FIPS 55-3 Code
Coordinates Latitude: 39.7046713 Longitude: -74.2632784
Demographics & Economic Data
Stafford Township was formed by Royal charter on March 3, 1750, from portions of Shrewsbury Township, while the area was still part of Monmouth County. It was incorporated as one of New Jersey's first 104 townships by the Township Act of 1798 of the New Jersey Legislature on February 21, 1798, and became part of the newly formed Ocean County on February 15, 1850. Portions of the township were taken to form Union Township (March 10, 1846, now Barnegat Township), Eagleswood Township (March 17, 1874), Long Beach City borough (September 19, 1894, now Surf City) and Long Beach Township (March 23, 1899). The township was named for Staffordshire, England.
20th century and later
Stafford Township was mostly a rural area, aside from the bustling downtown of Manahawkin. Early growth in the township started in the 1950s, starting with the construction of large resort communities of Beach Haven West and Ocean Acres, which were built around the same time as the completion of the Garden State Parkway and the expansion of Route 72, the latter which formerly ran along the two-lane Bay Avenue.
While growing quickly, development was still sparse. Route 72 was still mostly wooded, aside from several car dealerships, gas stations, a drive-in movie theater, and the Manahawkin Executive Airport. Most of the growth started in the 1980s, when several new developments were constructed, such as Colony Lakes and the expansion of Beach Haven West, and Ocean Acres, which strayed from being a community of summer homes into a booming development of Single-family homes. Stafford Square was the first major shopping center to open on Route 72, anchored by ShopRite and a Caldor (which is currently a Lowe's). Manahawkin Airport was closed in the early 1990s to make way for a Walmart and PathMark. However, part of the runway was still left intact until the 2000s, when the St. Mary's of the Pines Catholic Church and All Saints Regional Catholic School were built on the land.In the 2000s, many big box stores, such as Home Depot, BJ's Wholesale Club, Bed Bath & Beyond and the Manahawkin Commons Power Center opened. To alleviate the traffic on Route 72, a four-lane bypass road known as McKinley Avenue was built in 2001, backing up to the many shopping centers. In 2007, construction started on Stafford Park, a mixed-use development west of the Parkway Exit 63. The first phase opened in 2008 includes a Target, Costco, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, and PetSmart. The second phase included construction of LEED-certified apartments, and future plans in place for the development include a Lifestyle center and an age-restricted community.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 54.882 square miles (142.142 km2), including 45.849 square miles (118.747 km2) of land and 9.033 square miles (23.395 km2) of water (16.46%).Beach Haven West (2010 Census population of 3,896) and Manahawkin (2,303) are unincorporated communities and census-designated places contained within Stafford Township, while Ocean Acres (16,142) is a census-designated place and unincorporated area split between Barnegat Township and Stafford Township.Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Bayside, Beach View, Bonnet Island, Cedar Bonnet, Cedar Grove, Cedar Run, Manahawkin Landing, Mayetta, South Beach View and Sunshine City. Warren Grove is an unincorporated rural area located within the township as well as portions of Barnegat Township and Little Egg Harbor Township in the heart of the Pine Barrens.
The township borders the Ocean County municipalities of Barnegat Township, Eagleswood Township, Harvey Cedars, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 26,535 people, 10,096 households, and 7,248.928 families residing in the township. The population density was 578.8 per square mile (223.5/km2). There were 13,604 housing units at an average density of 296.7 per square mile (114.6/km2). The racial makeup of the township was 94.51% (25,077) White, 1.05% (278) Black or African American, 0.16% (42) Native American, 1.48% (394) Asian, 0.03% (8) Pacific Islander, 1.68% (445) from other races, and 1.10% (291) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.31% (1,410) of the population.There were 10,096 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.9% were married couples living together, 9.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% were non-families. 23.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.10.In the township, the population was spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 28.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43.9 years. For every 100 females there were 93.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 90.0 males.The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $68,250 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,646) and the median family income was $80,059 (+/- $4,290). Males had a median income of $60,398 (+/- $4,092) versus $43,138 (+/- $7,270) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $31,690 (+/- $1,364). About 2.9% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.1% of those under age 18 and 6.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 22,532 people, 8,535 households, and 6,435 families residing in the township. The population density was 484.3 people per square mile (187.0/km²). There were 11,522 housing units at an average density of 247.6 per square mile (95.6/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 96.79% White, 0.74% African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.96% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.51% from other races, and 0.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.41% of the population.There were 8,535 households out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.6% were married couples living together, 8.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.6% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.01.In the township the population was spread out with 23.8% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 23.9% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.8 males.The median income for a household in the township was $52,269, and the median income for a family was $59,072. Males had a median income of $44,706 versus $30,687 for females. The per capita income for the township was $25,397. About 2.3% of families and 4.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 6.1% of those age 65 or over.
