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Worcester County is a county located in the U.S. state of Massachusetts. As of the 2010 census, the population was 798,552, making it the second-most populous county in Massachusetts while also being the largest in area. The estimated population as of July 1, 2019 is 830,622. The largest city and traditional county seat is the city of Worcester.

Worcester County is included in the Worcester, MA-CT Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.

Worcester County was formed from the eastern portion of colonial Hampshire County, the western portion of the original Middlesex County and the extreme western portion of the original Suffolk County. When the government of Worcester County was established on April 2, 1731, Worcester was chosen as its shire town (later known as a county seat). From that date until the dissolution of the county government, it was the only county seat. Because of the size of the county, there were fifteen attempts over 140 years to split the county into two counties, but without success.

Initially, Lancaster was proposed as the seat of the northern county; later, Petersham was proposed once and Fitchburg was proposed repeatedly, most recently in 1903. Perhaps as a concession, in August 1884 the Worcester County Registry of Deeds was split in two, with the Worcester Northern registry placed in Fitchburg.

Geography
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,579 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 1,511 square miles (3,910 km2) is land and 68 square miles (180 km2) (4.3%) is water.

It is the largest county in Massachusetts by area. The county is larger geographically than the entire state of Rhode Island even including Rhode Island's water ocean limit boundaries. The county constitutes Central Massachusetts, separating the Greater Springfield area from the Greater Boston area. It stretches from the northern to the southern border of the state. The geographic center of Massachusetts is in Rutland.

Worcester County is one of two Massachusetts counties that borders three different neighboring states; the other being Berkshire County. They are also the only two counties to touch both the northern and southern state lines.

Adjacent counties
Cheshire County, New Hampshire - north
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire - north/northeast
Middlesex County, Massachusetts - east/northeast
Norfolk County, Massachusetts - east/southeast
Providence County, Rhode Island - south/southeast
Windham County, Connecticut - south
Tolland County, Connecticut - south/southwest
Hampden County, Massachusetts - west/southwest
Hampshire County, Massachusetts - west
Franklin County, Massachusetts - west/northwest
National protected area
Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (part)
Demographics
Historical population
Census Pop. %
1790 56,764
1800 61,192 7.8%
1810 64,910 6.1%
1820 73,625 13.4%
1830 84,355 14.6%
1840 95,313 13.0%
1850 130,789 37.2%
1860 159,659 22.1%
1870 192,716 20.7%
1880 226,897 17.7%
1890 280,787 23.8%
1900 346,958 23.6%
1910 399,657 15.2%
1920 455,135 13.9%
1930 491,242 7.9%
1940 504,470 2.7%
1950 546,401 8.3%
1960 583,228 6.7%
1970 637,969 9.4%
1980 646,352 1.3%
1990 709,705 9.8%
2000 750,963 5.8%
2010 798,552 6.3%
Est. 2019 830,622 4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019
In 1990 Worcester County had a population of 709,705.

2000 census
At the 2000 census there were 750,963 people, 283,927 households, and 192,502 families in the county. The population density was 496 people per square mile (192/km?). There were 298,159 housing units at an average density of 197 per square mile (76/km?). The racial makeup of the county was 89.61% White, 2.73% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 2.62% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 2.93% from other races, and 1.82% from two or more races. 6.77%. were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 15.9% were of Irish, 12.3% Italian, 11.7% French, 8.0% French Canadian, 8.0% English, 5.6% Polish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 85.1% spoke English, 6.1% Spanish and 1.9% French as their first language.

Of the 283,927 households 33.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 11.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.20% were non-families. 26.20% of households were one person and 10.40% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 3.11.

The age distribution was 25.60% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 21.80% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% 65 or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median household income was $47,874 and the median family income was $58,394. Males had a median income of $42,261 versus $30,516 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,983. About 6.80% of families and 9.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.30% of those under age 18 and 9.50% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census
At the 2010 census, there were 798,552 people, 303,080 households, and 202,602 families in the county. The population density was 528.6 inhabitants per square mile (204.1/km2). There were 326,788 housing units at an average density of 216.3 per square mile (83.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 85.6% white, 4.2% black or African American, 4.0% Asian, 0.2% American Indian, 3.6% from other races, and 2.3% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 9.4% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 22.2% were Irish, 15.1% were French as well as 6.7% French Canadians, 14.4% were Italian, 11.7% were English, 7.0% were Polish, 6.9% were German, and 3.2% were American.

Of the 303,080 households, 33.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 33.2% were non-families, and 26.2% of households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.09. The median age was 39.2 years.

The median household income was $64,152 and the median family income was $79,121. Males had a median income of $56,880 versus $42,223 for females. The per capita income for the county was $30,557. About 6.9% of families and 9.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

Demographic breakdown by town
Income
See also: List of Massachusetts locations by per capita income
The ranking of unincorporated communities that are included on the list are reflective of the census designated locations and villages were included as cities or towns. Data is from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

