SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race presented data about neighborhood intergration and affordable housing in the two municipalities during a public forum on Tuesday at the South Orange Public Library.
The data was compiled in a report and slideshow presentation in response to concerns from residents about changing demographics in the towns. The presentation comes just months before thousands of workers will start compiling data for the 2020 U.S. Census.
"We wanted to be able to see real data rather than rely on the stories that we heard," said Nancy Gagnier, executive director of the South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. "Data can help us identify trends."
Data showed the percentage of people by race who live in South Orange and Maplewood, what section of town they live in, and what schools their children attend, and how it compared to other municipalities in New Jersey.
Data also showed the median home value and household income in the two towns and the percentage of homes that are occupied by homeowners and by renters.
The South Orange Maplewood Community Coalition on Race first began researching data in 2014 and presented its findings in 2015. The coalition continues to do research and presents its findings in slideshow presentations that are available on the its website and in forums similiar to the one on Tuesday night.
The coalition gathered information from U.S. Census data, home mortgage data assessments, American Community survey data, SOMSD school enrollment data, and data from the NJ Department of Education. The information focused on racial/ethnic demographics, housing, income and school enrollment for South Orange and Maplewood.