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The population of New Jersey was 8,791,894 people in the 2010 United States Census, ranking it as the eleventh most populous state and representing a 4.5% increase from the 2000 survey. The Census Bureau's estimate is that the state population as of July 2018 had grown to 8,908,520, only a 1.3% increase from 2010, ranking 39th of the 50 states. In the first US Census conducted in 1790, the state's total population was 184,139, including 11,423 slaves.
As the fourth smallest state in land area (behind only Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut), New Jersey has the highest population density of all states. Its density in 2018 of 1,200.8 people per square mile was well above second-ranking Rhode Island, with 1,011.8 people per square mile
* New Jersey Quick Facts, US Census Bureau
* New Jersey Population Estimates: New Jersey's Still Growing, But Slowly, 1/2/2019, NJFuture.org
The state's population was 68% white, 13.7% black, 18% Hispanic of any race and 10% Asian/other, according to the 2010 Census. Asians were the fastest growing group, making up 8% of the state's total population compared to 5% in 2000. About 240,000 people, or 2%, identified themselves as multiracial in the census. The younger population of the state is also increasingly comprised of minorities. Just over half the number of 18 to 34 year-olds identified themselves as a race other than white in the last census, the highest proportion of all states and more than twice the level of 22% reported in 1980. Essex, Union and Camden counties had about 45% of the state’s African American population in the 2010 Census.
* New Jersey QuickFacts, US Census Bureau
-- Foreign immigration and national origins
In 2017, The Migration Policy Institute estimated that 2,055,062 New Jersey residents were foreign-born, comprising 22.8% of the state's total population, a 39.2% increase from the number in 2000. Over the more recent decades, New Jersey has depended on foreign immigration to avoid a net decline in population. It is estimated that there were about 475,000 illegal immigrants making up about 5.2% of the population as of 2016, which is the fourth highest percentage of any state.
The primary sources of foreign immigration to New Jersey have increasingly been shifting from Europe to Latin America and Asia, but the five largest ethnic groups in 2000 continued to reflect the historical pattern, with the largest groups comprised of Italian (17.9%), Irish (15.9%), African (13.6%), German (12.6%) and Polish (6.9%). Just under 32% of New Jersey residents speak a language other than English at home. The Spanish language, with 14.59% of households speaking it as their primary language at home, is by far the most frequent language spoken other than English, with Chinese (1.23%), Italian (1.06%) and Portuguese (1.06%) the only other languages exceeding one percent.
As a percentage of population in 2010, New Jersey was the third highest state in the percentage of Asians with 8.3%, behind only Hawaii (38.6%) and California (13.3%), and the highest of all states in the percentage of Asian Indians with 3.32%. Bergen County is home to all of the nation's top ten municipalities by percentage of Korean population, led by Palisades Park, where Koreans comprise the majority (52%) of the population. The state also had the largest population of Peruvian Americans of all states; the largest population of Cuban Americans outside of Florida; and the third highest Italian American population by percentage, according to the 2000 Census.
According to data from the National Science Foundation, immigrants comprise 48% of state residents with master’s degrees and 41% of those with doctorates in scientific fields.
New Jersey attitudes toward immigrants appear to be more positive than the nation as a whole. A survey in 2014 reported that 61% responded that immigrants strengthened the country because of their hard work and talents compared to 55% nationally; similarly, 29% of New Jerseyans responded that immigrants burdened the country because they took jobs, housing and healthcare compared to 36% who so responded for the US as a nation. New Jersey had the same percentage as the US with 60% of respondents who believed that the best option for dealing with illegal immigrants was to provide a way for them to become citizens; 15% of New Jerseyans responded that illegals should be identified and deported compared to 19% in all states.
* State Immigration Data Profiles, New Jersey, Migration Policy Institute
* US unauthorized immigrant population estimates by state 2016, Pew Center