as the Worcester County Jail or "House of Corrections" at West Boylston, and the Worcester County District courts (state administered) are housed at Worcester, Fitchburg and other district courts within county boundaries.[19] The Worcester County district attorney is a county-wide position even though the district includes one town from a neighboring county. In Massachusetts, Sheriffs have more limited roles than most states and are responsible for corrections, court service and bailiffs and jail release programs.[19] County Sheriffs in Massachusetts are elected to six-year terms.[19] The Worcester County Sheriff is Lewis Evangelidis, (R), and the Worcester County District Attorney is Joseph Early (D).(see the info-box at lower right for elected officials at county level). The Worcester County 4 H fair is in its 63rd year in 2014 with the fairgrounds at Spencer. Worcester County has one commercial airport at Worcester. The Worcester County Conservation District has countywide boundaries.[20] The county has a regional planning commission.

Massachusetts law allows regional compacts, traditional counties and other governmental entities.[19] Traditional County governments in the state include: Norfolk, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties. Barnstable County, which is Cape Cod, functions as a modern regional county government. Suffolk County which is mainly Boston is under the Boston City Council. The Massachusetts General Laws describe this relationship of county government and the options for abolishing county governments and/or chartering regional governmental compacts in subchapter 34 B.[19] Four other new county compacts have been created by the state legislature and these are in Hampshire, Franklin, Barnstable Counties, and a regional planning council level for Berkshire County. Thus 9 of 14 Counties have some form of county regional governments. Worcester County could exercise that option if it chooses for example, for public safety and, or preparedness due to its rather large geography, by a request to and a special act of the legislature, by local referendum or by one of three mechanisms. See the references for the state statute, and the League of Women Voters link.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018[21]
Party Number of voters Percentage
Democratic 142,910 26.10%
Republican 66,689 12.18%
Unenrolled 329,232 60.12%
Minor Parties 2,231 0.41%
Total 547,585 100%

Worcester County like all of Massachusetts is a Democratic stronghold in presidential elections.

United States presidential election results for Worcester County, Massachusetts[22]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 171,683 39.74% 248,773 57.58% 11,558 2.68%
2016 157,682 40.44% 198,778 50.98% 33,491 8.59%
2012 163,390 44.27% 198,244 53.71% 7,478 2.03%
2008 152,101 41.83% 202,107 55.59% 9,386 2.58%
2004 144,094 42.30% 192,142 56.41% 4,400 1.29%
2000 114,139 36.80% 173,769 56.03% 22,240 7.17%
1996 87,021 29.84% 169,892 58.26% 34,704 11.90%
1992 101,984 32.30% 138,122 43.74% 75,676 23.96%
1988 148,365 50.59% 141,485 48.25% 3,406 1.16%
1984 156,060 56.45% 119,498 43.23% 882 0.32%
1980 120,100 43.11% 117,326 42.12% 41,135 14.77%
1976 105,217 36.89% 172,320 60.41% 7,708 2.70%
1972 127,560 46.70% 144,139 52.77% 1,428 0.52%
1968 88,354 33.32% 168,437 63.52% 8,388 3.16%
1964 61,388 22.60% 209,383 77.08% 860 0.32%
1960 112,730 39.37% 173,103 60.46% 500 0.17%
1956 163,401 60.10% 107,889 39.68% 580 0.21%
1952 146,094 53.00% 128,898 46.76% 645 0.23%
1948 106,757 43.62% 133,823 54.68% 4,177 1.71%
1944 98,414 44.28% 123,440 55.54% 404 0.18%
1940 100,468 42.92% 132,541 56.62% 1,099 0.47%
1936 85,316 40.48% 114,136 54.15% 11,312 5.37%
1932 88,535 49.08% 87,586 48.55% 4,281 2.37%
1928 94,290 52.09% 85,675 47.33% 1,045 0.58%
1924 89,679 67.14% 31,171 23.34% 12,726 9.53%
1920 81,241 68.63% 34,667 29.29% 2,464 2.08%
1916 32,541 52.76% 27,540 44.65% 1,599 2.59%
1912 24,719 42.06% 17,565 29.88% 16,492 28.06%
1908 34,394 62.06% 16,803 30.32% 4,228 7.63%
1904 34,124 63.83% 17,037 31.87% 2,300 4.30%
1900 32,412 62.84% 17,148 33.24% 2,022 3.92%
1896 35,579 73.37% 10,855 22.38% 2,059 4.25%
1892 27,130 54.84% 20,797 42.04% 1,544 3.12%
1888 25,005 56.27% 17,930 40.35% 1,502 3.38%
1884 21,661 55.32% 12,712 32.47% 4,783 12.22%
1880 23,040 63.17% 12,852 35.24% 583 1.60%
1876 22,054 60.43% 14,319 39.23% 123 0.34%


Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable people

See also

References

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  2. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on September 14, 2014. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  3. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  4. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  6. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  7. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
  8. ^ "2020 Census Demographic Data Map Viewer". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2021.
  9. ^ "Census Worcester County Basic Fact Sheet". Archived from the original on 2008-04-30. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  10. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  11. ^ a b c "DP-1 Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  12. ^ "Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  13. ^ "DP02 SELECTED SOCIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN THE UNITED STATES – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  14. ^ "DP03 SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS – 2006-2010 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-13. Retrieved 2016-01-12.
  15. ^ "SELECTED ECONOMIC CHARACTERISTICS 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  16. ^ "ACS DEMOGRAPHIC AND HOUSING ESTIMATES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  17. ^ "HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2020-02-12. Retrieved 2013-01-26.
  18. ^ "General Laws of Massachusetts, Chapter 34B. Abolition of County Government". Massachusetts General Court. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Mass. Gen. L. c. 34B
  20. ^ Worcester County Conservation District
  21. ^ "Registration and Party Enrollment Statistics as of October 17, 2018" (PDF). Massachusetts Elections Division. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  22. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-08-27.
  23. ^ Dempsey, James (March 4, 1992). "Many Changes Since Tupper Started Ware". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. Retrieved August 11, 2011.

Further reading

Coordinates: 42°21′N 71°55′W / 42.35°N 71.91°W / 42.35; -71.91

Wikisource has the text of an 1879 American Cyclopædia article about Worcester County, Massachusetts.