Suffolk County, New York
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Suffolk County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. Located on the eastern portion of Long Island, it is the easternmost county in the state and part of the New York metropolitan area. Largely suburban, it is the fourth-most populous county in the state, with 1,493,350 people as of the 2010 census. It was named after the county of Suffolk in England, from where its earliest settlers came. The largest of Long Island’s four counties, and the second-largest of 62 in the state, it measures 86 miles (138 km) in length and 26 miles (42 km) in width at its widest (including water). Its county seat is Riverhead, though many county offices are in Hauppauge on the west side of the county where most of the population lives. There are also offices in Smithtown, for the legislature, Yaphank, and Farmingville.
Suffolk and Nassau counties together are generally referred to as “Long Island” by area residents — as distinct from the New York City boroughs of Queens (Queens County) and Brooklyn (Kings County), which geographically make up the island’s western end.
Suffolk County was an original county of the Province of New York, one of twelve created in 1683. It was known for a time as East Riding of Yorkshire. Its boundaries were essentially the same as at present, with only minor changes in the boundary with its western neighbor, which was originally Queens County but has been Nassau County since the separation of Nassau from Queens in 1899.
According to the Suffolk County website, the county is the leading agricultural county in the state of New York, saying that: “The weather is temperate, clean water is abundant, and the soil is so good that Suffolk is the leading agricultural county in New York State. That Suffolk is still number one in farming, even with the development that has taken place, is a tribute to thoughtful planning, along with the excellent soil, favorable weather conditions, and the work of dedicated farmers in this region.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,419,369 people, 469,299 households, and 360,421 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,556 people per square mile (601/km²). There were 522,323 housing units at an average density of 573 per square mile (221/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.60% White (78.8% White Non-Hispanic), 6.94% African American, 0.27% Native American, 2.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.65% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.53% of the population.
In 2006 the racial or ethnic makeup of the county was 83.6% White (75.4% White Non-Hispanic). African Americans were 7.4% of the population. Asians stood at 3.4% of the population. 5.4% were of other or mixed race. Latinos were 13.0% of the population. The most common ethnicities in Suffolk County in 2007 were Italian (29.5%), Irish (24.0%), and German (17.6%).
In 2002, the New York Times cited a study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined that Suffolk and its neighboring county, Nassau, to be the most racially segregated suburbs in the United States.
In 2006 there were 469,299 households, out of which 37.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.00% were married couples living together, 10.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.20% were non-families. 18.30% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.96 and the average family size was 3.36.
In the county the population was spread out with 26.10% under the age of 18, 7.60% from 18 to 24, 31.20% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.
In 2008, Forbes magazine released its American Community Survey and named Suffolk County number 4 in its list of the top 25 richest counties in America.
The median income for a household in the county was $103,900, and the median income for a family was $72,112. Males had a median income of $50,046 versus $33,281 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,577. About 2.40% of families and 4.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.70% of those under age 18 and 2.30% of those age 65 or over.
Suffolk County ranks at number 21 on the list of the most populous counties in the United States.
Suffolk County occupies the easternmost portion of Long Island, in the southeastern portion of New York State. The eastern end of the county splits into two peninsulas, known as the North Fork and the South Fork. The county is surrounded by water on three sides, including the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound, with 980 miles (1,580 km) of coastline. The eastern end contains large bays.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,373 square miles (6,150 km2) of which 912 square miles (2,400 km2) is land and 1,461 square miles (3,780 km2) (61.56%) is water, making it the second largest county by area in the state of New York, and 66% of the land area of Long Island. The highest elevation in the county, and on Long Island as a whole, is Jayne’s Hill in West Hills, at 401 feet (122 m) above sea level.
Suffolk County is divided into 10 towns: Babylon, Brookhaven, East Hampton, Huntington, Islip, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Smithtown, Southampton, and Southold. Also part of the county, but not considered parts of the above towns, are the Poospatuck and Shinnecock Indian reservations. Poospatuck is enclaved within Brookhaven in the Mastic CDP, and Shinnecock is enclaved within Southampton, adjacent to Southampton village, Tuckahoe, and Shinnecock Hills.
Major facilities include Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton and Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island. Several airports serve commuters and business travelers, most notably Long Island MacArthur Airport in Islip, Republic Airport in East Farmingdale and Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach