Brush Up on Helpful Facts & Information About Essex County, NJ

Everything You Should Know About Essex County, NJ

Established in 1683, Essex County was one of the first counties to be founded in New Jersey. The county is rich in culture, thanks to its extensive park system and a selection of other historical attractions. For these reasons and many others, Essex has become an attractive location for people looking to move to New Jersey.

We invite you to continue reading and learn more about the county’s history. We’d also like to show some other interesting facts about the region too.

The Beginnings of Essex County

Front View of Essex Troop Building
Source: Wikimedia Commons

In 1666, a group consisting of 30 Connecticut families created a settlement along the Passaic River. One year later, these settlers purchased the land from the Lenni Lenape Indians who lived there for a total of $800. This land would eventually become Newark, and the development of Essex County would begin shortly after.

Essex County’s name originates from a county of the same name in the East of England. It was formed as 1 of the 4 original administrative districts of New Jersey, along with Bergen, Middlesex and Monmouth. Thanks to this distinction, Essex County is one of the oldest counties in the state.

The county was established in 1682 and was officially founded on March 7, 1683.

Where The County is Today

Cars & People Outside the Essex County Courthouse Today
Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the 2019 Census, Essex County has an estimated population of 798,975. This makes Essex the third most populated county in the state of New Jersey, exceeding the populations of Bergen County and Middlesex County. The average household here earns approximately $59,302 a year, according to the census.

Newark, the county seat of Essex, is one of the state’s biggest cities. Essex County is one New Jersey’s financial hubs, with Prudential and United Airlines being two of its biggest employers. The development of several popular shopping malls over the years has also helped the county’s economy.

School Information for Essex

Montclair University, View of Freeman Hall Building
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Essex County students are served by nearly 20 public school districts, which consist of several educational facilities. There are many notable public schools in Essex, including the James Caldwell High School and Verona High School. Some of New Jersey’s most notable colleges and universities can be found around Essex County as well. Some of these notable colleges include:

  • Berkeley College
  • Caldwell College
  • Montclair State University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University (in Newark)

There’s also Essex County College, which offers over 50 majors.

Essex Transportation Options

Cart for Newark Light Rail, from NJ Transit
Source: Wikipedia Commons

For residents of Essex County, NJ, there are several forms of public transportation available.

The NJ Transit headquarters is located behind Newark Penn Station, right in this county. The lines available to residents are Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Coast, Raritan Valley, Montclair-Boonton and Morris & Essex. These can be accessed through the Penn Station and the Newark Broad Street Station.

Bus lines are available through NJ Transit as well. Penn Station also hosts the Newark Light Rail System, which offers transportation to Philadelphia and New York. If you need to fly out of the state, the Newark Liberty International Airport is your primary option.

The major roadways for Essex include the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike. There’s also 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.

Shopping Districts & Primary Industries

Black Sign for The Mall at Short Hills, With Links
Source: Yelp

Retail makes up one of the primary industries in Essex County. By taking a quick drive around the area, you’ll find a wide range of shops with lots of items on offer. Some of the most popular shopping centers in the region include the Mall at Short Hills, Willowbrook Mall and the Outlets at Bergen Town Center.

Shipping facilities also provide financial revenue for the county. Since their creation, Port Newark and Port Elizabeth have served as the primary facilities for goods that arrive from New York City. Facilities such as these provide a good portion of the region’s financial revenue.

Parks & Cultural Attractions

Auditorium With People at NJ Performing Arts Center
Source: Yelp

Essex County is famous for its collection of parks. In fact, the Essex County Department of Parks was the first countywide park system to be established in the United States. There are 30 properties that make up this group, including Cedar Grove Park, West Essex Park and the Hilltop Reservation.

Essex County is also known for its golf courses. These include Francis A. Byrne Golf Course and the Hendricks Field Golf Course, among others. The county is also home to the Prudential Center, which is the home of the New Jersey Devils hockey team, along with the New Jersey Nets basketball team.

For fans of music and culture, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is Newark’s prime destination for live performances. One other popular attraction is the Turtle Back Zoo, which was voted as one of the best zoos in New Jersey.

If you’re interested in Essex County, we invite you to learn about our apartment communities here. Virtual tours are available for select units.