Clinton is a town in Hunterdon County, in the U.S. state of New Jersey. It is located on the South Branch of the Raritan River in the Raritan Valley region. As of the 2020 United States census, the town's population was 2,773, an increase of 54 (+2.0%) from the 2010 census count of 2,719, which in turn reflected an increase of 87 (+3.3%) from the 2,632 counted in the 2000 census. Despite its relatively small population, Clinton is the predominant control city for Interstate 78 traveling westbound from Newark.
When the Clinton post office was established in 1829, it was named for DeWitt Clinton, Governor of New York and the primary impetus behind the then-newly completed Erie Canal.
Clinton was incorporated as a town by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 5, 1865, within portions of Clinton, Franklin and Union Townships. Clinton gained full independence from its three parent townships in 1895.
The town is perhaps best known for its two mills which sit on opposite banks of the South Branch Raritan River. The Red Mill, with its historic village, dates back to 1810 with the development of a mill for wool processing. Across the river sits the Stone Mill, home of the Hunterdon Art Museum, located in a former gristmill that had been reconstructed in 1836 and operated continuously until 1952. In 1952, a group of local residents conceived of a plan to convert the historic building into an art museum, which is still in operation today.
On October 30, 1891, a major fire destroyed 23 buildings and 17 businesses on Main Street. This is known here as the Great Fire of 1891.
Described by The New York Times in 1988 as having "conquered the worst residential radon hotspot known in the United States" which resulted from uranium in the limestone under sections of the town, Clinton and mayor-at-the-time Robert A. Nulman received state, national, and international attention for the town's successful efforts to combat the radon using ventilation systems in affected homes.
The Clinton Historic District encompassing much of the town was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995 for its significance in architecture, commerce, engineering, industry and exploration/settlement. The district includes 270 contributing buildings.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 1.44 square miles (3.72 km), including 1.35 square miles (3.49 km2) of land and 0.09 square miles (0.24 km) of water (6.39%).
The town borders the Hunterdon County municipalities of Clinton Township, Franklin Township and Union Township.
Clinton is considered an exurb of New York City, as Hunterdon County lies on the western fringe of the New York City Metropolitan Area, which is mainly rural with scattered housing developments and old farm homes. Clinton is part of the Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area of Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. It serves as a bedroom community for many commuters working in and around Northern New Jersey and New York City, often younger residents who have supplanted long-time residents of Clinton.
Clinton falls under the North Jersey climate zone. According to the Office of the New Jersey State Climatologist at Rutgers University, the Northern climate zone covers about one-quarter of New Jersey and consists mainly of elevated highlands and valleys which are part of the Appalachian Uplands. Surrounded by land, this region can be characterized as having a continental climate with minimal influence from the Atlantic Ocean, except when the winds contain an easterly component. Prevailing winds are from the southwest in summer and from the northwest in winter. Being in the northernmost portion of the state, and with small mountains up to 1,800 feet (550 m) in elevation, the Northern Zone normally exhibits a colder temperature regime than other climate regions of the State of New Jersey. This difference is most dramatic in winter when average temperatures in the Northern Zone can be more than ten degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the Coastal Zone. Annual snowfall averages 40 to 50 inches (100 to 130 cm) in the northern zone as compared with an average of 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 cm) in the extreme south.
Clinton falls under the USDA 6b Plant Hardiness zone.
The 2010 United States census counted 2,719 people, 1,057 households, and 727 families in the town. The population density was 2,032.6 per square mile (784.8/km). There were 1,098 housing units at an average density of 820.8 per square mile (316.9/km2). The racial makeup was 89.52% (2,434) White, 1.32% (36) Black or African American, 0.22% (6) Native American, 6.66% (181) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 0.63% (17) from other races, and 1.66% (45) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.22% (169) of the population.
Of the 1,057 households, 37.0% had children under the age of 18; 55.2% were married couples living together; 9.7% had a female householder with no husband present and 31.2% were non-families. Of all households, 25.4% were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.14.
