South Orange Village:An African-American Success Story

South Orange Village:An African-American Success Story

One of the laments of this web site it the paucity of African-American households found in the Higley 1000 neighborhoods across the United States. Although Blacks made up 11.4% of all households in the United States, they made up only 1.0% of all households found in the wealthiest neighborhoods. That is not to say that there are not lovely, comfortable African-American neighborhoods. I have found numerous attactive middle class neighborhoods (e.g. DeKalb County, Georgia and Prince Georges County, Maryland) that are overwhelmingly Black. However, the mean household income levels of these places does not rise to the level that is necessary to make the Higley 1000. Even the so-called “Black Beverly Hills” in Los Angeles (Ladera Heights and View Heights) are 20-40% below the minimum household Income to make the Higley 1000.  South Orange Village, New Jersey is the exception to this picture.

South Orange’s Black households are even wealthier on average than the Non-Hispanic White households ($126,289 vs. $121,530). This is a pattern that is not shared by the four adjacent integrated suburbs of Newark found along the face of the first Watchung Mountain. The table below illustrates the differences in mean household income between African-American households and White households. Note the vast gap between the races in Montclair and to a lesser extent Maplewood. West Orange is less integrated, but African-Americans are much closer to parity in terms of mean household income.

Integration and Wealth in Four Newark Suburbs:

South Orange Compared

  Black % Mean Income White % Mean Income
Maplewood 27.4% $77,447 64.6% $116,365
Montclair 30.5% $65,926 60.1% $142,600
South Orange 28.0% $126,289 64.2% $121,530
West Orange 13.9% $88,739 70.1% $96,589

South Orange Higley 1000 Neighborhoods

There are three Higley 1000 neighborhoods in South Orange: Montrose Park, Newstead, and Newstead North. The map below neatly explains some of the problems I have encountered in trying to geographically isolate a historical neighborhood such as Montrose Park. Only one of the the Block Groups of Montrose Park has an income high enough to qualify for the Higley 1000 and consequently, this has become the “stand-in” for the entire neighborhood. The neighborhood sprawls across no fewer than five Block Groups, many of which are not wealthy enough to make the Higley 1000. The wealthiest (Census Tract 191, Block Group 4) in the northern part of the neighborhood has an mean household income of $252,285. Interestingly Block Group 3, just south of Block Group 4, that is wholly within the Montrose Park Historic District has a much lower Mean Household Income ($149,514). Block Group 3 exhibits a similar degree of integration (19.2% Black) as the wealthier one to the North (26.4%). The two Block Groups that are along the border with Newark are partially within the Montrose Park Historic District are much more heavily African-American (68.8%) and less affluent (mean household income: $116,610).

Map of South Orange Village

View Larger Map of Higley 1000 Neighborhoods in South Orange Village

Within South Orange there is an interesting pattern of African-American households with many of the most heavily Black individual Blocks are located along the border with Newark.

Census Block Map of African-American Penetration in South Orange

Racial Makeup of South Orange

United States Census Bureau, 2000

Newstead and Newstead North

On the flanks of the first Watchung Mountain are the twin neighborhoods of Newstead and Newstead North. There are some interesting patterns of wealth in the Newsteads as well as the one Block Group that represents Montrose Park. The variances may be large due to the relatively small sample sizes, yet they are still instructive as it appears that not only is South Orange integrated as a whole, even in the “best” neighborhoods are at rough parity for both races.

Table of Higley 1000 Neighborhoods in South Orange Village

South Orange Village Higley 1000

  Montrose Park Newstead Newstead North
Total Households 231 436 211
Percentage Black 26.4% 13.8% 26.5%
Mean Household Income $179,852 $314,824 $146,105
Percentage White 71.0% 81.0% 67.3%
Mean Household Income $275,459 $189,759 $252,434

Posted in Metro Briefs on Mar 11th, 2008, 8:22 pm by Stephen Higley   

One Response to “South Orange Village:An African-American Success Story”

  1. March 24th, 2008 | 3:17 pm

    thank you, brother

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