Mercer County, New Jersey

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Mercer County, New Jersey
New Jersey State House.jpg
The New Jersey State House and its golden dome at Trenton in 2006.
Seal of Mercer County, New Jersey
Seal
Nickname(s): The Capital County [1]
Map of New Jersey highlighting Mercer 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 1838
Named for Continental Army General Hugh Mercer
Seat Trenton [2]
Largest city Hamilton Township (population)
Hopewell Township (area)
Area
 • Total 228.89 sq mi (593 km2)
 • Land 224.56 sq mi (582 km2)
 • Water 4.33 sq mi (11 km2), 1.89%
Population
 • ( 2010) 366,513 [3]
371,023 (2016 est.; 12th in state) [4]
 • Density 1,623/sq mi (626.5/km²)
Congressional districts 4th, 12th
Website www.mercercounty.org

Mercer County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Its county seat is Trenton, the state capital. [2] The county constitutes the Trenton-Ewing, NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area [5] and is considered part of the New York Metropolitan Area by the United States Census Bureau, [6] [7] but also directly borders the Philadelphia metropolitan area and is included within the Federal Communications Commission's Philadelphia Designated Market Area. [8] As of the 2016 Census estimate, the county's population was 371,023, making it the state's 12th-most populous county, [4] [9] [10] an increase of 1.2% from the 2010 United States Census, when its population was enumerated at 366,513, [3] in turn an increase of 15,752 (4.5%) from the 350,761 enumerated in the 2000 Census, [11] retaining its position as the 12th-most populous county in the state. [12] [13] Mercer County stands among the highest-income counties in the United States, with the Bureau of Economic Analysis having ranked the county as having the 78th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the sixth-highest in New Jersey) as of 2009. [14]

The county was formed by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 22, 1838, from portions of Burlington County (including Nottingham Township), Hunterdon County (including Ewing Township, Lawrence Township, Trenton City and portions of Hopewell Township), and Middlesex County (including West Windsor Township and portions of East Windsor Township). [15] The old Keith Line bisects the county and is the boundary between municipalities that previously had been separated into West Jersey and East Jersey. It was named for Continental Army General Hugh Mercer, who died as a result of wounds received at the Battle of Princeton on January 3, 1777. [16] The Mercer Oak, against which the dying general rested as his men continued to fight, appears on the county seal and stood for 250 years until it collapsed in 2000. [17]

Mercer County is home to Princeton University, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Institute for Advanced Study, Rider University, The College of New Jersey, Thomas Edison State College and Mercer County Community College. [18]

History

Trenton-New Brunswick Turnpike, the future US Route 1 through Mercer Country, 1904

Founded February 22, 1838, from portions of surrounding counties, Mercer County has a historical impact that reaches back to the pivotal battles of the American Revolutionary War. On the night of December 25–26, 1776, General George Washington led American forces across the Delaware River to attack the Hessian barracks in Trenton on the morning of December 26. Following the battle, Washington crossed back to Pennsylvania. He crossed a third time in a surprise attack on the forces of General Charles Cornwallis at the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and at the Battle of Princeton on January 3. The successful attacks built morale among the pro-independence colonists. [19]

Mercer County has the distinction of being the famed landing spot for a fictional Martian invasion of the United States. In 1938, in what has become one of the most famous American radio plays of all time, Orson Welles acted out his The War of the Worlds invasion. His imaginary aliens first "landed" at what is now West Windsor Township. A commemorative monument is erected at Grover's Mill park. [20]

There were 27 Mercer County residents killed during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in Lower Manhattan. A 10-foot (3.0 m) long steel beam weighing one ton was given to the county by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in March 2011 and is now displayed at Mercer County Park. [21]

Geography

According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 228.89 square miles (592.8 km2), including 224.56 square miles (581.6 km2) of land (98.1%) and 4.33 square miles (11.2 km2) of water (1.9%). [22]

The county is generally flat and low-lying on the inner coastal plain with a few hills closer to the Delaware River. Baldpate Mountain, near Pennington, is the highest hill, at 480 feet (150 m) above sea level. [23] The lowest point is at sea level along the Delaware.