26.0% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 28.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.6 years. For every 100 females, the population had 94.8 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 92.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $83,850 (with a margin of error of +/− $12,019) and the median family income was $109,375 (+/− $19,698). Males had a median income of $62,697 (+/− $9,258) versus $67,014 (+/− $13,316) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $43,354 (+/− $4,395). About 2.6% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 11.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States census, there were 2,632 people, 1,068 households, and 724 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,916.0 inhabitants per square mile (739.8/km2). There were 1,095 housing units at an average density of 797.1 per square mile (307.8/km). The racial makeup of the town was 92.06% White, 1.33% African American, 0.46% Native American, 3.72% Asian, 1.37% from other races, and 1.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.10% of the population.
There were 1,068 households, out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.3% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 26.4% under the age of 18, 4.7% from 18 to 24, 35.4% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 9.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $78,121, and the median income for a family was $88,671. Males had a median income of $61,442 versus $46,397 for females. The per capita income for the town was $37,463. About 0.4% of families and 2.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.6% of those under age 18 and 1.6% of those age 65 or over.
The Red Mill Museum Village is located on the South Branch of the Raritan River in the town center of Clinton. Built in 1810, the Red Mill originally served as a woolen mill. Over the next 100 years, the Mill was used at different times to process grains, plaster, talc and graphite. The Mill was also used to produce peach baskets, as well as to generate electricity and pump water for the town. Every October, the mill is transformed into a haunted house called the Red Mill Haunted Village. The Haunted Village tends to attract visitors from all over the east coast to the small town. The Red Mill Museum Village was featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters in 2008.
The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft and design in the 19th century Dunham's Mill, the Stone Mill, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1952, the Museum showcases works by internationally recognized and emerging contemporary artists. It also offers a dynamic schedule of over 300 art classes and workshops for children and adults, as well as a summer camp program.
Clinton is governed under the Town form of municipal government. The town is one of nine municipalities (of the 564) statewide that use this traditional form of government. The governing body is comprised of the Mayor and six-member Town Council, all of whom are chosen at-large in partisan elections held as part of the November general election. The Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. Members of the Town Council are elected to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The primary responsibilities of the council are to serve as the legislative body of the town, approve the annual budget presented by the Mayor, approve payment of bills and serve as Liaisons to several Boards and Committees.
As of 2023, the mayor of Clinton Town is Democrat Janice Kovach, whose term of office ends on December 31, 2023; she first took office as mayor in 2012. Members of the Clinton Town Council are Nick Bruno (R, 2024), Megan Johnson (D, 2023), John Kashwick (D, 2023; elected to serve an unexpired term), Molly Padmos (D, 2025), Kyle Perloff (R, 2024) and Ross Traphagen (R, 2025).
Clinton Fire Department (CFD) is located on the corner of New Street / Old Route 22 in Clinton. About 15% of the department's calls annually involve actual fire, while the rest of the CFD's calls are roughly broken down to 15% motor vehicle accidents, 15% hazardous conditions, 5% service calls, 25% good intent calls with no fire found and 25% alarm activations/false alarms, averaging about 190 calls annually. The department offers three types of membership to prospective members: Active firefighter, Junior firefighter and Associate membership. The department runs mutual aid calls with Annandale Hose Company, High Bridge Fire Department, Quakertown Fire Company, Lebanon Fire Company and Pattenburg Fire Company and other fire departments in Hunterdon Country, which work together as part of the North Hunterdon Fire Alliance.
Clinton Town is located in the 7th Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 23rd state legislative district.
For the 118th United States Congress. New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Thomas Kean Jr. (R, Westfield). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2027) and Bob Menendez (Harrison, term ends 2025).
For the 2022–2023 session, the 23rd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Doug Steinhardt (R, Lopatcong Township) and in the General Assembly by John DiMaio (R, Hackettstown) and Erik Peterson (R, Franklin Township, Hunterdon County).
Hunterdon County is governed by a Board of Chosen Commissioners comprised of five members who are elected at-large on a partisan basis to serve three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held each January, the commissioners select one member to serve as the board's Director and another to serve as Deputy Director, each for a one-year term. As of 2023, Hunterdon County's Commissioners are
Commissioner Director Zachary T. Rich (R; West Amwell Township, term as commissioner ends December 31, 2025; term as director ends 2023),
Deputy Director Jeff Kuhl (R; Raritan Township, elected to to serve an unexpired term ending 2024; term as deputy director ends 2023)
John E. Lanza (R; Raritan Township, 2025),
Susan Soloway (R; Franklin Township, 2024) and
Shaun C. Van Doren (R; Tewksbury Township, 2023). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are
County Clerk Mary H. Melfi (R; Flemington, 2026),
Sheriff Fredrick W. Brown (R; Alexandria Township, 2025) and
Surrogate Susan J. Hoffman (R; Kingwood Township, 2023).
As of March 2011, there were a total of 1,671 registered voters in Clinton, of which 439 (26.3%) were registered as Democrats, 529 (31.7%) were registered as Republicans and 700 (41.9%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered as Libertarians or Greens.
In the 2012 presidential election, Republican Mitt Romney received 52.0% of the vote (693 cast), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 46.7% (623 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (17 votes), among the 1,351 ballots cast by the town's 1,780 registered voters (18 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 75.9%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 49.4% of the vote (704 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 48.7% (694 votes) and other candidates with 1.2% (17 votes), among the 1,426 ballots cast by the town's 1,732 registered voters, for a turnout of 82.3%. In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 54.8% of the vote (761 ballots cast), outpolling Democrat John Kerry with 44.0% (611 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (12 votes), among the 1,389 ballots cast by the town's 1,671 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 83.1.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 69.2% of the vote (577 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 28.1% (234 votes), and other candidates with 2.8% (23 votes), among the 840 ballots cast by the town's 1,757 registered voters (6 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 47.8%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 60.5% of the vote (620 ballots cast), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 27.7% (284 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 9.5% (97 votes) and other candidates with 0.7% (7 votes), among the 1,025 ballots cast by the town's 1,711 registered voters, yielding a 59.9% turnout.
Clinton-Glen Gardner School District is school district based in the Town of Clinton, that serves students from Clinton Town and Glen Gardner Borough in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade at Clinton Public School. Before Glen Gardner, a non-operating district, was consolidated into the district, students from the borough had attended the district's school as part of a sending/receiving relationship. Other students attend the school on a tuition basis. Formerly known as the Town of Clinton School District, the district's board of education voted in November 2009 to revise the name to Clinton-Glen Gardner School District to reflect the merger. As of the 2018–19 school year, the district, comprised of one school, had an enrollment of 431 students and 44.7 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 9.6:1.
Public school students in ninth through twelfth grades attend North Hunterdon High School in Annandale together with students from Bethlehem Township, Clinton Township, Franklin Township, Lebanon Borough and Union Township. As of the 2018–19 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,584 students and 123.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 12.9:1. The school is part of the North Hunterdon-Voorhees Regional High School District, which also includes students from Califon, Glen Gardner, Hampton, High Bridge, Lebanon Township and Tewksbury Township, who attend Voorhees High School in Lebanon Township.
Eighth grade students from all of Hunterdon County are eligible to apply to attend the high school programs offered by the Hunterdon County Vocational School District, a county-wide vocational school district that offers career and technical education at its campuses in Raritan Township and at programs sited at local high schools, with no tuition charged to students for attendance.
As of July 2015, the town had a total of 12.21 miles (19.65 km) of roadways, of which 8.72 miles (14.03 km) were maintained by the municipality and 3.49 miles (5.62 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Several roadways pass through the town. The most major road passing through Clinton is Interstate 78/U.S. Route 22, which run concurrently through the area. Direct access is provided by New Jersey Route 31 at Exit 17 and at Exit 15 for Route 173 and County Road 513. Route 173 and CR 513 run through the center of town, while Route 31 skims the northeast edge. Access to Interstate 78 provides Clinton with a route to and from New York City and the Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania. Philadelphia can also be accessed from Clinton via New Jersey Route 31 to Interstate 295 south.
Trans-Bridge Lines offers buses on a route that provides service from Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan and New York City-area airports at a stop at the park-and-ride on Route 31 in Clinton. Limited NJ Transit Rail is also accessible at the Annandale station on the Raritan Valley Line.
The LINK, which serves Hunterdon County is the primary traditional publicly funded mode of transportation. Fares range from about $2.00 to $10.00. Funding for operation of the Hunterdon County LINK System is provided by Hunterdon County, NJ Transit and the Federal Transit Administration. Additionally, Warren County operates a shuttle along Route 31 Monday–Friday to Oxford Township.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Clinton include: