7 dramatic changes in N.J. over 50 years

7 dramatic changes in N.J. over 50 years

06 Nisan 2018 - 02:00

The only thing still recognizable of New Jersey of 1968 may be its borders. 

The last 50 years have starkly reshaped the landscape of the Garden State, from its sardine-packed Gold Coast to the white sands of Cape May. We analyzed decades of Census data to show the myriad ways New Jersey has evolved.  

What emerges is a portrait of a society that's constantly shifting and potentially foreshadows the challenges of the years ahead. The graphics below detail seven of the most dramatic shifts, which are fundamentality shaping who we are as a state.

Packed like sardines

This likely isn't news to most residents, but it's important. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the nation, packing more than 1,200 people per square mile of space. This colors not only how development proceeds, but could also have impacts on how growth occurs. 

The map above shows how population density has changed since 1920. Click the button in the top-left corner to see how America, and New Jersey, has grown. 


The Great Slowdown

After experiencing nearly exponential growth from the 1790s through 1970, New Jersey has been adding fewer and fewer new residents. As New Jersey is outpaced by other states around the country, its Congressional delegation has suffered.

Growth has slowed to a near halt over the last decade or so, which could imperil one of the state's 12 seats in Congress after the 2020 Census.  


A state of fewer immigrants...

It would be easy to think, given the political firestorm immigration has been for the last decade, that New Jersey has the highest proportion of immigrants its had in the past half century. This is not the case. 

Following World War II, New Jersey, historically one of the first ports of call for new immigrants, saw a tremendous influx of people from Europe. By 1960, more than a third of the population was born outside of the United States. Today, about 22 percent of New Jersey residents were born outside the country. 



...but brimming with diversity

While New Jersey may have considerably fewer immigrants than it did 50 years ago, today the population is far more global.  While the bulk of New Jersey claimed European ancestry in the 1950s and 1960s, today there are groups of 1,000 people or more from more than 100 countries around the world. 

This includes significant populations from South America, Africa and Asia, all of which were nearly non-existent in New Jersey 50 years ago.  



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