Somerset County, New Jersey

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





map size = 100
founded = May 14, 1688
seat = Somerville
area_total_sq_mi =305
area_land_sq_mi =305
area_water_sq_mi =0
area percentage = 0.12%
census yr = 2000
pop = 297490
density_km2 =377
web = www.co.somerset.nj.us

Somerset County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of 2000, the population was 297,490. It is part of the New York Metropolitan Area. Its county seat is SomervilleGR|6.

Somerset County is the seventh-wealthiest county in the United States by per capita income and the highest in New Jersey. [ [http://censtats.census.gov/pub/Profiles.shtml Census 2000 Demographic Profiles ] ] Somerset County has the tenth-highest personal per capita income of any U.S. county and the second-highest in New Jersey. [ [http://www.bea.gov/regional/reis/pcpihigh.cfm 250 Highest Per Capita Personal Incomes of the 3111 Counties in the United States, 2006] , Bureau of Economic Analysis. Statistics for year 2006 Accessed May 2, 2008.] The county also ranks sixth in the United States in terms of median income. [Woolsey, Matt. [http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/22/counties-rich-income-forbeslife-cx_mw_0122realestate_slide_7.html?thisSpeed=15000 "Complete List: America's Richest Counties"] , "Forbes", January 22, 2008. Accessed May 2, 2008]

Somerset County was created on May 14, 1688, from portions of Middlesex County."The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 221.]

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 305 square miles (790 km²), of which, 305 square miles (789 km²) of it is land and 0 square miles (1 km²) of it (0.12%) is water.

The high point is on Mine Mountain in Bernardsville, at approximately 860 feet (262 m) above sea level. The lowest point is just above sea level on the Raritan River at the Middlesex County line.

Adjacent counties

*Morris County, New Jersey - north
*Union County, New Jersey - east
*Middlesex County, New Jersey - southeast
*Mercer County, New Jersey - south
*Hunterdon County, New Jersey - west

Demographics

USCensusPop
1790 = 12296
1800 = 12815
1810 = 14725
1820 = 16506
1830 = 17689
1840 = 17455 |1840n=*
1850 = 19692
1860 = 22057
1870 = 23510
1880 = 27162
1890 = 28311
1900 = 32948
1910 = 38820
1920 = 47991
1930 = 65132
1940 = 74390
1950 = 99052
1960 = 143913
1970 = 198372
1980 = 203129
1990 = 240279
2000 = 297490
estimate=324186
estyear=2006
estref= [cite web
url=http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/34/34035.html
title=QuickFacts: Somerset County, New Jersey
publisher=U.S. Census Bureau
accessdate=2007-11-02
]
footnote=* lost territory historical census data source: [cite web
url=http://www.wnjpin.net/OneStopCareerCenter/LaborMarketInformation/lmi01/poptrd5.htm
title=New Jersey Resident Population by County: 1880 - 1930
] [cite web
url=http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/
title=Geostat Center: Historical Census Browser
publisher=University of Virginia Library
accessdate=2007-03-02
]
As of the censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 297,490 people, 108,984 households, and 78,359 families residing in the county. The population density was 976 people per square mile (377/km²). There were 112,023 housing units at an average density of 368 per square mile (142/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.34% White, 7.53% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 8.38% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.74% from other races, and 1.83% from two or more races. 8.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 17.6% were of Italian, 11.4% Irish, 9.3% German and 7.5% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 108,984 households out of which 36.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.60% were married couples living together, 8.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 22.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 5.90% from 18 to 24, 33.80% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $76,933 and the median income for a family was $90,605. Males had a median income of $60,602 versus $41,824 for females. The per capita income for the county was $37,970. The poverty rate is 1.7%, the lowest of any county in the United States with 250,000 or more people. Out of the total population, 3.80% of those under the age of 18 and 4.90% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

History

Somerset County is one of America's oldest counties. The area was first settled in 1681, in the vicinity of Bound Brook, and the county was established by charter on May 22, 1688. Most of the early residents were Dutch. General George Washington and his troops marched through the county on several occasions and slept in many of the homes located throughout the area. Somerset County also played an important part during both World War I and World War II with weapons depots and the manufacturing of the army's woolen blankets.

