Ocean County is the second largest county in the State in terms of geographical size (634.6 square miles). It is one of the four New Jersey counties with an Atlantic Ocean coastline. The county also lies on the periphery of two of the largest metropolitan centers of the nation. New York City is located 60 miles to the north and Philadelphia is located 50 miles to the west.
The county is bordered to the north by Monmouth County, to the south by Atlantic County, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by Burlington County.
The county is made up of 33 municipalities with the county seat being Toms River. The northern and eastern portions of the county are more developed than the more rural southern part.
Since the completion of the Garden State Parkway in 1954, there has been greater access to large and inexpensive land in the southern portions of the state. Because of this, people were able to be within commuting distance of the major employment markets in New York City and northern New Jersey. This has contributed to a population boom in Ocean County.
The county has a desirable location being in relatively close proximity to both New York City and Philadelphia. Ocean County has been one of the fastest growing counties in the state over the past fifty years. The county has also become a desired location for many retirees who want to move away from the more densely populated areas to the north.
Along with the population growth has come employment growth. The county over the past ten years has had one of the fastest increases in new jobs in the state. The employment base is diverse with the health care industry being the leading sector for employment.
During the 1990’s the population of New Jersey grew 8.9%, Ocean County’s population grew by about 15% and was the fastest growing county in the State. A review of the change in the total population in the county is as follows:
Ocean County Population
The County Planning Department has predicted that the county will continue to grow in the near future. These projections are based on specific projects affecting population, assessment of availability of vacant land, and the knowledge of local planning initiatives. An illustrated view of the change in population over the past few decades in Ocean County is as follows.
The northeastern portions of the County experienced the most development over the past two decades. These municipalities had sufficient land inventories to accommodate this growth.
The majority of the population is located in the northeastern portions of the County.
Ocean County is serviced by a variety of major highways, including the Garden State Parkway, Routes 9, 35, 37, 70, 72 and 88. New Jersey public transportation facilities are readily available, including a passenger rail line that runs into the northern portion of the county in Point Pleasant and provides service to New York.
Bus service within the county and to New York City is available through New Jersey Transit. Air transportation is available at major airports such as Newark International and Atlantic City International.