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 21,502
1850 27,992 30.2%
1860 37,419 33.7%
1870 46,386 24.0%
1880 58,061 25.2%
1890 79,978 37.7%
1900 95,365 19.2%
1910 125,657 31.8%
1920 159,881 27.2%
1930 187,143 17.1%
1940 197,318 5.4%
1950 229,781 16.5%
1960 266,392 15.9%
1970 304,116 14.2%
1980 307,863 1.2%
1990 325,824 5.8%
2000 350,761 7.7%
2010 366,513 4.5%
Est. 2016 371,023 [4] 1.2%
Historical sources: 1790-1990 [24]
1970-2010 [13] 2000 [11] 2010 [3]

Census 2010

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 366,513 people, 133,155 households, and 89,480 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,632.2 per square mile (630.2/km2). There were 143,169 housing units at an average density of 637.6 per square mile (246.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 61.39% (225,011) White, 20.28% (74,318) Black or African American, 0.33% (1,194) Native American, 8.94% (32,752) Asian, 0.08% (295) Pacific Islander, 6.24% (22,856) from other races, and 2.75% (10,087) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.09% (55,318) of the population. [3]

There were 133,155 households out of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.16. [3]

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.6% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 26.9% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.8 years. For every 100 females there were 95.5 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 93 males. [3]

Census 2000

This view of the Shabakunk Creek below Colonial Lake in Lawrence depicts a typical natural scene in Mercer County.

As of the 2000 United States Census [25] there were 350,761 people, 125,807 households, and 86,303 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,552 people per square mile (599/km²). There were 133,280 housing units at an average density of 590 per square mile (228/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.48% White, 19.81% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 4.94% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 4.29% from other races, and 2.17% from two or more races. 9.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. [11] [26] Among those residents listing their ancestry, 15.4% of residents indicated that they were of Italian, 13.1% Irish, 11.8% German, 8.0% Polish and 8.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000. [26] [27]

There were 125,807 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.6% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.16. [11]

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 10.20% from 18 to 24, 30.60% from 25 to 44, 22.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.00 males. [11]

The median income for a household in the county was $56,613, and the median income for a family was $68,494. Males had a median income of $47,444 versus $34,788 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,914. About 5.9% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over. [26] [28]

Law and government

Mercer County has a county executive form of government, in which the County Executive performs executive functions, administering the operation of the county, and a Board of Chosen Freeholders acts in a legislative capacity. The seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders is elected at-large to serve three-year staggered terms of office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats up for election each year. The Board is led by a Freeholder Chair and Vice-Chair, selected from among its members at an annual reorganization meeting held in January. The Freeholder Board establishes policy and provides a check on the powers of the County Executive. The Board approves all county contracts and gives advice and consent to the County Executive's appointments of department heads, and appointments to boards and commissions. The Freeholder Board votes to approve the budget prepared by the Executive after review and modifications are made. [29]

As of 2016, the County Executive is Democrat Brian M. Hughes, who was re-elected to a fourth four-year term in November 2015 and is serving a term of office ending December 31, 2019. [30] Mercer County's Freeholders are: [31] [32] [33]

Mercer County Court House in Trenton

Mercer County's constitutional officers are County Clerk Paula Sollami-Covello (D, 2018), [41] Sheriff John A. "Jack" Kemler (D, 2017) [42] and Surrogate Diane Gerofsky. [43]

Mercer County constitutes Vicinage 7 of the Superior Court of New Jersey. [44] The vicinage courthouses are located in Trenton, the county seat, and the Assignment Judge for Mercer County is Mary C. Jacobson. [45] [46]

Law enforcement on the county level is provided by the Mercer County Sheriff's Office and the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.

The Princeton campus, is located in Mercer County, New Jersey.
Nassau Street in Princeton, New Jersey.

Portions of the 4th and 12th Congressional Districts cover the county. [47] [48] New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District is represented by Christopher Smith ( R). [49] New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman ( D, Ewing Township). [50]

The county is part of the 14th, 15th and 16th Districts in the New Jersey Legislature. [51]

Politics

Presidential Elections Results [52]
Year Republican Democratic Third Parties
2016 29.2% 46,193 66.3% 104,775 4.5% 7,090
2012 30.5% 47,355 67.2% 104,377 2.3% 3,623
2008 31.3% 50,223 67.3% 107,926 1.4% 2,229
2004 37.9% 56,604 61.3% 91,580 0.9% 1,326
2000 34.4% 46,670 61.4% 83,256 4.2% 5,633
1996 30.8% 40,559 58.9% 77,641 10.3% 13,526
1992 34.8% 50,473 49.1% 71,383 16.1% 23,404
1988 48.3% 65,384 50.8% 68,712 0.9% 1,249
1984 51.6% 71,195 48.1% 66,398 0.4% 528
1980 41.6% 53,450 47.4% 60,888 11.1% 14,244
1976 44.7% 58,453 53.2% 69,621 2.1% 2,782
1972 52.0% 69,303 46.7% 62,180 1.3% 1,708
1968 36.1% 45,354 50.4% 63,218 13.5% 16,957
1964 28.7% 35,081 71.2% 86,985 0.1% 148
1960 38.7% 46,924 61.2% 74,166 0.2% 179
1956 51.4% 56,029 48.3% 52,684 0.4% 392
1952 46.4% 50,423 53.2% 57,751 0.5% 488
1948 42.3% 37,794 55.6% 49,690 2.2% 1,952
1944 41.2% 36,844 58.6% 52,383 0.2% 144
1940 42.5% 37,190 57.3% 50,121 0.3% 222
1936 37.8% 29,283 61.5% 47,702 0.8% 579
1932 50.4% 33,715 45.3% 30,284 4.3% 2,880
1928 59.2% 41,056 40.3% 27,908 0.5% 374
1924 59.5% 30,689 28.4% 14,639 12.1% 6,223
1920 63.5% 29,626 33.7% 15,713 2.9% 1,344
1916 55.8% 14,213 41.7% 10,621 2.6% 659
1912 26.9% 5,676 36.8% 7,773 36.3% 7,671
1908 59.0% 14,941 36.7% 9,288 4.3% 1,100
1904 60.6% 14,900 34.7% 8,528 4.7% 1,158
1900 61.7% 13,878 34.9% 7,861 3.4% 769

In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election, John Kerry carried Mercer County by a 23.4% margin over George W. Bush, with Kerry carrying the state by 6.7% over Bush. [53] In 2008, the county voted for Barack Obama by a 35.4% margin over John McCain, with Obama winning New Jersey by 14.4% over McCain. [54]

Transportation

Roads and highways

Mercer County has county routes, state routes, U.S. Routes and Interstates that all pass through. As of 2010, the county had a total of 1,524.30 miles (2,453.12 km) of roadways, of which 1,216.48 miles (1,957.73 km) were maintained by the local municipality, 175.80 miles (282.92 km) by Mercer County, 118.99 miles (191.50 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 13.03 miles (20.97 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. [55]

The county roads that traverse through are County Route 518 (only in the Hopewells), County Route 524, County Route 526, County Route 533, County Route 535, County Route 539, County Route 546, County Route 569, County Route 571 and County Route 583.

The state routes that pass through Mercer are Route 27 (only in Princeton), Route 29, Route 31, Route 33, Route 129, and Route 133. There are three US Routes that pass through Mercer County, which are: U.S. Route 1 (which bisects the county), U.S. Route 130 and U.S. Route 206.

