For much of its history Somerset County, New Jersey was primarily agricultural. That all changed in the late 19th century, however, when the area became a popular country home for wealthy pharmaceutical industrialists.
Over a century later, the county is still the home of wealthy industrialists; but today, homes are more likely to be within suburban communities such as Bridgewater, Watchung, Green Brook or Warren Townships. New York City commuters travel to work via New Jersey Transit’s Raritan Valley Line and Gladstone Branch, or Interstate 78.
Somerset County’s growth was spurred by the development of its very strong pharmaceutical and technology presence. Today the county continues to seek new business, as well. The Somerset County Business Partnership provides assistance for new businesses through its Economic Development staff, who steer emerging businesses through local approvals processes and advise newcomers on available incentives, all free of charge. Through the county’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, the county engages both residents and business owners in the search for economic strategies and project ideas that will further job growth and investment here.
Somerset County, named after the English county of Somerset, is one of America’s oldest counties, first settled in 1681. General George Washington slept in many of the homes throughout the area, and marched his troops through the county. Somerset County also played an important part during both World War I and World War II with weapons depots and the manufacturing of the army’s woolen blankets.
Part of the New York metro area, Somerset County has a population of 323,444. Its county seat is Somerville. This is an affluent county; it is the ninth-wealthiest in the US by per-capita income, and enjoys the second-highest per-capita income in New Jersey. The median household income is $76,933.
It’s a diverse county, as well. The county’s racial makeup is 79 percent white, seven percent black, eight percent Asian and the remainder from other races.
Residents enjoy more than 10,000 acres of passive green space. The county park system operates five championship golf courses and one executive-style golf course; a riding stable; two tennis facilities; an outdoor pool and several natural areas offering solitude and recreational pursuits including bird-watching, cross country skiing and hiking. Throughout the summer months, Somerset County presents free live concerts in the park every Sunday evening.