Cape May County, New Jersey

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Cape May County, New Jersey
Cape may.jpg
Sunset on the Cape May Peninsula
Map of New Jersey highlighting Cape May County
Location in the U.S. state of New Jersey
Map of the United States highlighting New Jersey
New Jersey's location in the U.S.
Founded 1685
Named for Cornelius Jacobsen Mey
Seat Cape May Court House (in Middle Township) [1]
Largest city Lower Township (population)
Middle Township (area)
Area
 • Total 620.42 sq mi (1,607 km2)
 • Land 251.42 sq mi (651 km2)
 • Water 368.99 sq mi (956 km2), 59.47%
Population
 • ( 2010) 97,265 [2]
94,430 (2016 est.; second-least populous in state) [3]
 • Density 377/sq mi (145.5/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Website capemaycountynj.gov
Wildwood at night.

Cape May County is the southernmost county in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of the 2016 Census estimate, the county's population was 94,430, making it the state's second-least populous county, [3] [4] [5] a 2.9% decrease from the 97,265 enumerated at the 2010 United States Census, [2] in turn decreasing by 5,061 (-4.9%) from the 102,326 counted in the 2000 Census. [6] Cape May was one of only two counties to lose population in the decade since 2000; the decline was the largest percentage decrease of any county statewide and the second-largest in absolute terms. [7] [8]

A consistently popular summer destination with 30 miles (48 km) of beaches, Cape May attracts vacationers from New Jersey and surrounding states, with the summer population exceeding 800,000. Tourism generates annual revenues of $5.3 billion, making it the county's single largest industry, with leisure and hospitality being Cape May's largest employment category.

The county is part of the Ocean City, NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area [9] as well as the Philadelphia- Reading- Camden, PA-NJ- DE- MD Combined Statistical Area. [10] Its county seat is the Cape May Court House section of Middle Township. [1]

The county was named for Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, a Dutch captain who explored and charted the area from 1611 to 1614, and established a claim for the province of New Netherland. [11] [12]

Geography

Most of the county lies on a peninsula that juts into Delaware Bay. It is flat and coastal. Sea level is the lowest point; the highest elevation is found at three areas in Belleplain State Forest in the county's northern corner which are approximately 60 feet (18 m) above sea level. [13]

According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 620.42 square miles (1,606.9 km2), including 251.42 square miles (651.2 km2) of land (40.5%) and 368.99 square miles (955.7 km2) of water (59.5%). [14]

Adjacent counties

Cape May County borders the following counties: [15]

¹ across Delaware Bay; no land border

National protected area

Climate

Given its maritime influence and southernmost location within New Jersey, Cape May County has relatively mild wintertime temperatures, with very windy conditions more than half of the year, mostly in June and July. Conversely, the county witnesses lower summertime temperatures than most places in the state, making it a popular place to escape the heat as well. It is in USDA plant hardiness zone 7a/7b, Humid/Temperate. Its climate is suited to growing traditional Northeastern plants, including English Yew, Boxwoods and Sugar Maples. Because of the warmer wintertime temperatures, Hardy Palms, including Trachycarpus fortunei (Chinese Windmill Palm) and Needle Palms, would work quite well in the landscape, these plants having survived for many years also in other parts of coastal New Jersey, from Sandy Hook to Cape May. Wine grapes also do particularly well, given the long growing season. The wine industry is growing – four vineyards and wineries operate in the county now – three more are planted and on the way. The county had a once-vibrant lima bean industry that covered as much as 5,000 acres (2,000 ha) of land and West Cape May still calls itself the "lima bean capital of the world" and hosts an annual lima bean festival, though wine grapes are quickly becoming more common and many wineries dot the landscape. [16]

According to the Köppen climate classification system, Cape May has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) typical of New Jersey with warm, windy summers and cold winters.

