Howell Township is a township in Monmouth County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The township is the largest municipality in the county by total area, comprised of about 61.21 square miles (158.5 km). It is located in the New York metropolitan area and has been a steadily growing bedroom community of New York City. As of the 2020 United States census, the township's population was 53,537, its highest decennial count ever and an increase of 2,462 (+4.8%) from the 2010 census count of 51,075, which in turn reflected an increase of 2,172 (+4.4%) from the 48,903 counted in the 2000 census.
Howell Township was incorporated as a township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on February 23, 1801, from portions of Shrewsbury Township. Portions of the township were taken to form Brick Township in the newly created Ocean County (February 15, 1850), Wall Township (March 7, 1851) and Farmingdale (April 8, 1903). The township was named for Richard Howell, who served from 1794 to 1801 as the third Governor of New Jersey.
Founded in 1822 by engineer and philanthropist James P. Allaire, the Howell Works provided iron for Allaire Iron Works, which was a leading supplier of iron in the 19th century. Allaire Village was a bustling mill town at the height of the mining operations and it has been preserved as Allaire State Park, which is in Howell Township and Wall Township.
Some scenes for the War of the Worlds 2005 remake were filmed here, and a neighborhood called Ardena Acres was recreated as a set and left standing in Universal Studios Hollywood.
In June 2017, two separate tornadoes, both rated EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, struck minutes and miles apart. The first one struck the Fort Plains area, damaging a Home Depot, Chase Bank, a strip mall, and a local ice cream parlor. The second one struck a park in the Oak Glen area.
Roughly six years later in April 2023, a tornado rated EF-2 struck Howell and neighboring Jackson Township near the Aldrich Road area. The National Weather Service confirmed that the tornado was 50 yards wide and 1.4 miles in length. It was one of the strongest tornadoes to have hit the state, as it was part of four separate powerful tornadoes that had also impacted the state that same day.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township had a total area of 61.21 square miles (158.54 km), including 60.27 square miles (156.10 km2) of land and 0.94 square miles (2.44 km) of water (1.54%).
Howell was formed from territory taken from Shrewsbury Township under an act of the New Jersey General Assembly passed February 23, 1801. The township, as formed, included in addition to its present area all of what is now Wall Township, Lakewood Township, Brick Township, and all the boroughs along the Atlantic Ocean from Barnegat Inlet of the Shark River Inlet at Belmar.
Ramtown (with a 2010 Census population of 6,242) is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) located within Howell Township.
Other unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the township include Adelphia, Ardena, Ardmore Estates, Bergerville, Candlewood, Collingwood Park, Fairfield, Fort Plains, Freewood Acres, Jerseyville, Lake Club, Land of Pines, Larrabees, Lippencotts Corner, Lower Squankum, Matthews, Maxim, Oak Glen, Parkway Pines,
Salem Hill, Shacks Corner, Southard, Squankum, West Farms, Winston Park, Wyckoff Mills and Yellow Brook.
The township completely surrounds Farmingdale, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another. The township borders Colts Neck Township, Freehold Township and Wall Township in Monmouth County; and Brick Township, Jackson Township and Lakewood Township in Ocean County.
According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Howell Township would have an Appalachian Oak (104) vegetation type with an Eastern Hardwood Forest (25) vegetation form.
The township is uniquely located in the center of the state New Jersey, located on a ridge within Central New Jersey. As such, northern sections of the township fall within the hillier terrain and fertile soil found in the Inner coastal plain, while southern sections of the township fall within the more flat terrain and sandier soil found in the Outer coastal plain. The township is located within the sphere of influence of the Jersey Shore, while also being located relatively near the Raritan Bayshore, the Raritan Valley, and the Pine Barrens. Notable bodies of water inside the township include:
- Manasquan Reservoir
- Aldrich Lake
- Echo Lake
- Lake Louise
- Manasquan River (Raritan Basin Watershed)
- Metedeconk River (Barnegat Bay Watershed)
- North Branch Metedeconk River
- South Branch Metedeconk River
- Swimming River (Navesink River Watershed)
Most common ancestries in Howell Township are
Other groups: 11.3%,
English: 4.9% and
The township is also home to a small, but notable, Kalmyk American community located in the Freewood Acres neighborhood.
