The U.S. Census Bureau released its municipal and racial population data for New Jersey on Thursday, in which it announced that 1.555 million Garden State residents identify themselves as Hispanic or Latino, regardless of race. That’s a 39.2 percent jump since the 2000 census, and it makes Latinos 17.7 percent of the entire state population. That makes Latinos the largest minority group in the state, ahead of the African American population of 1.2 million. The black population grew only 5.5 percent in the past 10 years, compared with a 4.3 percent growth in the white population.
The Asian population, the second largest minority, also experienced a major increase in population, jumping 51 percent to 725,726.
The other interesting fact that arose from the Census Bureau statistics is that Essex County is no longer the second largest in New Jersey. That moniker now belongs to Middlesex County, which added 59,675 residents to a total of 809,858. Essex County actually lost 9,664 residents for a total of 783,969.