East Orange was originally incorporated as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 4, 1863, from portions of Orange town, and was reincorporated as a city on December 9, 1899, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier.
There were 24,945 households of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.3% were married couples living together, 29.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.9% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.33.
In the city, 25.7% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35.0 years. For every 100 females there were 81.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $40,358 (with a margin of error of +/- $1,873) and the median family income was $50,995 (+/- $2,877). Males had a median income of $38,642 (+/- $1,851) versus $39,843 (+/- $2,187) for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,298 (+/- $746). About 17.8% of families and 21.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.5% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.
An elegant pre-WWII apartment on South Munn Avenue in East Orange.
There were 26,024 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 26.0% were married couples living together, 28.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.2% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.37.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 30.1% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 81.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,346, and the median income for a family was $38,562. Males had a median income of $31,905 versus $30,268 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,488. About 15.9% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 14.0% of those ages 65 or over.
As part of the 2000 Census, 89.46% of East Orange's residents identified themselves as being Black or African American. This was one of the highest percentages of African American and Caribbean American people in the United States, and the second-highest in New Jersey (behind Lawnside, at 93.6%) of all places with 1,000 or more residents identifying their ancestry. East Orange also has a large Haitian American community, with 2,852 persons claiming Haitian ancestry in the 2000 Census.
Although still a small percentage of total residents, Orange and East Orange have the largest concentrations of Guyanese Americans in the country. In the 2000 Census, 2.5% of East Orange residents identified as being of Guyanese ancestry. While Queens and Brooklyn had larger populations in terms of raw numbers, Orange (with 2.9%) and East Orange had the highest percentage of people of Guyanese ancestry of all places in the United States with at least 1,000 people identifying their ancestry.
East Orange is governed under the City form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a mayor and a city council made up of ten members, two representing each of the city's five geographic political subdivisions called wards. The mayor is elected directly by the voters. The ten members of the city council are elected to four-year terms on a staggered basis, with one seat in each ward coming up for election every other year.
The City Council performs the legislative functions of municipal government by enacting ordinances, resolutions or motions, and is responsible for review and adoption of the municipal budget that has been submitted by the Mayor.
As of 2013[update], members of the City Council are:
1st Ward: Jamal S. Barnes (2013) and Andrea D. McPhatter (2015)
2nd Ward: Virginia M. Cross (2013) and Jacquelyn E. Johnson (2015)
3rd Ward: Ted R. Green (2013) and Quilla E. Talmadge (2015)
4th Ward: William C. Holt (2013) and Sharon Fields (2015)
5th Ward: Alicia Holman (2013) and Lonnie Hughes (2015)
The first African-American Mayor of East Orange, New Jersey was William S. Hart, Sr., who was elected to two consecutive terms, serving in office from 1970–1978. Hart Middle School was named after him.
Federal, state and county representation
East Orange is located in the 10th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 34th state legislative district.
A reminder of East Orange's former wealth. The Ambrose-Ward Mansion was built in 1898 for a book manufacturer, now the home of the African-American Fund of New Jersey
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 36,280 registered voters in East Orange, of which 21,646 (59.7%) were registered as Democrats, 396 (1.1%) were registered as Republicans and 14,228 (39.2%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 10 voters registered to other parties.
In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 97.7% of the vote here (24,718 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1.6% (408 votes) and other candidates with 0.1% (35 votes), among the 25,304 ballots cast by the city's 36,891 registered voters, for a turnout of 68.6%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 93.2% of the vote here (19,447 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 5.9% (1,225 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (128 votes), among the 20,856 ballots cast by the city's 33,328 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 62.6.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 94.4% of the vote here (12,554 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 2.9% (380 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 1.2% (153 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (63 votes), among the 13,295 ballots cast by the city's 36,157 registered voters, yielding a 36.8% turnout.
Portions of East Orange are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants.
^via Associated Press. "Booker is officially a U.S. senator after being sworn in", NJ.com, October 31, 2013. Accessed October 31, 2013. "Former Newark Mayor Cory Booker was sworn in as a Democratic senator from New Jersey today, taking the oath of office, exchanging hugs with Vice President Joe Biden and acknowledging the applause of friends and family members seated in the visitor's gallery that rings the chamber.... Booker, 44, was elected to fill out the term of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died earlier this year."
^ abGeneral Information, Essex County, New Jersey. Accessed January 9, 2013. "The Board of Chosen Freeholders consists of nine members, five of whom are elected from districts and four of whom are elected at-large. They are elected for three-year concurrent terms and may be re-elected to successive terms at the annual election in November."
^Lee, Eunice. "Labor leader from South Orange tapped as new Essex County freeholder", The Star-Ledger, December 19, 2012. Accessed January 9, 2013. "A longtime labor union leader from South Orange was sworn in this afternoon as the newest Essex County freeholder.Gerald Owens, 74, is a general organizer for the International Longshoremen's Association.... Owens is filling the seat vacated by former at-large freeholder Donald Payne Jr., who stepped down from the post last month after securing the 10th Congressional District seat left open by his late father."
