The List: Against National Trend, Large Families Still Common in Some Places in NJ

Colleen O'Dea, Senior writer | December 12, 2016 | The List
Large families are becoming rarities in a changing United States. But new census data pinpoint several places in New Jersey where they are the norm

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A great deal has been written about the changing dynamics of today’s families, driven in part by the differing interests of the millennial generation.

Fewer people are getting married — and those who are marry at an older age than in the past. Married couples are not necessarily having children and more children are living with a single parent than was the case a half-century ago. Large families with multiple children are becoming ever more rare.

The typical New Jersey household — which may not necessarily include people who are related — included 2.7 people, according to the most recent 2015 American Community Survey data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. The median family size was 3.3 related people.

But there are some places in the state where families are much bigger. Here are the municipalities with the largest median family size, a measure averaged over the period of 2011-2015:

1. Lakewood: 4.75 people per family

This Ocean County municipality has a large community of ultra-Orthodox Jews who tend to have large families. Census data indicates the township had nearly 18,000 families, about 37 percent of which included a married couple raising their young children.

2. Passaic: 4.24

This city had a large Hispanic population — more than seven in 10 people living there were Hispanic. Data show that, of all the major racial and ethnic groups, Hispanic families tend to have the most children.

3. Bridgeton: 4.04

A small city in Cumberland County, Bridgeton had about 6,000 households and almost 73 percent of them were families. Just 16.7 percent of households were families with children. More than 80 percent of the population was Hispanic or black— data show blacks are second only to Hispanics in family size.

4. Prospect Park: 4.03

This Passaic County borough of fewer than 6,000 is majority Hispanic. Almost 82 percent of households were families, significantly higher than the state’s 69 percent average.

5. Paterson: 4.01

This is the third of four Passaic County municipalities on this list. It is also a minority majority community. Paterson had a population near 150,000, making it the largest of the municipalities with a high median family size.

6. Woodlynne: 4

The smallest municipality on the list, Woodlynne had about 800 households. Fewer than 20 percent of the households in this Camden County borough were married couples with children.

7. South Toms River: 3.95

Another small municipality, this Ocean County borough had a population of about 3,700. Three quarters of its households were families.

8. New Brunswick: 3.91

This Middlesex County city that is home to Rutgers University also had about 8,500 families. Its population of 56,000 was almost 70 percent Hispanic and black.

9. Haledon: 3.81

The last town in Passaic County on the list, Haledon had nearly 2,600 households, about three quarters of which were families.

10. Camden: 3.76

New Jersey’s poorest city was also 95 percent majority minority. It had the smallest percentage of households that were married couples with young children — 9 percent.