Pluckemin, New Jersey

Somerset County, New Jersey

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 Somerville.

Somerset County is the seventh-wealthiest county in the United States by per capita income and the highest in New Jersey. Somerset County has the tenth-highest personal per capita income of any U.S. county and the second-highest in New Jersey. The county also ranks sixth in the United States in terms of median income.

Somerset County was created on May 14, 1688, from portions of Middlesex County.

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

Demographics

As of the census 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.

In the 1960s, townships that were once exclusively agricultural were quickly transformed into suburban communities. Examples include Bridgewater Township and the Watchung Hills communities of Watchung, Green Brook and Warren Township. 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.

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. 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:

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.

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.

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.

Education

Somerset County is home to two colleges:

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 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 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.

see: New Jersey Local Name Search

See also

References

External links

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