Rank Town Per capita
income Median
household
income Median
family
income Population Number of
households
1 Southborough Town $57,436 $142,520 $161,419 9,671 3,285
2 Bolton Town $52,282 $137,120 $149,120 4,827 1,583
3 Boylston Town $52,129 $91,734 $110,321 4,320 1,676
Cordaville CDP $51,707 $151,836 $175,217 2,558 845
4 Harvard Town $50,971 $142,411 $161,250 6,483 1,822
5 Northborough Town $47,953 $104,420 $122,592 14,180 5,114
6 Westborough Town $46,631 $99,394 $127,052 18,285 6,720
7 Sterling Town $44,089 $102,270 $117,240 7,768 2,811
8 Princeton Town $43,836 $108,319 $123,864 3,412 1,253
9 Sutton Town $43,275 $107,500 $116,288 8,908 3,128
10 Upton Town $43,252 $110,083 $132,703 7,364 2,588
11 Berlin Town $41,503 $94,712 $99,375 2,819 1,029
Sturbridge CDP $41,479 $77,692 $93,167 2,027 860
Westborough CDP $40,901 $71,731 $87,375 3,883 1,590
12 Mendon Town $40,523 $93,245 $108,173 5,787 2,055
13 Hopedale Town $40,422 $98,220 $104,398 5,909 2,275
Barre CDP $39,556 $77,602 $102,650 1,053 418
14 Grafton Town $39,479 $89,950 $109,729 17,472 6,376
Northborough CDP $39,266 $89,033 $108,636 6,226 2,381
Hopedale CDP $38,687 $88,974 $101,280 3,947 1,590
15 Holden Town $38,639 $89,660 $104,928 17,197 6,296
16 Shrewsbury Town $38,223 $88,985 $104,035 35,269 13,095
17 Sturbridge Town $37,480 $79,044 $98,693 9,133 3,655
18 Paxton Town $37,328 $105,072 $106,625 4,767 1,591
Upton CDP $37,247 $92,676 $120,962 2,867 1,099
19 Douglas Town $35,931 $81,000 $97,383 8,342 3,206
20 Lunenburg Town $35,868 $83,265 $95,000 10,034 3,728
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
Lunenburg CDP $34,770 $73,750 $79,750 1,217 470
21 Lancaster Town $34,374 $87,962 $101,196 7,896 2,426
22 Uxbridge Town $34,346 $86,912 $94,830 13,233 4,931
23 Barre Town $33,647 $73,687 $93,250 5,383 2,065
24 Millbury Town $33,467 $77,883 $86,855 13,250 5,166
25 Auburn Town $33,447 $73,559 $87,958 16,183 6,318
26 Charlton Town $33,250 $91,653 $98,789 12,827 4,306
27 Blackstone Town $32,988 $73,586 $87,752 9,028 3,472
South Lancaster CDP $32,942 $70,625 $81,167 1,988 766
28 Ashburnham Town $32,880 $81,842 $98,056 6,033 2,184
29 Hubbardston Town $32,618 $83,333 $95,203 4,341 1,538
30 New Braintree Town $32,568 $88,571 $93,458 1,124 380
31 Milford Town $32,219 $64,860 $80,127 27,925 10,493
32 Royalston Town $32,031 $59,609 $73,125 1,058 455
33 Hardwick Town $31,974 $61,298 $72,458 2,953 1,153
Worcester County County $31,470 $65,772 $81,342 794,981 299,089
34 Westminster Town $31,391 $78,632 $82,596 7,250 2,611
East Brookfield CDP $31,316 $66,339 $84,550 1,270 479
35 Oakham Town $31,237 $79,700 $83,676 1,822 680
36 Rutland Town $30,961 $83,734 $101,486 7,812 2,558
37 Northbridge Town $30,945 $68,981 $87,359 15,475 5,538
Milford CDP $30,678 $60,840 $72,927 25,194 9,494
38 Clinton Town $30,563 $61,796 $77,964 13,614 5,672
39 Leicester Town $30,301 $72,471 $80,288 10,934 3,858
Fiskdale CDP $30,230 $75,655 $89,595 2,907 1,133
40 Oxford Town $30,149 $68,567 $83,161 13,702 5,343
41 North Brookfield Town $30,106 $64,009 $76,690 4,686 1,931
42 West Brookfield Town $29,782 $62,685 $84,868 3,730 1,488
East Douglas CDP $29,760 $73,372 $74,828 2,835 1,146
43 Spencer Town $29,687 $59,420 $77,384 11,715 4,686
44 East Brookfield Town $29,416 $62,350 $82,750 2,058 737
45 Brookfield Town $29,392 $62,390 $77,993 3,363 1,353
46 Millville Town $29,049 $73,426 $84,000 3,154 1,060
West Brookfield CDP $28,704 $56,625 $95,556 1,853 705
47 West Boylston Town $28,547 $73,600 $89,681 7,660 2,308
