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Barnegat Township, New Jersey
Township of Barnegat
Former bank on West Bay Avenue
Former bank on West Bay Avenue
Map of Barnegat Township in Ocean County. Inset: Location of Ocean County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Map of Barnegat Township in Ocean County. Inset: Location of Ocean County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Barnegat Township, New Jersey
Census Bureau map of Barnegat Township, New Jersey
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Ocean
Incorporated March 10, 1846 (as Union Township)
Renamed January 1, 1977 (as Barnegat Township)
Named for Dutch language "Barende-gat"
(meaning "breaker's inlet")
 • Type Township
 • Body Township Committee
 • Total 40.41 sq mi (104.65 km2)
 • Land 34.00 sq mi (88.07 km2)
 • Water 6.40 sq mi (16.58 km2)  15.85%
Area rank 53rd of 565 in state
8th of 33 in county
112 ft (34 m)
 • Total 20,936
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 124th of 566 in state
9th of 33 in county
 • Density 609.0/sq mi (235.1/km2)
 • Density rank 424th of 566 in state
23rd of 33 in county
Time zone UTC−05:00 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−04:00 (Eastern (EDT))
ZIP Code
Area codes 609 Exchanges: 607, 660, 698
FIPS code 3402903050
GNIS feature ID 0882070

Barnegat Township is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census the township's population was 20,936, reflecting an increase of 5,666 (+37.1%) from the 15,270 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 3,035 (+24.8%) from the 12,235 counted in the 1990 Census. The 2010 population was the highest recorded for the township in any decennial census.

What is now Barnegat Township was originally incorporated as Union Township on March 10, 1846, from portions of both Dover Township (now Toms River Township) and Stafford Township, while the area was still part of Monmouth County. It became part of the newly formed Ocean County on February 15, 1850. Portions of the township were taken to form Lacey Township (March 23, 1871), Ocean Township (April 13, 1876), Harvey Cedars (December 13, 1894) and Long Beach Township (March 23, 1899). Union Township changed its name to Barnegat Township as of January 1, 1977.


Barnegat gets its name from nearby Barnegat Bay and Barnegat Inlet. The inlet was originally "Barendegat" or "Barnde Gat", which means "inlet of the breakers" or "surf cove," and was named by Dutch settlers in 1614 for the waterway's turbulent channel.

The Lenape Native Americans would spend summers at the shore collecting and roasting clams for food over the winter. European settlers arrived in 1720 and the first permanent homes were constructed around 1750.

One of the last battles of the American Revolutionary War took place in 1782 near the site of the Cedar Bridge Tavern.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 40.783 square miles (105.628 km2), including 34.377 square miles (89.037 km2) of land and 6.406 square miles (16.591 km2) of water (15.71%).

Barnegat CDP (2010 Census population of 2,817) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Barnegat Township, while Ocean Acres (16,142, of which 925 are in Barnegat and 15,217 are in Stafford) is a census-designated place and unincorporated area split between Barnegat Township and Stafford Township.

The township borders the Ocean County municipalities of Harvey Cedars, Lacey Township, Little Egg Harbor Township, Long Beach Township, Ocean Township and Stafford Township; and both Bass River Township and Woodland Township in Burlington County.

Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Cedar Bridge, Howardsville, Lower Dock and Upper Dock.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 1,759
1860 1,918 9.0%
1870 1,923 0.3%
1880 1,024 −46.7%
1890 1,063 3.8%
1900 955 −10.2%
1910 982 2.8%
1920 803 −18.2%
1930 1,037 29.1%
1940 1,045 0.8%
1950 1,173 12.2%
1960 1,270 8.3%
1970 1,539 21.2%
1980 8,702 465.4%
1990 12,235 40.6%
2000 15,270 24.8%
2010 20,936 37.1%
2019 (est.) 23,655 13.0%
Population sources: 1850-2000
1850-1920 1850-1870
1850 1870 1880-1890
1890-1910 1910-1930
1930-1990 2000 2010
* = Lost territory in previous decade.

Census 2010

As of the census of 2010, there were 20,936 people, 8,128 households, and 6,039 families residing in the township. The population density was 609.0 per square mile (235.1/km2). There were 9,085 housing units at an average density of 264.3 per square mile (102.0/km2)*. The racial makeup of the township was 91.77% (19,214) White, 3.25% (681) Black or African American, 0.14% (30) Native American, 1.73% (363) Asian, 0.00% (1) Pacific Islander, 1.27% (265) from other races, and 1.82% (382) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.78% (1,420) of the population.