Mercer County houses a few limited access roads, such as Interstate 295, Interstate 195, and Interstate 95 (which is also designated along the New Jersey Turnpike). (Mercer is the only county in the state that hosts I-95 and both its auxiliary routes.) Two turnpike interchanges are located in Mercer: Exit 7A in Robbinsville and Exit 8 in East Windsor.

Interstate 95 abruptly ends at the interchange with US 1 and I-295 in Lawrence Township, and becomes I-295 south. Signs direct motorists to the continuation of I-95 by using I-295 to I-195 east to Interstate 95 / New Jersey Turnpike. This is all due in part to the cancellation of the Somerset Freeway that was supposed to go from Hopewell in Mercer County up to Franklin in Somerset County.

The 95 shields on the "Trenton section" are to re-numbered as part of I-295 when a direct interchange with Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania and Interstate 276 is built (which will not be until 2017). [56] This planned interchange indirectly prompted another project: the New Jersey Turnpike Authority extended the 'dual-dual' configuration (inner car lanes and outer truck / bus / car lanes) to Interchange 6 in Mansfield Township, Burlington County from its former end at Interchange 8A in Monroe Township, Middlesex County. This widening was completed in early November 2014. [57]

Public transportation

Mercer hosts several New Jersey Transit stations, including Trenton, Hamilton, and Princeton Junction on the Northeast Corridor Line, and Princeton on the Princeton Branch. [58] SEPTA provides rail service to Center City Philadelphia from Trenton and West Trenton. Long-distance transportation is provided by Amtrak train service along the Northeast Corridor through the Trenton Transit Center.

NJTransit's River Line connects Trenton to Camden, with three stations in the county, all within Trenton city limits, at Cass Street, Hamilton Avenue and at the Trenton Transit Center. [59]

Mercer County's only commercial airport, and one of three in the state, is Trenton-Mercer Airport in Ewing Township, which is served by Frontier Airlines, offering nonstop service to and from points nationwide. [60]

The Princeton campus, December 2016.

Municipalities

Index map of Mercer County municipalities (click to see index)

Municipalities in Mercer County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area) are: [61]

Municipality
(with map key)
Municipal
type
Population Housing
Units
Total
Area (sq. mi.)
Water
Area (sq. mi.)
Land
Area (sq. mi.)
Pop.
Density (pop./sq. mi.)
Housing
Density (houses/sq. mi.)
Communities [62]
East Windsor Township (6) township 27,190 10,851 15.74 0.10 15.65 1,737.6 693.4

Allens Station, Eiler Corner, Etra, Hickory Corner, Locust Corner, Millstone, Twin Rivers CDP (7,443)

