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County’s Population Continues to Shrink, Age

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By Vince Conti

COURT HOUSE – The U.S. Census Bureau recently announced it would be six months behind schedule in distributing redistricting data from the 2020 census to the state. The new deadline is Sept. 30. 

While some demographic analysis estimates were released by the Census Bureau, that data is only national and provides no view into state, county and municipal changes. 

However, American Community Survey data shows the trends Cape May County has been following show no change in direction.  

The county has the oldest median age of any New Jersey county, estimated to be 50.5 years old. It has the highest vacancy rate for housing units, at 60%, reflecting the high level of second-home units. The absolute changes year to year are not large, but the trendline they depict is long and shows no sign of change. 

The data also shows the county is a tale of two opposing trends. One that has vacant housing rates as high as 85% in island communities, where it is not unusual for the median age to be over 65. The other has mainland communities, with a median age below the county’s level. 

One comparison is Middle Township, with a median age of 43, and Stone Harbor, with a median age of 66.  

In Middle Township, the survey data says 21% of the population is over 65, while 19% is under 18. In Stone Harbor, the majority of the population, 51%, is over 65, and 5% is below 18. 

The county, as a whole, is older and smaller, with the most recent estimate of the county’s population at 92,039, down 5% from the 2010 census. 

The county must wait for the data from the full 2020 census, but the trends seen each year probably provide a good view into what that data will say. 

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