Stafford Township is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Small Municipality form of New Jersey municipal government by a Mayor and a six-member Township Council. The Mayor and Council members are elected to three-year terms on a concurrent basis in partisan elections, with terms of all current elected officials ending on December 31, 2015. The Mayor can vote on all issues. The seven-member governing body is empowered to enact local ordinances, to levy municipal taxes and conduct the affairs of the community. In a November 2010 referendum, voters approved a change to shift from nonpartisan elections held in May to partisan elections held as part of the November general election.As of 2016, the mayor of Stafford Township is Republican John R. Spodofora, whose term of office ends December 31, 2018, along with those of all council members. Members of the Stafford Township Council are Council President David J. Taylor (R), Wm. Stephen Fessler (R), Steve M. Jeffries (R), Paul B. Marchal (R), Sharon McKenna (R) and Alan R. Smith (R).
Federal, state and county representation
Stafford Township is split between the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts and is part of New Jersey's 9th state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, all of Stafford Township had been part of the 3rd Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections. As part of the redistricting that took effect in 2013, there were 7,409 residents of the township's coastal areas to the south and east that were placed in the 2nd; District, while 19,126 residents in the township's interior to the north and west were placed in the 3rd District.For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Jeff Van Drew (D, Dennis Township). For the 116th United States Congress, New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District is represented by Andy Kim (D, Bordentown). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, term ends 2025).For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 9th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Christopher J. Connors (R, Lacey Township) and in the General Assembly by DiAnne Gove (R, Long Beach Township) and Brian E. Rumpf (R, Little Egg Harbor Township). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).Ocean County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members, elected on an at-large basis in partisan elections and serving staggered three-year terms of office, with either one or two seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization held in the beginning of January, the board chooses a Director and a Deputy Director from among its members. As of 2019, Ocean County's Freeholders (with party affiliation, term-end year, residence and department directorship listed in parentheses) are
Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines (R, 2019, Toms River; Parks and Recreation and Natural Lands),
Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Kelly (R, 2019, Eagleswood Township; Law and Public Safety),
Gerry P. Little (R, 2021, Surf City; Roads),
Gary Quinn (R, 2021, Lacey Township; Human Services and Transportation) and
Joseph H. Vicari (R, 2020, Toms River; Senior Services and County Operations). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Scott M. Colabella (R, 2019, Barnegat Light),
Sheriff Michael Mastronardy (R, 2019; Toms River) and
Surrogate Jeffrey Moran (R, 2023, Beachwood).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 18,029 registered voters in Stratford Township, of which 3,451 (19.1%) were registered as Democrats, 4,944 (27.4%) were registered as Republicans and 9,630 (53.4%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 4 voters registered to other parties. Among the township's 2010 Census population, 67.9% (vs. 63.2% in Ocean County) were registered to vote, including 88.0% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 82.6% countywide).In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 57.9% of the vote (7,159 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 41.0% (5,075 votes), and other candidates with 1.1% (138 votes), among the 12,480 ballots cast by the township's 18,963 registered voters (108 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 65.8%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 57.3% of the vote (7,508 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 40.8% (5,351 votes) and other candidates with 1.1% (150 votes), among the 13,113 ballots cast by the township's 18,430 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.2%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 60.4% of the vote (7,396 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 38.6% (4,722 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (90 votes), among the 12,239 ballots cast by the township's 16,776 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 73.0.In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 74.4% of the vote (5,602 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 24.3% (1,829 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (101 votes), among the 7,676 ballots cast by the township's 18,813 registered voters (144 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 40.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 64.9% of the vote (5,746 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 28.3% (2,511 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.9% (431 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (102 votes), among the 8,859 ballots cast by the township's 18,174 registered voters, yielding a 48.7% turnout.
