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PATERSON, N.J. — The City of Paterson is celebrating a milestone, reaching a final Census count of nearly 160,000 residents, increasing its population by more than 13,000 — or 9% since 2010.

The accomplishment now designates Paterson a First Class City in the state, bringing with it a new era of funding and opportunity.

“In a time when we had very little to celebrate, today we can celebrate the city of Paterson and the fact that we set a goal and we achieved it,” Mayor Andre Sayegh said at a celebratory event Tuesday.

Mayor Sayegh laid out how the city pulled out all the stops leading up to the count, including the release of a children’s book titled “We Count” — which was dispersed in Paterson schools and taught students and their families about the Census and why it’s so important.

Paterson was not the only city that saw substantial growth in New Jersey.

Newark and Jersey City, which ranked Nos. 1 and 2 respectively, both saw double digit growth.

Lakewood which rounded out the top five with a 45% surge in its population.

Despite the strides the city made in the 2020 Census, there were obstacles.

Aside from COVID, officials said the Trump administration’s attempt to add a question about citizenship did some damage on the local level.

“If you are telling residents that it’s safe, they don’t feel that way,” Mayor Sayegh said.

The mayor insists the city was able to overcome much of the hesitancy brought on by the previous administration’s ploy.

With Substantial funding now on the table for future projects, the city plans to prioritize reducing school class sizes and infrastructure.