48 Leominster City $28,445 $58,585 $73,704 40,884 16,095
49 Phillipston Town $28,273 $74,043 $75,234 1,894 648
North Brookfield CDP $28,163 $50,346 $64,181 2,035 912
50 Warren Town $28,112 $51,188 $69,873 5,106 2,067
Oxford CDP $27,990 $67,054 $79,832 6,566 2,418
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
South Ashburnham CDP $27,758 $76,932 $77,386 1,104 345
51 Petersham Town $27,475 $65,781 $81,250 1,263 445
52 Webster Town $27,430 $49,621 $65,204 16,752 7,344
53 Dudley Town $27,319 $72,500 $78,920 11,276 3,780
Whitinsville CDP $27,135 $58,846 $62,314 6,894 2,424
Spencer CDP $27,059 $47,183 $66,932 5,392 2,417
54 Templeton Town $26,891 $70,116 $75,753 7,896 2,846
Baldwinville CDP $26,585 $66,700 $77,061 2,061 750
Clinton CDP $26,256 $54,514 $72,859 7,492 3,032
Rutland CDP $25,987 $62,500 $78,929 2,352 758
55 Winchendon Town $25,845 $58,137 $73,162 10,250 3,743
Warren CDP $25,245 $41,200 $71,722 1,408 564
56 Gardner City $24,974 $48,108 $63,413 20,323 8,037
57 Worcester City $24,544 $45,846 $55,927 180,519 70,248
58 Athol Town $24,384 $50,866 $59,095 11,576 4,551
Webster CDP $24,109 $43,702 $53,145 11,682 5,195
59 Fitchburg City $24,061 $48,064 $55,293 40,286 14,741
60 Southbridge City $21,923 $43,965 $52,577 16,800 6,548
Winchendon CDP $21,914 $36,711 $52,868 3,860 1,638
Athol CDP $21,553 $47,330 $52,139 7,867 3,150
Devens CDP $13,933 $72,986 $73,194 1,704 113
Government and politics
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This article needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information. (May 2016)
County-level state agency heads
Clerk of Courts: Dennis P. McManus (D)
District Attorney: Joe Early Jr. (D)
Register of Deeds: Katie Toomey (D)
Register of Probate: Stephanie Fattman (R)
County Sheriff: Lew Evangelidis (R)
State government
State Representative(s): by community
State Senator(s): by community
Governor's Councilor(s): Jen Caissie (R)
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): by Congressional district
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
Worcester County is one of 8 of the 14 Massachusetts counties, which has had no county government or county commissioners since July 1, 1998, when county functions were assumed by state agencies at local option following a change in state law. The County has an elected county sheriff, county prosecutor, and court officials, administered under the state department of public safety. The state correctional system in the County is known as the Worcester County Jail or "House of Corrections" at West Boylston, and the Worcester County District courts (state administered) are housed at Worcester, Fitchburg and other district courts within county boundaries. The Worcester County district attorney is a county-wide position even though the district includes one town from a neighboring county. In Massachusetts, Sheriffs have more limited roles than most states and are responsible for corrections, court service and bailiffs and jail release programs. County Sheriffs in Massachusetts are elected to six-year terms. The Worcester County Sheriff is Lewis Evangelidis, (R), and the Worcester County District Attorney is Joseph Early (D).(see the info-box at lower right for elected officials at county level). The Worcester County 4 H fair is in its 63rd year in 2014 with the fairgrounds at Spencer. Worcester County has one commercial airport at Worcester. The Worcester County Conservation District has countywide boundaries. The County has a regional planning commission.

