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According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 3.364 square miles (8.715 km2), including 3.334 square miles (8.636 km2) of land and 0.030 square miles (0.079 km2) of water (0.90%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Goffle, North Hawthorne and Van Winkle.
There were 7,454 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.7% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.6% were non-families. 27.6% 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 2.52 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 21.4% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 28.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.2 years. For every 100 females there were 92.7 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 89.4 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $72,985 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,585) and the median family income was $83,136 (+/- $7,364). Males had a median income of $64,906 (+/- $7,150) versus $44,641 (+/- $2,852) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $33,872 (+/- $1,921). About 4.9% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
There were 7,260 households out of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 26.5% 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 2.50 and the average family size was 3.07.
In the borough the population was spread out with 21.8% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 15.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $55,340, and the median income for a family was $65,451. Males had a median income of $46,270 versus $33,277 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $26,551. About 2.6% of families and 3.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.0% of those under age 18 and 5.4% of those age 65 or over.
The Borough of Hawthorne is governed under the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, within the Mayor-Council system of municipal government by a Mayor and a seven-member Borough Council.
A Charter Study Commission, formed in the 1980s after two major commercial businesses left the borough, led to a recommendation for the adoption of a Mayor-Council form in which there are four wards to give residents a representative in each area of the community, in addition to a mayor and two at-large members of the borough council, all of whom are directly elected by residents, with all members of the governing body serving four-year terms of office. After residents approved the commission's recommendations, the first election under the Mayor-Council form was held in 1989. The four ward seats are up for vote together and the three at-large seats and the mayoral position up for vote together two years later. All elections are held on a partisan basis as part of the November general election.
As of 2016[update], the Mayor of the Borough of Hawthorne is Republican Richard S. Goldberg, whose term of office ends December 31, 2021. Members of the Hawthorne Borough Council are Council President John Bertollo (Ward 2, 2019), Council Vice President Frank E. Matthews (Ward 4, 2019), Bruce Bennett (R, at large, 2021), John V. Lane (R, at large, 2021), Dominic Mele (R, at large, 2021), Gary G. Sinning (Ward 3, 2019) and Joseph R. Wojtecki (Ward 1, 2019).
On July 29, 2008, former Mayor Patrick Botbyl announced he would resign effective August 15, 2008. A special election was held on November 4, 2008, in which Richard Goldberg defeated Joseph Wojtecki to become the mayor of Hawthorne for the remainder of Botbyl's term.
The Hawthorne Police Department is staffed with one Chief, two Captains, four Lieutenants, six Sergeants, 19 patrol and traffic officers, and three Detectives. The Police Headquarters is located at 445 Lafayette Avenue. The police department maintains several special units including k-9, motorcycle, quality of life, education and firearms. The department runs many community programs such as the Junior Police Academy, Citizen's Police Academy, ROAR Education, and a high school Criminal Justice program.
The Hawthorne Volunteer Fire Department, established in 1916, is an all-volunteer department, which maintains five stations. HFD staffs three Engines (Engine 1, Engine 3, Engine 4), one Platform Aerial (Tower 2), and a Heavy Rescue (Rescue 5). HFD has one Department Chief and five Assistant Chiefs. The Fire Department Headquarters is located at 828 Lafayette Avenue.
The Hawthorne Volunteer Ambulance Corps is an independent non-profit corporation dedicated to providing emergency medical services (EMS) to the Borough of Hawthorne and surrounding communities since 1932. HVAC maintains three full-size BLS units, one First Responder/Command Vehicle, and one chief's vehicle. The EMS Headquarters is located at 970 Goffle Road.
The Passaic County S.P.C.A. Humane Police Department is a law enforcement agency that is specifically empowered to enforce animal cruelty laws throughout Passaic County. Operating since the 1890s, the Passaic County S.P.C.A. relocated to Hawthorne in October 2017. The PCSPCA Humane Police Department maintains two black and white patrol vehicles. PCSPCA Headquarters is located at 794 Lafayette Avenue.
Passaic County is governed by a seven-member Board of Chosen Freeholders, who are elected at-large to staggered three-year terms office on a partisan basis, with two or three seats coming up for election each year as part of the November general election in a three-year cycle. At a reorganization meeting held in January, the board selects a Director and Deputy Director from among its members to serve for a one-year term. As of 2017[update], Passaic County's Freeholders are
Director Cassandra "Sandi" Lazzara (D, 2018; Woodland Park),
Deputy Director Bruce James (D, 2017; Clifton),
Assad R. Akhter (D, 2018 - appointed to serve an unexpired term; Paterson),
John W. Bartlett (D, 2018; Wayne),
Theodore O. Best Jr. (D, 2017; Paterson),
Terry Duffy (D, 2019; West Milford), and
Pasquale "Pat" Lepore (D, 2019; Woodland Park). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Kristin M. Corrado (R, 2019; Totowa),Sheriff Richard H. Berdnik (D, 2019; Little Falls) and
Surrogate Bernice Toledo (D, 2021; Prospect Park).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 12,060 registered voters in Hawthorne, of which 2,938 (24.4% vs. 31.0% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 3,934 (32.6% vs. 18.7%) were registered as Republicans and 5,181 (43.0% vs. 50.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 7 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 64.2% (vs. 53.2% in Passaic County) were registered to vote, including 81.7% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.8% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 49.9% of the vote (4,195 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 48.9% (4,114 votes), and other candidates with 1.2% (101 votes), among the 8,480 ballots cast by the borough's 12,679 registered voters (70 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 66.9%. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 4,618 votes (50.6% vs. 37.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 4,256 votes (46.6% vs. 58.8%) and other candidates with 78 votes (0.9% vs. 0.8%), among the 9,132 ballots cast by the borough's 12,101 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.5% (vs. 70.4% in Passaic County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 4,614 votes (52.7% vs. 42.7% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 3,863 votes (44.1% vs. 53.9%) and other candidates with 52 votes (0.6% vs. 0.7%), among the 8,753 ballots cast by the borough's 11,624 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.3% (vs. 69.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 62.0% of the vote (3,385 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 36.9% (2,015 votes), and other candidates with 1.2% (63 votes), among the 5,586 ballots cast by the borough's 12,874 registered voters (123 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 43.4%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 3,139 votes (53.7% vs. 43.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 2,324 votes (39.8% vs. 50.8%), Independent Chris Daggett with 265 votes (4.5% vs. 3.8%) and other candidates with 36 votes (0.6% vs. 0.9%), among the 5,844 ballots cast by the borough's 11,836 registered voters, yielding a 49.4% turnout (vs. 42.7% in the county).