For much of its history, Somerset County was primarily an agricultural county. In the late 19th century, the Somerset Hills area of Somerset County became a popular country home for wealthy industrialists. The area is still the home of wealthy pharmaceutical industrialists. [Clemence, Sara. [http://www.forbes.com/realestate/2005/03/14/cx_sc_0314how.html "Home of the Week: Peapack Palace"] , "Forbes", March 14, 2005. Accessed May 22, 2008. "It was once the country home of some of the 19th century's wealthiest families, and modern-day residents now include pharmaceuticals and chemicals barons."]

In the 1960s, townships that were once exclusively agricultural were quickly transformed into suburban communities. Examples include Bridgewater Township [ [http://www.bridgewaternj.gov/history.html The History of Bridgewater Township] , Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. Accessed May 22, 2008. "In the early years, Bridgewater was known as a farming town."] and the Watchung Hills communities of Watchung, Green Brook and Warren Township. http://www.warrennj.org/ ""Once described as "the greenest place in New Jersey", Warren Township residents and elected officials are working to keep its rural character and charm while recognizing that there will be growth due to the town's beauty, favorable property taxes and strategic location. Less than 35 miles to Manhattan makes Warren Township a favorite suburb for commuters to New York City."] [http://greenbrooknj.com/main6.htm "As the traffic through the corridor expanded, Green Brook Township developed from a quiet farming community, which it had been for nearly two hundred years, into the suburban community that it is today."] [http://www.watchungnj.com/ Watchung was settled in the early eighteenth century and grew slowly until recent years. In 1960 the population was 3,312 and in 2000 it was 5,613." ] This growth was aided by the development of the county's very strong pharmaceutical and technology presence. Indeed, Warren Township used to be considered "the greenest place in New Jersey." More recently, there has been an influx of New York City commuters who use New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line and Gladstone Branch or use Interstate 78.

Government

Somerset County is governed and managed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders. The board consists of five members elected to three-year terms on a staggered basis, with one or two elected each year. Freeholders elect from among themselves a Director who conducts their meetings. Each Freeholder in Somerset County chairs a standing committee: Human Services, Finance and Administrative Services, Public Works I and Public Works II. The Freeholder Director and County Administrator are ex-officio members of each committee. [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/freeholder.html The Role of County Government: "What Is A Freeholder?"] , Somerset County, New Jersey. Accessed March 30, 2008.]

The Freeholders employ a full-time County Administrator who manages the day-to-day operations of County government. The current County Administrator is Richard E. Williams. [ [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/officers.htm Somerset County Officers of the Board] , accessed January 25, 2007.] The Clerk of the Board of Freeholders oversees the work of their offices. Department heads are appointed in accordance with statute and by resolution of the board. Somerset County currently has approximately 1,331 full-time employees and 278 part-timers in about 40 divisions.

Somerset County's Freeholders are: [ [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/freeholder.html The Role of County Government] , Somerset County. Accessed May 2, 2008.]
*Freeholder Director [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/palmer.html Peter S. Palmer] (Bernardsville, term ends December 31, 2008)
*Freeholder Deputy Director [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/fontana.html Rick Fontana] (Bridgewater Township, 2009)
* [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/ciattarelli.html Jack Ciattarelli] (Hillsborough Township, 2009)
* [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/walsh.html Patricia Walsh] (Green Brook Township, 2010)
* [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us/zaborowski.html Robert Zaborowski] (Franklin Township, 2008)

Other elected officials in Somerset County are Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano, Sr., County Clerk Brett A. Radi and Surrogate Frank Bruno.

All current elected officials in Somerset County are Republicans.

Politics

In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, George W. Bush carried the county by a 4.3% margin over John Kerry, with Kerry carrying the state by 6.7% over Bush. [ [http://www.njvoterinfo.org/2004presNJ.htm New Jersey Presidential Election Returns by County 2004] , Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. Accessed August 31, 2008.]

Legal

In 1999 Nicholas L. Bissell, Jr., the then county prosecutor was charged with embezzlement, tax fraud and abuse of power. He fled to Laughlin, Nevada near Las Vegas, Nevada and took his own life when the federal authorities attempted to arrest him. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=In Prosecutor's Rise and Fall, a Story of Ambition, Deceit and Shame. |url=http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?sec=health&res=9D03EEDA123CF932A35751C1A960958260 |quote=When Nicholas L. Bissell Jr. put a gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger in a $20 room on a neon strip here, it was almost the cliche ending to an ambitious man's rise and fall. An unexceptional child of New Jersey's modest suburbs, he rose to become a feared prosecutor in Somerset County known for his swaggering assault on drug dealers. Loyal followers said he had a magnetic personality. He capitalized on the attention and he craved more. |publisher=New York Times |date=December 1, 1996 |accessdate=2007-06-21 ]

Taxation

based on IRS data for the 2004 tax year, Somerset County had the ninth highest average federal income tax liability per return in the country Average tax liability was $16,502, representing 16.8% of Adjusted Gross Income. [ [http://money.aol.com/cnnmoney/tax/canvas3/_a/biggest-income-tax-burdens-top-10-places/20070214111009990001 Biggest Income Tax Burdens: Top 10 Places] , CNN Money, accessed April 28, 2007.]

