Raritan is a borough in Somerset County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 6,881, reflecting an increase of 543 (+8.6%) from the 6,338 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 540 (+9.3%) from the 5,798 counted in the 1990 Census.
The township's name is derived from the Raritans, a Native American group of Lenapes. The name of the tribe is said to mean "forked river", "stream overflows" or "point on a tidal river".
Raritan town was originally established as a subdivision within Bridgewater Township by act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 3, 1868. After a series of bitter lawsuits between Raritan and Bridgewater in the 1930s and 1940s, the Legislature allowed Raritan to become a fully independent Borough by an Act on May 12, 1948, based on the results of a referendum passed on June 12, 1948. The new borough incorporated the old town and an additional portion of Bridgewater Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 2.037 square miles (5.276 km2), including 1.993 square miles (5.162 km2) of land and 0.044 square miles (0.114 km2) of water (2.15%).
Raritan is in the western division of the Raritan Valley (a line of cities in central New Jersey), along with Branchburg and Bridgewater.
1870-1920 1870 1880-1890
1930-1990 2000 2010
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,881 people, 2,673 households, and 1,748 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,452.2 per square mile (1,332.9/km2). There were 2,847 housing units at an average density of 1,428.3 per square mile (551.5/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 76.40% (5,257) White, 2.09% (144) Black or African American, 0.16% (11) Native American, 14.29% (983) Asian, 0.01% (1) Pacific Islander, 4.59% (316) from other races, and 2.46% (169) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.39% (1,128) of the population.
There were 2,673 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 27.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.16.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 23.1% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 27.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.1 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and old there were 95.1 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $70,116 (with a margin of error of +/- $10,294) and the median family income was $79,813 (+/- $8,715). Males had a median income of $54,130 (+/- $7,617) versus $44,125 (+/- $12,260) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $34,617 (+/- $5,703). About 6.3% of families and 7.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 3.5% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 6,338 people, 2,556 households, and 1,671 families residing in the borough. The population density was 3,113.8 people per square mile (1,199.6/km2). There were 2,644 housing units at an average density of 1,299.0 per square mile (500.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 87.74% White, 0.93% African American, 0.08% Native American, 8.17% Asian, 0.16% Pacific Islander, 1.64% from other races, and 1.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.41% of the population.
There were 2,556 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.08.
In the borough the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 35.0% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.1 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $51,122, and the median income for a family was $59,962. Males had a median income of $46,071 versus $35,704 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $26,420. About 5.5% of families and 6.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.0% of those under age 18 and 12.8% of those age 65 or over.
Raritan 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 Raritan, 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 2016, the Mayor of the Borough of Raritan is Republican Charles "Chuck" McMullin, whose term of office expires December 31, 2019. Members of the Raritan Borough Council are Council President Zachary Bray (R, 2018), Denise Carra (R, 2017), James K. Foohey Jr. (D, 2017), Paul Giraldi (R, 2016), Robert McGinley (R, 2018; appointed to serve an unexpired term until November 2016) and Andrew T. Sibilia (R, 2016).
In July 2016, the Borough Council selected Robert McGinley from three candidates nominated by the Republican municipal committee to fill the seat expiring in December 2018 that had been held by Bryanna Danyluk until she resigned from office as she was moving out of the borough; McGinley will serve on an interim basis until the November 2016 general election, when voters will choose a candidate to serve the remaining two years of the term of office.
Rocco Miele was Raritan's first mayor, serving from its founding in 1948 to 1953.
Federal, state and county representation
New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R, Clinton Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 23rd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Michael J. Doherty (R, Washington Township, Warren County) and in the General Assembly by John DiMaio (R, Hackettstown) and Erik Peterson (R, Franklin Township, Hunterdon County). The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).
