The recorded history of Essex County, NJ began in 1666 when 30 Connecticut families established a settlement along the banks of the Passaic River in what is now Newark. Essex County was established in 1682 as one of New Jersey’s four original counties, along with Bergen, Monmouth and Middlesex. It was named after the English county of Kingdom of Essex.
As of the 2010 Census, Essex County had a population of 783,969, making it the third most populous county and the second most densely populated county in New Jersey. The county’s median household income is $55,125, and the county seat is Newark, the largest city in New Jersey.
NJ Transit headquarters are just behind Newark Penn Station in Essex County. The Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Coastline, Raritan Valley, Montclair Boonton, and Morris and Essex lines all pass through Newark Penn Station and Newark Broad Street Station. The PATH and Newark Light rail operate out of Newark Penn Station, along with an extensive network of bus lines. Newark Liberty International Airport is in southeastern Essex County.
Major roadways include the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike; Interstates 78, 280 and 80; U.S. Routes 1/9, 22 and 46; and State Routes 7, 10, 21, 23, 24, 27, 124 and 159.
Students are served by dozens of public, private, special education and vocational schools in 23 school districts throughout the county. Essex County is also home to a number of large and small colleges and universities:
- Berkeley College
- Bloomfield College
- Caldwell College
- Essex County College
- Montclair State University
- New Jersey Institute of Technology
- Rutgers - Newark
- Seton Hall Law School
- Seton Hall University
- University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
- Upsala College
Port Newark and the Elizabeth Marine Terminal, or Port Elizabeth, are on the Newark Bay and are a major component of the Port of New York and New Jersey, serving as the principal shipping facilities for goods entering and leaving the New York metropolitan area.
Formed more than 100 years ago, the Essex County Park System was the first county park system created in the United States. Today, it consists of 17 parks, five reservations and many recreation facilities where residents can go to relax, exercise, hike, bike and play sports. Culture, sports, shopping and entertainment are easy to find at the Prudential Center (home of hockey’s New Jersey Devils and basketball’s New Jersey Nets), New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the Mall at Short Hills, Turtle Back Zoo and other venues.