Manchester Township is a township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. The township is noted for containing the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the site of the infamous Hindenburg disaster of May 6, 1937. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township's population was 43,070, reflecting an increase of 4,142 (+10.6%) from the 38,928 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,952 (+8.2%) from the 35,976 counted in the 1990 Census. The 2010 population was the highest recorded in any decennial census.
Manchester Township was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 6, 1865, from portions of Dover Township (now Toms River Township). Portions of the township were taken to form Lakehurst on April 7, 1921. The township was named by William Torrey for Manchester, England.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 82.51 square miles (213.70 km2), including 81.42 square miles (210.87 km2) of land and 1.09 square miles (2.83 km2) of water (1.32%).
Cedar Glen Lakes (with a 2010 Census population of 1,421), Cedar Glen West (1,267), Crestwood Village (7,907), Leisure Knoll (2,490), Leisure Village West (3,493), Pine Lake Park (8,707) and Pine Ridge at Crestwood (2,369) are all unincorporated communities and census-designated places (CDPs) located within Manchester Township. Leisure Village West-Pine Lake Park had been a combined CDP through the 2000 United States Census and was split as of the 2010 enumeration.
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Beckerville, Boyds Hotel, Brainards, Brick Yards, Buckingham, Giberson, Goose Pond, Horican, Keswick Grove, Old Halfway, Pasadena, Pine Lake Park Estates, Ridgeway, Roosevelt City and Whiting.
The township borders Berkeley Township, Jackson Township, Lacey Township, Plumsted Township and Toms River Township in Ocean County; and both Pemberton Township and Woodland Township in Burlington County. The township completely surrounds the independent borough of Lakehurst, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another.
Manchester's largest development, Pine Lake Park, is known for its man-made lake, Pine Lake, built in the 1970s.
The 2010 United States Census counted 43,070 people, 22,840 households, and 11,694.080 families in the township. The population density was 527.7 inhabitants per square mile (203.7/km2).