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Suffolk County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Yorkmarker on the eastern portion of Long Islandmarker. As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,419,369. It was named for the county of Suffolk in Englandmarker, from which its earliest settlers came. The county seat is Riverheadmarker, though many county offices are in Hauppaugemarker on the west side of the county where most of the population lives. There are also offices in Smithtownmarker, for the legislature, Yaphankmarker, and Farmingvillemarker.

Suffolk and Nassaumarker counties together are generally referred to as "Long Islandmarker" by area residents — as distinct from the New York Citymarker boroughs of Queensmarker (Queens County) and Brooklynmarker (Kings County), which geographically make up the island's western end.

In 2005, Forbes Magazine named Suffolk County, along with Nassau County, New York, as the safest region in the United States, with the lowest crime rate.

Suffolk County is among the top 40 richest counties in the nation, according to Forbes Magazine.

Suffolk County is the easternmost county in New York State and the New York Metropolitan Areamarker.


Suffolk County was an original county of New York State, one of twelve created in 1683. Its boundaries were substantially the same as at present, with only minor changes in the boundary with its western neighbor, which was originally Queens Countymarker but since 1899 has been Nassau Countymarker.

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."


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,373 square miles (6,146 km²), of which, 912 square miles (2,363 km²) of it is land and 1,461 square miles (3,784 km²) of it (61.56%) is water, making it the 2nd largest county by area in the state of New York. The highest elevation in the county, and on Long Island as a whole, is Jayne's Hillmarker in West Hillsmarker, at 401 feet (122 m) above sea level.

Suffolk County occupies the easternmost portion of Long Islandmarker, in the southeastern portion of New Yorkmarker 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 Oceanmarker and the Long Island Soundmarker. The eastern end contains large bays. Suffolk County is divided into 10 towns: Babylonmarker, Brookhavenmarker, East Hamptonmarker, Huntingtonmarker, Islipmarker, Riverheadmarker, Shelter Islandmarker, Smithtownmarker, Southamptonmarker, and Southoldmarker. Also part of the county, but not considered parts of the above towns, are the Poospatuckmarker and Shinnecockmarker Indian reservations. Poospatuck is enclaved within Brookhaven in the Mastic CDPmarker, and Shinnecock is enclaved within Southampton, adjacent to Southampton villagemarker, Tuckahoemarker, and Shinnecock Hillsmarker.

Major facilities include Brookhaven National Laboratorymarker in Upton and Plum Island Animal Disease Center on Plum Island. Several airports serve commuters and business travelers, most notably Long Island MacArthur Airportmarker in Islip, Republic Airportmarker in East Farmingdale and Francis S.marker Gabreski Airportmarker in Westhampton Beach.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Law and government

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democrat
2008 47.4% 309,815 51.8% 340,379
2004 48.5% 309,949 49.5% 315,909
2000 42.0% 240,992 53.4% 306,306
1996 36.1% 182,510 51.8% 261,828
1992 40.4% 220,811 38.9% 229,467
1988 60.5% 311,242 38.7% 199,215
1984 66.0% 335,485 33.7% 171,295
1980 57.0% 256,294 33.3% 149,945
1976 54.1% 248,908 45.3% 208,263
1972 70.3% 316,452 29.4% 132,441
1968 58.2% 218,027 32.7% 122,590
1964 44.4% 144,350 55.5% 180,598
1960 59.3% 166,644 40.6% 114,033

Suffolk County had long been a Republican bastion in New Yorkmarker. U.S. Congressman Rick Lazio, who opposed Hillary Clinton in the 2000 Senate race, was from Suffolk County. However, recent elections have turned the county more toward the Democrats. In 2003, Democrat Steve Levy was elected county executive, ending longtime Republican control. In 2001, Democrat Thomas Spota was elected District Attorney, and ran unopposed in 2005. Although Suffolk voters gave George H. W. Bush a victory here in 1992, the county voted for Bill Clinton in 1996 and continued the trend by giving Al Gore an 11-percent victory in the county in 2000. 2004 Democratic candidate John Kerry won by a much smaller margin of one percent, in 2008 Democratic candidate Barack Obama won by a slightly larger 5 percent margin, 52%-47%.

Suffolk County is represented by three congressional districts, the first, most of the second, and part of the third. The former two seats are held by Democrats. Tim Bishop, a Democrat, represents the once heavily Republican first district, which includes almost half of the county, from Smithtownmarker to Montaukmarker, including The Hamptonsmarker and Riverheadmarker. The second district, which includes Huntingtonmarker, Brentwoodmarker and Bay Shoremarker, is represented by Steve Israel. A Democrat, Israel won the seat vacated by Rick Lazio in 2000 when he made his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. The third district, which is mainly in Nassau Countymarker, but includes some middle-class coastal areas of southwestern Suffolk County, is represented by Peter King, a Republican.

