Nassau County, New York facts for kids

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Nassau County, New York
Seal of Nassau County, New York
Map
Map of New York highlighting Nassau County
Location in the state of New York
Map of the USA highlighting New York
New York's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded 1899
Seat Mineola
Largest town Hempstead
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

453 sq mi (1,173 km²)
285 sq mi (738 km²)
169 sq mi (438 km²), 37%
Population
 -  Density

1,361,350
4,776.7/sq mi (1,844/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.nassaucountyny.gov
Named for: William of Nassau
County flag Flag of Nassau County, New York
Population is 2015 Census estimate.

Nassau County /ˈnæsɔː/ is a suburban county on Long Island in the U.S. state of New York. At the 2010 census, the county's population was 1,339,532, estimated to have increased to 1,361,350 in 2015. The county seat is in the Village of Garden City, within the boundaries of the Mineola 11501 zip code.

Nassau County is immediately east of New York City, within the New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area. The county is one of the four counties that occupy Long Island, together with Suffolk County to its immediate east and Queens and Kings counties to the west, which correspond, respectively, to the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Two cities, three towns, 64 incorporated villages, and more than 60 unincorporated hamlets are located within the county. There are 56 public school districts within the county. Post office districts and school districts use the same names as a city, hamlet, or village within them, but each sets the boundaries independently.

In 2012, Forbes magazine, in an article based on the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, reported Nassau County was one of the highest income counties in the United States and the most affluent in the state of New York, comprising four of the nation's top ten towns by median income. It also ranks as the most expensive county in America. Nassau County has a designated police department, fire commission, and elected executive and legislative bodies.

Name

The name of the county comes from an old name for Long Island, which was at one time named Nassau, after the Dutch Prince William of Nassau, a member of the House of Nassau, itself named for the German town Nassau. The county colors (orange and blue) are also the colors of the House of Orange-Nassau.

Several alternate names had been considered for the county, including "Bryant", "Matinecock" (a village within the county currently has that name), "Norfolk" (presumably because of the proximity to Suffolk County), and "Sagamore". However, "Nassau" had the historical advantage of having at one time been the name of Long Island itself, and was the name most mentioned after the new county was proposed in 1875.

History

The area now designated Nassau County was originally the eastern 70% of Queens County, one of the original 12 counties formed in 1683, and was then contained within two towns: Hempstead and Oyster Bay. In 1784, the Town of North Hempstead, was formed through secession by the northern portions of the Town of Hempstead. Nassau County was formed in 1899 by the division of Queens County, after the western portion of Queens had become a borough of New York City in 1898, as the three easternmost towns seceded from the county.

When the first European settlers arrived, among the Native Americans to occupy the present area of Nassau County were the Marsapeque, Matinecoc, and Sacatogue. Dutch settlers in New Netherland predominated in the western portion of Long Island, while English settlers from Connecticut occupied the eastern portion. Until 1664, Long Island was split, roughly at the present border between Nassau and Suffolk counties, between the Dutch in the west and Connecticut claiming the east. The Dutch did grant an English settlement in Hempstead (now in western Nassau), but drove settlers from the present-day eastern Nassau hamlet of Oyster Bay as part of a boundary dispute. In 1664, all of Long Island became part of the English Province of New York within the Shire of York. Present-day Queens and Nassau were then just part of a larger North Riding. In 1683, Yorkshire was dissolved, Suffolk County and Queens County were established, and the local seat of government was moved west from Hempstead to Jamaica (now in New York City). By 1700, very little of Long Island had not been purchased from the native Indians by the English colonists, and townships controlled whatever land had not already been distributed.

The courthouse in Jamaica was torn down by the British during the American Revolution to use the materials to build barracks. In 1784, following the American Revolutionary War, the Town of Hempstead was split in two, when Patriots in the northern part formed the new Town of North Hempstead, leaving Loyalist majorities in the Town of Hempstead. About 1787, a new Queens County Courthouse was erected (and later completed) in the new Town of North Hempstead, near present-day Mineola (now in Nassau County), known then as Clowesville.

The Long Island Rail Road reached as far east as Hicksville in 1837, but did not proceed to Farmingdale until 1841 due to the Panic of 1837. The 1850 census was the first in which the population of the three western towns (Flushing, Jamaica, and Newton) exceeded that of the three eastern towns that are now part of Nassau County. Concerns were raised about the condition of the old courthouse and the inconvenience of travel and accommodations, with the three eastern and three western towns divided on the location for the construction of a new one. Around 1874, the seat of county government was moved to Long Island City from Mineola. As early as 1875, representatives of the three eastern towns began advocating the separation of the three eastern towns from Queens, with some proposals also including the towns of Huntington and Babylon (in Suffolk County).

In 1898, the western portion of Queens County became a borough of the City of Greater New York, leaving the eastern portion a part of Queens County but not part of the Borough of Queens. As part of the city consolidation plan, all town and county governments within the borough were dissolved. The areas excluded from the consolidation included all of the Town of North Hempstead, all of the Town of Oyster Bay, and most of the Town of Hempstead (excluding the Rockaway Peninsula, which was separated from the Town of Hempstead and became part of the city borough). In 1899, following approval from the New York State Legislature, the three towns were separated from Queens County, and the new county of Nassau was constituted.

In preparation for the new county, in November 1898, voters had selected Mineola to become the county seat for the new county (before Mineola incorporated as a village in 1906 and set its boundaries almost entirely within the Town of North Hempstead), winning out over Hicksville and Hempstead. The Garden City Company (founded in 1893 by the heirs of Alexander Turney Stewart) donated four acres of land for the county buildings in the town of Hempstead, just south of the Mineola train station and the present day village of Mineola. The land and the buildings have a Mineola postal address, but are within the present day Village of Garden City, which did not incorporate, nor set its boundaries, until 1919.

In 1917, the village of Glen Cove was granted a city charter, making it independent from the Town of Oyster Bay. In 1918, the village of Long Beach was incorporated in the Town of Hempstead. In 1922, it became a city, making it independent of the town. These are the only two administrative divisions in Nassau County identified as cities.

From the early 1900s until the Depression and the early 1930s, many hilly farmlands on the North Shore were transformed into luxurious country estates for wealthy New Yorkers, with the area receiving the "Gold Coast" moniker and becoming the setting of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 novel The Great Gatsby. One summer resident of the Gold Coast was President Theodore Roosevelt, at Sagamore Hill. In 1908, William Kissam Vanderbilt constructed the Long Island Motor Parkway as a toll road through Nassau County. With overpasses and bridges to remove intersections, it was among the first limited access motor highways in the world, and was also used as a racecourse to test the capabilities of the fledgling automobile industry.

Nassau County, with its extensive flat land, was the site of many aviation firsts. Military aviators for both World Wars were trained on the Hempstead Plains at installations such as Mitchel Air Force Base, and a number of successful aircraft companies were established. Charles Lindberg took off for Paris from Roosevelt Field in 1927, completing the first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from the United States. Grumman (which in 1986 employed 23,000 people on Long Island) built many planes for World War II, and later contributed the Apollo Lunar Module to the Space program.

The United Nations Security Council was temporarily located in Nassau County from 1946 to 1951. Council meetings were held at the Sperry Gyroscope headquarters in the village of Lake Success near the border with Queens County. It was here on June 27, 1950, that the Security Council voted to back U.S. President Harry S Truman and send a coalition of forces to the Korean Peninsula, leading to the Korean War.

Until World War II, most of Nassau County was still farmland, particularly in the eastern portion. Following the war, the county saw an influx of people from the five boroughs of New York City, especially from Brooklyn and Queens, who left their urban dwellings for a more suburban setting. This led to a massive population boom in the county. In 1947, William Levitt built his first planned community in Nassau County, in the Island Trees section (later renamed Levittown). (This should not be confused with the county's first planned community, in general, which is Garden City.) While in the 1930s, Robert Moses had engineered curving parkways and parks such as Jones Beach State Park and Bethpage State Park for the enjoyment of city-dwellers, in the 1950s and 1960s the focus turned to alleviating commuter traffic.

