The headlines usually seem to suggest that everyone is moving to the sunbelt in the south western states. However, the north west is not falling to far behind and continues to see huge amounts of growth. Indeed, New Jersey is looking very strong in comparison to many other places. Between 2010 and 2015 an extra 166,000 people moved to the area, that’s more than one fifth of the entire state of North Dakota. In 2000 the population of the state was a little over 8.4 million. This had risen to 8.8 million by 2010 and nearly 9 million in 2015. It is true that a lot of people are losing the state, but the net figure is still positive due to the large number of migrants coming into the state. Many of these migrants are actually coming from other countries, rather than other states.
The criteria included in deciding which are the fastest growing cities of the year in New Jersey were set by analysts at Wallethub and included: economic growth, unemployment rate decrease, job growth, increase in venture capital investment, population growth, household income growth, poverty rate decrease, increase in number of businesses, house price growth, increase in the ratio of full time to part time jobs and growth in regional GDP per capita. Jobs and the economy are an important aspect of assessing growth as it suggests how sustainable a higher population in the future might be. Union City has grown at a faster rate based on these criteria than the other cities but all are seeing positive growth statistics. 100 is the maximum score.
Newark – 38.24%
Newark is the largest city in the state of New Jersey. It is a major transportation hub, especially for air, rail and road shipping. It can be found 8 miles west of lower Manhattan which helps to drive growth. Port Newark-Elizabeth, found in the city, is the busiest sea port on the eastern seabord of the United States. The Newark Liberty International Airport is also one of the busiest in the country. Several significant companies are located in the city including Prudential, Panasonic and Audible.com.
The city is very racially diverse which helps to add to the melting pot and the diversity of cuisine and opportunities. The majority of the population is Black, with about a quarter white and a quarter others. More than 100,000 people commute to Newark for work each day so it is New Jersey’s largest hub for employment. From universities, courts and government posts to manufacturing and business, Newark has lots of opportunities which is helping to drive growth.
Passaic – 40.85%
Located in Passaic County, Passaic has grown about 17% since 1990. First settled by the Dutch in 1678, Passaic takes its name from the Passaic River on which it is located. The city has been called ‘the birthplace of television’ as, in 1931, W”XCD, an experimental television station began broadcasting in the city. There are several business districts in the city including Main Avenue and Broadway. There are significant Latino and Eastern European populations in the city which influences the variety of cuisines and restaurants that are on offer. Parts of the city are part of the state wide Urban Enterprise Zone which allows shoppers to take advantage of a reduced 3.5% sales tax rate (usually 7% across the state).
Jersey City – 41.01%
After Newark, Jersey City is the second most populous city in the state. Located in Hudson County the city has grown 7% since 2010. It is part of the New York metropolitan area and bounded by the Hudson River and the Hackensack River on the other side. It is a major port, with over 30 miles of waterfront, which also means that it is also a major hub for transport, especially rail. Commuters are able to rapidly travel to Manhattan and so it is popular with people who want to work there but not live there. Further, it is an important city for the financial, manufacturing and services industries. In fact, if you name an industry then you can probably find it in Jersey City.
Although the population declined hugely between 1930 and 1980, since then it has grown significantly. The city has several shopping districts and parts of the city are part of the state wide Urban Enterprise Zone. Computershare and Fidelity Investments call Jersey City their home. Forbes magazine can also be found in the city. Interestingly, over 40% of people who live in New Jersey do not own a motor vehicle. That’s the second lowest figure in the entirety of the United States.
Clifton – 42.41%
Clifton can be found in Passaic County and has grown about 10% in terms of population since 1990. It is located just 10 miles west of New York city which has certainly aided it in terms of attracting growth. Most of the businesses are small scale and office based with professionals such as law firms, accountancy firms and medical practices. There is also a reasonably sized shopping centre and several restaurants. The road links for the city certainly help its prospects, linking it to several other major cities, including New York. Major routes include Route 3, Route 21, Route 19 and the Garden State Parkway which connects Bloomfield, in Essex County with Elmwood Park in Bergen County. An interesting fact is that David Chase, who created The Sopranos came from Clifton.
Union City – 50.42%
Union City is located in Hudson County and has grown by almost 20% since 1990. It’s main nickname is ‘Embroidery Capital of the United States’, as well as ‘Havana on the Hudson’, probably as a result of the large Hispanic population and history. Traditionally, Union City has been a family oriented city with lots of locally owned businesses but as it has grown its demographic has broadened and there are now many different levels of incomes to be found across the city. In 2008 the first high rise Condominium tower was built in Union City and other such buildings have followed to make it an increasingly ‘new age’ urban space. Union City is among several cities in Hudson County to be included in New Jersey’s ‘Urban Enterprise Zone’ which aims to revitalize local economies and communities in the area.
Clearly, while it is not experiencing the significant growth of the south eastern United States, New Jersey is still looking positive in terms of its future. The economy remains diverse and its proximity to New York also helps to drive growth.