Cape May County, New Jersey
|Cape May County, New Jersey|
Sunset on the Cape May Peninsula
Location in the U.S. state of New Jersey
New Jersey's location in the U.S.
|Seat||Cape May Court House (in Middle Township)|
|Largest city||Lower Township (population)
Middle Township (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%|
94,727 (2015 est.)
|• Density||377/sq mi (145.5/km²)|
Cape May County is the southernmost county in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The county's Census-estimated population was 94,727 in 2015, a 2.6% decrease from the 97,265 enumerated at the 2010 United States Census, in turn decreasing by 5,061 (-4.9%) from the 102,326 counted in the 2000 Census, retaining its position as the state's second-least populous county. 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. 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 as well as the Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, PA-NJ-DE-MD Combined Statistical Area. Its county seat is the Cape May Court House section of Middle Township.
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.
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%).
Cape May County borders the following counties:
- Atlantic County, New Jersey – north
- Cumberland County, New Jersey – northwest
- Kent County, Delaware - west¹
- Sussex County, Delaware - southwest¹
¹ across Delaware Bay; no land border
National protected area
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.
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.
|Cape May Court House, New Jersey|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Historical sources: 1790-1990
1970-2010 2000 2010
The 2010 United States Census counted 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). The county contained 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. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 6.22% (6,054) of the population.
Out of a total of 40,812 households, 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.
In the county, 18.9% of the population were 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 the census counted 94.6 males, but for 100 females at least 18 years old, it was 92.4 males.
As of the 2000 United States Census 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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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. Cape May County established a tourism office in Montreal, along St. Catherine's Street. It was the sole international branch of the county tourism authority. Around 1995, it closed due to budget cuts. By 2010 the tourism office of Cape May County established a French language coupon booklet. In 2009, the tourism director of Cape May County, Diane Wieland, said that the Canadian market remained strong despite the Great Recession. 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."
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.
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. As of 2015[update], Cape May County's freeholders (all Republicans) are:
- Freeholder Director Gerald M. Thornton - Director of Administration, Revenue and Finance, and Emergency Management (term expires December 31, 2016, resident of Cape May Court House in Middle Township)
- Freeholder Vice-Director Leonard C. Desiderio - Director of Public Safety (2015, Sea Isle City)
- Freeholder Kristine Gabor - Director of Health and Human Services (2017, Upper Township)
- Freeholder E. Marie Hayes - Director of Tourism and Public Information, Public Offices and Transportation (2016, Ocean City; took office in February 2013, serving the unexpired term of M. Susan Sheppard)
- Freeholder Will Morey - Director of Planning, Education, Engineering and Economic Development (2017, Wildwood Crest)
Cape May County is also served by three Constitutional Officers: County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti (R, 2015, Ocean City), Sheriff Gary G. Schafer (R, 2017, Cape May Court House / Middle Township), and Surrogate M. Susan Sheppard (R, 2017, Ocean City).
Cape May County, along with Atlantic County, is part of Vicinage 1 of New Jersey Superior Court. 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.
The county lies entirely within the 1st Legislative District. 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).
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. Among the county's 2010 Census population, 69.9% were registered to vote, including 81.1% of those ages 18 and over.
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:
(with map key)
|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)
|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)
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)
Rio Grande CDP (2,670)
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
Strathmere CDP (158)
|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 Crest (4)||borough||3,270||5,569||1.31||0.18||1.13||2,884.0||4,911.6|
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. Rutgers University has a partnership with Atlantic Cape Community College which offers bachelor's degree completion programs at Atlantic Cape's Mays Landing campus.
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.
The southern terminus of the Garden State Parkway, known as Exit Zero, is in the county. The parkway passes through the length of the county, heading north to Egg Harbor Township in the north in Atlantic County.
- Cape May Winery & Vineyard
- Hawk Haven Vineyard & Winery
- Jessie Creek Winery
- Natali Vineyards
- Turdo Vineyards & Winery
- Willow Creek Winery
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- Kevin Bramble, disabled ski racer, freeskier, and monoski designer and builder.
- Chris Ford, basketball player and coach.