In 1994, Federal Judge Arthur Spatt declared the Nassau County Board of Supervisors unconstitutional and directed that a 19-member legislature be formed. Republicans won 13 seats in the election and chose Bruce Blakeman as the first Presiding Officer (Speaker). Among the first class of Legislators were Peter J. Schmitt (R-Massapequa), Judith Jacobs (D-Woodbury), John Ciotti (R-North Valley Stream), Dennis Dunne Sr. (R-Levittown), Francis X. Becker (R-Lynbrook), Vincent T. Muscarella (R-West Hempstead), Ed Mangano (R-Bethpage), Michael Fiechter (C-North Bellmore), Roger Corbin (D-Westbury), Salvatore Pontillo (R-Farmingdale), Bruce Nyman (D-Long Beach), Edward Ward (R-Wantagh), Darlene Harris (R-Uniondale), Ed Oppenheimer (D-Rockville Centre), John Canning (R-Sea Cliff), Bruce Blakeman (R-Woodmere), Lisanne Altmann (D-Great Neck), Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), Barbara Johnson (D-Port Washington).

According to a Forbes magazine 2012 survey, residents of Nassau County have the 12th highest median household annual income in the country and the highest in the state. In the 1990s, however, Nassau County experienced substantial budget problems, forcing the county to near bankruptcy. Thus, the county government increased taxes to prevent a takeover by the state of New York, leading to the county having high property taxes. Nevertheless, on January 27, 2011, a New York State oversight board seized control of Nassau County’s finances, saying the wealthy and heavily taxed county had failed to balance its $2.6 billion budgets.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 453 square miles (1,170 km2), of which 285 square miles (740 km2) is land and 169 square miles (440 km2) (37%) is water.

Nassau County occupies a portion of Long Island immediately east of the New York City borough of Queens. It is divided into two cities and three towns, the latter of which contain 64 villages and numerous hamlets. The county borders Connecticut across the Long Island Sound.

Between the 1990 census and the 2000 census, the county exchanged territory with Suffolk County and lost territory to Queens County. Dozens of CDPs had boundaries changed, and 12 new CDPs were listed.

Countyscape

The Village of Freeport on Baldwin Bay.

Climate

Nassau County has a climate similar to other coastal areas of the Northeastern United States; it has warm, humid summers and cool, wet winters. The county is classified as humid subtropical by some definitions. The Atlantic Ocean helps bring afternoon sea breezes that temper the heat in the warmer months and limit the frequency and severity of thunderstorms. Nassau County has a moderately sunny climate, averaging between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine annually.

Adjacent counties

Nassau County borders the following counties:

National protected areas

  • Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge
  • Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 55,448
1910 83,930 51.4%
1920 126,120 50.3%
1930 303,053 140.3%
1940 406,748 34.2%
1950 672,765 65.4%
1960 1,300,171 93.3%
1970 1,428,080 9.8%
1980 1,321,582 −7.5%
1990 1,287,348 −2.6%
2000 1,334,544 3.7%
2010 1,339,532 0.4%
Est. 2015 1,361,350 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010, 2015

In 2011, there were about 230,000 Jewish people in Nassau County, representing 17.2% of the population, (as compared to 2% of the total U.S. population). Italian Americans also make up a large portion of Nassau's population. The five most reported ancestries were Italian (23%), Irish (14%), German (7%), American Indian (5%), and Polish (4%). The county's population was highest at the 1970 Census.

The New York Times cited a 2002 study by the non-profit group ERASE Racism, which determined that Nassau, and its neighboring county, Suffolk, are the most de facto racially segregated suburbs in the United States.

More recently, a Little India (लघु भारत) community has emerged in Hicksville, Nassau County, spreading eastward from the more established Little India enclaves in Queens. Rapidly growing Chinatowns have developed in Brooklyn (布魯克林) and Queens (皇后), with Asian immigrants moving into Nassau County, as did earlier European immigrants, such as the Irish and Italians. As of 2015, the Asian population in Nassau County had grown rapidly to an estimated 115,232 individuals, including an estimated 46,225 Indian Americans and 29,017 Chinese Americans. Likewise, the Long Island Koreatown (롱 아일랜드 코리아타운) originated in Flushing, Queens, and is expanding eastward along Northern Boulevard and into Nassau County.

Census 2010

As of the 2010 Census, there were 1,339,532 people, 448,528 households, and 340,523 families residing in the county. The population of Nassau County was estimated by the U.S. Census to have increased by 1.6% to 1,361,350 in 2015, representing 6.9% of the Census-estimated New York State population of 19,795,791 and 17.4% of the Census-estimated Long Island population of 7,838,722. The population density in 2010 was 4,700 people per square mile (1,815/km²). There were 468,346 housing units at an average density of 1,598 per square mile (617/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 73.0% White (65.5% non-Hispanic White), 11.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 7.6% Asian (3.0% Indian, 1.8% Chinese, 1.0% Korean, 0.7% Filipino, 0.1% Japanese, 0.1% Vietnamese, 0.9% Other Asian), 0.03% Pacific Islander, 5.6% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.6% of the population.

In 2010, there were 340,523 family households, out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.0% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 20.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.38. The population was 23.3% under the age of 18, and 18.7% who were 62 years of age or older. The median age was 41.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the county in 2000 was $72,030, and the median income for a family was $81,246 (these figures had risen to $87,658 and $101,661 respectively according to a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $52,340 versus $37,446 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,151. About 3.50% of families and 5.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.

Racial groups and ethnicity on Long Island compared to state and nation
Place Population
2010
census
 %
white
 %
black
or
African
American
 %
Asian
 %
Other
 %
mixed
race
 %
Hispanic/
Latino
of any
race
Race Ethnicity
Nassau County 1,339,532 73.0 11.1 7.6 5.9 2.4 14.6
Suffolk County 1,493,350 80.8 7.4 3.4 5.9 2.4 16.5
Long Island Total
(including Brooklyn and Queens)
7,568,304 54.7 20.4 12.3 9.3 3.2 20.5
NY State 19,378,102 65.7 15.9 7.3 8.0 3.0 17.6
USA 308,745,538 72.4 12.6 4.8 7.3 2.9 16.3
American Indian, Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander make up just 0.5% of the population of Long Island, and have been included with "Other".
Religious groups on Long Island compared to state and nation
Place Population
2010
census
 %
Catholic
 % not
affiliated
 %
Jewish
 %
Protestant
Estimate
of % not
reporting
Nassau County 1,339,532 52 9 16 7 15
Suffolk County 1,493,350 52 21 7 8 11
Long Island Total
(including Brooklyn and Queens)
7,568,304 40 18 12 7 20
NY State 19,378,102 42 20 9 10 16
USA 308,745,538 22 37 2 23 12

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 1,334,544 people, 447,387 households, and 347,172 families residing in the county. The population density was 4,655 people per square mile (1,797/km²). There were 458,151 housing units at an average density of 1,598 per square mile (617/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 79.30% White (73.95% White Non-Hispanic), 10.01% African American, 0.16% Native American, 4.73% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.57% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.09% of the population.

There were 447,387 households, out of which 35.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.10% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.40% were non-families. 18.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.34.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.70% under the age of 18, 7.30% from 18 to 24, 28.90% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $72,030, and the median income for a family was $81,246. Males had a median income of $52,340 versus $37,446 for females. The per capita income for the county was $32,151. About 3.50% of families and 5.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.80% of those under age 18 and 5.60% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Cities

Towns

County symbols

  • County bird: Osprey
  • County flower: Birdsfoot Violet (Viola pedata)

Images for kids


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