This year, the New Jersey Department of Education has replaced the New Jersey Assessment of Skills and Knowledge (NJ ASK) with a test from the Partnership for Assessment and Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC). Our municipal infographics focus on the results of the PARCC test for fourth and eighth graders across all eight of our focal South Jersey counties. Because the 2014-2015 school year was the first year that the PARCC test was given, this report does not focus on comparisons across years. As a result, this analysis demonstrates how school districts in South Jersey perform relative to their counterparts in North and Central Jersey.
Last month, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their annual County Health Rankings. The rankings are based on a model that categorizes variables as either Health Outcomes or Health Factors. Health Outcomes include variables that measure length and quality of life. Health Factors include variables that measure health behaviors, clinical care access, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. Paul Smith, a Research Project Coordinator at the Rand Institute utilizes charts and graphs to provide an overview of the health rankings for the 8 Southern New Jersey Counties.
The United States Census Bureau has issued the 2014 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. WRI Graduate Assistant Spencer T. Clayton summarizes the data and offers an analysis of what it might mean for communities in South Jersey.
Advocates for Children of New Jersey recently released their 5th Annual New Jersey School Breakfast Report. Paul Smith of the Rand Institute analyzes the text and notes significant changes in the data over the past year.
Dr. Bernadette West, Associate Dean for the Stratford/Camden Campus at the Rutgers School of Public Health, reviews key findings in the extant literature on coalitions and examines it as an organizing strategy to address public health issues within the seven counties of Southern New Jersey. She reports on the alignment of the goals and successes of these coalitions to the trends in key health indicators and notes priorities for the region. To accomplish this, she draws on information from the County Health Rankings, as well as community health assessments for each of the seven southern counties. Her research also includes interviews with key coalition leaders reporting on areas of both successes and challenges in addressing health outcomes. Dr. West concludes her report by recommending that coalitions “work smarter” together by sharing resources, avoiding duplication of efforts, and communicating a clear mission and vision that can be understood by more than public health professionals involved in the coalitions themselves.
Featuring data from 2012 on South Jersey industry clusters, this presentation gives an overview of employment percentages by industry and geographic concentration of business sectors (e.g. administration, construction, health care, etc.) and draws appropriate conclusions based on the aggregated data.
Christopher Wheeler, a PhD Candidate in the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Rutgers University–Camden tracks significant changes in levels of poverty across the region and looks at the economic and population shifts that influenced these changes.
Dr. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn’s paper focuses on the demography, economic state, and overall health of the eight-county South Jersey region. Using public data from the Census Bureau, Department of Labor, and numerous other sources, Dr. Okulicz-Kozaryn paints a vivid picture of the strengths and weaknesses of each county in South Jersey through a series of complex charts and tables. He concludes his paper by stating that South Jersey’s strength lies in its agrarian roots which led South Jersey’s counties to be far less densely populated than their northern counterparts and more appealing to new homeowners and industries based on the availability of land.
In 2005, the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs completed a Smart Growth Forecast for the counties of Southern New Jersey to assess the effects of urban sprawl in the region. The study assessed current land use practices in an effort to establish the need for better land use management in Southern New Jersey. This assessment involves the collection of data and creation of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) maps to illustrate possible development scenarios in the region.
Written at a critical time for Camden County, “Toward a Metropolitan Complex: the Camden HUB Smart Growth Report” describes the looming peril of a decreasing tax base and increasing health and social service demands in Camden County. Dr. Richard Harris, Director of the Senator Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs, considers the current and impending state of affairs in this report, and offers a sound solution for regional development that employs and conserves environmental, institutional, social and infrastructure resources. Read more on the forecasted state of Camden County and viable solutions for redevelopment.
The report, “South Jersey’s Views on Sprawl, Development, and Regional Identity,” is based on surveys conducted in 2001, surrounding the issues of suburban sprawl, development and regional identity. Survey responses from South Jerseyans help to understand the myths related to South Jersey’s identity, and the cycle of valuing open space while urban flight and suburban development increase demands for those lands to be developed. Valuable for its description of South Jerseyans’ values and preferences, click here to read more on the proposed smart growth initiatives for the region.
Prepared by Rand faculty fellow Robert Wood, this report examines agritourism in the context of New Jersey agriculture and the state’s farmland preservation program. Agritourism—a broad array of activities linking farmers and consumers more directly—is often seen as an important way to answer the question: Once farmland has been preserved, how do we preserve the farmer? New Jersey has the second largest farmland preservation program in the nation in terms of proportional acreage, but many traditional types of farming in the state are in decline. The report argues for a synergistic approach to the relationship between agritourism and farmland preservation, making proposals to enhance the potential of each to contribute to the other and thereby contribute to a continuing place for a productive agriculture in the Garden State.