Community Life






Transportation, safety, amenities like the arts and the environment all contribute to the quality of life in Essex County. Available data show a lack of transportation options to be a major challenge, while crime has been declining.

The vast majority of residents of Essex County drive to work, with 79% driving alone to work and another 9% carpooling. A small, but increasing share of residents use public transportation or bike or walk to work. Nearly 31,100 households in Essex County, comprising 11% of the county’s total, do not own a car. This is a lower rate than the state as a whole (at 12%), but still concerning given challenges with public transportation in the county. More than 1 in 5 households in Lawrence (24%) and Lynn (21%) were without cars.

In 2015-19, 86% of households in Essex County have access to the Internet, on par with the state and greater than the national rate of 83%. However, Internet access was considerably lower within certain communities in the region. In Lawrence, only 72% of residents had Internet access in 2015-19.

The crime rate in Essex County has declined slightly since 2008. In 2019, the rate of reported crimes against people was 7.4 per 1,000 residents, lower than the statewide rate of 9.3. More notably, the rate of crimes against property was 15 per 1,000 residents in 2019, down from 30 in 2008 and a 7% decline from 2018. The rates of crimes against people and crimes against property in Essex County are a bit lower than the statewide rates, and slightly above the figures in Middlesex County.

At 0.8 arrests per 1,000 residents, the drug-related arrest rate in Essex County in 2019 was similar to the statewide rate of 0.9 during the same year and similar to the rate found in Middlesex County.

The rate of reported victims of domestic violence in Essex County in 2019 was 3.1 per 1,000 residents, similar to the prior year. While lower than the statewide figure, the rate of domestic violence in Essex County has been higher than the rate in Middlesex County.

In 2018, an average of 19 residents per 10,000 were incarcerated in Essex County, greater than the statewide rate of 14, and over 3 times greater than Middlesex County. The recidivism rate in Essex County declined, among inmates released in 2015, 34% returned to prison within 3 years, down from 42% of inmates released in 2009. The decline in Essex County matches a statewide figure over the same time period.

Voter participation was 51% in the 2018 midterm elections. The turnout rate in 2018 was higher than previous midterm elections since 2000. Voter participation in the county over the past two elections is similar to Middlesex County and a bit higher than the statewide figure.

Essex County in 2018 residents contributed 1.0% of their income to charitable organizations, lower than the state and national charitable donation rates of 1.7% each.

Over $1 billion was spent on travel and tourism in Essex County in 2018, good for $1,300 per county resident. This was an 18% increase for the county since 2006. Essex County's increase since 2006 was slightly higher than the Middlesex and similar to the State's. 

In 2019, 90% of days with air quality measurements in Essex County were categorized as good air days, slightly higher than the rate in 2018 and a 22 percentage point increase from 2000. Still, Essex County lags behind Middlesex County (93%) in terms of air quality.





INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Increasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Crimes Against Property Decreasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Decreasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable