Monmouth County, New Jersey is one of those counties in the BosWash megalopoli that is difficult to categorize. The county has a relatively large population (635,285, 2006 Census estimate), but no true central city. Historically, the closest thing to that end has been the twin resort towns of Long Branch and Asbury Park. Both communities’ glory days are long past, yet, both cities (to varying degrees) are in the midst of a wave of renewal. There small populations (Asbury Park: 16,930; Long Branch: 31,340) hardly qualifies them as “central cities” in the traditional sense. As the Jersey Shore made Monmouth County a popular resort destination in the 19th Century, creeping suburbanization exploded into a tidal wave during the 50s and 60s.
Monmouth County Higley 1000 Neighborhoods
Monmouth County has the dubious distinction of being a pioneer in the concept of urban sprawl. The Garden State Parkway serves as Monmouth County’s main street allowing residents to commute to employment centers in the northern part of the state and New York City. The Parkway also is the main road to the resorts to the south including Atlantic City and all the way down the coast to Cape May. It is no coincidence that Monmouth County’s explosive population growth paralleled the extension and completion of the Garden State Parkway.
The Higley 1000 neighborhoods of Monmouth County fall into two general areas: the waterfront neighborhoods along the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, and the nouveau riche neighborhoods found inland in the formerly rural townships of Middletown, Holmdel, Marlboro, and Colts Neck. The townships tend to be characterized by a mixture of standard subdivisions that can range up into colossal collections of standard issue McMansions.
There is only one Higley 1000 neighborhood along the intensely developed Atlantic Ocean coastline of Monmouth County in spite of many multi-million dollar homes along the waterfront. The borough of Sea Girt had a mean household income of $194,429. In general, the neighborhoods and boroughs along the barrier island are just too densely populated with apartments and condominiums and many of the largest homes are owned as second homes. Monmouth Beach is a village that is affluent (mean household income: $115,464) but not wealthy enough to qualify for the Higley 1000. Another interesting affluent seaside community is the Borough of Deal ($135,688). Deal has an extraordinarily large population of Orthodox Jewish people of Syrian extraction (Wikipedia).
After investigating the entire Jersey Shore, the only other Higley 1000 neighborhood besides Sea Girt that I found on the barrier islands is the village of Mantoloking in Ocean County (mean household income: $217,670). Mantoloking’s 515 single family homes consisted of 318 seasonal dwellings and 197 first homes in the 2000 Census. Surprisingly, Bay Head, located just north of Mantoloking, does not have a mean household income high enough to make the Higley 1000 ($131,471). Mantoloking and Bay Head are sometimes referred to as the “Gold Coast” of the Jersey Shore. Neither Mantoloking nor Bay Head have any significant concentrations of minority households.
The Gold Coast of the Jersey Shore
Without question, the Borough of Rumson is the undisputed center of great wealth in Monmouth County. The wealthiest area is located along the Shrewsbury River where palatial estates make up the neighborhood of Rumson Country Club-Waterloo (Mean Household Income $424,994). This is the second wealthiest neighborhood in New Jersey, and the 10th wealthiest in the United States. Across the Navesink River from Rumson lies the estate neighborhood of Locust. Locust is the second wealthiest neighborhood in Monmouth County and 53rd in the United States with a mean household income of $327,742. There are no significant concentrations of minority households in Rumson or Locust.
The inland townships neighborhoods have surprisingly large concentrations of Asian households. Holmdel Township‘s overall population is 17.5% Asian and one of it’s Block Groups that I have dubbed Crawford Corners (mean household income $191,094) was 21.4% Asian in the 2000 Census. Holmdel Township has the largest concentration of Chinese households in the the state (10%).