Union County, New Jersey





Union County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. As of 2014, Union County's Census-estimated population was 552,939, an increase of 3.1% from the 2010 United States Census, when its population was enumerated at 536,499, in turn an increase of 13,958 (2.7%) from the 522,541 enumerated in the 2000 Census and making it the seventh-most populous county in the state, having been surpassed by Ocean County. It is part of the New York metropolitan area. Its county seat is Elizabeth. The Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked the county as having the 119th-highest per capita income of all 3,113 counties in the United States (and the eighth-highest in New Jersey) in 2009. A study by Forbes.com determined that Union County pays the second-highest property taxes of all U.S. counties, based on 2007 data. With a population density of 4,955 people per square mile (water excluded), Union County was the 15th-most densely populated county in America as of the 2010 Census, and third-densest in New Jersey, behind Hudson County (ranked 6th at 9,754) and Essex County (ranked 11th at 6,126).

Union County was formed on March 19, 1857, from portions of Essex County.

Geography


Union County, New Jersey

According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 105.40 square miles (273.0 km2), of which 102.86 square miles (266.4 km2) of it (97.6%) was land and 2.55 square miles (6.6 km2) of it (2.4%) was water.

Much of Union County is relatively flat and low-lying. Only in the northwestern corner does any significant relief appear as the Watchung Mountains cross the county. It is there that highest elevations, two areas approximately 560 feet (170 m) above sea level, are found in Berkeley Heights. The lowest elevation is sea level along the eastern shore.

Adjacent counties

  • Essex County, New Jersey â€" north
  • Richmond County, New York â€" east
  • Middlesex County, New Jersey â€" south
  • Somerset County, New Jersey â€" west
  • Morris County, New Jersey - northwest

Demographics


Union County, New Jersey

Union County is diverse ethnically. Berkeley Heights, Clark, Roselle Park, Cranford, Kenilworth, Linden, New Providence, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Summit, Union and Westfield have high percentages of Italian American residents. Elizabeth, Linden, Plainfield, Rahway, Roselle and Union all have large African American communities. Roselle Park has a notably large Indian American community, while Roselle Park, Linden, Rahway, Plainfield and particularly Elizabeth have fast-growing Hispanic and Portuguese populations.

The county's Jewish-American population was 35,000 as of 2004, with notable communities located in Cranford, Elizabeth, Hillside, Linden, Scotch Plains, Springfield, Union, and Westfield.

Census 2010

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 536,499 people, 188,118 households, and 134,692 families residing in the county. The population density was 5,216.1 per square mile (2,013.9/km2). There were 199,489 housing units at an average density of 1,939.5 per square mile (748.8/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 61.33% (329,052) White, 22.05% (118,313) Black or African American, 0.39% (2,080) Native American, 4.63% (24,839) Asian, 0.03% (163) Pacific Islander, 8.48% (45,496) from other races, and 3.09% (16,556) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 27.34% (146,704) of the population.

There were 188,118 households, of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 15.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were non-families. 23.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.82 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the county, 24.5% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.7 males.

Census 2000

At the 2000 United States Census, there were 522,541 people, 186,124 households and 133,264 families residing in the county. The population density was 5,059 per square mile (1,953/km²). There were 192,945 housing units at an average density of 1,868 per square mile (721/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 65.51% White, 20.78% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 3.83% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 6.37% from other races, and 3.25% from two or more races. 19.71% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among those residents listing their ancestry, 13.6% were of Italian, 11.1% Irish, 8.8% German and 7.6% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 186,124 households of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.60% were married couples living together, 14.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. 23.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.77 and the average family size was 3.28.

24.90% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 31.30% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.90 males.

The median household income was $55,339 and the median family income was $65,234. Males had a median income of $44,544 compared with $32,487 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,992. About 6.3% of families and 8.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.5% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.

Government



Union County is governed by a nine-member Board of Chosen Freeholders. The members are elected at large to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with three seats coming up for election each year. The Freeholder Board sets policies for the operation of the County. Actual day-to-day operation of departments is supervised by an appointed County Manager, Alfred Faella.

The Freeholders perform the county's legislative and executive functions. In their legislative role, they formulate and adopt a budget and set county policies and procedures. In their executive role, they oversee county spending and functioning. Many of the administrative duties are delegated by the Board of Chosen Freeholders to the County Manager.