There were 8,128 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.7% were non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the township, the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 20.8% from 25 to 44, 27.1% from 45 to 64, and 24.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.9 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 88.5 males.

The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $60,440 (with a margin of error of +/- $3,408) and the median family income was $68,504 (+/- $5,322). Males had a median income of $55,282 (+/- $4,415) versus $39,681 (+/- $4,254) for females. The per capita income for the township was $29,192 (+/- $1,549). About 6.6% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.3% of those under age 18 and 4.5% of those age 65 or over.


2020-07-11 13 52 09 View north along New Jersey State Route 444 (Garden State Parkway) at Exit 67 (Ocean County Route 554, Barnegat) in Barnegat Township, Ocean County, New Jersey
The northbound Garden State Parkway at exit 67 in Barnegat Township

Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the township had a total of 120.87 miles (194.52 km) of roadways, of which 84.99 miles (136.78 km) were maintained by the municipality, 23.69 miles (38.13 km) by Ocean County, 9.88 miles (15.90 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 2.33 miles (3.75 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

The main highway serving Barnegat Township is the Garden State Parkway, which traverses the township north-to-south near the center of the township. U.S. Route 9 also traverses Barnegat Township north-to-south towards the east side of the township. New Jersey Route 72 and County Route 539 are the main roads serving the western portion of the township. County Route 554 traverses most of the township from west-to-east and connects with the other major roads except CR 539.

Public transportation

NJ Transit provides bus service to and from Atlantic City on the 559 bus route.

In popular culture

Barnegat's annual Pirate Festival was featured in the Spike TV show 1000 Ways to Die, which shows fictional clips of unusual deaths. In that particular episode, it showed a sword-swallower who tried to swallow an umbrella, puncturing his esophagus and killing him. The incident is said to have taken place in 2007, although there are no records of this actually happening.

Phoenix, the first steamboat to sail the open ocean, traveling from New York to Philadelphia in June 1809, made harbor at Barnegat to wait out a storm that occurred during its voyage.


The Barnegat Township School District serves public school students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. As of the 2020-21 school year, the district, comprised of six schools, had an enrollment of 3,263 students and 277.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.5:1. Schools in the district (with 2019-20 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Lillian M. Dunfee Elementary School (453; PreK), Cecil S. Collins Elementary School (508; K-2), Joseph T. Donahue Elementary School (317; 3-4), Robert L. Horbelt Intermediate School (524; 5-6), Russell O. Brackman Middle School (735; 7-8) and Barnegat High School (944; 9-12).

St. Mary Academy near Manahawkin CDP, a K-8 school of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, is managed by St. Mary Church of Barnegat. From 1997, until 2019 it operated as All Saints Regional Catholic School and was collectively managed by five churches. In 2019 St. Mary took entire control of the school, which remained on the same Manahawkin campus, and changed its name. The other churches no longer operate the school but still may send students there.

Notable people

See also (related category): People from Barnegat Township, New Jersey

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Barnegat Township include:

  • Juan Agudelo (born 1992), soccer player for Inter Miami CF and the United States men's national soccer team.
  • Arthur Collins (1864-1933), baritone who was one of the most prolific and beloved of pioneer recording artists, regarded in his day as "King of the Ragtime Singers".
  • Kelsey Fowler (born 1996), actress.
  • Micah Fowler (born 1998), actor with cerebral palsy who appeared in Labor Day and as JJ DiMeo in the television series Speechless.
  • Jay Groome (born 1998), professional baseball pitcher who attended Barnegat High School, and was drafted 12th overall by the Boston Red Sox in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft.
  • Brigid Harrington (born 2000), actress.
  • Robert P. Hollenbeck (1931–2021), politician who served six terms in the New Jersey General Assembly from the 36th Legislative District.
  • Heather McComb (born 1977), actress.
  • Frank Molinaro (born 1988), wrestler who competed as a member of the U.S. team at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Tony Perez (1931-2022), boxing referee and judge.
  • Ernestine Petras (1924-2017), infielder who played from 1944 through 1952 in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
  • Mike Straka, television host, author, and producer who co-hosted Spike TV's "MMA Uncensored Live".
  • Henry R. Tilton (1836-1906), army surgeon who was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Bear Paw in 1877.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Municipio de Barnegat para niños

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