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Middlesex County is a county in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in the United States. As of 2019, the estimated population was 1,611,699, making it the 22nd most populous county in the United States, and the most populous county in both Massachusetts and New England. Middlesex County is one of two U.S. counties (along with Santa Clara County, CA) to be amongst the top 25 counties with the highest household income and the 25 most populated counties. As part of the 2010 national census, the Commonwealth's mean center of population for that year was geo-centered in Middlesex County, in the town of Natick at (42.272291°N 71.363370°W). (This is not to be confused with the geographic center of Massachusetts, which is in Rutland, in neighboring Worcester County.) Middlesex County is included in the Census Bureau's Boston–Cambridge–Newton, MA–NH Metropolitan Statistical Area.

On July 11, 1997, the Massachusetts legislature voted to abolish the executive government of Middlesex County due primarily to the county's insolvency. Though Middlesex County continues to exist as a geographic boundary it is used primarily as district jurisdictions within the court system and for other administrative purposes, such as an indicator for elections. The National Weather Service weather alerts (such as severe thunderstorm warning) continue issuances based upon Massachusetts's counties.

History
The county was created by the Massachusetts General Court on May 10, 1643, when it was ordered that "the whole plantation within this jurisdiction be divided into four shires." Middlesex initially contained Charlestown, Cambridge, Watertown, Sudbury, Concord, Woburn, Medford, Wayland, and Reading. In 1649 the first Middlesex County Registry of Deeds was created in Cambridge.

On April 19, 1775, Middlesex was site of the first armed conflict of the American Revolutionary War.

In 1855, the Massachusetts State Legislature created a minor Registry of Deeds for the Northern District of Middlesex County in Lowell.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Boston annexed several of its adjacent cities and towns including Charlestown and Brighton from Middlesex County, resulting in an enlargement and accretion toward Suffolk County.

Beginning prior to dissolution of the executive county government, the county comprised two regions with separate county seats for administrative purposes:

The Middlesex-North District (smaller) with its county seat in Lowell under the Registry of Deeds consisted of the city of Lowell, and its adjacent towns of Billerica, Carlisle, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, Westford and Wilmington.
The Middlesex-South District (larger) with the county seat in Cambridge consisted of the remaining 44 cities and towns of Middlesex County.
Since the start of the 21st century much of the current and former county offices have physically decentralized from the Cambridge seat, with the sole exceptions being the Registry of Deeds and the Middlesex Probate and Family Court, which both retain locations in Cambridge and Lowell. Since the first quarter of 2008, the Superior Courthouse has been seated in the city of Woburn; the Sheriff's Office is now administratively seated in the city of Medford and the Cambridge-based County Jail has since been amalgamated with another county jail facility in Billerica. The Cambridge District Court (which has jurisdiction for Arlington, Belmont and Cambridge); along with the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office, although not a part of the Middlesex County government, was also relatedly forced to relocate to Medford at the time of the closure of the Superior Courthouse building in Cambridge.

Law and government
Of the fourteen counties of Massachusetts, Middlesex is one of eight which have 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. Immediately prior to its dissolution, the executive branch consisted of three County Commissioners elected at-large to staggered four-year terms. There was a County Treasurer elected to a six-year term. The county derived its revenue primarily from document filing fees at the Registries of Deeds and from a Deeds Excise Tax; also a transfer tax was assessed on the sale price of real estate and collected by the Registries of Deeds.

Budgets as proposed by the County Commissioners were approved by a County Advisory Board that consisted of a single representative of each of the 54 cities and towns in Middlesex County. The votes of the individual members of the Advisory Board were weighted based on the overall valuation of property in their respective communities.

The County Sheriff and two Registers of Deeds (one for the Northern District at Lowell and another for the Southern District at Cambridge) are each elected to serve six-year terms. Besides the employees of the Sheriff's Office and the two Registries of Deeds, the county had a Maintenance Department, a Security Department, some administrative staff in the Treasurer's and Commissioners' Offices, and the employees of the hospital.

The county government also owned and operated the Superior Courthouse, one of which was formerly in Cambridge (since 2008 relocated to Woburn.) and one in Lowell; and the defunct Middlesex County Hospital in the city of Waltham.

The legislation abolishing the Middlesex County executive retained the Sheriff and Registers of Deeds as independently elected officials, and transferred the Sheriff's Office under the state Department of Public Safety and the two Registry of Deeds offices to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Office. Additionally, all county maintenance and security employees were absorbed into the corresponding staffs of the Massachusetts Trial Court. The legislation also transferred ownership of the two Superior Courthouses to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The hospital was closed. Finally, the office of County Commissioner was immediately abolished and the office of County Treasurer was abolished as of December 31, 2002. Any county roads transferred to the Commonwealth as part of the dissolution. The other administrative duties (such as Sheriff, Department of Deeds and court system, etc.) and all supporting staff were transferred under the Commonwealth as well.