As a whole both Suffolk and Nassau counties are considered swing counties, though usually in presidential elections it doesn't matter since New York State is almost reliably blue.

Suffolk County Executives

Lee Dennison County Executive Building in Hauppauge
Suffolk County Executives
Name Party Term
H. Lee Dennison Democrat 1961–1973
John V.N. Klein Republican 1973–1979
Peter F. Cohalan Republican 1979–1986
Michael A. LoGrande* Republican 1986–1987
Patrick G. Halpin Democrat 1987–1991
Robert J. Gaffney Republican 1992–2003
Steve Levy Democrat 2004–Present
* Appointed to compete Cohalan's term

Suffolk County Legislature

The county is divided into 18 legislative districts, each represented by a legislator. As of 2008, there are 9 Democrats, 6 Republicans, 2 members of the Independence Party of New York, and one legislator from the Working Families Party:
  1. Edward P. Romaine (R)
  2. Jay Schneiderman (I)
  3. Kate M. Browning (WF)
  4. Brian Beedenbender (D)
  5. Vivian Viloria-Fisher (D)
  6. Daniel P. Losquadro (R)
  7. Jack Eddington (I)
  8. William J. Lindsay (D)
  9. Ricardo Montano (D)
  10. Cameron Alden (R)
  11. Thomas F. Barraga (R)
  12. John M. Kennedy, Jr. (R)
  13. Lynne Nowick (R)
  14. Wayne R. Horsley (D)
  15. DuWayne Gregory (D)
  16. Steven H. Stern (D)
  17. Louis D'Amaro (D)
  18. Jon Cooper (D)

Republicans controlled the county legislature until a landmark election in November 2005 where three Republican seats switched to the Democrats, giving them control. William Lindsay is the current Presiding Officer of the legislature while Jon Cooper is the majority leader.

In November 2007, the Democratic Party once again retained control over the Suffolk County Legislature picking up one seat in the process.

Currently, Democrats hold a 11-7 advantage, although their caucus includes one member from the Working Families Party, and one from the Independence Party(Eddington). Additionally Legislator Montano is not a member of the caucus.

Law enforcement

Police services in the five western towns (Babylonmarker, Huntingtonmarker, Islip, Smithtownmarker and Brookhavenmarker) are provided primarily by the Suffolk County Police Department. The five "East End" towns (Riverheadmarker, Southoldmarker, Shelter Islandmarker, East Hamptonmarker, and Southamptonmarker), maintain their own police forces. Also, there are a number of villages, such as Amityvillemarker, Lloyd Harbormarker, Northportmarker and Westhampton Beachmarker, that maintain their own police forces.In an unusual move, the Village of Greenportmarker in 1994 voted to abolish its police department and turn responsibility for law and order over to the Southoldmarker Town Police Department.After the Long Island State Parkway Police was disbanded in 1980, all state parkways in Suffolk County became the responsibility of Troop L of the New York State Police, headquartered at Republic Airportmarker. State parks, such as Robert Moses State Parkmarker, are the responsibility of the New York State Park Police, based at Belmont Lake State Parkmarker. In 1996, the Long Island Rail Road Police Department was consolidated into the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police, which has jurisdiction over all rail lines in the county.

The Suffolk County Sheriff's Officemarker is a separate agency. The sheriff, an elected official who serves a four-year term, operates the two Suffolk County correctional facilities (in Yaphankmarker and Riverheadmarker), provides county courthouse security and detention, service and enforcement of civil papers, evictions and warrants.
Since the disbandment of the Suffolk County Police Highway Patrol Unit last year, Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs have assumed responsibility for patrolling and investigating all crimes committed on both the Long Island Expressway (State route 495) and Sunrise Highway (State Route 27). The Sheriff's Office is also responsible for securing all county-owned property, such as county government office buildings, as well as the campuses of the Suffolk County Community College. They also provide back-up and assistance to the Suffolk County Park Police. As of 2008, the Suffolk County Sheriff's Office employs 275 Deputy Sheriffs, 850 Correction Officers and about 200 civilian staff.

