Morris County was the sixth-wealthiest county in the United States by median household income, and ranked tenth by per capita income. It is the ninth-wealthiest county in the United States by personal per-capita income, the highest rank in New Jersey. The county ranked third in the New York Metropolitan area in terms of median income.
Morris County was created on March 15, 1739, from portions of Hunterdon County. The county was named for the Governor of the Province of New Jersey, Colonel Lewis Morris. In later years Sussex County (on June 8, 1753) and, after the revolution, Warren County (on November 20, 1824, from portions of Sussex County) were carved out of what had been the original area of Morris County under English rule.
The county rises in elevation and relief from east to west, with only the more developed eastern suburbs in the Passaic River valley being relatively level. The highest point is at 1,395 feet (425 m) above sea level in the Mahlon Dickerson Reservation in Jefferson Township; the lowest point is about 140 feet (42.6 m) in elevation, at Two Bridges, the confluence of the Passaic and Pompton rivers.Adjacent counties include:
Morris County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected to three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two or three seats up for election each year. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of six super-departments, more than 30 divisions plus authorities, commissions, boards and study committees. Actual day-to-day operation of departments is supervised by the county administrator.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders has been granted broad powers by the state legislature to regulate almost all county property, finances and affairs. The Freeholder Board's duties include preparing and adopting the county budget; authorizing expenditures and bonds; appointing county officials and members to boards, commissions and authorities; passing on all claims against the county, and supervising the administration of county government.
The Freeholders are the center of legislative and administrative responsibility in Morris County and, as such, perform a dual role. As legislators they draw up and adopt a budget, and in the role of administrators they are responsible for spending the funds they have appropriated. Many of these duties in Morris County have been delegated by the Board of Chosen Freeholders to the county administrator.
As of 2008, Morris County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Margaret Nordstrom, Deputy Freeholder Director Gene F. Feyl, Douglas R. Cabana, William J. Chegwidden, John J. Murphy, James W. Murray and Jack J. Schrier
The Morris Automated Information Network, which supplies Internet service to area libraries, turned down $10,000 per year in federal funding, starting in 2004. Acceptance of the grants would have required the network to install anti-porn content filters to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act. As these filters excluded legitimate information — such as pages with the word "breast" in online searches regarding "breast cancer" — the network declined to accept these grants.
Another organization having the power to affect the county budget without county governmental control is the Morris County Board of Taxation, a.k.a. the Morris County Tax Board. "[T]he freeholders, and county government in general, do not have control over tax board spending.... [T]he tax board is an entity of state government, even though it submits expense vouchers to county government.
As of the census of 2000, there were 470,212 people, 169,711 households, and 124,907 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,003 people per square mile (387/km²). There were 174,379 housing units at an average density of 372 per square mile (144/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 87.20% White, 2.80% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 6.26% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.01% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. 7.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 21.5% were of Italian, 14.5% Irish, 10.6% German, 5.5% Polish and 5.5% English ancestry according to Census 2000.
In 2005 78.5% of Morris County's population was non-Hispanic whites. African Americans constituted 3.1% of the population. 8.0% of the population was Asian. 1.0% of the population reported two or more races. These figures did not include any people in the category "Some other race". Latinos were 9.7% of the population, all except 0.5% of whom classified as white..
In 2000 There were 169,711 households out of which 35.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.80% were married couples living together, 7.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 21.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the county the population was spread out with 24.80% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 31.90% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.
Hispanics constituted a majority of the population in Dover and over a quarter of the people in Morristown; over 18% of Americans in Parsippany-Troy Hills are Asian Americans. There are fairly equal numbers of Irish American and German American residents. The Jewish American community is strong in specific areas, such as Randolph, Rockaway, and Morristown. Lincoln Park (26.7%), Montville (26.8%), East Hanover (41.8%), Pequannock Township (29.2%), and Riverdale (33.5%) have significant Italian American populations, along with other northern and eastern communities, while the rest of the county is more mixed with populations of Irish and German ancestries. Wharton (20.8%), Denville (25.1%), and Mine Hill (23.5%) are Irish American.
The Florham Park-Madison-Convent Station area is also the home of three universities. The College at Florham, a campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University, is located on the border of these three towns. Drew University is a small, private university in Madison. The College of Saint Elizabeth is a private Roman Catholic, four-year, liberal arts women's college located in Convent Station.
The following is a list of the municipalities in Morris 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 and enclaves that exist within a municipality are marked with an asterisk (*) next to the name.