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Salem County, New Jersey facts for kids

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Salem County
Old Salem County Courthouse in Salem
Old Salem County Courthouse in Salem
Official seal of Salem County
Map of New Jersey highlighting Salem County
Location within the U.S. state of New Jersey
Map of the United States highlighting New Jersey
New Jersey's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
Founded 1694
Named for Hebrew word meaning "peace"
Seat Salem
Largest city Pennsville Township
 • Total 372.33 sq mi (964.3 km2)
 • Land 331.90 sq mi (859.6 km2)
 • Water 40.43 sq mi (104.7 km2)  10.86%
 • Total 64,837
 • Density 195.4/sq mi (75.4/km2)
Congressional district 2nd

Salem County is the westernmost county in the U.S. state of New Jersey. Its western boundary is formed by the Delaware River and it has the eastern terminus of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, connecting to New Castle, Delaware. Its county seat is Salem. The county is part of the Delaware Valley area. As of the 2020 United States Census, the county's population was enumerated to be 64,837, retaining its position as the state's least populous county, representing a 1.9% decrease from the 66,083 counted at the 2010 U.S. Census, in turn increasing by 1,798 (+2.8%) from the 64,285 counted in the 2000 Census. The most populous place in Salem County is Pennsville Township, with 13,409 residents at the time of the 2010 Census. Lower Alloways Creek Township covers 72.46 square miles (187.7 km2), the largest total area of any municipality.


European settlement began with English colonists in the seventeenth century, who were settling both sides of the Delaware River. They established a colonial court in the area in 1681, but Salem County was first formally organized within West Jersey on May 17, 1694, from the Salem Tenth. Pittsgrove Township was transferred to Cumberland County in April 1867, but was restored to Salem County in February 1868. The area was initially settled by Quakers.

The Old Salem County Courthouse, situated on the same block as the Salem County Courthouse, serves as the court for Salem City in the 21st century. It is the oldest active courthouse in New Jersey and is the second oldest courthouse in continuous use in the United States, the oldest being King William County Courthouse in Virginia. The courthouse was built in 1735 during the reign of King George II using locally manufactured bricks. The building was enlarged in 1817 and additionally enlarged and remodeled in 1908. Its distinctive bell tower is essentially unchanged and the original bell sits in the courtroom.

Judge William Hancock of the King's Court presided at the courthouse. He was later killed by the British in the American Revolutionary War during the massacre at Hancock House committed by the British against local militia during the Salem Raid in 1778. Afterward the courthouse was the site of the "treason trials," wherein suspected Loyalists were put on trial for having allegedly aided the British during the Salem Raid. Four men were convicted and sentenced to death for treason; however, they were pardoned by Governor William Livingston and exiled from New Jersey. The courthouse is also the site of the legend of Colonel Robert Gibbon Johnson's proving the edibility of the tomato. Before 1820, Americans often assumed tomatoes were poisonous. In 1820, Colonel Johnson, according to legend, stood upon the courthouse steps and ate tomatoes in front of a large crowd assembled to watch him do so.

Salem County is notable for its distinctive Quaker-inspired architecture and masonry styles of the 18th century. It had a rural and agricultural economy. In the early 20th century, its towns received numerous immigrants from eastern and southern Europe, who markedly added to the population. In the period following World War II, the county's population increased due to suburban development. To accommodate increasing traffic, the Delaware Memorial Bridge was built from Salem County to New Castle, Delaware.


According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 372.33 square miles (964.3 km2), including 331.90 square miles (859.6 km2) of land (89.1%) and 40.43 square miles (104.7 km2) of water (10.9%). The county is bordered on the west by the Delaware River, and drained by Salem River, Alloway, and other creeks.

The terrain is almost uniformly flat coastal plain, with minimal relief. The highest elevation in the county has never been determined with any specificity, but is likely one of seven low rises in Upper Pittsgrove Township that reach approximately 160 feet (49 m) in elevation. Sea level is the lowest point.

Adjacent counties

The county adjoins the following areas:

1across Delaware Bay; no land border

National protected area

  • Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge - Originally established in 1974, the refuge is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and located in Pennsville Township on the Delaware River estuary, covering 3,020 acres (1,220 ha) of land, most of which is a brackish tidal marsh that is a home for fresh and saltwater plants and a variety of wildlife.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 10,437
1800 11,371 8.9%
1810 12,761 12.2%
1820 14,022 9.9%
1830 14,155 0.9%
1840 16,024 13.2%
1850 19,467 21.5%
1860 22,458 15.4%
1870 23,940 6.6%
1880 24,579 2.7%
1890 25,151 2.3%
1900 25,530 1.5%
1910 26,999 5.8%
1920 36,572 35.5%
1930 36,834 0.7%
1940 42,274 14.8%
1950 49,508 17.1%
1960 58,711 18.6%
1970 60,346 2.8%
1980 64,676 7.2%
1990 65,294 1.0%
2000 64,285 −1.5%
2010 66,083 2.8%
2020 64,837 −1.9%
Historical sources: 1790-1990
1970-2010 2010 2020

2020 Census

As of the Census of 2020, the county's had 64,837 people, 24,404 households, and 16,880 families. The population density was 195.35 inhabitants per square mile (75.4/km2). There were 27,763 housing units at an average density of 83.64 per square mile (32.3/km2). The racial makeup was 79.0% White, 13.1% African American, 0.3% Native American, 1.1% Asian, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.8% of the population.

Of the 24,404 households, of which 21.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present and 30.8% were non-families, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.03.

About 21.0% of the population was under age 18, 8.0% was from age 18 to 24, 35.2% was from age 15 to 44, and 19.8% was age 65 or older. The median age was 43.1 years. The gender makeup was 47.9% male and 52.1% female. For every 100 females, there were 92.1 males.