- Greg Fulginiti, recording and mastering engineer.
- Joy Bright Hancock, one of the first women officers in the United States Navy.
- Thomas Millet Hand, Republican Party politician who represented New Jersey's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1945 to 1957.
- Mary O'Hara Alsop, author, pianist and composer.
- Gregory Goodwin Pincus, American biologist and researcher, was co-inventor of the combined oral contraceptive pill.
- Charles W. Sandman, Jr. (1921-1985), politician who represented Cape May in the New Jersey State Senate from 1956–66; the 2nd district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1967–75; candidate for Governor of New Jersey, 1973.
- Witmer Stone (1866-1939), ornithologist and author of Bird Studies at Old Cape May.
- Gay Talese (born 1932), author.
- Andrew J. Tomlin (1845-1906), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient and County Sheriff from Goshen who was buried in Goshen Methodist Cemetery.
- Harriet Tubman (c. 1822-1913, African American abolitionist who helped liberate scores of slaves through the Underground Railroad, worked in a Cape May hotel around 1850.
- Frank Vogel (born 1973), Head Coach of the Orlando Magic.
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Cape May County, New Jersey
- North Wildwood Beach Patrol
- Cape May County, NJ, National Association of Counties. Accessed January 20, 2013.
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- State & County QuickFacts - Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 3, 2016.
- DP-1 - Profile of General Demographic Characteristics: 2000; Census 2000 Summary File 1 (SF 1) 100-Percent Data for Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed January 21, 2013.
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- Gannett, Henry. The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States, p. 68. United States Government Printing Office, 1905. Accessed August 28, 2015.
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- Areas touching Cape May County, MapIt. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Levin, Eric. "Happy Harvests In October, the Garden State’s food and wine festivals invite you to put your month where your mouth is.", New Jersey Monthly, September 14, 2009. Accessed October 3, 2013. "Back when as many as 5,000 acres of rural Cape May County were planted in lima beans, West Cape May billed itself as the lima bean capital of the world, or at least of the country.... The bounty gave rise to an annual Lima Bean Festival, complete with lima bean cookoff and lima bean king and queen."
- "Monthly Averages for Cape May Court House, New Jersey". The Weather Channel. Retrieved October 13, 2012.
- Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015 - 2015 Population Estimates, United States Census Bureau. Accessed July 3, 2016.
- Forstall, Richard L. Population of states and counties of the United States: 1790 to 1990 from the Twenty-one Decennial Censuses, pp. 108-109. United States Census Bureau, March 1996. ISBN 9780934213486. Accessed October 3, 2013.
- American FactFinder, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2014.
- Tables DP-1 to DP-4 from Census 2000 for Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 18, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2013.
- DP-2 - Profile of Selected Social Characteristics: 2000 from the Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) - Sample Data for Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 30, 2013.
- DP-3 - Profile of Selected Economic Characteristics: 2000 from Census 2000 Summary File 3 (SF 3) - Sample Data for Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 30, 2013.
- Di Ionno, Mark. "Canadian tourists continue to flock to Wildwoods as vacation destination", The Star-Ledger, August 3, 2010. Accessed July 12, 2015.
- Barlas, Thomas. CANADIANS VISITING CAPE DESPITE ECONOMY." Press of Atlantic City, July 24, 1991. Accessed August 20, 2013.
- Barlas, Thomas. "Canadian Invasion Spreading / Visitors From Ontario Seeking Info About Cape May, O.C. Vacations", The Press of Atlantic City, July 18, 1993. Accessed August 20, 2013.
- Lapusheski, Christine. "Canadian Connection Seeks Warm Reception / New Tourism Head Busy Touting Cape", The Press of Atlantic City, February 28, 1990. Accessed August 20, 2013.
- Gilfillian, Trudi. "Canadians invade, to county's delight / Cape May County enjoys influx of tourists", The Press of Atlantic City, August 18, 2009. Accessed August 20, 2013.
- Staff. "Cape May, N.J., targets Canadian tourists", USA Today, February 9, 2010. Accessed August 20, 2013.
