Data from the 2020 Census released last week shows that New Jersey now has a population of 9,228,994 – an increase of over 497,000 residents since the 2010 census. The state's population per square mile climbed 5.6% over the last decade to 1,263 people up from 1,195.5 - higher than every other state. As such, Jersey retains its title as being the most densely populated state in the country.
On the county level, Hudson County (+14.3%; 724,854), Essex County (+10.2%; 863,728 people), and Ocean County (+10.5%; 637,229) had the top three largest increases in population. The population growth in these three counties is primarily due to increases in its largest cities, Newark, Jersey City and Lakewood.
Newark retained the largest-city title for at least the next 10 years with a population of 311,549. Jersey City’s count rose by an 18%, an increase of roughly 45,000 residents to 292,449. In Lakewood, New Jersey’s fastest-growing city, the population increased by 42,315 (an incredible 45.6%), to 135,158 residents.
In South Jersey, Cape May, Cumberland and Salem Counties shrunk in population. Camden and Burlington Counties remained flat while Gloucester County grew by 4.9%.
The same was true in West Jersey. Sussex County had the biggest percentage drop in the state (3.3%), while Hunterdon and Warren were both up by less than a percentage point.
The state's five biggest counties remained the same, with the exception of Essex switching places with Middlesex as the No. 2 biggest counties. Starting with the largest, they are Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Hudson and Monmouth.
The five biggest cities in New Jersey also remained the same compared with a decade ago: Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth and Toms River.