Suffolk County, Massachusetts exists today only as a geographic region and has no county government. In 1999, the Suffolk County government was abolished and county functions were relinquished to state agencies. In Suffolk County, the Register of Deeds and Probate, Sheriff, and District Attorney are still elected in county political districts. The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department still administers the Suffolk County Jail, the South Bay House of Correction, and the Suffolk County Community Corrections Center, but their employees are now state employees. In 2009, the population of Suffolk County was estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau as 730,630.
Boston, the county seat of Suffolk County, is the largest city in New England, the capital of the state and is one of the most historic cities in the nation. Settled in 1630, Boston was the closest port to Europe and rapidly assumed a leading role in the fledgling New England region, leading to Boston’s storied Revolutionary War history.
Suffolk County is the economic, cultural, medical, and higher education hub for New England. The Greater Boston area has approximately 65 accredited institutions of higher learning, including many world-renowned colleges, universities, conservatories, and seminaries such as Boston University, the city’s fourth-largest employer.
Suffolk County boasts a high concentration of medical and research facilities, many affiliated with universities. For example, the Boston Medical Center is the primary teaching facility for the Boston University School of Medicine as well as the largest trauma center in the region. Other notable Boston hospitals include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, New England Baptist Hospital Center, and Tufts Medical Center.
Suffolk County also includes the communities of Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. Chelsea is a diverse city that is directly across the Mystic River from Boston, where many from Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia now live. At 1.8 square miles, Chelsea is the smallest city in Massachusetts in land area. Residents enjoy an easy commute to Boston by bus, train, or car.
Revere, in Suffolk County, is approximately 5 miles from downtown Boston. Revere residents enjoy an easy commute to Boston via the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s commuter rail line. U.S. Route 1, a major north-south highway through the New England area, also serves Revere.
Winthrop is an ocean-side residential community at the entrance to Boston Harbor. Winthrop sits on a peninsula of just 1.6 square miles and is accessible by Route 145. A number of yacht clubs and marinas on the peninsula make Winthrop highly accessible by boat as well as by auto.
Suffolk County has a diversified economy. Boston’s colleges and universities are major employers as are law, government, tourism, financial services, printing, and publishing industries. Several major printing and publishing firms are located in Boston including the following: Houghton Mifflin, Bedford-St. Martin’s Press, Beacon Press, and Little, Brown and Company.
Health care and educational services are major employers for Suffolk County. Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009, 74.8% of the non-fatal occupational injuries occurred in service-providing industries. The Department of Industrial Accidents is responsible for overseeing the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts.