Massachusetts Counties
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Massachusetts Counties

Massachusetts consists of the fourteen counties. Massachusetts has abolished seven of its fourteen county governments, leaving five Counties with county-level local government (Barnstable, Bristol, Dukes, Norfolk, Plymouth) and two, Nantucket County and Suffolk County, with combined county/city government. The oldest counties still in Massachusetts are Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County, created in 1643 with the original Norfolk County which was absorbed by New Hampshire and bears no relation to the modern Norfolk County.

Essex County, Massachusetts

Essex County Education, Geography, and HistoryEssex County, Massachusetts Courthouse

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the state of Massachusetts. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 743,159, making it the third-most populous county in Massachusetts.

Essex County is included in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Prior to the dissolution of the county government in 1999, it had two county seats: Salem, with jurisdiction over the Southern Essex District, and Lawrence, with jurisdiction over the Northern Essex District, and the largest city is Lynn. The county and the districts remain as administrative regions recognized by various agencies of the governmental substructure, which gathered vital statistics or disposed of judicial case loads under these geographic subdivisions, and are required to keep the records based on them. Salem and Lawrence are no longer county seats of government. However, the county subdivision has been utilized by some agencies.

Etymology - Origin of Essex County Name

For the English county of Essex


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Essex County History

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 sheires". Essex initially contained Salem, Lynn, Wenham, Ipswich, Rowley, Newbury, Gloucester, and Andover.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 829 square miles (2,146 km2), of which, 501 square miles (1,297 km2) of it is land and 328 square miles (849 km2) of it (39.57%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • North: Rockingham County, N.H.
  • East: North Atlantic Ocean
  • South: Suffolk County
  • Southwest: Middlesex County
  • Northwest: Hillsborough County, N.H.


Higher education

Endicott College
Gordon College (Massachusetts)
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Marian Court College
Massachusetts School of Law
Merrimack College
Montserrat College of Art
North Shore Community College
Northern Essex Community College
Northpoint Bible College
Salem State University

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County Resources
US Counties
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