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NEW BRUNSWICK-The Northern New Jersey District Council of the Urban Land Institute has unveiled a report with the extended title: Who Lives in New Jersey Housing? A Guide to New Jersey Residential Demographic Multipliers. It was prepared by David Listokin of the Bloustein School at Rutgers with ULI help, and it measures the demographic impact of certain kinds of residential development.

“With the updated study, municipalities can more accurately assess the economic and social impacts of growth, boards of education can more predictably plan for likely student population and builders/developers can more confidently determine the appropriate methods of planning for the impacts of new development,” says Richard F.X. Johnson, chairman of ULI-NNJ and senior vice president of Matrix Development Group, based in Cranbury.

The new study utilizes updated data from the 2000 census and incorporates current trends affecting the creation of demographic multipliers in New Jersey. It finds that the demographic impact of residential development is significantly lower now than in a comparable 1980 study.

For example, assuming a market-based residential project with 500 units, made up of 340 apartments (65% two-bedroom, 35% one-bedroom) and 160 townhomes (70% two-bedroom and 30% three-bedroom, the newer data would predict the addition of about 1,000 people, including 88 public school-age children. In the 1980 study, the projections were approximately 1,100 people and 130 school kids.

And if the prototypical project were located near a train station, current empirical data would suggest an even lower demographic generation. For instance, the number of school-age children would be less than 50.

“The practice of using 1980 studies produces an erroneous overstatement of both total population and number of public school-age children, especially projects with a strong transit orientation and infrastructure in place,” Johnson says. “It is for this reason that Rutgers University has updated the model to provide a current profile of the demographics of new development.”

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