The average temperatures in the county seat of Cape May Court House range from a low of 22 °F (−6 °C) in January to a high of 85 °F (29 °C) in July, although a record low of −22 °F (−30 °C) was recorded in January 1942 and a record high of 103 °F (39 °C) was recorded in July 1993. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.91 inches (74 mm) in June to 4.68 inches (119 mm) in August. [17]

Cape May Court House, New Jersey
Climate chart ( explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
3.5
 
 
42
22
 
 
3.1
 
 
45
24
 
 
4.5
 
 
53
30
 
 
4
 
 
64
39
 
 
3.7
 
 
73
47
 
 
2.9
 
 
80
58
 
 
4
 
 
85
64
 
 
4.7
 
 
82
62
 
 
4
 
 
77
54
 
 
3.9
 
 
66
43
 
 
3.6
 
 
57
34
 
 
3.4
 
 
46
26
Average max. and min. temperatures in °F
Precipitation totals in inches
Source: The Weather Channel [17]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 2,571
1800 3,066 19.3%
1810 3,632 18.5%
1820 4,265 17.4%
1830 4,936 15.7%
1840 5,324 7.9%
1850 6,433 20.8%
1860 7,130 10.8%
1870 8,349 17.1%
1880 9,765 17.0%
1890 11,268 15.4%
1900 13,201 17.2%
1910 19,745 49.6%
1920 19,460 −1.4%
1930 29,486 51.5%
1940 28,919 −1.9%
1950 37,131 28.4%
1960 48,555 30.8%
1970 59,554 22.7%
1980 82,266 38.1%
1990 95,089 15.6%
2000 102,326 7.6%
2010 97,265 −4.9%
Est. 2016 94,430 [18] −2.9%
Historical sources: 1790-1990 [19]
1970-2010 [8] 2000 [6] 2010 [2]

Census 2010

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 97,265 people, 40,812 households, and 25,956 families residing in the county. The population density was 386.9 per square mile (149.4/km2). There were 98,309 housing units at an average density of 391 per square mile (151/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.83% (87,369) White, 4.69% (4,565) Black or African American, 0.21% (205) Native American, 0.86% (834) Asian, 0.04% (36) Pacific Islander, 2.47% (2,399) from other races, and 1.91% (1,857) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.22% (6,054) of the population. [2]

There were 40,812 households out of which 21.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.3% were married couples living together, 11% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.89. [2]

In the county, the population was spread out with 18.9% under the age of 18, 8% from 18 to 24, 20.1% from 25 to 44, 31.6% from 45 to 64, and 21.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47.1 years. For every 100 females there were 94.6 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 92.4 males. [2]

Census 2000

As of the 2000 United States Census [20] there were 102,326 people in 27,354 families and 42,148 households residing in the county. The population density was 401 people per square mile (155/km²). There were 91,047 housing units at an average density of 357 per square mile (138/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 91.57% White, 5.06% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.65% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.35% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 3.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [6] [21] Among those residents listing their ancestry, 28.2% were Irish, 21.7% German, 17.1% Italian, 13.2% English, 5.2% Polish and 4.9% American ancestry. [21] [22]

There were 42,148 households out of which 26.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.50% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.10% were non-families. 30.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.94. [6]

In the county, the population age structure was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 25.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males. [6]

The median income for a household in the county was $41,591, and the median income for a family was $51,402. Males had a median income of $39,340 versus $27,621 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,172. About 6.4% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.7% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over. [21] [23]

Economy

The majority of Cape May County's industry is tourism, due to its beaches and location between the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. During the summer season (which traditionally ranges from Memorial Day to Labor Day), tourists often outnumber "locals" 9 to 1. As of 2010, the tourism industry in the county is worth $5 billion. As of that year, the four largest markets for tourism in Cape May County were Greater Philadelphia, North Jersey, New York, and the Canadian province of Quebec. [24]

Canadian tourists typically visit Cape May County over the summer. In 1991 Canadian tourism into Cape May County remained strong despite an economic recession occurring in Canada. [25] As of 1993, most Canadian tourists to the county were Francophones, who typically began their visits during the final two weeks of the month of July, when many Canadians working in the construction and garment sectors received two-week paid time off around that period. [26] Cape May County established a tourism office in Montreal, along St. Catherine's Street. [27] It was the sole international branch of the county tourism authority. [28] Around 1995, it closed due to budget cuts. By 2010 the tourism office of Cape May County established a French language coupon booklet. [29] In 2009, the tourism director of Cape May County, Diane Wieland, said that the Canadian market remained strong despite the Great Recession. [28] In 2010 Wieland said that 13% of visitors to the New Jersey cape originate from Quebec. Mark Di Ionno of The Star-Ledger concluded that out of the $5 billion the county tourism industry is worth, "basic math says French Canadians spend about $650 million." [24]

