Census: NJ keeps status as densest state in US

New Jersey

FILE – This April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. A group of Harvard researchers are coming out against the U.S. Census Bureau’s use of a controversial privacy method on the numbers used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, saying it doesn’t produce data that are good enough for redistricting. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey retains its slot as the country’s densest state, and Newark keeps its crown as the state’s biggest city, according to newly released U.S. Census figures.

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, though behind the District of Columbia. Newark also saw its population climb above 300,000, edging out a growing Jersey City that some expected would overtake Newark. Jersey City will remain New Jersey’s second-biggest, after growing 18% to just shy of 300,000 residents.

The new figures also show the state became less white and more Black, Hispanic and Asian. The white population fell from 5.21 million a decade ago to 4.82 million in 2020, while the Hispanic and Asian populations both climbed by nearly 30%.

People identifying as Hispanic climbed from 1.55 million in 2010 to 2 million in 2020, while Asian population went from about 720,000 to roughly 942,000.

The Black population grew from 1.13 million to 1.15 million.

People under 18 in New Jersey have declined from 2.07 million in 2010 to 2.01 million.

Overall, the state’s population climbed from 8.8 million to 9.3 million. It will keep the 12 House seats it currently has.

The release of the redistricting data culled from the 2020 census is coming more than four months later than expected due to delays caused by the pandemic.

The redistricting numbers states use for redrawing congressional and legislative districts show where white, Asian, Black and Hispanic communities grew over the past decade.

It also shows which areas have gotten older or younger and the number of people living in dorms, prisons and nursing homes. The data covers geographies as small as neighborhoods and as large as states.

An earlier set of data released in April provided state population counts and showed the U.S. had 331 million residents last year, a 7.4% increase from 2010.

The state’s five biggest counties remained the same, but Essex switched places with Middlesex as the No. 2 biggest county. Starting with the largest, they are Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Hudson and Monmouth.

The five biggest cities also stayed the same compared with a decade ago: They are Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth and Toms River.

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