Education

Somerset County is home to two colleges:

* Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch (public)
* Somerset Christian College, Zarephath, in Franklin Township (private)

[http://www.scti.org Somerset County Technology Institute] Bridgewater, New Jersey. Somerset County Technology Institute is a public institution providing quality post-secondary (adult) education in the areas of General and Computer Technology, Allied Health, Office Administration, Cosmetology and Commercial Art & Multimedia.

Alma White College, which closed in 1978, was a private college located in Zarephath, located in the building now occupied by Somerset Christian College.

Somerset is also home to [http://www.somerset-hills.org/ Somerset Hills Learning Institute] , a state-of-the-art program dedicated to educating children on the autism spectrum by utilizing the principles of ABA.

Recreation

Somerset County boasts a number of beautiful county parks, including but not limited to: Lord Stirling Park (part of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge), Colonial Park (with a lovely rose garden), Washington Valley Park (with biking and hiking trails), the Sourland Mountain Preserve (hiking and mountain biking trails), and the newest park in development called Raritan River Greenway (which is being developed along the Raritan River in Bridgewater Township). For more information, visit the [http://www.somersetcountyparks.org/ Somerset County Park Commission website] .

The southeastern portion of Somerset County in Franklin Township also hosts the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, which provides hiking, biking and boating opportunities.

Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster is an exclusive golf club owned by celebrity businessman Donald Trump.

Municipalities

The following is a list of the municipalities in Somerset County. Other, unincorporated areas in the county are listed below their parent municipality (or municipalities, as the case may be). 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, historical areas, unincorporated areas, and enclaves that exist within a municipality are marked as non-CDP next to the name.


*Bedminster Township
**Lamington non-CDP
**Pluckemin non-CDP
**Pottersville non-CDP
*Bernards Township
**Basking Ridge non-CDP
**Liberty Corner non-CDP
**Lyons non-CDP
**West Millington non-CDP
*Bernardsville
*Bound Brook
*Branchburg Township
**Neshanic Station non-CDP
**North Branch non-CDP
*Bridgewater Township
**Green Knoll non-CDP
**Finderne non-CDP
**Martinsville non-CDP
**Middlebrook Heights non-CDP
*Far Hills
*Franklin Township
**East Millstone non-CDP
**Franklin Park non-CDP
**Griggstown non-CDP
**Kingston
**Middlebush non-CDP
**Pleasant Plains non-CDP
**Six Mile Run non-CDP
**Somerset
**Weston non-CDP
**Zarephath non-CDP
*Green Brook Township
**Washington Rock non-CDP
*Hillsborough Township
**Belle Mead non-CDP
**Blackwells Mills non-CDP
**Flagtown non-CDP
**Neshanic non-CDP
**South Branch non-CDP
*Manville
*Millstone
*Montgomery Township
**Belle Mead non-CDP
**Blawenburg non-CDP
**Harlingen non-CDP
**Skillman non-CDP
*North Plainfield
*Peapack-Gladstone
**Gladstone non-CDP
*Raritan
*Rocky Hill
*Somerville
*South Bound Brook
*Warren Township
**Mount Bethel non-CDP
*Watchungsee: [http://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/infobank/localsearch.pl New Jersey Local Name Search]

ee also

*Old Dutch Parsonage
*Rockingham
*Meadows Foundation
*Middlebush Giant
*Hall-Mills Murder
*Six-Mile Run Reservoir
*Trump National Golf Club of Bedminster, New Jersey
*Duke Gardens

References

External links

* [http://www.co.somerset.nj.us Somerset County website]
* [http://www.nationalhistoricalregister.com/NJ/somerset/state2.html Somerset County National Historic Places]
* [http://www.somersetcountyparks.org Somerset County Parks Commission]
* [http://www.historicalsocietyofsomersethills.org The Historical Society of the Somerset Hills - Includes Bedminster, Bernardsville, Basking Ridge, Far Hills, Peapack/Gladstone]


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