Essex County, New Jersey

From Academic Kids

Essex County is a county located in the northeastern part of the state of New Jersey. As of 2000, the population is 793,633, ranking it second in the state after Bergen County. Its county seat is Newark6.

Like many of the counties of Northern New Jersey, the eastern region tends to be poorer and more urbanized, while the western parts, such as Short Hills and North Caldwell are more upper-middle class and upper-class communities.

Essex County is among the most diverse counties in both New Jersey and the country. The county is home to immigrants from hundreds of different nations, and American natives of all ethnic backgrounds and cultures. The county is one of the most Italian counties in America, with nearly 50% of residents in several towns of the West Essex and "Pasta Triangle" (Bloomfield, Belleville, and Nutley) area being of Italian descent. The county also has one of the highest percentages of both blacks and Hispanics in the nation. Though a majority of the county that practices religion is Christian, the county is also among the most Jewish places in the nation, concentrated in the SW Essex towns of Short Hills, Millburn, South Orange, West Orange, Maplewood, and especially Livingston, where the population is reportedly nearly 60% Jewish. Along with the other five or six counties immediately surrounding New York City, Essex County is the main reason why New Jersey is the most ethnically, culturally, and religiously diverse state in the country.

Essex County is also one of the most urban and densely populated counties in the nation, and is the second most urban and second most densely populated county in the state, both after Hudson County. The cities of Newark, East Orange, and Irvington are three of the most densely populated cities in the country and from the late 1960s until at least 1996, Newark was generally considered one the most crime-ridden places to live in the United States. It currently has more gang violence per capita than any city in the country, and has been among the poorest cities in the nation for years. In contrast to the rampant poverty of its cities, the West and Southwest Essex communities of Millburn, North Caldwell, and Essex Fells are three of the hundred wealthiest towns in America and have all been known to be home to famous actors, musicians, corporate heads, and members of the New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. As well, Glen Ridge and Montclair, two other wealthy if more "artsy" communities between the "Pasta Triangle" and West Essex, have some of the largest concentrations of Victorian and early 20th century architecture in the country, and are the darlings of filmakers. South Orange, Millburn, and Maplewood also have historic districts that attract New York transplants.

While many residents commute to New York City, Organon, Anheuser-Busch, Integrated Data Processing Systems, CIT Group, Grainger, Dun & Bradstreet and Prudential have large facilities in Essex County or are headquartered there, and there are numerous factories and large office parks scattered throughout.

Essex County was one of the quickest counties in America to become fully urbanized and was the first county in the country to create a county park system, to ensure that it did not lose all its land to development.

The various towns of the county, especially Newark, the Oranges, and the Caldwells can be seen in every episode of the HBO mob drama The Sopranos, which is set in North Caldwell.

The county is also home to Newark Airport and Newark Seaport.



According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 336 km² (130 mi²). 327 km² (126 mi²) of it is land and 9 km² (3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 2.54% water.

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 Essex Fells, all of which reach at least 660 feet (201 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level, at Newark Bay.


As of the census2 of 2000, there are 793,633 people, 283,736 households, and 193,507 families residing in the county. The population density is 2,427/km² (6,285/mi²). There are 301,011 housing units at an average density of 920/km² (2,384/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 44.46% White, 41.24% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 3.71% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 6.88% from other races, and 3.42% from two or more races. 15.42% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 283,736 households out of which 33.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.30% are married couples living together, 20.40% have a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% are non-families. 26.70% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.60% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.72 and the average family size is 3.30.

In the county the population is spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.50% from 45 to 64, and 11.90% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 35 years. For every 100 females there are 90.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $44,944, and the median income for a family is $54,818. Males have a median income of $41,374 versus $32,052 for females. The per capita income for the county is $24,943. 15.60% of the population and 12.80% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.50% of those under the age of 18 and 12.20% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Cities and towns

In addition to independent towns, there are dozens of neighborhoods in Newark that have the distintinctiveness of towns, but lack the political autonomy. The following neighborhoods have had articles written about them.

There are also various de facto semi-autonomous regions of towns. They include Brookdale (Bloomfield), Seven Oaks (Orange), Newstead (South Orange), Boyden (Maplewood), Washington Park (Maplewood), Upper Montclair (Montclair), Frog Hollow (Montclair), and Short Hills (Millburn). Short Hills and Upper Montclair have separate zip-codes and practically function as more upscale, near-separate towns within towns with their own business districts within Millburn and Montclair, respectively. In other cases, these are more ethnically oriented areas. Newstead is considered a Jewish stronghold within the town of South Orange, Boyden is a mostly Haitian and less-wealthy area of eastern Maplewood bordering on Irvington, Seven Oaks is an affluent African-American enclave and semi-gated community within Orange, and Brookdale is still an exclusively white Italian mixed with some Asian community in northern Bloomfield near Upper Montclair, Nutley, and Clifton that is much more similar to Nutley than the rest of Bloomfield.


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de:Essex County (New Jersey)


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