Each of the freeholders serves on various committees and boards as a part of their duties. These include committees on Economic Development, Parks and Recreation, and Public Works and Policy. In addition, the Board oversees the county's Open Space Trust Fund.

Since the January 2014 reorganization, Union County's Freeholders are:

  • Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak (D, Linden, 2014)
  • Freeholder Vice Chairman Mohamed S. Jalloh (D, Roselle, 2015)
  • Bruce Bergen (D, Springfield, 2015)
  • Linda Carter (D, Plainfield, 2016)
  • Angel G. Estrada (D, Elizabeth, 2014)
  • Sergio Granados (D, Elizabeth, 2016)
  • Bette Jane Kowalski (D, Cranford, 2016)
  • Alexander Mirabella (D, Fanwood, 2015)
  • Vernell Wright (D, Vauxhall in Union, 2014)

Constitutional officers include County clerk Joanne Rajoppi (D, Union, 2015), Sheriff Ralph Froehlich (D, Union, 2016), and Surrogate James S. Lacorte (D, Springfield Township, 2014).

Law enforcement at the county level includes the Union County Police Department, the Union County Sheriff's Office, and the Union County Prosecutor's Office.

Union County has the only county seal in the USA that depicts a woman being shot, the murder of Elizabethtown’s Hannah Caldwell by British soldiers during the American Revolutionary War.

Four federal Congressional Districts cover the county, including portions of the 7th, 8th, 10th and 12th Districts. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R, Clinton Township). New Jersey's Eighth Congressional District is represented by Albio Sires (D, West New York). New Jersey's Tenth Congressional District is represented by Donald Payne, Jr. (D, Newark). New Jersey's Twelfth Congressional District is represented by Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, Ewing Township).

The county is part of the 20th, 21st and 22nd Districts in the New Jersey Legislature. For the 2014-2015 Session, the 20th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Raymond Lesniak (D, Elizabeth) and in the General Assembly by Joseph Cryan (D, Union) and Annette Quijano (D, Elizabeth). For the 2014-2015 Session, the 21st Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Thomas Kean, Jr. (R, Westfield) and in the General Assembly by Jon Bramnick (R, Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R, Summit). For the 2014-2015 Session, the 22nd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nicholas Scutari (D, Linden) and in the General Assembly by Jerry Green (D, Plainfield) and Linda Stender (D, Scotch Plains).

Politics

On March 23, 2011, there were a total of 286,071 registered voters in Union County, of whom 119,520 (41.8%) were registered as Democrats, 43,643 (15.3%) were registered as Republicans and 122,799 (42.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 109 voters registered to other parties. Among the county's 2010 Census population, 53.3% were registered to vote, including 70.6% of those ages 18 and over.

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 139,752 votes here (66.0%), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 68,314 votes (32.3%) and other candidates with 1,765 votes (0.8%), among the 211,597 ballots cast by the county's 307,628 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 141,417 votes here (63.1%), ahead of Republican John McCain with 78,768 votes (35.2%) and other candidates with 1,912 votes (0.9%), among the 223,951 ballots cast by the county's 299,762 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.7%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 119,372 votes here (58.3%), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 82,517 votes (40.3%) and other candidates with 1,498 votes (0.7%), among the 204,759 ballots cast by the county's 283,270 registered voters, for a turnout of 72.3%.

In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 68,867 ballots cast (50.6%), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 56,769 votes (41.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 7,999 votes (5.9%) and other candidates with 1,058 votes (0.8%), among the 136,110 ballots cast by the county's 292,490 registered voters, yielding a 46.5% turnout.

Sheriff's Office

The Union County Sheriff's Office is located in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

It is currently headed by Joseph P. Cryan who was elected into office in 2014 after the passing of the sitting Sheriff. Sheriff Cryan was an Assemblyman and Undersheriff prior to being elected Sheriff.

It was headed by Ralph Froehlich, a Union resident who was first elected in 1977 and was the longest-serving Sheriff in New Jersey history.

There are three top deputies, known as undersheriffs, Michael Frank, Gerald B. Green, Jr., and Amilcar Colon.

A 1981 investigation of the Union County Jail reviewed issues relating to overcrowding, escapes, escape attempts and suicides in the detention facility.

The New Jersey State Policemen's Benevolent Association Local 108 is the official labor union and collective bargaining agent for the Sheriff's Officers of Union County. This body is subdivided into Local 108 for the line officers and Local 108A for the supervisors (sergeants, lieutenants, & captains). The official website for this union is WWW.NJSPBALOCAL108.COM.