- Degener, Richard. "Port of Cape May reels in $73.7M., climbs to fourth in nation", The Press of Atlantic City, July 26, 2009. Accessed October 3, 2013. "Scallop harvests, boosted by federal regulations that close off huge sections of the ocean to let them grow big and plump, helped the port, which includes docks in Lower Township and Wildwood but none actually in Cape May, move from the eighth largest in the country in 2007 to No. 4 in the nation last year."
- What is a Freeholder? , Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Cape May County Freeholders Home Page, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Gerald M. Thornton, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Leonard C. Desiderio, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Kristine Gabor, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- E. Marie Hayes, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Will Morey, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Clerk's Office, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Home Page, Cape May County Sheriff. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Surrogate, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Locations of New Jersey Courts, New Jersey Courts. Accessed May 21, 2016.
- Local Court Addresses, New Jersey Courts. Accessed May 21, 2016.
- Administration: Atlantic / Cape May Vicinage 1, New Jersey Courts. Accessed May 21, 2016.
- 2012 Congressional Districts by County, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections. Accessed October 3, 2013.
- Plan Components Report, New Jersey Department of State Division of Elections, December 23, 2011. Accessed October 3, 2013.
- Directory of Representatives: New Jersey, United States House of Representatives. Accessed January 5, 2012.
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- GCT-P7: Selected Age Groups: 2010 - State -- County / County Equivalent from the 2010 Census Summary File 1 for New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- 2008 Presidential General Election Results
- GCT-PH1: Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2010 - County -- County Subdivision and Place from the 2010 Census Summary File 1 for Cape May County, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Locality Search, State of New Jersey. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- History, Atlantic Cape Community College. Accessed October 3, 2013.
- Atlantic Cape; The power of Rutgers, locally, Rutgers Off Campus - Atlantic Cape. Accessed October 2, 2013.
- Cape May County Mileage by Municipality and Jurisdiction, New Jersey Department of Transportation, May 2010. Accessed July 18, 2014.
- Travel Resources: Interchanges, Service Areas & Commuter Lots, New Jersey Turnpike Authority. Accessed August 19, 2014.
- Garden State Parkway Straight Line Diagram, New Jersey Department of Transportation, January 1997. Accessed August 19, 2014.
- Kerr, Peter. "EX-REP. CHARLES SANDMAN. NIXON SUPPORTER, DIES", The New York Times, August 27, 1985. Accessed May 21, 2016. " Charles W. Sandman, a New Jersey Superior Court judge and former United States Representative who was one of President Richard M. Nixon's strongest supporters during Congressional impeachment hearings in 1974, died Monday at Burdette Tomlin Memorial Hospital in Cape May Court House, N.J., after suffering a stroke Aug. 18. He was 64 and lived in Erma Park, N.J."
- Shelly, Kevin C. "Closing a Chapter; Gay Talese didn't want to leave his Ocean City home, but his wife gave him little choice. Now the famed writer bids a sad farewell to the Shore.", New Jersey Monthly, June 13, 2011. Accessed May 21, 2016. "Nan Talese makes her way down the stairs of the century-old Ocean City home she has shared for 44 years with her husband, the writer Gay Talese."
- Sheriffs Of Cape May County, Cape May County Sheriff's Office. Accessed May 21, 2016.
- Stevens, Lewis Townsend. The History of Cape May County, New Jersey: From the Aboriginal Times to the Present Day, p. 401. L.T. Stevens, 1897. Accessed May 21, 2016. "Andrew J. Tomlin, of Goshen, was in 1895 elected Sheriff for a three-year term."
- Dorwart, Jeffrey M. (1992). Cape May County, New Jersey: the Making of an American Resort Community. Rutgers University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0-8135-1784-2.
- via Associated Press. "Magic hire Wildwood Crest native Frank Vogel as new coach", The Press of Atlantic City, May 20, 2016. Accessed May 21, 2016.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cape May County, New Jersey.|
- Official county website
- The Cape May County Gazette Newspaper
- The Beachcomber
- Cape May County Herald Newspaper
- Rutgers at Atlantic Cape Community College
||Cumberland County||Atlantic County|
|Delaware Bay||Atlantic Ocean|