The median household income was $68,531, and the median family income was $81,122. About 12.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.2% of those under age 18 and 4.7% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 66,083 people, 25,290 households, and 17,551 families residing in the county. The population density was 199.1 per square mile (76.9/km2). There were 27,417 housing units at an average density of 82.6 per square mile (31.9/km2)*. The racial makeup of the county was 79.83% (52,757) White, 14.09% (9,309) Black or African American, 0.36% (240) Native American, 0.84% (557) Asian, 0.02% (10) Pacific Islander, 2.64% (1,745) from other races, and 2.22% (1,465) from two or more races. [[Hispanic (U.S. Census)|Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.82% (4,507) of the population.

There were 25,290 households out of which 29% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 25.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% 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 3.07.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.5% under the age of 18, 8.2% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 29.4% from 45 to 64, and 15% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.8 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 91.6 males.


Del Mem Br

As of 2010, the county had a total of 879.53 miles (1,415.47 km) of roadways, of which 429.36 miles (690.99 km) were maintained by the local municipality, 355.17 miles (571.59 km) by Salem County and 85.94 miles (138.31 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation, 8.11 miles (13.05 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and 0.95 miles (1.53 km) by the Delaware River and Bay Authority.

Salem is served by many roads. Major county routes include CR 540, CR 551, CR 553 (only in Pittsgrove) and CR 581. State highways include Route 45, Route 48 (only in Carneys Point), Route 49, Route 56 (only in Pittsgrove), Route 77 and Route 140 (only in Carneys Point). The U.S. routes are U.S. Route 40 and the southern end of U.S. Route 130.

Limited access roads include Interstate 295 and the New Jersey Turnpike. Both highways pass through the northern part of the county. Only one turnpike interchange is located in Salem: Exit 1 in Carneys Point (which is also where the turnpike ends). There are a pair of service areas on the Turnpike, both located between exits 1 and 2 in Oldmans Township: The John Fenwick Service Area on the northbound side and the Clara Barton Service Area in the southbound direction. The Route 55 freeway passes through the northeastern part of the county briefly but has no interchanges within the county.

The Delaware Memorial Bridge (which is signed as I-295/US 40) is a set of twin suspension bridges crossing the Delaware River. Connecting New Castle, Delaware and Pennsville Township, the original span was opened in 1951 and the second span in 1968.

NJ Transit operates three routes through Salem County: the 401, which stops in Salem, Woodstown, Swedesboro, and Woodbury en route to and from Philadelphia; the 402, which stops in Penns Grove and has two stops in Salem en route to and from Philadelphia; and the 468, which has local stops throughout Salem County.


Salem County, New Jersey Municipalities
Index map of Salem County municipalities (click to see index key)

Municipalities in Salem County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area in square miles) are: Other, unincorporated communities in the county are listed next to their parent municipality. Some of these areas are census-designated places (CDPs) that have been created by the United States Census Bureau for enumeration purposes within a Township. Other communities and enclaves that exist within a municipality are also listed next to the name.

(map index)
Population Housing
communities / notes
Alloway Township (13) township 3,467 1,268 33.83 0.43 33.40 103.8 38.0 Aldine
Alloway CDP (1,402)
Alloway Junction
Carneys Point Township (6) township 8,049 3,502 17.74 0.87 16.86 477.3 207.7 Biddles Landing
Carneys Point CDP (7,382)
Helms Cove
Laytons Lake
Elmer (1) borough 1,395 577 0.88 0.01 0.87 1,612.3 666.9
Elsinboro Township (10) township 1,036 524 13.32 1.41 11.92 86.9 44.0 Hagerville
Moores Corner
Oakwood Beach
Sinnickson Landing
Lower Alloways Creek Township (11) township 1,770 727 72.46 27.23 45.23 39.1 16.1 Canton
Hancock's Bridge CDP (254)
Mannington Township (8) township 1,806 592 37.73 4.02 33.70 53.6 17.6 Acton
Slapes Corner
Oldmans Township (5) township 1,773 699 20.38 0.93 19.45 91.1 35.9 Auburn
Pedricktown CDP (524)
Penns Grove (4) borough 5,147 2,004 0.91 0.00 0.91 5,656.0 2,202.2
Pennsville Township (9) township 13,409 5,914 24.59 3.31 21.28 630.2 278.0 Deepwater
Pennsville CDP (11,888)
Pilesgrove Township (7) township 4,016 1,594 35.07 0.23 34.84 115.3 45.7 Friendship
Pittsgrove Township (15) township 9,393 3,445 45.92 0.83 45.08 208.3 76.4 Brotmanville
Olivet CDP (1,408)
Quinton Township (12) township 2,666 1,099 24.58 0.49 24.09 110.7 45.6 Harmony
Pecks Corner
Quinton CDP (588)
Salem (3) city 5,146 2,633 2.82 0.47 2.34 2,195.9 1,123.6
Upper Pittsgrove Township (14) township 3,505 1,310 40.49 0.16 40.33 86.9 32.5 Daretown
Whig Lane
Woodstown (2) borough 3,505 1,529 1.63 0.04 1.58 2,211.8 964.9
Salem County 66,083 27,417 372.33 40.43 331.90 199.1 82.6

Climate and weather

Weather chart for Salem, New Jersey
temperatures in °F
precipitation totals in inches
source: The Weather Channel

In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Salem have ranged from a low of 25 °F (−4 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −14 °F (−26 °C) was recorded in January 1985 and a record high of 107 °F (42 °C) was recorded in August 1918. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.78 inches (71 mm) in February to 4.57 inches (116 mm) in July.

Notable person

  • Whitey Witt, former Baseball player and member of the New York Yankees first World Series championship team 1923
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Women Scientists of Antiquity
Mary the Jewess
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