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 61.77 miles (99.41 km) of roadways, of which 47.63 miles (76.65 km) were maintained by the municipality, 12.45 miles (20.04 km) by Passaic County and 1.69 miles (2.72 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
A controversy has erupted since the Council voted to allow 24/7 hours of operation in order to accommodate the development of a WalMart Market at 204 Wagaraw Road. Although the planning board approved a supermarket with 42,000 square feet (3,900 m2) of floor space, the identity of the occupant, WalMart Inc., and the hours of operation, 24/7, were not made clear in the public notification. Beginning in January 2012, a group of concerned citizens began asking questions of the developer, County Planning Board, Hawthorne Planning Board and the Hawthorne Borough Council. Residents have raised concerns about the possibility for increased crime that a 24/7 operation could bring given a parking lot large enough for 250+ automobiles and increased drug use at the 24/7 7-Eleven in Hawthorne. Other concerns include increased traffic to an already congested area, decrease in public safety, decrease in property values, increased noise and air pollution, and an overall negative association of WalMart being associated with Hawthorne.
In May 2014, the Borough Council passed an ordinance that would prohibit big box retailers from opening in the borough's main retail districts; Wal-Mart had announced in March 2013 that it would abandon its efforts to open in Hawthorne.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Hawthorne include:
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Johnson, Brent. "Meet your 3 new state lawmakers, New Jersey", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 25, 2018. Accessed July 3, 2018. "Swain, the former mayor of Fair Lawn, and Tully, the former council president in Bergenfield, will be district mates. They replace Joseph Lagana, who moved up to the state Senate last month when state Sen. Robert Gordon resigned to join the state Board of Public Utilities, and Tim Eustace, who resigned last month to take a job outside of state government."
^Us/History/ History, Saint Anthony School. Accessed October 31, 2017. "St. Anthony School's first 48 students were taught in the basement of the church in September 1912. Sister Concepta and Sister Christina of the Dominican Sisters taught all eight grades. The current structure, a two-story red brick building, was built in 1923. It had 9 classrooms and a small auditorium, dining area, teacher's room and office."
^About HCA, Hawthorne Christian Academy. Accessed October 31, 2017. "Hawthorne Christian Academy was founded in 1981 as a ministry of Hawthorne Gospel Church. It is evangelical and interdenominational, with selective admissions."
^Kleimann, James. "Wal-Mart, other big box stores kept out of Hawthorne", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, May 9, 2014. Accessed August 31, 2015. "Wal-Mart and other big box stores won't be setting up shop in Hawthorne anytime soon, with the borough council passing an ordinance Wednesday night that prohibits big box development on two main commercial stretches, according to The Record."
^Park, Minjae. "Hawthorne shuns big-box developments like Walmart", The Record (Bergen County), May 7, 2014. Accessed August 31, 2015. "Wal-Mart announced in March 2013 it would scrap plans to bring a supermarket to Wagaraw Road after its application was met with fierce resistance from some residents, who argued the supermarket undercut community aspirations for a better development suitor. On Wednesday night, the council -- which had argued Walmart would bring in much-needed tax ratables -- unanimously adopted a zoning ordinance that forecloses the possibility of any big-box developments returning to a stretch of Wagaraw Road, including the 8.6-acre lot where Wal-Mart planned to locate."
^Koetting, Rebecca. "Local acts way to NYPD Blue fame", The Shopper News, Backed up by the Internet Archive as of July 3, 2014. Accessed October 31, 2017. "The part is being played by Fulvio Cecere, of the Hawthorne High School Class of 1978. Though Cecere currently resides in Canada, he still maintains close ties to the borough, where his parents call Diamond Bridge Avenue home."
^Rohan, Virginia. "Hawthorne's Debbie Harry continues to record and wow audiences", The Record (Bergen County), June 18, 2007. "Harry, who grew up in Hawthorne, expected to perform about a half dozen of the new songs on this month's True Colors tour, which stops at Radio City tonight."
^Harris, Tasha. "Russ Meneve: Making the Comedy World a Better Paid Place", Stage Time magazine. Accessed October 31, 2017. "The Hawthorne, NJ native has appeared on The Tonight Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Last Call with Carson Daly, and Last Comic Standing and his delightfully wicked and hilarious standup earned him a spot on New York magazine's 'The Ten Funniest New Yorkers You've Never Heard Of.'"