Author: (AP Photo / Chris O’Meara, File)
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New Jersey’s population declined slightly between 2020 and 2021, while Hudson County witnessed one of the biggest declines for any county in the country.

The big reason: COVID-19 and the people he killed.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual population estimates released on Thursday show a 0.2% drop, or about 22,000 people nationwide, between the official 2020 census count from April 1, 2020 and the July 1, 2021 estimate. This brings the population of New Jersey to 9.27 million.

More than a third of all states have lost population. In half of all states, the pandemic has seen more deaths than births, although in some, the increase in the number of people moving has offset this and led to an overall increase in population.

“The annual increase in mortality in 2020 was the largest in 100 years,” the bureau said in a blog post. “Before the pandemic, the death rate was predictable. Death increased slowly but steadily. In addition, mortality followed a seasonal trend, peaking in the winter months. Over the past two years, COVID-19 has violated these models, and it is unclear when and when the patterns of pre-pandemic mortality will return. ”

Gloomy calculation

In general, more people were born in New Jersey than died. But during the 12-month period that ended July 1, the state had fewer births, while it had more deaths than in previous annual periods. And New Jersey and New York were the only two states in the northeast in which the number of births in small numbers exceeded the number of deaths. Between mid-2018 and mid-2019, the natural population – the birth rate minus the dead – grew by about 24,000 people. From 2020 to 2021, this growth was less than 4,700.

In all, COVID-19 has killed more than 33,000 New Jersey residents so far.

In recent years, international immigration has reduced the number of people leaving New Jersey, but it has slowed. COVID-19 has further affected the number of people moving to New Jersey and the United States from other countries. During the 2010s, an average of more than 33,000 immigrants settled in New Jersey each year. Between mid-2020 and mid-2021, only about 10,000 immigrants moved, while nearly 28,000 New Jersey residents left.

People leaving the state also contributed to the small population loss. While these new census data do not show where people have moved, national trends show that people are moving south and midwest.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate declining birth rates, increase mortality and slow international migration, shifts in the rest of the component – internal migration – have become more pronounced and significantly changing county growth patterns across the country,” the bloc said. .

Hudson County has been hit hard

That’s what happened in Hudson County. New Jersey County, the fastest-growing county in the past decade, has the fourth-largest state district in New Jersey – and the 10th largest county in the country – from the 2020 census to July 1. according to the latest estimates, Hudson County has lost more than 22,000 residents or 3.1% over that 15-month period.

But recent data may not show the full impact of the pandemic

Part of this may be directly related to the pandemic, particularly the “20s” who returned home with their parents, said James Hughes, a professor at Rutgers University who is an expert on demography, housing markets and real estate development.

“Probably many of the young millennia of Hudson County came from New Jersey, so their parents were close,” he said. “They are not going to stay with their parents for long. They will return. “

But others who left were millennials who started a family or wanted to do so and wanted more space, Hughes continued. The pandemic gave them the impetus to finally take a step, and it brought the effect of a snowball.

“It’s become a herd mentality,” he said. “When a few of their friends started moving to the suburbs, I guess it was a fear of being abandoned.”

Trending to COVID-19

Max Herman, chairman of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of New Jersey City, said the trend of relocating young families from densely populated Jersey City and Hudson County began shortly before the March 2020 pandemic.

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“Many of the businesses that made the city attractive to the middle and upper middle class, many of them are starting to disappear,” he said, referring to restaurants, cafes, gyms and nightlife that suddenly closed that spring when the governor Phil Murphy closed the state. Some never opened.

“And schools closed for a long time, so parents stayed at home with their children in cramped apartments, with little to do with children, and they began to look for greenery … People began to do math and understand that they can rent a house in a nearby suburb , and it will be cheaper than they pay for their one-bedroom or two-bedroom apartment in the city, ”Herman added.

Herman said the reduction is unlikely to be permanent, but it could take some time to undo it, and it will depend on companies requiring their employees to return to the office.

“In order for the housing market to fully recover, the commercial market must first be restored, which means more people will return to work in offices,” he said. “The advantage of Jersey City, for example, has always been that it has been a short trip to New York. And it makes sense if you still need to go to the office. If you don’t need to go to the office, then why do you want to live in a densely populated neighborhood where there is not enough space and amenities that can be obtained by moving to the suburbs?

The bustling business community also supports restaurants, bars and cultural offerings that will draw people back to the cities, “but it will take time,” Herman added.

Towering Ocean County

One of the counties that continued to grow steadily despite the pandemic was Ocean County. After steady growth over the past decade, Ocean’s population has grown again by 1.8%, or 11,769 people, compared to the 2020 census through July 1, 2021. The Ocean’s fastest-growing population is now about 650,000. Most of the increase was in people who moved to Ocean County because the birth rate barely exceeded the death rate. The thriving Jewish community in and around Lakewood was a great attraction.

“We have no data on the origin and destination, but we know that many of them come from Brooklyn to Ocean County,” Hughes said. “The economy continues to grow there – all kinds of activities, even some new office buildings in Ocean County – so that’s a pretty strong trend. I see no reason why it should have stopped. “

These charts tell you how Garden State has changed since 2010

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