Administrative structure today
Records of land ownership in Middlesex County continue to be maintained at the two Registries of Deeds. Besides the Sheriff and the two Registers of Deeds, the Middlesex District Attorney, the Middlesex Register of Probate and the Middlesex Clerk of Courts (which were already part of state government before the abolition of Middlesex County government) are all elected countywide to six-year terms.

In Middlesex County (as in the entirety of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts), the governmental functions such as property tax assessment and collection, public education, road repair and maintenance, and elections were all conducted at the municipal city and town level and not by the county government.

In 2012 the 22-story Superior Court Building in Cambridge which was transferred from the abolished Executive County government was sold by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Due to its transfer from state control, many local residents had tried to force the private developers to reduce the overall height of the structure.

Even following abolition of the executive branch for county government in Middlesex, communities are still granted a right by the Massachusetts state legislature to form their own regional compacts for sharing of services and costs thereof.

County government: Middlesex County
Clerk of Courts: Michael A. Sullivan
District Attorney: Marian T. Ryan
Register of Deeds: Richard P. Howe, Jr. (North at Lowell)
Maria C. Curtatone (South at Cambridge)
Register of Probate: Tara E. DeCristofaro
County Sheriff: Peter J. Koutoujian
State government
State Representative(s): 37 Representatives:
State Senator(s): 16 Senators:
Governor's Councilor(s):
Federal government
U.S. Representative(s): James P. McGovern (D-2nd District)
Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-4th District)
Lori Trahan (D-3rd District)
Seth Moulton (D-6th District)
Katherine Clark (D-5th District)
Ayanna Pressley (D-7th District)
U.S. Senators: Elizabeth Warren (D), Ed Markey (D)
Geography
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 847 square miles (2,190 km2), of which 818 square miles (2,120 km2) is land and 29 square miles (75 km2) (3.5%) is water. It is the third-largest county in Massachusetts by land area.

It is bounded southeast by the Charles River, and drained by the Merrimack, Nashua, and Concord rivers, and other streams.

The MetroWest region comprises much of the southern portion of the county.

Adjacent counties
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire (north)
Essex County (northeast)
Suffolk County (southeast)
Norfolk County (south)
Worcester County (west)
Transportation
These routes pass through Middlesex County

I?90, From Ashland to Newton
I?93, From Somerville to Tewksbury
I?95, From Newton to Wakefield
I?290, In Marlboro
I?495, From Hopkinton to Tewksbury
US 1, In Malden
US 3, From Cambridge to Tyngsborough
US 20, From Marlborough to Watertown
Route 2, From Littleton to Cambridge
Route 2A, From Shirley to Cambridge
Route 3A, From Burlington to Tyngsborough
Route 4, From Lexington to Chelmsford
Route 9, From Framingham to Newton
Route 13, In Townsend
Route 16, From Holliston to Everett
Route 27, From Sherborn to Chelmsford
Route 28, From Cambridge to North Reading
Route 30, From Framingham to Newton
Route 31, In Ashby
Route 38, From Medford to Dracut
Route 40, From Groton to Chelmsford
Route 60, From Waltham to Malden
Route 62, From Hudson to North Reading
Route 85, From Hopkinton to Hudson
Route 99, From Everett to Melrose
Route 110, From Ayer to Dracut
Route 111, From Concord to Pepperell
Route 113, From Pepperell to Dracut
Route 115, In Sherborn
Route 117, From Stow to Waltham
Route 119, From Littleton to Ashby
Route 125, In Wilmington
Route 126, From Holliston to Concord
Route 128, From Newton to Wakefield
Route 129, From Chelmsford to Wakefield
Route 133, From Lowell to Tewksbury
Route 135, From Hopkinton to Natick
Route 225, From Shirley to Bedford
National protected areas
Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Longfellow House–Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site
Lowell National Historical Park
Minute Man National Historical Park
Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge (part)
Demographics
Historical population
Census Pop. %±
1790 42,769 —
1800 46,928 9.7%
1810 52,789 12.5%
1820 61,472 16.4%
1830 77,961 26.8%
1840 106,611 36.7%
1850 161,383 51.4%
1860 216,354 34.1%
1870 274,353 26.8%
1880 317,830 15.8%
1890 431,167 35.7%
1900 565,696 31.2%
1910 669,915 18.4%
1920 778,352 16.2%
1930 934,924 20.1%
1940 971,390 3.9%
1950 1,064,569 9.6%
1960 1,238,742 16.4%
1970 1,397,268 12.8%
1980 1,367,034 ?2.2%
1990 1,398,468 2.3%
2000 1,465,396 4.8%
2010 1,503,085 2.6%
Est. 2019 1,611,699 7.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019
As of 2006, Middlesex County was tenth in the United States on the list of most millionaires per county.

