It is kind of interesting to look at the growth, ownership, education and residency similarities and differences between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands, neighboring communities both set on gorgeous waterfronts, both with magnificent hills that stretch down to the water, both part of history dating to the Lenni Lenape and both about the same size and officially split from Middletown 13 years apart, with Atlantic Highlands the first to be incorporated in 1887.
It’s enough to make you wonder why Atlantic Highlands has had a growth in population every year for the past five years, while Highlands has shown no growth, but actually a decrease every year for the past 11 years. That has created a decrease of nearly 8 percent in growth overall.
It makes you wonder whether the decrease in population is due simply to people moving out and their homes being sold for other purposes, or whether the population isn’t changing in number because people are having less, or later in life children, but coupled with the statistics on the number of non-natives out outnumbering the number of natives, it means the new people moving in are simply selling their homes to other new people moving in while they’re moving on to other towns or cities.
With its 4609 residents, Highlands ranks 196th in size in the state and 5,002 in the nation, while Atlantic Highlands with its 4468 residents ranks 202 in the state and 5105 in the nation but with percentages showing more people are moving into that borough than its neighbor on the Shrewsbury River.
Highlands has shown the largest decrease in people born in the community still living there, meaning the people who settled the town and gave it its unique character are not living there anymore, with only 55 per cent of homeowners natives of Highlands today. In Atlantic Highlands, 68 per cent of the homeowners are natives of the borough.
With the change in ownership and decrease in growth over the past decade, Highlands also records that 68 per cent of its residents have had some college education, while in the neighborhood town, it’s 75 per cent who have some college education, many of them with master’s degrees.
Both towns have residents who are far above the poverty level and apparently able to handle the high taxes and cost of public school education.
Highlands residents appear to have a slightly lower median income than their neighbors, with the median annual income for a family in Highlands set at $48,559, while it is $55,538 in the next town.
However, when it comes to median household income, Highlands is figured at $148,559 per household per year and in Atlantic Highlands, it is $141,983, appearing apparently, that there are more two family incomes in Highlands than in Atlantic Highlands.