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omerset County is located in north-central New Jersey, about 40 miles west of
New York City and 60 miles northeast of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is an
interior county; it is only one of two counties in the state that does not border
another state or the Atlantic Ocean.
As one of America's oldest counties, Somerset County is steeped in colonial and
Revolutionary War History. The County was established by charter on May 22, 1688,
with land conveyances dating to 1651. Historic sites, monuments, and buildings are
found in virtually every town across the County. The County’s 21 municipalities
encompass 305 square miles that are characterized by diverse landscapes,ranging from
urban and suburban neighborhoods to rural countryside. The County has 11,600 acres
of parkland, 7,753 acres of preserved farmland, and 3,253 acres of greenways, along
with a distinct mix of municipalities, ranging from small boroughs to large suburban
New Jersey is known as a strong home rule state. Somerset County is governed and
managed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders. The Board consists of five members; one
or two are elected each year at large to serve three-year terms. There also are three
elected constitutional officers: the County clerk, sheriff, and surrogate. Somerville is
the County seat.
Each of Somerset County’s 21 municipalities adopts its own land use ordinances,
zoning ordinances, and master plan to guide development patterns. In addition, the
County has oversight for land development as it impacts County facilities, while the
State of New Jersey exercises regulatory authority in a number of areas, including
environmental protection.
County government provides regional services that municipalities could not otherwise
offer individually. These include county road and bridge maintenance, curbside
recycling collection, transportation services for elderly and disabled residents,
education, recreation and nutrition programs for seniors, a county park system,
regional planning initiatives, and many others.
Perhaps best known as home to Fortune 500 companies including Verizon, Pfizer, J&J,
and AT&T, Somerset County is home to over 12,000 businesses, more than half of which
employ between 10 and 100 workers each. The County is home to over 324,000 residents, with
nearly half the population both residing and working in the County. In 2011 (latest data year
available), Somerset County ranked first in New Jersey in per capita personal income.2

Somerset County’s educational facilities – Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC)
and Somerset County Vocational & Technical Schools – are among the finest in New
Jersey. The community college, a two-year school in
Branchburg, includes a library/theater complex and a
RVCC plays an important role in providing both postsecondary
education, as well as workforce and
professional development, instruction in numerous
trades, and continuing education, to name a few
offerings. Moreover, the RVCC offers corporate
training, small business assistance, and access to
SCORE, a nonprofit association of volunteer business
Somerset County boasts an educated workforce, with
28% of its population holding a bachelor’s degree,
compared to the statewide average of 21%.3
Combined with easy access to major transportation arteries, the County’s central
location and strong labor pool has contributed to an unemployment rate that
historically tracks below state and national averages. Offering many transportation
options to businesses, residents, workers, commuters, and visitors, Somerset County
has a blend of accessible commuter and freight rail, roads, bridges, and bus and
shuttle services. Additionally, programs directed at employee commuting needs and
those with functional and access needs are available.
There are numerous resources available through state and federal agencies that aid
private-sector job creation and economic investment. These programs typically serve
the specific needs of an employer, and may include employee job training, facility
expansion, and/or energy efficiency improvements in concert with state and federal

Somerset County is the fastest growing county within the fastest growing region of
New Jersey, geographically defined to include Somerset, Hunterdon, Mercer, and
Middlesex Counties. Somerset County’s population of 323,444 (2010 Census) has seen
dramatic growth since the turn of the millennium, almost double the population
growth rate of New Jersey, the eleventh-most-populous state in the nation. Table 1
below depicts the comparative growth rate of the United States, New Jersey, and
Somerset County from 2000 - 2010.

Over half of Somerset County’s population resides in its four most populous
municipalities, namely, Franklin, Bridgewater, Hillsborough, and Bernards Townships.
Franklin, Bernards, and Montgomery Townships grew at the greatest rates between
2000 and 2010. Three municipalities declined in population during this same period -
Bedminster Township, Branchburg Township and Somerville Borough - with Somerville
declining at the highest rate in the County.

From 2000 to 2010, Somerset County’s growing population also has increasingly aged.
With a median age of 40.2 years in 2010, the County’s population has aged by three
years since the 2000 Census. This is slightly older than the median age across New
Jersey at 39.0 years. While Somerset County’s young, working-age population (ages 18-
34) decreased from the 2000 Census, the County’s middle-aged population (ages 35-
54) increased. Meanwhile, the most senior population (ages 65+) in the County only
increased by 1% during this same period.