The Stafford Township School District serves students in pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its five schools had an enrollment of 4,575 students and 177.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 25.8:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Oxycocus School (170 students; pre-kindergarten),
Ronald L. Meinders Primary Learning Center (283 students; kindergarten),
Ocean Acres Elementary School (542 students, grades 1 and 2),
McKinley Avenue Elementary School (592 students, grades 3 and 4) and
Stafford Intermediate School (647 students; grades 5 and 6; 726).For seventh through twelfth grades, public school students are served by the Southern Regional School District, which serves the five municipalities in the Long Beach Island Consolidated School District — Barnegat Light, Harvey Cedars, Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City — along with students from Beach Haven and Stafford Township, together with students from Ocean Township who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Ocean Township School District. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are
Southern Regional Middle School (grades 7 and 8; 937 students) and
Southern Regional High School (grades 9 – 12; 2,064 students). Both schools are in the Manahawkin section of Stafford Township.
Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science ia a comprehensive and challenging career high school that is located on a hill in Manahawkin on the outskirts of the Southern Regional School District. MATES is part of the Ocean County Vocational Technical School and serves students from all of Ocean County.
The Asbury Park Press and The Press of Atlantic City provide daily news coverage of the township, as does WOBM-FM radio. The township provides material and commentary to The Southern Ocean Times, which also serves Barnegat Township, Lacey Township, Long Beach Island, Ocean Township (Waretown) and Tuckerton as one of seven weekly papers from Micromedia Publications.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 183.27 miles (294.94 km) of roadways, of which 143.29 miles (230.60 km) were maintained by the municipality, 20.06 miles (32.28 km) by Ocean County and 14.96 miles (24.08 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 4.96 miles (7.98 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.Stafford is served by a few major roads. The most prominent of these is the Garden State Parkway, which enters the Stafford Township from Eagleswood Township in the south and exits northward into Barnegat Township. The Parkway intersects with Route 72 at Interchange 63A for Route 72 west to Camden / Chatsworth and Interchange 63 for Route 72 east to Manahawkin / Long Beach Island. In addition, U.S. Route 9 passes north-south through the center of the township and Route 72 passes from the northwest to the southeast. The most significant county road is CR 539, which traverses the western part of the township.
NJ Transit provides bus service to Atlantic City on the 559 bus route.Ocean Ride local service is provided on the OC6 Little Egg Harbor - Stafford and the OC10 Long Beach Island routes.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Stafford Township include:
Doc Cramer (1905–1990), center fielder who played for four American League teams from 1929 to 1948.
Mike Gesicki (born 1995), tight end who plays for the Penn State Nittany Lions football team.
Teresa Giudice (born 1972), reality television cast-member from Paterson NJ best known for starring in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who owned a summer home in the Beach Haven West section.
Clark Harris (born 1984), long snapper / tight end for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Paul Marshall Johnson Jr. (1955–2004), helicopter engineer who was beheaded in Saudi Arabia by a group connected to Al-Qaeda.
Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan (1987-2007), Muslim-American U.S. Army Specialist who died in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
William A. Newell (1817–1901), 18th Governor of New Jersey who later represented the state in the United States House of Representatives.
Martin Truex Jr. (born 1980), a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver who currently pilots Joe Gibbs Racing's #19 Toyota Camry and is the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.
Martin Truex Sr. (born 1948), former driver who competed in the Busch North Series.
Ryan Truex (born 1992), a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver who currently pilots JR Motorsports's #8 Chevrolet Camaro part-time, having previously driven in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Sprint Cup Series.
Ethan Vanacore-Decker (born 1994), professional soccer player for the Swope Park Rangers in the United Soccer League.