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Lawnside is a borough in Camden County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 2,945, reflecting an increase of 253 (+9.4%) from the 2,692 counted in the 2000 Census. In the previous decade, the population of the small community had declined by 149 (-5.2%) from the 2,841 counted in the 1990 Census.
Lawnside was developed and incorporated as the first independent, self-governing black municipality north of the Mason-Dixon Line in 1840. The United Parcel Service has a large depot in the borough.
The land that was developed as Lawnside was purchased in 1840 by abolitionists for a community for freed and escaped slaves, as well as other African Americans.
Earlier known as "Snow Hill" and "Free Haven", the borough was named for the train station constructed by the Reading Railroad along the Atlantic City Railroad in 1907.
On April 20, 1926, an "Official Special Election" was held in the Borough of Lawnside. Just one month earlier, on March 24, 1926, Governor of New Jersey A. Harry Moore signed into law New Jersey General Assembly Bill 561, dissolving Centre Township, of which Lawnside was a part, and incorporating the Borough of Lawnside, which also included portions of the borough of Barrington. With its first election, Lawnside became the first independent self-governing African American community north of the Mason-Dixon line.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lawnside borough had a total area of 1.408 square miles (3.647 km2), all of which was land.
Lawnside borders the Camden County municipalities of Barrington, Cherry Hill, Magnolia, Somerdale, and Tavistock.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,945 people, 1,103 households, and 762.2 families residing in the borough. The population density was 2,091.5 per square mile (807.5/km2). There were 1,174 housing units at an average density of 833.7 per square mile (321.9/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 4.21% (124) White, 88.83% (2,616) Black or African American, 0.65% (19) Native American, 1.43% (42) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.66% (49) from other races, and 3.23% (95) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.38% (129) of the population.
There were 1,103 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.4% were married couples living together, 24.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 26.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.66 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 22.3% from 25 to 44, 28.2% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41.4 years. For every 100 females there were 84.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 78.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $56,006 (with a margin of error of +/- $5,232) and the median family income was $58,790 (+/- $6,229). Males had a median income of $46,705 (+/- $9,519) versus $43,239 (+/- $9,333) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $25,086 (+/- $3,210). About 12.3% of families and 12.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.7% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 2,692 people, 1,026 households, and 700 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,919.7 people per square mile (742.4/km2). There were 1,110 housing units at an average density of 791.6 per square mile (306.1/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.61% African American, 1.75% White, 1.00% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.48% from other races, and 2.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.38% of the population.
There were 1,026 households out of which 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 22.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.7% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.23.
In the borough the population was spread out with 23.3% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.4 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $45,192, and the median income for a family was $55,197. Males had a median income of $34,881 versus $31,331 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $18,831. About 10.3% of families and 10.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 12.1% of those age 65 or over.
As part of the 2000 Census, 93.61% of Lawnside's residents identified themselves as being African American. This was the 30th highest percentage of African American people in any place in the United States with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry and the highest in the Northeastern United States.
Lawnside is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Lawnside, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2017, the Mayor of Lawnside Borough is Democrat Mary Ann Wardlow, whose term of office ends December 31, 2018. Members of the Lawnside Borough Council are Council President Steve Pollard (D, 2019), Ronald DeAbreu (D, 2018), Robert Lee (D, 2019), Clifford L. Still Sr. (2017), Lucille Wakefield-Moore (2017) and Dawn R. Wright-McLeod (D, 2018).
Lawnside is located in the 1st congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 5th state legislative district.
New Jersey's First Congressional District is represented by Donald Norcross (D, Camden). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 5th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Nilsa Cruz-Perez (D, Barrington) and in the General Assembly by Arthur Barclay (D, Camden) and Patricia Egan Jones (D, Barrington). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Camden County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose seven members chosen at-large in partisan elections to three-year terms office on a staggered basis, with either two or three seats coming up for election each year. As of 2015, Camden County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. (Collingswood, term as freeholder ends December 31, 2017; term as director ends 2015), Freeholder Deputy Director Edward T. McDonnell (Pennsauken Township, term as freeholder ends 2016; term as deputy director ends 2015), Michelle Gentek (Gloucester Township, 2015), Ian K. Leonard (Camden, 2015), Jeffrey L. Nash (Cherry Hill, 2015), Carmen Rodriguez (Merchantville, 2016) and Jonathan L. Young, Sr. (Berlin Township, November 2015; serving the unexpired term of Scot McCray ending in 2017)
Camden County's constitutional officers, all elected directly by voters, are County clerk Joseph Ripa, Sheriff Charles H. Billingham, and Surrogate Patricia Egan Jones. The Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey with the advice and consent of the New Jersey Senate (the upper house of the New Jersey Legislature).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 2,276 registered voters in Lawnside, of which 1,481 (65.1%) were registered as Democrats, 99 (4.3%) were registered as Republicans and 696 (30.6%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were no voters registered to other parties.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 97.9% of the vote (1,671 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 2.0% (34 votes), and other candidates with 0.1% (2 votes), among the 1,722 ballots cast by the borough's 2,435 registered voters (15 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 70.7%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 96.2% of the vote (1,811 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain, who received around 1.9% (35 votes), with 1,882 ballots cast among the borough's 2,178 registered voters, for a turnout of 86.4%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 92.6% of the vote (1,360 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush, who received around 5.4% (79 votes), with 1,469 ballots cast among the borough's 1,989 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 73.9.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 81.8% of the vote (691 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 17.3% (146 votes), and other candidates with 0.9% (8 votes), among the 887 ballots cast by the borough's 2,423 registered voters (42 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 36.6%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 88.9% of the vote (984 ballots cast), ahead of both Republican Chris Christie with 5.3% (59 votes) and Independent Chris Daggett with 1.5% (17 votes), with 1,107 ballots cast among the borough's 2,332 registered voters, yielding a 47.5% turnout.
The Lawnside School District serves public school students in kindergarten through eighth grade at Lawnside Public School. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its one school had an enrollment of 405 students and 23.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 17.6:1.
For ninth through twelfth grades, public school students attend Haddon Heights High School, which serves Haddon Heights, and students from the neighboring communities of Barrington and Lawnside who attend the high school as part of sending/receiving relationships with the Haddon Heights School District. As of the 2014-15 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 761 students and 67.8 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.2:1.
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 17.95 miles (28.89 km) of roadways, of which 10.75 miles (17.30 km) were maintained by the municipality, 3.89 miles (6.26 km) by Camden County, 1.90 miles (3.06 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation and 1.41 miles (2.27 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
NJ Transit offers bus service between Turnersville and Camden, with connecting bus and rail service into Philadelphia on the 403 route.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Lawnside include:
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