The North / South / Central Jersey Debate – What Other Guys are Saying
In my first post about this topic I opined that New Jersey was divided into three areas of seven counties each. While this is my initial thesis, I am prepared to perform the necessary research to validate my claim. Possibly I will need to modify it slightly based upon additional information but I’m guessing that the boundaries won’t change too much in the final analysis. Nonetheless, I’m anticipating that other people may see things differently.
Last year the Star Ledger reported that a fellow named Joe Steinfeld had created a new map that accurately described the demographics of the entire state. I felt sure that he would have included the dividing lines between North South and Central Jersey on such a comprehensive document. Unfortunately, as you can see from the figure to the right, these regional dividing lines didn’t make it on the map.
Next, I found out about a Monmouth University/ Gannett New Jersey poll entitled “North Versus South, Jersey Style.” Their report was based upon a telephone pole – rather survey – of 804 New Jersey adults during January of 2008. The pollsters asked the participants to offer their perception of whether ten towns that straddled the original East/West Jersey line were located in North Jersey or South Jersey. The study was complicated by several factors, including: some participants insisted on placing some of the towns in “Central Jersey” and many people didn’t have a clear idea about where the towns are situated on a map. Despite these difficulties the poll showed that people’s perceptions about the dividing lines between the three regions of the state differ largely based upon where they live. Also, it showed that the residents of South Jersey view this topic more seriously that those from North Jersey.
At City-data.com some folks have provided maps about where they believe the regional dividing lines fall. One divides the state into two regions the other into three. I kind of like the three region version – it agrees with me except that it places Ocean County in the South Jersey region and I just don’t think that’s right. What is curious is that the definition of South Jersey is the same in either scheme and it includes 50.8% of the land in the state. Could this mean that Central Jersey is just a part of North Jersey?
My friend, GIS Architect, Antanas Entchev has written several blog posts about the matter as well. While we agree on many issues, I simply can’t buy into his claim that there is only North Jersey and South Jersey – no Central Jersey. If we ignore that logical flaw, his “Hamburger Hill” dividing line doesn’t look too bad – it is only a few miles southwest of the state’s center of population. He may, however, be correct in his assertion that using county boundaries to define the borders of North, South and (I maintain) Central Jersey may not allow the level of precision necessary to locate the lines properly. For now though let’s stick with using counties for our analysis.
Entchev notes that a fellow named Steve Chernoski has even made a movie about this North Jersey / South Jersey debate. It sounds like my research won’t be complete until I get my hands on New Jersey: The Movie.
The author, Carl E. Peters is one of fewer than 10 people licensed by the State of New Jersey as a Professional Engineer, Professional Land Surveyor, Professional Planner, Construction Official, Building Subcode Official and Plumbing Subcode Official. He is also a Certified Municipal Engineer and Mediator and founder of Carl E. Peters, LLC