Interactive Map: More Than 20 Percent of NJ Residents Were Born Outside U.S.

Foreign-born immigrants help offset loss of hundreds of thousands of people who moved to other states

The steady stream of immigrants settling in New Jersey has led to a rise in the percentage of residents who are foreign-born and is almost negating any loss of New Jerseyans moving to other states, U.S. Census data shows.

New Jersey had 1.9 million residents who had immigrated to the United States, according to the 2014 American Community Survey, which averaged data for 2010 through 2014 to provide the most accurate estimate. Those new residents represented almost 22 percent of the state’s population.

New Jersey has the third-largest population of foreign-born residents in the nation, behind California, with 27 percent, and New York, with 22 percent.

It is possible that the actual of foreign-born residents in New Jersey is even higher. While the Census attempts to count the undocumented, these immigrants sometimes distrust government officials and do not fill out Census forms. After the 2010 Census, the bureau analyzed its count and estimated that it had missed counting about 700,000 Hispanics nationwide.

Without the immigrants settling in New Jersey, the state’s population would be declining.
Between 2000 and 2015, New Jersey added nearly 545,000 residents, but the natural population increase — or births minus deaths — was slightly larger than that increase.

However, a total of about 770,000 people moved out of the state during the same time period. Offsetting that, Census data shows that nearly 720,000 foreigners moved into the state.

The number of foreign-born residents was 29 percent higher than the 2000 Census measured. And more residents are naturalized citizens, as well — 11 percent of all New Jerseyans were born elsewhere and naturalized in the United States, compared with 8 percent at the turn of the century. More than half of those who immigrated here and were living in New Jersey became citizens, the 2014 ACS data shows.

New Jersey’s immigrant communities are diverse both in origin and in where they have settled.

The municipality with the largest proportion of foreign-born residents is Palisades Park, a borough little more than a square mile in size located on the Palisades in Bergen County. Nearly two thirds of its population of about 20,000 people immigrated to the United States.

The Census Bureau estimates that nearly 58 percent of Palisades Park’s residents are Asian. A section of the borough is known as Koreatown. The borough was the first place in the United States to erect a monument to the [link:|”comfort women]” who reportedly were forced into sexual slavery by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Seven other communities, all of them in either Hudson or Bergen counties, also have majority immigrant populations, but not all as concentrated as in Palisades Park. For instance, about 58 percent of people in Union City are foreign-born and 85 percent of the population is Hispanic. While it was long known for its Cuban enclave, Union City now has equally large or larger populations of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans and Ecuadorians.

On the other hand, there are about 25 municipalities, most of them in South Jersey, where less than 2 percent of residents are foreign-born.