The 2010 United States census counted 51,075 people, 17,260 households, and 13,618 families in the township. The population density was 843.4 per square mile (325.6/km). There were 17,979 housing units at an average density of 296.9 per square mile (114.6/km2). The racial makeup was 88.30% (45,100) White, 3.65% (1,865) Black or African American, 0.15% (79) Native American, 4.52% (2,309) Asian, 0.05% (23) Pacific Islander, 1.61% (822) from other races, and 1.72% (877) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.13% (4,153) of the population.
Of the 17,260 households, 39.9% had children under the age of 18; 65.4% were married couples living together; 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present and 21.1% were non-families. Of all households, 17.3% were made up of individuals and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.95 and the average family size was 3.37.
26.3% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 24.0% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 10.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.6 years. For every 100 females, the population had 96.3 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 93.5 males.
The Census Bureau showed that in 2010 median household income was $89,287 and the median family income was $102,015. Males had a median income of $71,499 versus $54,308 for females. The per capita income for the township was $35,489. About 4.5% of families and 5.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.5% of those under age 18 and 8.8% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States census there were 48,903 people, 16,063 households, and 13,011 families residing in the township. The population density was 802.8 inhabitants per square mile (310.0/km2). There were 16,572 housing units at an average density of 272.1 per square mile (105.1/km). The racial makeup of the township was 89.99% White, 3.56% African American, 0.12% Native American, 3.58% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.29% from other races, and 1.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.34% of the population.
The most common first ancestry group cited by Howell residents in the 2000 Census was German (17.7%), English (12.7%), Irish (11.5%), United States or American (9.9%), Polish (6.6%), French (except Basque) (4.0%) and Italian (2.7%).
There were 16,063 households, out of which 47.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 69.4% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 19.0% were non-families. 15.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the township the population was spread out, with 30.9% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 32.8% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 8.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.7 males.
The median income for a household in the township in 2000 was $68,069, and the median income for a family was $74,623. Males had a median income of $55,349 versus $34,722 for females. The per capita income for the township was $26,143. About 3.1% of families and 4.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.
Despite suburbanization in recent years, the township's agricultural roots have been preserved. There are numerous crop farms, thoroughbred farms, and nurseries in the township. Some notable farms in the township include Calgo Gardens, Twin Pond Farm, Kauffman Farms, Landex Nursery, and JMJ Farm.
The township is home to numerous shopping centers, particularly on U.S. 9, including Aldrich Plaza, Adelphia Plaza, Greenleaf at Howell, Howell Commons, Lanes Mill Marketplace, and Regal Plaza.
Other shopping destinations near Howell, including the Freehold Raceway Mall in Freehold Township, Jackson Premium Outlets in Jackson Township and Jersey Shore Premium Outlets in Tinton Falls. Neighboring Farmingdale acts as a 'downtown' for the surrounding Howell Township. Nearby Asbury Park (on the shore) and Freehold Borough (the county seat) are also regional 'downtowns' for the township.
The Howell Chamber of Commerce, established in 1957, serves to promote Howell businesses. The Chamber of Commerce works to advocate for the diverse Howell business community, provides extensive benefits to its members, and creates a Community amongst the members.
Manasquan Reservoir offers nature and exercise related activities such as fishing, bird watching, jogging, biking, dog walking. The reservoir also has a nature exhibit where people can go see the local wildlife.
Alfred C. Sauer Park at Echo Lake offers a dock for fishing and kayaking, a nature trail and a pavilion overlooking the lake which can be rented. There is no swimming but there are grills and picnic tables as well as a playground. In 2014, the township renamed the park in memory of Alfred C. Sauer, an environmentalist who worked to preserve the park and other natural environments in the township. Parts of Allaire State Park and the Edgar Felix Bikeway are found in Howell Township.
Howell Township operates within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Council-Manager form of municipal government. The township is one of 42 municipalities (of the 564) statewide that use this form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and the four-member Township Council, whose members are chosen in partisan voting to four-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with elections held in even-numbered years as part of the November general election. Three council seats are up together and two years later there is one council seat and the mayoral seat up for election at the same time. At a reorganization meeting held after each election, the council selects a deputy mayor from among its members.
As of 2023, the Mayor of Howell Township is Democrat Theresa Berger, whose term of office ends December 31, 2024. Members of the Howell Township Council are Deputy Mayor Evelyn Malsbury-O'Donnell (R, term on council ends 2024; term as deputy mayor ends 2023), Susan Fischer (R, 2026), Fred Gasior (R, 2026) and Ian Nadel (R, 2026).
Former mayor Robert Walsh was named to fill the seat vacated by William Gotto after Gotto took office as mayor in January 2013. Walsh's appointed portion of the term ended at the November 2013 general election, though Walsh was the only candidate to submit a petition to serve the balance of the term through December 2014.