Massachusetts law allows regional compacts, traditional counties and other governmental entities. Traditional County governments in the state include: Norfolk, Bristol, Dukes, Nantucket, and Plymouth Counties. Barnstable County, which is Cape Cod, functions as a modern regional county government. Suffolk County which is mainly Boston is under the Boston City Council. The Massachusetts General Laws describe this relationship of county government and the options for abolishing county governments and/or chartering regional governmental compacts in subchapter 34 B. Four other new county compacts have been created by the state legislature and these are in Hampshire, Franklin, Barnstable Counties, and a regional planning council level for Berkshire County. Thus 9 of 14 Counties have some form of county regional governments. Worcester County could exercise that option if it chooses for example, for public safety and, or preparedness due to its rather large geography, by a request to and a special act of the legislature, by local referendum or by one of three mechanisms. See the references for the state statute, and the League of Women Voters link.

Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018
Party Number of voters Percentage
Democratic 142,910 26.10%
Republican 66,689 12.18%
Unenrolled 329,232 60.12%
Minor Parties 2,231 0.41%
Total 547,585 100%
Presidential elections results
Communities
Cities
Fitchburg
Gardner
Leominster
Southbridge
Worcester (traditional county seat)
Towns
Ashburnham
Athol
Auburn
Barre
Berlin
Blackstone
Bolton
Boylston
Brookfield
Charlton
Clinton
Douglas
Dudley
East Brookfield
Grafton
Hardwick
Harvard
Holden
Hopedale
Hubbardston
Lancaster
Leicester
Lunenburg
Mendon
Milford
Millbury
Millville
New Braintree
North Brookfield
Northborough
Northbridge
Oakham
Oxford
Paxton
Petersham
Phillipston
Princeton
Royalston
Rutland
Shrewsbury
Southborough
Spencer
Sterling
Sturbridge
Sutton
Templeton
Upton
Uxbridge
Warren
Webster
West Boylston
West Brookfield
Westborough
Westminster
Winchendon
Census-designated places
Athol
Baldwinville
Barre
Brookfield
Clinton
Cordaville
Devens
East Brookfield
East Douglas
Fiskdale
Hopedale
Lunenburg
Milford
North Brookfield
Northborough
Oxford
Petersham
Rutland
South Ashburnham
South Lancaster
Spencer
Sturbridge
Upton
Warren
Webster
West Brookfield
Westborough
Whitinsville
Winchendon
Other unincorporated communities
Chapinville
Cherry Valley
East Millbury
East Princeton
Farnumsville (also called South Grafton)
Fisherville
Gilbertville
Hardwick
Ironstone (also known as South Uxbridge)
Jefferson
Leicester Center
Linwood
Manchuag
Morningdale
North Grafton
North Uxbridge
Oakdale
Old Furnace
Otter River
Pitcherville
Rochdale
Rockdale
Saundersville
Spindleville
Still River
Stoneville
Union Chapel
Upton-West Upton
West Sutton
Whalom
Wheelockville
Wheelwright
Winchendon Springs
Ghost town
Dana
Notable people
Louisa May Alcott, novelist, daughter of Amos Alcott
Johnny Appleseed, real name Jonathan Chapman
Mike Barnicle, newspaper writer
Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
Michael Beasley, NBA player, high school All-American; attended Notre Dame Preparatory School
Robert Benchley, writer, theater critic, actor, humorist, and member of the Algonquin Round Table
H. Jon Benjamin, actor and comedian
Ezra T. Benson, Mormon pioneer, missionary, Quorum of Twelve, and Utah territorial legislator
Ken Bouchard and Ron Bouchard, NASCAR drivers
Luther Burbank, horticulturalist; developed russet potato used in French fries by McDonald's
William Cullen Bryant, poet, journalist and editor of the New York Evening Post
Effingham Capron, woolen and cotton mill scion who liberated slaves from the 1830s; led local, state and US anti slavery societies
George M. Cohan, entertainer, playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, dancer, director
Robert Cormier, novelist and columnist
Ron Darling, professional baseball pitcher, World Series player; local St. Johns High School star from Millbury, born in Honolulu
Dorothea Dix, social reformer; activist
Ralph Earl, famous portrait painter, artist of early America
Fannie Farmer, cookbook author
Abby Kelley Foster, radical abolitionist, women's suffrage
Robert H. Goddard, father of American rocketry
Ryan Gomes, NBA player; attended Notre Dame Preparatory School
Gabby Hartnett, greatest baseball catcher before Johnny Bench
Abbie Hoffman, activist
Elias Howe, invented the sewing machine
Elliott P. Joslin, pioneer diabetes researcher and clinician; founded Joslin Clinic
Walker Lewis, black abolitionist, Masonic Grand Master of African Grand Lodge #1, Mormon elder
Connie Mack, baseball great and long-time baseball manager
Nora Marlowe, character actress; best known for role on The Waltons
Agnes Moorehead, actress
William T. G. Morton, contributor to modern anaesthesia
Francis Patrick O'Connor, associate justice on Massachusetts Supreme Court
Frank O'Hara, avant-garde poet and playwright
Jeannine Oppewall, Hollywood producer, film art, four Academy Award nominations including Bridges of Madison County
Joe Perry, songwriter and guitarist with Aerosmith; he was from Hopedale, and played his first gig at Mendon
Amos Singletary, Anti-Federalist mill operator, justice for the peace, and state representative
Brian Skerry, underwater photographer for National Geographic
Steve Spagnuolo, former head coach of the St. Louis Rams, currently the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants
Lysander Spooner, pamphleteer, lawyer, abolitionist and political theorist
Lucy Stone, famous suffragette, women's rights advocate, abolitionist, public speaker, first woman college grad in Massachusetts; first woman to retain her own name after marriage
Lydia Chapin Taft, America's first woman voter; first colonial woman who voted legally in America
Earl Tupper, a New Hampshire native, who pioneered Tupperware in Farnumsville, South Grafton, in the 1940s
Hiram Walker, distillery founder
Artemas Ward, major general of the American Revolution; the first Supreme Allied Commander of the Continental Army
Daniel B. Wesson, co-founder of Smith & Wesson, a major firearm manufacturer
Eli Whitney, invented the cotton gin
Scott Young, NHL professional hockey player, two-time Stanley Cup champion, United States Olympian; attended St. Mark's and Boston University
Geoffrey Zakarian, Iron Chef and restaurateur
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