Down The Shore author Jen Miller posted an article last week on NewsWorks, New Jersey: Declining Barrier Island Population. An interesting read that hits “close to home”.
Disclaimer: observations are based on my life experiences as both a resident, and a real estate agent.
While it may seem obvious to focus on the high cost of housing, the job market is also a real factor.
Think about the people you know living on the island year round: they are most likely local business owners, real estate agents…or retired. The need for other professions is limited.
When I attended Avalon Elementary in the late 1960s/early 1970s, our family was considered small with just 4 children. It was not unusual to see 6 or more siblings in the school. And, one family even contributed 10 kids to the cause!
Those “kids” left the area for higher education, and moved to a location best suited for their career. In recent years, families (who stayed or moved here) have fewer children to attend the elementary schools.
As Jen concluded in the article, the barrier island schools and governments have no choice but to face the changing demographic. Shared services is a realistic solution…especially for communities occupying the same island of “sand”.