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,503,085 people, 580,688 households, and 366,656 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,837.9 inhabitants per square mile (709.6/km2). There were 612,004 housing units at an average density of 748.3 per square mile (288.9/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.0% white, 9.3% Asian, 4.7% black or African American, 0.2% American Indian, 3.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 6.5% of the population.

The largest ancestry groups were:

23.5% Irish
16.2% Italian
11.2% English
7.1% German
5.6% French
4.0% Polish
3.6% French Canadian
3.2% Chinese
3.1% Portuguese
2.9% American
2.7% Scottish
2.6% Russian
2.5% Indian
2.4% Brazilian
2.0% Scotch-Irish
2.0% Puerto Rican
1.7% Swedish
1.6% Greek
1.2% Sub-Saharan African
1.2% Haitian
1.2% Armenian
1.1% Canadian
1.0% Cambodian
1.0% Arab
Of the 580,688 households, 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 36.9% were non-families, and 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.10. The median age was 38.5 years.

The median income for a household in the county was $77,377 and the median income for a family was $97,382. Males had a median income of $64,722 versus $50,538 for females. The per capita income for the county was $40,139. About 5.1% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.0% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.

79.6% spoke English, 4.3% Spanish, 2.7% Portuguese, 1.6% Italian, 1.6% Chinese including Mandarin and other Chinese dialects and 1.5% French as their first language. Middlesex County has the largest Irish-American population of any U.S. county with a plurality of Irish ancestry.

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 if 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 Weston Town $96,475 $180,815 $220,441 11,229 3,557
2 Sherborn Town $70,983 $152,083 $183,456 4,102 1,463
3 Wayland Town $70,185 $125,076 $151,812 12,939 4,902
4 Carlisle Town $68,060 $159,063 $171,167 4,814 1,612
5 Lexington Town $67,584 $136,610 $158,888 31,129 11,411
6 Concord Town $67,374 $127,951 $156,352 17,523 6,197
7 Winchester Town $65,172 $127,665 $160,706 21,205 7,611
8 Sudbury Town $63,862 $159,713 $173,587 17,482 5,613
9 Newton City $60,323 $109,724 $141,944 84,583 30,735
10 Lincoln Town $57,471 $130,523 $141,667 6,480 2,150
11 Hopkinton Town $56,939 $126,350 $149,213 14,691 4,893
Chestnut Hill (02467) ZCTA $55,947 $114,140 $151,375 21,952 6,237
12 Belmont Town $54,361 $99,529 $121,250 24,548 9,465
Cochituate CDP $52,936 $107,589 $133,082 6,384 2,496
13 Boxborough Town $51,159 $103,918 $134,583 4,957 1,984
14 Acton Town $49,603 $109,491 $135,000 21,656 7,924
15 Natick Town $49,012 $90,046 $117,259 32,729 13,440
16 Bedford Town $48,899 $101,886 $128,448 13,192 4,951
17 Stow Town $48,448 $112,130 $132,061 6,488 2,328
West Concord CDP $47,633 $103,693 $145,242 6,134 2,069
18 Holliston Town $47,624 $107,374 $125,236 13,512 4,918
19 Westford Town $47,587 $119,511 $135,000 21,716 7,308
20 Arlington Town $47,571 $85,059 $107,862 42,570 19,007
21 Groton Town $47,003 $117,903 $135,143 10,478 3,650
22 Ashland Town $46,626 $93,770 $116,799 16,305 6,484
23 Cambridge City $46,242 $69,017 $94,536 104,322 45,386
24 Reading Town $44,949 $99,131 $117,477 24,504 9,055
25 Chelmsford Town $42,535 $90,895 $110,967 33,610 13,304
26 North Reading Town $42,256 $104,069 $116,729 14,703 5,077
27 Dunstable Town $41,937 $109,205 $121,406 3,128 1,087
28 Littleton Town $41,815 $103,438 $114,094 8,810 3,198
Middlesex County County $41,453 $79,691 $100,267 1,491,762 577,349
29 Watertown City $41,090 $76,718 $90,521 31,792 14,042
30 Wakefield Town $40,227 $85,379 $112,293 24,794 10,058
31 Burlington Town $40,083 $92,236 $107,339 24,207 9,177
32 Melrose City $39,873 $84,599 $105,893 26,864 10,963
Groton CDP $39,208 $55,446 $127,708 1,077 507
Hopkinton CDP $38,507 $71,536 $105,882 2,110 877
33 Tyngsborough Town $38,067 $101,103 $111,780 11,198 3,797
34 Stoneham Town $37,573 $77,476 $95,490 21,413 8,909
35 Marlborough City $37,314 $72,853 $94,770 38,087 15,856
36 Wilmington Town $37,084 $100,861 $107,436 22,116 7,200
37 Pepperell Town $37,081 $84,618 $102,946 11,407 4,125
38 Maynard Town $36,818 $77,255 $93,116 10,083 4,222
39 Tewksbury Town $36,509 $86,378 $103,008 28,778 10,670
40 Hudson Town $36,141 $76,714 $95,746 18,845 7,679
Pepperell CDP $35,227 $68,500 $65,417 2,239 852
Massachusetts State $35,051 $65,981 $83,371 6,512,227 2,522,409
41 Medford City $34,615 $72,033 $83,078 55,843 22,461
Hudson CDP $33,734 $68,812 $86,216 14,797 6,129
42 Woburn City $33,725 $72,540 $87,924 37,831 15,357
43 Waltham City $33,717 $68,326 $82,233 60,209 23,520
44 Framingham City $33,665 $66,047 $86,977 67,844 26,167
Pinehurst CDP $33,572 $95,038 $100,650 7,289 2,414
45 Billerica Town $33,347 $88,531 $98,371 39,930 13,859
46 Somerville City $32,785 $64,480 $71,518 75,566 31,476
47 Ashby Town $32,434 $82,614 $84,655 3,030 1,060
48 Ayer Town $32,179 $54,899 $78,947 7,370 3,063
Littleton Common CDP $32,058 $80,352 $105,217 2,907 1,131
49 Dracut Town $31,533 $71,824 $88,281 29,249 11,173
50 Townsend Town $31,201 $76,250 $91,023 8,906 3,114
East Pepperell CDP $30,475 $74,077 $79,104 2,195 811
Ayer CDP $30,456 $42,055 $79,708 2,573 1,205
United States Country $27,915 $52,762 $64,293 306,603,772 114,761,359
Townsend CDP $27,166 $51,512 $71,023 968 453
51 Malden City $26,893 $52,842 $65,763 58,821 23,422
Shirley CDP $24,943 $41,250 $41,838 1,330 593
52 Everett City $24,575 $48,319 $58,045 41,079 15,681
53 Shirley Town $24,427 $71,146 $78,493 7,235 2,189
54 Lowell City $23,600 $51,471 $57,934 105,860 39,399
Devens CDP $13,933 $72,986 $73,194 1,704 113
Politics
Voter registration and party enrollment as of October 17, 2018
Party Number of voters Percentage
Democratic 360,454 34.71%
Republican 93,276 8.98%
Unenrolled 572,900 55.17%
Minor Parties 11,730 1.13%
Total 1,038,360 100%
Prior to 1960, Middlesex County was a Republican Party stronghold, only backing two Democratic Party presidential candidates from 1876 to 1956. The 1960 election started a reverse trend, with the county becoming a Democratic stronghold. This has been even more apparent in recent years, with George H.W. Bush in 1988 the last Republican presidential candidate to manage even forty percent of the county's votes.