The commercial fishing industry is also important in Cape May County. In 2005, Cape May County ranked fifth nationally in commercial fishing landings, generating $68.1 million. By 2009, the total value of the catch landed at Cape May was $73.7 million paid to fishermen, with a market value over $440 million, good enough to be the fourth-most-valuable fishing port in the United States. The 2007 harvest was the largest in over 30 years, with more than three quarters of the value coming from scallops, which have increased in value based on federal fishing restrictions intended to allow stocks to recover. [30]

Government

Cape May County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members elected at-large in partisan elections to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for vote as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members. [31] As of 2017, Cape May County's freeholders (all Republicans) are: [32]

  • Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton - Director of Administration, Revenue and Finance, and Emergency Management (term expires December 31, 2019, resident of Cape May Court House in Middle Township) [33]
  • Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard C. Desiderio - Director of Public Safety (2018, Sea Isle City) [34]
  • Freeholder Jeffrey L. Pierson - Director of Health and Human Services (2017, Upper Township; took office in October 2016, serving the unexpired term of Kristine Gabor) [35]
  • Freeholder E. Marie Hayes - Director of Tourism and Public Information, Public Offices and Transportation (2019, Ocean City) [36]
  • Freeholder Will Morey - Director of Planning, Education, Engineering and Economic Development (2017, Wildwood Crest) [37]

Cape May County is also served by three Constitutional Officers: County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti (R, 2015, Ocean City), [38] Sheriff Gary G. Schafer (R, 2017, Cape May Court House / Middle Township), [39] and Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard (R, 2017, Ocean City). [40]

Cape May County, along with Atlantic County, is part of Vicinage 1 of New Jersey Superior Court. [41] Atlantic County has a civil courthouse in Atlantic City, while criminal cases are heard in May's Landing; the Assignment Judge for Vicinage 1 is the Honorable Julio L. Mendez. [42] [43]

The 2nd Congressional District covers all of Cape May County. [44] [45] New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo ( R, Ventnor City). [46]

The county lies entirely within the 1st Legislative District. [47] For the 2016–2017 session ( Senate, General Assembly), the 1st Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Jeff Van Drew ( D, Dennis Township) and in the General Assembly by Bob Andrzejczak (D, Middle Township) and R. Bruce Land (D, Vineland). [48]

Politics

Presidential Elections Results [49]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 57.8% 28,446 38.1% 18,750 4.2% 2,061
2012 53.6% 25,781 45.0% 21,657 1.4% 655
2008 53.5% 27,288 44.9% 22,893 1.6% 802
2004 56.8% 28,832 42.3% 21,475 0.9% 455
2000 50.0% 23,794 46.6% 22,189 3.4% 1,611
1996 43.0% 19,357 44.1% 19,849 12.9% 5,830
1992 44.0% 21,502 35.5% 17,324 20.5% 10,030
1988 65.1% 28,738 34.2% 15,105 0.6% 274
1984 68.1% 28,786 31.6% 13,378 0.3% 133
1980 59.1% 22,729 33.0% 12,708 7.9% 3,034
1976 53.2% 19,498 45.0% 16,489 1.9% 680
1972 70.5% 22,621 27.2% 8,729 2.2% 719
1968 53.1% 14,970 34.3% 9,664 12.6% 3,538
1964 43.2% 11,390 56.7% 14,943 0.2% 47
1960 61.3% 16,076 38.7% 10,137 0.0% 9
1956 74.0% 16,887 25.9% 5,897 0.1% 31
1952 68.5% 15,218 31.5% 6,984 0.0% 7
1948 64.5% 11,227 34.6% 6,031 0.9% 159
1944 54.6% 8,252 45.2% 6,835 0.2% 27
1940 52.6% 9,429 47.3% 8,485 0.2% 30
1936 47.5% 8,531 52.2% 9,363 0.3% 58
1932 57.8% 10,112 41.0% 7,160 1.2% 210
1928 76.4% 12,207 23.4% 3,731 0.3% 40
1924 72.4% 8,139 23.2% 2,611 4.4% 496
1920 70.8% 5,785 26.9% 2,198 2.4% 192
1916 56.9% 2,904 41.1% 2,097 2.1% 107
1912 18.1% 909 42.2% 2,124 39.7% 1,996
1908 63.3% 2,937 33.5% 1,553 3.3% 152
1904 66.6% 2,832 29.1% 1,238 4.4% 185
1900 62.5% 2,253 30.8% 1,109 6.8% 245

Though New Jersey is generally a blue state in most elections, Cape May County is a red county.

