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The Record, Thursday,
March 22, 2001
Census math puzzles
By YUNG KIM, Staff Writer
If you believe the recent
census count, all of 18 people call Teterboro home, making it the state's smallest
There's just one problem:
Forty-five folks live there.
And about half of them have put
down roots in a new apartment complex that's not hard to miss, because there are only two
residential streets in the square-mile, heavily industrial borough.
So what happened? No one seems to
Borough Manager Paul Busch
speculates that timing was key, because the 12-unit apartment complex opened just a short
time before the actual counting of heads.
Still, there were 45 residents by
the beginning of 2000, several townspeople said. And the Census Bureau did its count in
A Census Bureau official said she
does not know how Teterboro's numbers could be off, but said every town was counted the
"We go after everyone to
make sure they are covered," said Linda Morris, a population information assistant
for the Census Bureau.
Before the census forms are
mailed to residents in any town, census officials are sent to scour back streets in search
of inhabitants, Morris said.
They also scan post offices and
housing records to know exactly where to send the forms, she said. Every resident is
supposed to receive a form and, if it is not returned, a census worker is sent to the
Residents acknowledge there has
been a lot of moving around in their tiny town. When the apartments opened on Vincent
Place in the fall of 1999, some people who lived on Huyler Street relocated there.
Tiffany Massaro, 16, of Huyler
Street did a double-take when she read that Teterboro had a population of 18.
That couldn't be right, she
reasoned, because her six-member family would account for a third of the population.
"I knew that was
wrong," she said. "There's more than that on this street."
Tiffany's parents attribute the
undercount to a lack of tangible signs of a community, such as a school or police or fire
Teterboro children are bused to
South Hackensack or Little Ferry schools. Little Ferry and Moonachie provide police
coverage, and Hasbrouck Heights handles fire coverage.
"Santa Claus doesn't ride
through here on a firetruck," said Tiffany's mother, Maryrose Massaro.
"You can miss Teterboro if
you sneeze while driving through on [Route] 46. People think those planes are our
neighbors," she said, referring to the traffic at Teterboro Airport.
Teterboro's official slide in
population -- it had 22 people in 1990 -- allowed Pine Valley in Camden County to move up
a slot and become the state's second smallest municipality, with 20 people. It had 19 at
But Thomas Redanauer said neither
Teterboro nor Pine Valley is truly the state's smallest municipality. Tavistock, also in
Camden County, has them both beat, said Redanauer, its borough administrator.
Tavistock has 12 people, all
living in four houses on a golf course, he said.
But in 1990, the Census Bureau
managed to find 35 people in the borough. To protest the overcount, Redanauer sent the
bureau a municipal map highlighting the four homes and their residents.
The latest count has Tavistock
with a population of 24 -- a decrease of 31 percent, but still double the actual
"The Census Bureau can't
count," Redanauer said.
The way it looks now, Teterboro
will officially remain New Jersey's smallest municipality. And residents will just have to
get used to it.
There doesn't seem to be a move
afoot to protest the final number, as the borough did a decade ago -- when it successfully
demanded a recount after the Census Bureau initially turned up only 11 residents. In fact,
the undercount hasn't created much of a stir at all. When The Record last week asked
townspeople to gather for a portrait to show that there are indeed more than 18 people
living in Teterboro, no one -- that's no one -- showed up.
But things could be looking up.
"This is not a terrible
thing," Busch said, thinking about the recent surge in population. "I think we
will be the fastest growing borough next time around."