The Asbury Park Press reports: It’s a tale of two different towns, located only a few miles apart. In the northern part of Ocean County is Lakewood, one of the fastest-growing towns in the state. Boosted by an influx of young Orthodox Jewish and Hispanic families, the town has the highest percentage of children under 5 in New Jersey – 17 percent of its 93,000 residents.
Yet a few miles southwest of Lakewood lies Manchester, the most senior large town in the state. With 16 adult communities, the median age was 65.1. That means half were above 65 and half below. The state median last year was 39, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures released today.
Ocean County, which for years has hastened to add more programs and services for a steadily growing senior population, is now shifting resources to its Northern Ocean County Resource Center to provide services for younger families.
“What’s very interesting is that now, one out of every six people in the county live in Lakewood,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said. “Lakewood is growing, and it’s very diverse. It’s very important to the county.”
Vicari said the county Board of Health has increased dental, general health care and women’s health care services at the northern Ocean center.
Lakewood, the largest and fastest-growing municipality in the county, also has a substantial senior citizen population, with nearly 14,000 people over 65.
The county has 121,104 people over 65, with senior citizens making up 21 percent of the population. That’s second only to Cape May County, where seniors make up 22 percent.
Ceil and Paul Rubino, who live in Village V in Manchester’s massive Crestwood Village adult community, said they were drawn to the area by a peaceful lifestyle that includes plenty of activities.
“There is always something to do,” said Ceil Rubino, 72, who was watching her husband play for the White Sox team Wednesday in a game against the Rebels in Manchester’s Senior Softball League. “There is an attitude of safety here, too.”
The Rubinos, originally from Jersey City, moved to Crestwood in 1994. Paul Rubino, 79, who also plays boccie, said he has been playing in the softball league, which matches teams made up of residents of several Ocean County adult communities, for nearly 17 years.