Somerset County is governed by a five-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, whose members are elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members. As of 2016, Somerset County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Patricia L. Walsh (R, Green Brook Township, term ends December 31, 2016), Freeholder Deputy Director Peter S. Palmer (R, Bernardsville, 2017), Patrick Scaglione (R, Bridgewater Township, 2018), Mark Caliguire (R, Skillman in Montgomery Township, 2018), and Brian D. Levine (R, Franklin Township, 2017), Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Brett A. Radi (R, Somerville, 2017), Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano (R, , 2016) and Surrogate Frank Bruno (R, Branchburg, 2018).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 3,926 registered voters in Raritan, of which 1,122 (28.6% vs. 26.0% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 882 (22.5% vs. 25.7%) were registered as Republicans and 1,917 (48.8% vs. 48.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 57.1% (vs. 60.4% in Somerset County) were registered to vote, including 74.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 80.4% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 50.0% of the vote (1,360 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 48.7% (1,323 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (35 votes), among the 2,759 ballots cast by the borough's 4,159 registered voters (41 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 66.3%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 1,514 votes (52.6% vs. 46.1% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 1,287 votes (44.7% vs. 52.1%) and other candidates with 42 votes (1.5% vs. 1.1%), among the 2,879 ballots cast by the borough's 3,830 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.2% (vs. 78.7% in Somerset County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 1,497 votes (53.4% vs. 51.5% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 1,239 votes (44.2% vs. 47.2%) and other candidates with 33 votes (1.2% vs. 0.9%), among the 2,802 ballots cast by the borough's 3,606 registered voters, for a turnout of 77.7% (vs. 81.7% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 72.0% of the vote (1,249 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 26.0% (451 votes), and other candidates with 2.0% (34 votes), among the 1,759 ballots cast by the borough's 4,253 registered voters (25 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 41.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,292 votes (60.9% vs. 55.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 562 votes (26.5% vs. 34.1%), Independent Chris Daggett with 202 votes (9.5% vs. 8.7%) and other candidates with 22 votes (1.0% vs. 0.7%), among the 2,120 ballots cast by the borough's 3,948 registered voters, yielding a 53.7% turnout (vs. 52.5% in the county).
Students from Raritan attend the Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District, together with students from Bridgewater Township. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its 11 schools had an enrollment of 8,691 students and 763.9 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 11.4:1. Schools in the district (with 2014-15 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Adamsville Primary School (521 students in K-4), Bradley Gardens Primary School (290; K-4), Crim Primary School (344; K-4), Hamilton Primary School (475; K-4), John F. Kennedy Primary School (428; K-4), Milltown Primary School (429; K-4), Van Holten Primary School (398; K-4), Eisenhower Intermediate School (773; 5-6), Hillside Intermediate School (578; 5-6), Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School (1,411; 7-8) and Bridgewater-Raritan High School (2,882; 9-12). The overwhelming majority of students in the district are from Bridgewater, with approximately 1,000 students from Raritan. All schools in the district are in Bridgewater except for Kennedy, which is in Raritan.
During the 1999-2000 school year, Bridgewater-Raritan High School was recognized with the National Blue Ribbon School Award of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, the highest award an American school can receive from the federal government.
Public high school students also have the option to attend the Somerset County Vocational and Technical High School, a four-year magnet school located in Bridgewater that provides occupational and academic training to students from all of Somerset County.
Roads and highways
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 24.34 miles (39.17 km) of roadways, of which 18.26 miles (29.39 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.85 miles (4.59 km) by Somerset County and 3.23 miles (5.20 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
U.S. Route 202 travereses the borough from east to west. U.S. Route 206 follows the border with Somerville. New Jersey Route 28 has one side of the roadway within the borough as it follows the border with Bridgewater Township. The northern terminus of County Route 567 is in Raritan.
U.S. Routes 202 and 206 intersect with NJ Route 28 at the Somerville Circle on the borders with Bridgewater Township and Somerville, with the eastern half of the circle located in Raritan. As part of an ongoing effort to improve traffic safety at the circle, the New Jersey Department of Transportation has made a series of changes to the structure of the traffic circle, originally constructed during the 1930s. With the suburbanization of the area, the circle was handling an average of 70,000 vehicles each day. In 1994, an overpass was completed to allow traffic on Route 202 between Flemington and Interstate 78 and Interstate 287 to avoid the circle, though the rate of accidents grew from 195 in 1991 before the project started to 302 for the year after the overpass was open to traffic. After yield signs were added in February 1995, the accident rate increased again, to an annualized rate above 400 per year.
The Raritan train station offers NJ Transit service on the Raritan Valley Line to Newark Penn Station. The station is north of the town center on Thompson Street. The station building is south of the tracks in the main parking lot and was built in the early 1890s. There are also three other small lots for this station. Raritan is the last station to the west that is served by all Raritan Valley Line trains. Farther west, service is rush hours only.
The borough is served by the CAT-2R route, operated by Community Access Transit.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Raritan include:
- John Basilone (1916–1945), awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal.
- Tony Bongiovi, record producer and recording engineer.
- Isaac Brokaw (1746-1826), clockmaker.
- Ben Carnevale (1915–2008), basketball coach inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1970.
- Jack Ciattarelli (born 1961), member of the New Jersey General Assembly who has represented the 16th Legislative District since 2011.
- Joseph S. Frelinghuysen Sr. (1869-1948), U.S. Senator representing New Jersey.
- Mike Grosso (born 1947), former professional basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association.
- Elvira Woodruff (born 1951), children's writer known for books that include elements of fantasy and history.