The Township Manager is Joseph Clark. Since August 2022, the Chief of the Howell Police Department is John Storrow.
Howell Township is located in the 4th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 30th state legislative district.
For the 118th United States Congress, New Jersey's Fourth Congressional District is represented by Chris Smith (R, Manchester Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Englewood Cliffs, term ends 2025).
For the 2022–2023 session, the 30th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Robert Singer (R, Lakewood Township) and in the General Assembly by Sean T. Kean (R, Wall Township) and Ned Thomson (R, Wall Township).
Monmouth County is governed by a Board of County Commissioners comprised of five members who are elected at-large to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as director and another as deputy director. As of 2023
Lillian G. Burry (R, Colts Neck Township, 2023),
Deputy Director Nick DiRocco (R, Wall Township, 2025), and
Ross F. Licitra (R, Marlboro Township, 2023).
, Monmouth County's Commissioners are: Director Thomas A. Arnone (R, Neptune City, 2025, term as director ends December 31, 2025), Susan M. Kiley (R, Hazlet Township, 2024),
Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are:
Clerk Christine Giordano Hanlon (R, 2025; Ocean Township),
Sheriff Shaun Golden (R, 2025; Howell Township) and
Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters (R, 2026; Middletown Township).
As of March 2011, there were a total of 33,176 registered voters in Howell Township, of which 6,622 (20.0%) were registered as Democrats, 7,744 (23.3%) were registered as Republicans and 18,798 (56.7%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 12 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2020 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 57.8% of the vote (18,491 cast), ahead of Democrat Joe Biden with 40.7% of the vote (13,004 votes), and other candidates with 1.5% (469 votes) among the 31,964 votes cast by the township's voters. In the 2016 presidential election, Republican Donald Trump received 60.4% of the vote (15,808 cast), ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton with 36.0% of the vote (9,430 votes), and other candidates with 3.5% (923 votes), among the 26,161 votes cast by the township's voters. In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 55.4% of the vote (12,529 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 43.2% (9,762 votes), and other candidates with 1.4% (310 votes), among the 22,772 ballots cast by the township's 34,737 registered voters (171 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 65.6%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 54.8% of the vote (13,854 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 42.7% (10,790 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (300 votes), among the 25,278 ballots cast by the township's 34,490 registered voters, for a turnout of 73.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 59.0% of the vote (13,579 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 39.1% (8,990 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (219 votes), among the 23,015 ballots cast by the township's 31,549 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 73.0.
In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Republican Kim Guadagno received 60.5% of the vote (8,481 cast), ahead of Democrat Phil Murphy with 36.7% (5,137 votes), and other candidates with 2.8% (391 votes), among the 14,009 cast by the township's voters. In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 73.4% of the vote (9,999 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 25.2% (3,426 votes), and other candidates with 1.4% (189 votes), among the 13,788 ballots cast by the township's 34,992 registered voters (174 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 39.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 68.7% of the vote (11,187 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 24.7% (4,023 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 5.4% (886 votes) and other candidates with 0.8% (127 votes), among the 16,287 ballots cast by the township's 33,461 registered voters, yielding a 48.7% turnout.
The Howell Township Public Schools serve students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. As of the 2020–21 school year, the district, comprised of 12 schools, had an enrollment of 5,409 students and 494.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 10.9:1. Schools in the district (with 2020–21 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are five K-2 elementary schools, five 3-5 elementary schools and two middle schools for grades 6-8:
Adelphia Elementary School (345 students; in grades K-2),
Aldrich Elementary School (378; 3-5),
Ardena Elementary School (324; 3-5),
Greenville Elementary School (318; K-2),
Griebling Elementary School (255; K-2),
Land O' Pines Elementary School (486; PreK-2),
Memorial Elementary Elementary School (258; 3-5),
Newbury Elementary School (372; 3-5),
Ramtown Elementary School (325; 3-5),
Taunton Elementary School (362; K-2),
Howell Township Middle School North (1,116; 6-8) and
Howell Township Middle School South (868; 6-8).