^What are SDA Districts?, New Jersey Schools Development Authority. Accessed August 14, 2012. "SDA Districts are 31 special-needs school districts throughout New Jersey. They were formerly known as Abbott Districts, based on the Abbott v. Burke case in which the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the State must provide 100 percent funding for all school renovation and construction projects in special-needs school districts.... The districts were renamed after the elimination of the Abbott designation through passage of the state's new School Funding Formula in January 2008."
^Bloom, Harold. "James Blish: 1921-1975", Science fiction writers of the golden age, p. 63. Chelsea House, 1995. ISBN 0-7910-2199-8. "James Blish 1921-1975 James Benjamin Blish was born on May 23, 1921, in East Orange, New Jersey, the only child of Asa Rhodes Blish and Dorothea Schneewind Blish."
^Schwaneberg, Robert. "Education building honors a champion: Rights lawyer Carter argued Brown case", copy of article from The Star-Ledger, November 21, 2006, at the Warren County Education Association. Accessed March 5, 2012. "Almost 54 years ago, Robert L. Carter stood before the U.S. Supreme Court and argued that segregated schools can never be equal.... Yesterday, the Trenton building that houses the state Department of Education was dedicated in honor of Carter, who grew up in Newark and East Orange and is now a federal judge in New York.... Born in Florida, Carter was 6 weeks old when his family moved to Newark. He attended Barringer High School in Newark and East Orange High School, graduating at age 16 after skipping two grades."
^Pareles, Jon. "Shooting for Excess", The New York Times, September 9, 1996. Accessed January 23, 2011. "Sharing the bill was Chino XL, a fast-talking rapper from East Orange, NJ, who respects no one."
^Troy CLE, Tavis Smiley, September 7, 2007. Accessed November 29, 2007. "A native of East Orange, NJ, CLE has worked as a student teacher in the NYC public school system and as a hip-hop producer."
^MccFadden, Robert D. "Carolyn Heilbrun, Pioneering Feminist Scholar, Dies at 77", The New York Times, October 11, 2003. Accessed March 1, 2012. "Carolyn Gold Heilbrun was born on Jan. 13, 1926, in East Orange, N.J., the only child of Archibald Gold, an accountant, and Estelle Roemer Gold, who, her daughter would recall, 'sat at home and was bored out of her mind.' The family moved to Manhattan when Ms. Heilbrun was 6, and she became a voracious reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Judy Bolton mysteries and, as a teenager, the novels of Virginia Woolf and Willa Cather."
^Stetler, Carrie. "What happened to Whitney?", The Seattle Times, March 22, 2004. Accessed January 23, 2011. "Houston was born in Newark, N.J., and reared in East Orange, the daughter of acclaimed gospel/soul singer Cissy Houston, who sang backup for everyone from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley."
^Reinhard, Paul. "Anything Is Possible For Jarrod", The Morning Call, July 30, 1991. Accessed October 24, 2011. "Well, by the time he graduated from Seton Hall Prep in West Orange, N.J., Johnson had blossomed into a 243-pound center. 'It's good I didn't gain another 100 pounds between my freshman and senior years in college,' he quipped yesterday during a telephone conversation. Johnson, an East Orange, N.J., native who as a young boy rooted for the Pittsburgh Steelers after watching them win Super Bowl IX, became an outstanding center at Lehigh University."
^Colonel E. Lester Jones, NOAA. Accessed December 20, 2007. " Ernest Lester Jones, the son of Charles Hopkins and Ida (Lester) Jones was born in East Orange, New Jersey on April 14, 1876."
^Norris, Chris. "Pop Goes the Ghetto", New York (magazine), June 19, 1995. Accessed September 11, 2011. "Treach - Naughty's machete-wielding, padlock-and-chain-wearing lead rapper - was drawing lines in his lyrics between Them and Us, set in a musical backdrop that erased them. And with that - and two more giant-selling singles - three kids from the slums of East Orange, New Jersey, became a pop band."
^Newman, Melinda. "Naturi's a Natural", New Jersey Monthly, December 8, 2008. Accessed September 19, 2012. "East Orange native Naturi Naughton plays rapper Lil' Kim in a film about the life of hip-hop artist Notorious B.I.G., which opens Jan. 16."
^Hu, Winnie. "For a Singer’s 1940s Alma Mater, a 21st-Century Gift", The New York Times, September 21, 2010. Accessed September 11, 2011. "Once a neighborhood school called Lincoln, it was renamed for Ms. Warwick, a winner of five Grammy awards, in 1996 after becoming a theme school for business. Ms. Warwick attended the school, which now draws students from across the district, in the late 1940s."
^Staff. "Mystery Plot: Whodunit in Newark?", The New York Times, August 26, 1994. Accessed February 6, 2012. "Ms. Wilson Wesley grew up in Ashford, Conn., and now lives in Montclair, N.J., with her husband and two daughters. But she lived in nearby East Orange in the early 1970's, and Tamara's yellow-and-green Cape Cod is modeled on her old house."