Suffolk County has a long maritime history with several outer barriermarker beaches and hundreds of square miles of waterways. The Suffolk Police Marine Bureau patrols the 500 square miles of navigable waterways within the police district, from the Connecticutmarker and Rhode Islandmarker state line which bisects the Long Island Soundmarker - [8532], to the New Yorkmarker state line three miles south of Fire Island in the Atlantic Oceanmarker.

This includes Fire Islandmarker and even parts of Jones Islandmarker barrier beaches and the islands of the Great South Baymarker.Marine units also respond to water and ice rescues on the inland lakes, ponds and streams of the District.


Suffolk County is the 10th judicial district within the New York State Supreme Court.The Supreme Court has unlimited, original jurisdiction, but generally hears cases outside the jurisdiction of other courts, such as:Civil matters beyond the monetary limits of the lower courts' jurisdiction; Divorce, separation, and annulment proceedings; Equity suits, such as mortgage foreclosures and injunctions; Criminal prosecution of felonies.

.Although there is also a courthouse in Hauppauge, the main courthouse for the Supreme Court is in Riverhead. Riverhead has been the home of the County's Supreme Court since 1729.

The original, colonial era courthouse was replaced in 1855, expanded in 1881.

Although the nineteenth century courthouse was damaged by fire and rebuilt in 1929, the same structure still stands today. In 1994, a new, modern court building was added to the complex.

Suffolk County's lower courts are organized somewhat similar to Nassau County, and very different from the rest of the state.Like Nassau, there is a District Court, but only for about half the county. For about half of the county, most traffic tickets are handled by the Traffic Violations Bureau of Suffolk County.

TVB is an arm of the Department of Motor Vehicles, and is not part of the state court system.There are TVBs in New York City, Rochester and Buffalo as well. Suffolk County also has village courts and five town courts.


As of the census of 2000, there were 1,419,369 people, 469,299 households, and 360,421 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,556 people per square mile (601/km²). There were 522,323 housing units at an average density of 573 per square mile (221/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.60% White (78.8% White Non-Hispanic), 6.94% African American, 0.27% Native American, 2.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.65% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.53% of the population. Some main European ancestries in Suffolk County as of 2000: 28.33% Italian, 22.02% Irish, 16.95% German and 5.98% English.

By 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.

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. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $65,288, 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. About 3.90% of families and 6.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.70% of those under age 18 and 6.30% of those age 65 or over.

Suffolk County ranks at number 21 on the list of the most populous counties in the United States.

Suffolk County has the highest number of Italian American residents of any county in the United States.

Colleges and universities

Suffolk County is home to numerous colleges and universities, including:


Indian reservations

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

Towns, villages, and hamlets

In New York Statemarker, 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 a populated area within a town that is not part of a village. The term "hamlet" is not defined under New York law (unlike cities, towns and villages), but is often used in the state's statutes to refer to well-known populated sections of towns that are not incorporated as villages. For more information, see the article Political subdivisions of New York State.

In 2006 Forbes Magazine ranked six Suffolk County zip codes as among the top 110 most expensive in the United States. Sagaponackmarker, New Yorkmarker was ranked the most expensive zip code in the nation with a median home sale price in 2005 of $2,787,500. Water Millmarker, New Yorkmarker was ranked the sixth most expensive zip code in the nation, with a median home sale price in 2005 of $2,150,000.

Sorted by name

Argyle Lake: A main attraction in the town of Babylon.

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

The Island is 6 miles long, and 3 miles wide and has 27 miles of coastline.

The same family has owned the Island for nearly 400 years, one 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 is an Island in the Peconic Baymarker 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 and presently undeveloped.

The island is privately owned and not accessible to the public. See Map - [8533]

Suffolk Seashore

Fire Island Lighthousemarker 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.

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

The Great South Bay Bridgemarker, the first causeway bridge, had only one northbound and one southbound lane, was opened to traffic in April 1954. The two-mile long span across Great South Bay to Captree Island features a 600-foot-long main span, with a 60-foot clearance for boats.

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

The Fire Island Bridgemarker 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 Movement

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 Hamptonmarker, Riverheadmarker, Shelter Islandmarker, Southamptonmarker and Southoldmarker, plus the Shinnecock Indian Reservationmarker.

The secessionist movement has not been active since 1998.

See also

List of townships in Suffolk County


  1. "About Suffolk County"
  2. U.S. Census data with area & population density
  5. Suffolk County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  6. 100 Largest Counties in the United States by 2006 Population Estimate
  7. Main campus is in Queens, branch campus in Suffolk County St. John's University: Oakdale Campus
  8. Forbes Lists
  • Top 10 U.S Beaches

External links

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