Union County Police



Union county is one of a limited number of US counties with a county police department called the Union County Police Department, which operates independently of the Sheriff's office. The Union County Police Department originally began as the Union County Park Police. The only line of duty death was under the Union County Park Police. Patrolman Fitzpatrick was killed October 17, 1928 when a vehicle being operated by a one armed drunk driver struck his motorcycle head on. The suspect was arrested and sentenced to 60 days in jail, ordered to pay a $400 fine and his driving license was revoked for two years. Patrolman Fitzpatrick had been with the agency for just under two years.

Education



Kean University, a co-educational, public research university dating back to 1855 is located in Union and Hillside, serving nearly 13,000 undergraduates. Kean University educates its students in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions; it is best known for its programs in the humanities and social sciences and in education, graduating the most teachers in the state of New Jersey annually, along with a physical therapy program which it holds in conjunction with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

Union County College is the two-year community college for Union County, one of a network of 19 county colleges in New Jersey. Union County College was founded in 1933 and has campuses in Cranford, Elizabeth, Plainfield and Scotch Plains.

Economy



The top employers in 2011, according to the Union County Economic Development Corporation, were:

Transportation



The county is served by rail, air, highways and ports.

Roads and highways

As of 2010, the county had a total of 1,418.31 miles (2,282.55 km) of roadways, of which 1,158.45 miles (1,864.34 km) were maintained by the local municipality, 176.32 miles (283.76 km) by Union County and 66.22 miles (106.57 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 17.32 miles (27.87 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

Major highways which traverse the county include the New Jersey Turnpike (I-95), Garden State Parkway, I-78, I-278, U.S. Route 1/9, U.S. Route 22, Route 24. Route 27, Route 28 Route 35, Route 82, Route 124, Route 439, and the Goethals Bridge.

Public transportation

Passenger rail service is provide by New Jersey Transit via the Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, Raritan Valley Line, the Morristown Line and the Gladstone Branch. Freight service is provided by on Conrail's Lehigh Line and Chemical Coast Branch. Freight and passenger rail service was provided by the Rahway Valley Railroad from 1897 until 1992 when the short line closed due to lack of customers.

NJ Transit provides bus service to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan, as well as service to major cities in New Jersey and within Union County.

The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is part of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The southern portion of Newark Airport is located in Elizabeth, within Union County.

Municipalities



Boroughs

  • Fanwood (6)
  • Garwood (5)
  • Kenilworth (8)
  • Mountainside (3)
  • New Providence (2)
  • Roselle Park (9)
  • Roselle (10)

Cities

  • Elizabeth (11)
  • Linden (12)
  • Plainfield (7)
  • Rahway (13)
  • Summit (1)

Towns

  • Westfield (4)

Townships

  • Berkeley Heights (21)
  • Clark (14)
  • Cranford (16)
  • Hillside (19)
  • Scotch Plains (20)
  • Springfield (17)
  • Union (18)
  • Winfield (15)

Parks



  • Ash Brook Reservation
  • Black Brook Park
  • Briant Park
  • Brookside Park
  • Cedar Brook Park
  • Echo Lake Park
  • Elizabeth River Park
  • Green Brook Park
  • Hidden Valley Park
  • Lenape Park
  • Madison Avenue Park
  • Mattano Park
  • McConnell Park
  • Milton Lake Park
  • Mindowaskin Park
  • Nomahagen Park
  • Oak Ridge Park
  • Passaic River Park
  • Phil Rizzuto Park
  • Ponderosa Farm Park
  • Rahway River Park
  • Rahway River Parkway
  • Tamaques Park
  • Unami Park
  • Warinanco Park

Other recreational facilities



  • Ash Brook Golf Course
  • Clark Community Pool
  • Cranford Pool
  • Galloping Hill Golf Course
  • Oak Ridge Archery Range
  • Trailside Nature and Science Center
  • Warinanco Ice Skating Rink
  • Watchung Reservation

Wheeler Park County Pool - Wheeler Park (Linden) County Pool - Rahway River Park (Rahway)

Climate and weather



In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Elizabeth have ranged from a low of 24 °F (âˆ'4 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of âˆ'14 °F (âˆ'26 °C) was recorded in February 1934 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in July 1993. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.99 inches (76 mm) in February to 4.76 inches (121 mm) in July.

See also



  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Union County, New Jersey

References



External links



  • Changing Landscape of Union County
  • Official website of Union County



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