Worcester County, Massachusetts

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

map size = 225
founded = April 2, 1731
seat = None (formerly Worcester)
County government was abolished in 1998 | area_total_sq_mi = 1579
area_total_km2 = 4090
area_land_sq_mi = 1513
area_land_km2 = 3919
area_water_sq_mi = 66
area_water_km2 = 171
area percentage = 4.18%
census yr = 2000
pop = 750963
density_sq_mi = 496
density_km2 = 192
web =

Worcester County is a non-governmental county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. The largest city and county seat is the city of Worcester.GR|6 The population was 750,963 at the 2000 census.

Law and government

Worcester County exists today only as a historical geographic region. It has had no county government since July 1, 1998, when all former county functions were assumed by other governmental agencies. There are vestiges of the old system: for example, county sheriffs are still elected, but are under the state Executive Office of Public Safety. Also, the office of district attorney is effectively a county-wide position even though the district includes one town from a neighboring county. There is not, however, a county council or a commissioner. Communities are now granted the right to form their own regional compacts for sharing services. The geographic area of Worcester County is covered by two regional planning commissions: Central Massachusetts (centered on the city of Worcester) and Montachusett (centered on the cities of Leominster and Fitchburg).

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 into two, with the Worcester Northern registry placed in Fitchburg.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,579 square miles (4,090 km²), of which, 1,513 square miles (3,919 km²) of it is land and 66 square miles (171 km²) of it (4.18%) is water. The county constitutes Central Massachusetts, separating Western Massachusetts on one side from Eastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area on the other side. It stretches from the northern to the southern border of the state. The geographic center of Massachusetts is in Rutland.

Adjacent counties

*Cheshire County, New Hampshire - north
*Hillsborough County, New Hampshire - north/northeast
*Middlesex County, Massachusetts - east/northeast
*Norfolk County, Massachusetts - east/southeast
*Providence County, Rhode Island - south/southeast
*Windham County, Connecticut - south
*Tolland County, Connecticut - south/southwest
*Hampden County, Massachusetts - west/southwest
*Hampshire County, Massachusetts - west
*Franklin County, Massachusetts - west/northwest

National protected area

* Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (part)


In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705. [ [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFPopulation?_event=ChangeGeoContext&geo_id=05000US25027&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=Worcester&_cityTown=Worcester&_state=04000US25&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&ActiveGeoDiv=&_useEV=&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&_submenuId=population_0&ds_name=null&_ci_nbr=null&qr_name=null&reg=null%3Anull&_keyword=&_industry= Census Worcester County Basic Fact Sheet] ]

As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families residing 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% of the population 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.

There were 283,927 households out of which 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 all households were made up of individuals and 10.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

In the county the population was spread out with 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% who were 65 years of age 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 income for a household in the county was $47,874, and the median income for a family 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.

Cities, towns, and villages*

**"South Ashburnham (a village of Ashburnham)"
**"Stoneville (a village of Auburn)"
**" Morningdale (a village of Boylston)"
**"East Douglas (a village of Douglas)"
*East Brookfield
**Farnumsville (a village of Grafton, also called South Grafton}
**Fisherville (a village of Grafton)
**"North Grafton (a part of Grafton)"
**"Saundersville (a village of Grafton)"
**" Gilbertville (a village of Hardwick)"
**" Hardwick (a village of Hardwick)"
**" Old Furnace (a village of Hardwick)"
**" Wheelwright (a village of Hardwick)"
**"Jefferson (a village of Holden)"
**"Spindleville (a village of Hopedale)"
**"Pitcherville (a village of Hubbardston)"
**"South Lancaster (a village of Lancaster)"
**" Leicester Center (a village of Leicester)
**" Cherry Valley (a village of Leicester)
**" Rochdale (a village of Leicester)
**"Whalom (a village of Lunenburg)"
**"East Millbury (a village of Millbury)"
*New Braintree
*North Brookfield
**"Chapinville (a village of Northborough)"
**"Whitinsville (a village of Northbridge)"
**Linwood (A village of Northbridge and of Uxbridge)
**"Cordaville (a village of Southborough)"
**"Fiskdale (a village of Sturbridge)"
**"West Sutton (a village of Sutton)"
**"Baldwinville (part of Templeton)"
**"West Upton (a village of Upton)"
**North Uxbridge (A village of Uxbridge)
**Linwood (A village of Uxbridge and Northbridge}
**Ironstone (A village of Uxbridge, also known as South Uxbridge)
**Wheelockville (A village of Uxbridge)
*West Boylston
**" Oakdale (a village of West Boylston)
*West Brookfield
*Worcester, county seat*" Villages are census division, but have no separate corporate existence from the towns they are in."


External links

* [http://www.nationalregisterofhistoricplaces.com/MA/Worcester/districts.html National Register of Historic Places listing for Worcester Co., Massachusetts]
* [http://lwvma.org/govcounty.shtml League of Women Voters page on counties] .
* [http://www.sec.state.ma.us/cis/cispdf/ma_city_town.pdf Map of cities and towns of Massachusetts]
* [http://www.worcesterlove.com Video guide to Worcester County (Worcester Love)]

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