John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Report by BCPC to Jointure on 2020 Census Population & Housing Data

Report by BCPC to Jointure on 2020 Census Population & Housing Data

At the October 7, 2021, Newtown Area Joint Zoning Council (JZC) meeting, Lisa Wolff, Senior Planner, Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC), presented an analysis of the recently released 2020 U.S. Census Redistricting Data Summary Files related to the "Jointure" townships (Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield).

Her analysis, which will be incorporated into the updated Newtown Area Comprehensive Plan, covers population trends from 1950 through 2020, population change from 2000 to 2020, population by race, and housing data.

Jointure Population Trend

Ms. Wolff first reviewed the growth in population of the Jointure townships from 1950 through 2020. See the table below and listen to the audio snippet where Ms. Wolff highlights the important trends.

Table 1 from the BCPC report.

In the following audio snippet from the JZC meeting, Ms. Wolff talks about the trend in Jointure population from 1950 though 2020:

Mack's Newtown Voice · Lisa Wolff Reviews Jointure Population Trend
Figure 1: Prepared from data in Table 1
Population Change

It is clear that population growth is declining, especially between 2010 and 2020. Newtown, for example, saw a growth of only 3.1% during this period (see Table 2 below).

Table 2 from the BCPC report.

In the following audio snippet from the JZC meeting, Ms. Wolff reviews more details of Jointure population changes from 2000 to 2020:

Mack's Newtown Voice · Lisa Wolff Reviews Change in Jointure Population
Population By Race

The racial/ethnicity profile of all three Jointure townships show a shift to a more diverse population from 2000 to 2020. Newtown, for example, was 94% white in 2000 and 82% in 2020. The biggest change was in the “Asian Alone” category – an increase from 734 residents in 2000 to 2,201 in 2020. This category includes “Asian Indian,” which I am sure constitutes the majority of “Asian Only” residents in Newtown.

Table 3 from the BCPC report.

In the following audio snippet from the JZC meeting, Ms. Wolff reviews more details population by race:

Mack's Newtown Voice · Lisa Wolff Reviews 2020 Census Jointure Race Data
Housing Data

The last piece of data in the report is “Housing Occupancy Status,” which is summarized in Table 3 of the report.

Table 3 from the BCPC report.

In the following audio snippet from the JZC meeting, Ms. Wolff summarizes the housing data:

Mack's Newtown Voice · Lisa Wolff Reviews 2020 Census Data on Jointure Housing

Newtown saw a 28% increase in “vacant housing units” from 2010 to 2020 (389 vs 304). At the JZC meeting, it was not clear what was included in this category. The U.S. Census Bureau website provides the following definition:

“A housing unit is vacant if no one is living in it at the time of the interview, unless its occupants are only temporarily absent. In addition, a vacant unit may be one which is entirely occupied by persons who have a usual residence elsewhere. New units not yet occupied are classified as vacant housing units if construction has reached a point where all exterior windows and doors are installed and final usable floors are in place. Vacant units are excluded if they are exposed to the elements, that is, if the roof, walls, windows, or doors no longer protect the interior from the elements, or if there is positive evidence (such as a sign on the house or block) that the unit is to be demolished or is condemned. Also excluded are quarters being used entirely for nonresidential purposes, such as a store or an office, or quarters used for the storage of business supplies or inventory, machinery, or agricultural products. Vacant sleeping rooms in lodging houses, transient accommodations, barracks, and other quarters not defined as housing units are not included in the statistics in this report.”

Future Development

Ms. Wolff also reported the estimated number of acres of land suitable for future potential development in each municipality. For Newtown that number was just under 40 acres, for Upper Makefield it is a little more than 250 acres, and for Wrightstown it is a little more than 425 acres. These are just early estimates, but it is evident that Newtown may be reaching its limit for future development.

Additional Information

Posted on 11 Oct 2021, 11:37 - Category: Development

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