The terms, which are used interchangeably, are usually understood to refer to the area economically tied with the small cities of Gardner, Fitchburg and Leominster. The "North County" label -- the county referred to is Worcester County -- is often used to emphasize the area's distance and separate political identity from the county seat at Worcester.
The region is sometimes defined as including Fitchburg suburbs in the northwestern corner of Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The region's leading daily newspaper, the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester, publishes a "North County" daily edition and Montachusett T&G semiweekly insert, both of which cover most of the areas usually considered parts of the North County and Montachusett regions.
Montachusett-North County towns include (towns in Middlesex County marked with *):