Ewing Township (11) township 35,790 13,926 15.60 0.35 15.25 2,346.9 913.2 Altura, Braeburn Heights, Briarcrest, Briarwood, Churchill Green, Ewing, Ewing Park, Ewingville, Fernwood, Ferry Road Manor, Fleetwood Village, Glendale, Green Curve Heights, Hampton Hills, Heath Manor, Hickory Hill Estates, Hillwood Lakes, Hillwood Manor, Mountainview, Parkway Village, Prospect Heights, Prospect Park, Scudders Falls, Shabakunk Hills, Sherbrooke Manor, Somerset, Spring Meadows, Village on the Green, Weber Park, West Trenton, Wilburtha, Wynnewood Manor
Hamilton Township (8) township 88,464 36,170 40.39 0.90 39.49 2,240.2 915.9 Briar Manor, Broad Street Park, Chewalla Park, Creston, Deutzville, Duck Island, East Trenton Heights, Edgebrook, Extonville, Golden Crest, Groveville CDP (2,945), Haines Corner, Hamilton Square CDP (12,784), Hutchinson Mills, Lakeside Park, Maple Shade, Mercerville CDP (13,230), North Crosswicks, Nottingham, Pond Run, Quaker Bridge, Quaker Gardens, Rosemont, The Orchards, Trenton Gardens, Warner Village, White Horse CDP (9,494), Yardville CDP (7,186), Yardville Heights
Hightstown (5) borough 5,494 2,108 1.24 0.03 1.21 4,536.0 1,740.4
Hopewell (1) borough 1,922 817 0.70 0.00 0.70 2,735.2 1,162.7
Hopewell Township (12) township 17,304 6,551 58.91 0.88 58.03 298.2 112.9 Akers Corner, Baldwins Corner, Bear Tavern, Centerville, Coopers Corner, Glenmoore, Harbourton, Harts Corner, Marshalls Corner, Moore, Mount Rose, Pleasant Valley, Stoutsburg, Titusville, Washington Crossing, Woodsville
Lawrence Township (10) township 33,472 13,239 22.06 0.25 21.81 1,534.8 607.1 Bakersville, Clarksville, Colonial Lakelands, Coxs Corner, Eldridge Park, Franklin Corner, Harneys Corner, Lawrence Station, Lawrenceville CDP (3,887), Lewisville, Port Mercer, Princessville, Quaker Bridge, Rosedale, Slackwood, Sturwood Hamlet
Pennington (2) borough 2,585 1,083 0.96 0.00 0.96 2,703.9 1,132.8
Princeton [note 1] (3) borough 28,572 10,302 18.36 0.43 17.93 1,593.53 574.6 Cedar Grove, Port Mercer, Princeton North
Robbinsville Township (7) township 13,642 5,277 20.49 0.18 20.32 671.5 259.7 Known as Washington Township until November 2007
Allens Station, Carsons Mills, Hillside Terrace, Meadows Terrace, New Canton, New Sharon, Pages Corners, Robbinsville CDP (3,041), Windsor
Trenton (4) city 84,913 33,035 8.16 0.51 7.65 11,101.9 4,319.2 Battle Monument, Berkeley Square, Cadwalader Heights, Central West, Chambersburg, Chestnut Park, Coalport/North Clinton, Downtown Trenton, Duck Island, East Trenton, Ewing/Carroll, Fisher/Richey/Perdicaris, Franklin Park, Glen Afton, Greenwood/Hamilton, Hanover/Academy, Hillcrest, Hiltonia, Lamberton, North 25, North Trenton, Parkside, Pennington/Prospect, South Trenton, Stuyvesant/Prospect, The Island, Top Road, Villa Park, West End, Wilbur
West Windsor Township (9) township 27,165 9,810 26.27 0.71 25.56 1,062.6 383.7

Berrien City, Clarksville, Dutch Neck, Edinburg, Edinburg Park, Golf View Manor, Grover's Mill, Old Mill Farms, Penns Neck, Port Mercer, Post Corner, Princeton Colonial Park, Princeton Estates, Princeton Ivy East, Princeton Junction CDP (2,465), Sherbrook Estates

Mercer County county 366,513 143,169 228.89 4.33 224.56 1,632.2 637.6

Sports

Mercer County has a number of large parks. The largest, Mercer County Central Park is the home for the US Olympic Rowing Team's training center. [64]

Mercer County is also the home of the minor league baseball team, the Trenton Thunder ( Eastern League Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees) and the Trenton Freedom of the Professional Indoor Football League. The minor league hockey team, the Trenton Titans, established in 1999 and operating as the ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and the AHL's Adirondack Phantoms, disbanded before the start of the 2013-14 season. [65]

Collegiate athletics

Mercer County is also home to several college athletic programs.

Mercer County is home to two NCAA DI schools. Rider University competes as the Rider Broncs in the MAAC. For wrestling, Rider is a member of the Eastern Wrestling League.

The College of New Jersey Lions compete in the NCAA DIII as a member of the New Jersey Athletic Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference. [66] [67]

Mercer County Community College competes as the Mercer Vikings as a member of the Garden State Athletic Conference and the National Junior College Athletic Association.

The Princeton Tigers compete in the Ivy League.


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