As of October 31, 2014, there were a total of 67,972 registered voters in Cape May County, of whom 26,525 (39.%) were registered as Republicans, 13,534 (19.9%) were registered as Democrats and 27,850 (41.%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 63 voters registered to other parties. [50] Among the county's 2010 Census population, 69.9% were registered to vote, including 81.1% of those ages 18 and over. [50] [51]

In the 2008 U.S. Presidential election, John McCain carried the county by an 8.6% margin over Barack Obama, with Obama winning statewide by 15.5% over McCain. [52]

Municipalities

Index map of Cape May County Municipalities (click to see index key)

Municipalities in Cape May County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area; along with communities within each municipalities for which census designated places are noted with their population) are: [53]

Municipality
(with map key)
Municipal
type
Population Housing
Units
Total
Area
Water
Area
Land
Area
Pop.
Density
Housing
Density
Communities [54]
Avalon (9) borough 1,334 5,434 4.93 0.77 4.15 321.3 1,308.8
Cape May (3) city 3,607 4,155 2.74 0.34 2.40 1,500.6 1,728.5
Cape May Point (1) borough 291 619 0.31 0.02 0.30 984.5 2,094.2
Dennis Township (14) township 6,467 2,672 64.33 3.53 60.80 106.4 43.9 Belleplain CDP (597)
Clermont
Dennisville
Ocean View
South Dennis
South Seaville
Lower Township (16) township 22,866 14,507 31.01 3.27 27.74 824.3 523.0 Diamond Beach CDP (136)
Erma CDP (2,134)
Miami Beach
North Cape May CDP (3,226)
Villas CDP (1,483)
Middle Township (15) township 18,911 9,296 82.96 12.62 70.33 268.9 132.2 Burleigh CDP (725)
Cape May Court House CDP (5,338)
Dias Creek
Goshen
Green Creek
Mayville
Nummytown
Rio Grande CDP (2,670)
Swainton
Whitesboro CDP (2,205)
North Wildwood (7) city 4,041 8,840 2.13 0.38 1.75 2,305.8 5,044.1
Ocean City (11) city 11,701 20,871 10.80 4.46 6.33 1,847.7 3,295.7
Sea Isle City (10) city 2,114 6,900 2.53 0.36 2.17 974.5 3,180.8
Stone Harbor (8) borough 866 3,247 1.96 0.56 1.40 619.6 2,323.3
Upper Township (13) township 12,373 6,341 68.69 6.54 62.15 199.1 102.0 Beesley's Point
Marmora
Palermo
Strathmere CDP (158)
Tuckahoe
West Cape May (2) borough 1,024 1,043 1.18 0.01 1.17 878.8 895.1
West Wildwood (6) borough 603 893 0.35 0.07 0.28 2,188.4 3,240.9
Wildwood (5) city 5,325 6,843 1.39 0.09 1.30 4,082.0 5,245.7
Wildwood Crest (4) borough 3,270 5,569 1.31 0.18 1.13 2,884.0 4,911.6
Woodbine (12) borough 2,472 1,079 8.02 0.00 8.02 308.2 134.5
Cape May county 97,265 98,309 620.42 368.99 251.42 386.9 391.0

Education

Atlantic Cape Community College, founded in 1964 with campuses in Mays Landing and Cape May Court House, serves students from both Atlantic County and Cape May County. [55] Rutgers University has a partnership with Atlantic Cape Community College which offers bachelor's degree completion programs at Atlantic Cape's Mays Landing campus. [56]

Transportation

The county had a total of 1,023.85 miles (1,647.73 km) of roadways, of which 717.91 miles (1,155.36 km) are maintained by the local municipality, 199.91 miles (321.72 km) by Cape May County, 74.94 miles (120.60 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 31.09 miles (50.03 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. [57]

The southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway, known as Exit Zero, is in the county. [58] The parkway passes through the length of the county, heading north to Egg Harbor Township in the north in Atlantic County. [59]

Wineries

Notable people


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