Princeton, New Jersey: An Island of Wealth & Privilege

Princeton, New Jersey: An Island of Wealth & Privilege

Princeton, located halfway between New York City and Philadelphia, doesn’t really “belong” to either metro area although for statistical purposes it is tallied with Gotham by the Census Bureau. In many respects, Princeton operates as Micropolitan area with the Borough of Princeton serving as the CBD. Princeton Township (which geographically surrounds the borough) is the inner ring of “suburbs” and several outer Townships (West Windsor, Lawrence, and Plainsboro) serve as the area’s paen to suburban sprawl. The outer townships are dominated by McMansions in relatively new sub-divisions.

Higley 1000 Neighborhoods in the Princeton Area

View Larger Map of Higley 1000 Neighborhoods in the Princeton area

Princeton neatly displays the limitations of the Census’ mean household income statistics as the most elite neighborhood, the Borough’s Western Section has a mean household income ($199,823) that is substantially lower than the neighborhood that overlooks Carnegie Lake in the Township ($259,917). This is likely due to the separately recorded “households” of servants in the Western Section. The very large homes found on the premiere roads of this neighborhood (Library Street and Hodge Street) undoubtedly require staff for proper maintenance. Another factor in the lower mean household income figure found in the Western Section is that there are more people that are retired. The higher average household income figure for Carnegie Lake’s more pedestrian upscale homes benefits from homogeneity in the type of housing found in this southeastern corner of the Township.

The neighborhood I have dubbed Rosedale in Lawrence Township just to the west of the Princeton Township actually has a Princeton mailing address that serves its two huge corporate entities: the Educational Testing Service and Bristol Myers Squibb. This gives these two companies the prestige of a Princeton mailing address and a pastoral suburban campus all in one.

The Racial Make-up of the Princeton Area Higley 1000 neighborhoods

The Western Section of the Borough has no significant minority populations, but the homogenous picture changes quickly in the suburbs. Although Plainsboro Township does not have any Higley 1000 neighborhoods, it is 30.5% Asian and has many affluent nouveau riche subdivisions that were close to making the list, but just not quite wealthy enough to qualify. West Windsor Township actually managed to qualify one Block Group that I have named Edinburg Park-Cranbury Golf Course. The Asian population of this area is 23.1% Asian. This percentage of Asians is very similar to West Windsor Township’s Asian percentage overall (22.8%). The Asian populations of these two suburban townships are both overwhelmingly Chinese and Asian Indian. Plainsboro’s substantial Asian population is 2:1 Asian Indian to Chinese, whereas West Windsor’s is 50-50 split between Asian Indian and Chinese.

The northwestern corner of Princeton Township that I have named Cedar Grove also has a large number of Asian households compared to the national totals (8.7%). There are also 63 Black households in Cedar Grove (4.2%), however this number is too low to draw many conclusions from. A look at the detailed data shows an estimated 15 Black households had an income of more than $200,000. There are no significant populations of Latinos or Blacks found in any of the other Higley 1000 neighborhoods in this small sub-area of the New Jersey.

Posted in Metro Briefs, Racial Diversity on May 10th, 2008, 12:46 pm by Stephen Higley   

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