The population of the NJTPA’s 13-county region grew 6.8 percent — nearly a percentage point higher than statewide growth — from 2010 to 2020, according to the latest U.S. Census data. This growth far exceeded pre-2020 Census estimates, which projected a 1.8 percent population increase.
The region’s population is just above 7 million, 445,322 people higher than it was in the 2010 Census. New Jersey’s total population is now just shy of 9.3 million. Robert Diogo, Manager of Modeling at the NJTPA, presented that data to the Regional Technical Advisory Committee on October 12.
In addition to population counts, the Census provides data on the state’s racial and ethnic mix, a breakdown of age groups and information about housing vacancy rates. Additional data, including more detailed age breakdowns, will be released in 2022.
The data is important because it is factored into funding formulas, helps inform planning studies and needs assessments and equity analyses. It also is the basis for modeling and forecasting.
Hudson, Essex, Ocean, Middlesex and Bergen counties saw the largest growth. Warren and Hunterdon had minimal growth (less than 1,000 people), while Sussex County saw a population decrease of about 5,000. It’s too early to say how the pandemic affected the count and responses to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, or how it will affect future growth since remote work resulted in some people moving out of urban areas and while seeking housing in more suburban and rural communities.
ewark remains the state’s most populous municipality, with 311,549 residents, an increase of 12.4 percent. Jersey City is a close second with 292,449 residents, an increase of 18.1 percent. Lakewood, the most populous municipality in Ocean County, had the largest percentage increase in the region, growing from 92,843 in 2010 to 135,158 in 2020, an increase of 45.6 percent.