Suffolk County, New York facts for kids

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Suffolk County, New York
Seal of Suffolk County, New York
Map
Map of New York highlighting Suffolk 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 1683
Seat Riverhead
Largest town Brookhaven
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

2,373 sq mi (6,146 km²)
912 sq mi (2,362 km²)
1,461 sq mi (3,784 km²), 62%
Population
 -  Density

1,501,587
1,646.5/sq mi (636/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.suffolkcountyny.gov
Named for: Suffolk, England
County flag Flag of Suffolk County, New York
Population is 2015 Census estimate.

Suffolk County /ˈsʌfək/ is a suburban county on Long Island and the easternmost county in the U.S. state of New York. As of the 2010 census, the county's population was 1,493,350, estimated to have increased to 1,501,587 in 2015, making it the fourth-most populous county in New York. Its county seat is Riverhead, though most county offices are located in Hauppauge. The county was named after the county of Suffolk in England, from where its earliest European settlers came.

Suffolk County incorporates the easternmost extreme of the New York City metropolitan area. The largest of Long Island's four counties and the second-largest of 62 counties in New York State, Suffolk measures 86 miles (138 km) in length and 26 miles (42 km) in width at its widest (including water).

Major scientific research facilities in Suffolk County include Brookhaven National Laboratory in Upton and Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island.

History

Suffolk County 1683
Suffolk County 1683

Suffolk County was an original county of the Province of New York, one of twelve created in 1683. From 1664 until 1683 it had been the 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."

Geography

Shinnecock-locks
Shinnecock Canal

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 (2,360 km2) is land and 1,461 square miles (3,780 km2) (62%) is water. It is the second-largest county in New York by total area and occupies 66% of the land area of Long Island.

Suffolk County occupies the central and eastern part of Long Island, in the extreme east 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.

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.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

FI Lighthouse pan
View of western Fire Island from the top of Fire Island Lighthouse
  • Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge
  • Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge
  • Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge
  • Fire Island National Seashore
  • Sayville National Wildlife Refuge
  • Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge
  • Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge
  • Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 16,400
1800 19,735 20.3%
1810 21,113 7.0%
1820 23,936 13.4%
1830 26,780 11.9%
1840 32,469 21.2%
1850 36,922 13.7%
1860 43,275 17.2%
1870 46,924 8.4%
1880 52,888 12.7%
1890 62,491 18.2%
1900 77,582 24.1%
1910 96,138 23.9%
1920 110,246 14.7%
1930 161,055 46.1%
1940 197,355 22.5%
1950 276,129 39.9%
1960 666,784 141.5%
1970 1,124,950 68.7%
1980 1,284,231 14.2%
1990 1,321,864 2.9%
2000 1,419,369 7.4%
2010 1,493,350 5.2%
Est. 2015 1,501,587 0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010 and 2015

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,493,350 people and 569,985 households residing in the county. The population of Suffolk County was estimated by the U.S. Census to have increased by 0.6% to 1,501,587 in 2015, representing 7.6% of the Census-estimated New York State population of 19,795,791 and 19.2% of the Census-estimated Long Island population of 7,838,722. The population density in 2010 was 1,637 people per square mile (633/km²), with 569,985 households at an average density of 625 per square mile (242/km²). However, by 2012, with an estimated total population increasing moderately to 1,499,273 there were 569,359 housing units. By 2014, the racial makeup of the county was estimated at 85.2% White of any ancestry including Hispanic, 8.3% African American, 0.6% Native American, 4.0% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.8% from two or more races . Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.2% of the population. Those who identified as "white alone", not being of Hispanic or Latino origin, represented 69.3% 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 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.

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. In 2016, according to Business Insider, the 11962 zip code encompassing Sagaponack, within Southampton, was listed as the most expensive in the U.S., with a median home sale price of $8.5 million.

The median income for a household in the county was $84,767, 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. Using a weighted average from 2009-2014 about 6.40% of the population were below the poverty line In earlier censuses, the population below the poverty line included 2.70% of those under age 18 and 2.30% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2006, Suffolk County ranked at number 21 on the list of the most populous counties in the United States.

Racial groups, ethnicity, and religious groups 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
 %
Catholic
 % not
affiliated
 %
Jewish
 %
Protestant
Estimate
of % not
reporting
Race Ethnicity Religious groups
Nassau County 1,339,532 73.0 11.1 7.6 5.9 2.4 14.6 52 9 17 7 15
Suffolk County 1,493,350 80.8 7.4 3.4 5.9 2.4 16.5 52 21 7 8 11
Long Island Total
(including Brooklyn and Queens)
7,568,304 54.7 20.4 12.3 9.3 3.2 20.5 40 18 15 7 20
NY State 19,378,102 65.7 15.9 7.3 8.0 3.0 17.6 42 20 9 10 16
USA 308,745,538 72.4 12.6 4.8 7.3 2.9 16.3 22 37 2 23 12
Source for Race and Ethnicity: 2010 Census
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".
Source for religious groups: ARDA2000

Transportation

Major highways

  • I-495 (Long Island Expressway) traverses the county from the Nassau County line in the West to Riverhead in the East. Original plans called for the Expressway to extend further past Riverhead and along the island's North Fork, possibly to Orient Point, where a crossing to Connecticut could be built. The expressway connects to Manhattan via the Queens-Midtown Tunnel.
  • New York State Route 27 crosses the county from the Nassau County line in the West to Montauk Point in the East, which is also the easternmost point in New York State. The road is limited-access from West Babylon to Southampton.

Airports

Several airports serve commuters and business travelers, most notably Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, Republic Airport in East Farmingdale and Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

Public transportation

Suffolk County is served by Suffolk County Transit. Long Island Rail Road, the Hampton Jitney, and Hampton Luxury Liner connect Suffolk County to New York City.

Suffolk seashore

See also: Outer Barrier Islands

Fire Island Lighthouse was an important landmark for many trans-atlantic ships coming into New York Harbor in the early 20th century. For many European immigrants, the Fire Island Light was their first sight of land upon arrival in America.

Fire island lighthouse
Fire Island Lighthouse

The Fire Island Inlet span of the Robert Moses Causeway connects to Robert Moses State Park on the western tip of Fire Island.

The Great South Bay Bridge, the first causeway bridge, had only one northbound and one southbound lane, was opened to traffic in April 1954. The span of 2 miles (3 km) across Great South Bay to Captree Island features a main span of 600 feet (200 m), with a clearance for boats of 60 feet (20 m).

After crossing the State Boat Channel over Its 665-foot (203 m)-long bascule bridge, the causeway meets the Ocean Parkway at a cloverleaf interchange. This interchange provides access to Captree State Park, Gilgo State Park and Jones Beach State Park.

F I W SEASHORE
F I N S

The Fire Island Inlet Bridge continues the two-lane road, one lane in each direction, across Fire Island Inlet to its terminus at Robert Moses State Park and The Fire Island Lighthouse. Robert Moses Causeway opened in 1964.

Suffolk County has the most lighthouses of any other United States county, with fifteen of its original twenty-six lighthouses still standing. Of these fifteen, eight are located in Southold township alone, giving it more lighthouses than any other township in the United States.

Secessionist movements

Flag of Peconic County, New York
The proposed Peconic County flag

At various times, there have been proposals for a division of Suffolk County into two counties. The western portion would be called Suffolk County, while the eastern portion of the current Suffolk County would comprise a new county to be called Peconic County. Peconic County would consist of the five easternmost towns of Suffolk County: East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold, plus the Shinnecock Indian Reservation.

The proposed Peconic County flag showed the two forks at the east end of Long Island separated by Peconic Bay. The star on the north represents Southold. The stars on the South Fork represent Southampton and East Hampton. Riverhead is at the fork mouth and Shelter Island is between the forks.

The secessionist movement has not been active since 1998.

The End of the Hamptons: Scenes from the Class Struggle in America's Paradise, by Corey Dolgon (New York University Press, 2005) examined the class roots of the secessionist movement in the Hamptons. In his review, Howard Zinn wrote that the book "[t]akes us beyond the much-romanticized beaches of Long Island to the rich entrepreneurs and their McMansions, the Latino workers, and the stubborn indigenous residents refusing to disappear. The book is important because it is in so many ways a microcosm of the nation." The book won the Association for Humanist Sociology's 2005 Book Prize and the American Sociological Association's Marxist Section Book Award in 2007.

Communities

MONTAUK POINT LIGHT 1 150 500
The Montauk Lighthouse is a landmark of Suffolk County, NY

In New York State, a town is the major subdivision of each county. Towns provide or arrange for most municipal services for residents of hamlets and selected services for residents of villages. All residents of New York who do not live in a city or on an Indian reservation live in a town. A village is an incorporated area which is usually, but not always, within a single town. A village is a clearly defined municipality that provides the services closest to the residents, such as garbage collection, street and highway maintenance, street lighting and building codes. Some villages provide their own police and other optional services. A hamlet is an informally-defined populated area within a town that is not part of a village.

Towns

Villages

Gardiners Island

Gardiners island 2007
Gardiners Island, Suffolk County, NY

Gardiners Island is an island off eastern Suffolk County in the U.S. state of New York.

The Island is 6 miles (10 km) long, and 3 miles (5 km) wide and has 27 miles (43 km) of coastline.

The same family has owned the Island for nearly 400 years, one of the largest privately owned islands in America or the world.

It is, however, the only American real estate still intact as part of an original royal grant from the English Crown.

Robins Island

Robins Island is an Island in the Peconic Bay between the North and South folks of eastern Suffolk County.

It is within the jurisdiction of Town of Southold in Suffolk County, New York.

The Island is 435 acres (1.8 km2) and presently undeveloped.

The island is privately owned and not accessible to the public.

Indian reservations

Two Indian reservations are located within the borders of Suffolk County:

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