Students in public school for ninth through twelfth grades attend either Howell High School, Freehold Township High School or Colts Neck High School (depending on home address), as part of the Freehold Regional High School District (FRHSD). The Freehold Regional High School District also serves students from Colts Neck Township, Englishtown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Manalapan Township and Marlboro. Students from Howell can apply to participate in one of the Freehold Regional Learning Center programs within these six schools. The FRHSD board of education has nine members, who are elected to three-year terms from each of the constituent districts. Each member is allocated a fraction of a vote that totals to nine points, with Howell allocated two members, who each have 1.0 votes. Students from Howell may also apply to attend one of the Monmouth County Vocational School District schools throughout Monmouth County.
Mother Seton Academy, a Catholic School for grades Pre-K–8, which operates under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Trenton, is in the township. It formed in 2019 by the merger of St. Veronica and St. Aloysius schools; the former was in Howell and the latter was in Jackson Township.
Monmouth Academy (formerly Lakewood Prep School) was a private, nonsectarian, coeducational day school located in Howell Township, that served 180 students in pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade.
The Asbury Park Press provides daily news coverage of the town. The government of Howell provides columns and commentary to The Howell Times, which is one of seven weekly papers from Micromedia Publications.
- St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Russian Orthodox Church cathedral, originally established in 1936 and decorated with Byzantine-style frescos, that operates under the jurisdiction of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
- The Mackenzie Museum and Library was the home of William Prickitt who led the 25th Regiment of the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
As of May 2010, the township had a total of 292.75 miles (471.14 km) of roadways, of which 242.91 miles (390.93 km) were maintained by the municipality, 26.25 miles (42.25 km) by Monmouth County and 23.59 miles (37.96 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Several major highways traverse through Howell Township. These include Interstate 195, U.S. Route 9, Route 33 and Route 34. Major county routes that traverse through Howell Township include County Route 524 (Elton-Adelphia Road), County Route 547 (Lakewood-Farmingdale Road/Asbury Road) and County Route 549 (Herbertsville Road).
The Garden State Parkway passes through neighboring Wall Township and is accessible with Interstate 195 and Route 33 at interchanges 98 and 100. Further out west, the New Jersey Turnpike is accessible with Interstate 195 and Route 33 at interchanges 7A and 8.
NJ Transit provides bus transportation to communities along U.S. Route 9 from Lakewood to Old Bridge, and to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City via the 131, 135 and 139 bus routes, to Newark Liberty International Airport and the rest of Newark on the 67 route, to Jersey City on the 64 and 67 routes, and with local service on the 836 route. Bus service is available from Route 9 to the Financial District in Lower Manhattan via the Academy Bus Line. There are two commuter parking lots available exclusively for residents of Howell Township, at the Aldrich Park & Ride in the Land of Pines neighborhood, and the Howell Park & Ride in the Adelphia neighborhood.
The Monmouth Ocean Middlesex Line a proposed NJ Transit project which would connect Monmouth, Ocean and Middlesex counties to the rest of the system's rail network. The township would be a potential stop for the 'MOM' Line. As of now, Howell offers taxi services to and from the Belmar train station, the closest train station to the township. Other nearby train stations include Aberdeen-Matawan, Asbury Park, Hamilton, and Long Branch.
Monmouth Executive Airport in Farmingdale supplies short-distance flights to surrounding areas and is the closest air transportation service. The nearest major commercial airports are Trenton-Mercer Airport, which serves several domestic destinations via Frontier Airlines and located 28 miles (45 km) west (about 36 minutes drive); and Newark Liberty International Airport, which serves as a major hub for United Airlines and located 40 miles (64 km) north (about 56 minutes drive) from the center of Howell Township.
Cycleways, including the Edgar Felix Bikeway, connect to Manasquan and the beach, as well as other points of interest.
Most of Howell Township is served by the CentraState Healthcare System, which is a partner of Atlantic Health System and is affiliated with Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. The main 287-bed hospital campus is located in neighboring Freehold Township and services the central New Jersey region. The healthcare network offers additional services through its various family practices. Family practices accessible to Howell include locations in Jackson Township and Colts Neck Township.
The next closest major hospitals to the township are Monmouth Medical Center's Southern Campus in nearby Lakewood, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in nearby Neptune, and the Hamilton division of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Howell Township include:
- Howell Township website
- Howell Township Public Schools
- School Performance Reports for the Howell Township Public Schools, New Jersey Department of Education
- School Data for the Howell Township Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics
- Howell Twp Public School Issues community message board
- Howell High School
- Colts Neck High School
- Freehold Regional High School District
- School Performance Reports for the Freehold Regional High School District, New Jersey Department of Education
- Howell Chamber of Commerce
- Community message board for news and discussion of Howell issues and events
- Local website for news and information concerning Howell Township