Lakewood Township is the most populous township in Ocean County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2019, Population Estimates Program, the United States Census Bureau estimated that the municipality had a population of approximately 106,300 residents. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 92,843, representing an increase of 32,491 (+53.8%) from the 60,352 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 15,304 (+34.0%) from the 45,048 counted in the 1990 Census. The township ranked as the seventh-most-populous municipality in the state in 2010, after having been ranked 22nd in 2000. It now ranks 5th. The sharp increase in population from 2000 to 2010 was led by increases in the township's Orthodox Jewish and Latino communities.
Lakewood is a hub of Orthodox Judaism, and is home to one of the largest yeshivas in the world, the 6,500-student Beth Medrash Govoha, which was founded by Rabbi Aharon Kotler. The large Orthodox population, which comprises more than half the township's population, wields considerable political clout in the township as a voting bloc.
The earliest documented European settlement of the present Lakewood area was by operators of sawmills, from about 1750 forward. One such sawmill – located at the east end of the present Lake Carasaljo – was known as Three Partners Mill from at least 1789 until at least 1814. From 1815 until 1818, in the same area, Jesse Richards had an iron-smelting operation known as Washington Furnace, using the local bog iron ore. The ironworks were revived in 1833 by Joseph W. Brick, who named the business Bergen Iron Works, which also became the name of the accompanying town.