Presidential election results
Communities
Most municipalities in Middlesex County have a town form of government; the remainder are cities, and are so designated on this list. Villages listed below are census or postal divisions, but have no separate corporate or statutory existence from the cities and towns in which they are located.

Cities
Cambridge (traditional county seat) de jure
Everett
Framingham
Lowell (traditional county seat)
Malden
Marlborough
Medford
Melrose
Newton
Somerville
Waltham
Watertown
Woburn
Towns
Acton
Arlington
Ashby
Ashland
Ayer
Bedford
Belmont
Billerica
Boxborough
Burlington
Carlisle
Chelmsford
Concord
Dracut
Dunstable
Groton
Holliston
Hopkinton
Hudson
Lexington
Lincoln
Littleton
Maynard
Natick
North Reading
Pepperell
Reading
Sherborn
Shirley
Stoneham
Stow
Sudbury
Tewksbury
Townsend
Tyngsborough
Wakefield
Wayland
Westford
Weston
Wilmington
Winchester
Census-designated places
Ayer
Cochituate
Devens
East Pepperell
Groton
Hopkinton
Littleton Common
Pepperell
Pinehurst
Shirley
Townsend
West Concord
Other villages and neighborhoods
Auburndale
Chestnut Hill
East Lexington
Felchville
Forge Village
Gleasondale
Graniteville
Greenwood
Melrose Highlands
Nabnasset
Newton Centre
Newton Highlands
Newton Lower Falls
Newton Upper Falls
Newtonville
Nonantum
North Billerica
North Chelmsford
North Woburn
Pingryville
Saxonville
Thompsonville
Waban
West Newton
Culture
Middlesex County is home to the Middlesex County Volunteers, a fife and drum corps that plays music from the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Founded in 1982 at the end of the United States Bicentennial celebration, the group performs extensively throughout New England. They have also performed at the Boston Pops, throughout the British Isles and Western Europe, and at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo's Salute to Australia in Sydney, Australia.
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