Counties in New Jersey With the Most Rapid Population Decline

Exploring the 5 Counties in New Jersey With the Most Rapid Population Decline

New Jersey, a state characterized by a diverse and dynamic population, displays varying growth rates across its counties. The 2020 Census reveals that the overall population of New Jersey grew by 5.7% from 2010 to 2020, reaching a total of 9,288,994 residents. Nevertheless, certain counties witnessed a decrease in population, while others underwent rapid growth.

Factors Behind the Population Decline of These Counties

The population of these counties has been decreasing for a number of reasons, including the following:


Numerous residents have relocated from these counties to different states or regions in search of improved economic prospects, reduced living expenses, or varied lifestyles.

In the 2021-22 period, Essex, Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties experienced a net decline of over 4,900 residents each. Bergen County witnessed a significant net loss, with nearly 3,350 residents departing, surpassing the combined losses of the preceding two years threefold.

Counties in New Jersey With the Most Rapid Population Decline


Certain counties exhibit a significant concentration of elderly inhabitants, some of whom might have either deceased or relocated to retirement communities or assisted living facilities.

For instance, Cape May County boasts the state’s highest median age at 51.6 years and experienced a population decrease of 2.68% from 2010 to 2020.

Natural Disasters

Certain counties in New Jersey have experienced the impact of natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, or wildfires, resulting in the destruction of homes and businesses and the displacement or discouragement of residents.

For instance, the Jersey Shore counties of Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean faced significant challenges, particularly after the recession and the devastating Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Here, We will delve into the five New Jersey counties that witnessed the most notable population decline over the past decade and explore the potential reasons behind these changes.

Cumberland County

Situated in the southern region of the state, this county experienced a population decline of 2.28% from 2010 to 2020, with a current population of 153,327. Cumberland County boasts a significant agricultural sector; however, it grapples with issues like poverty, unemployment, and crime.

Notably, residents have been relocating to nearby counties like Gloucester and Atlantic, or opting for other states such as Pennsylvania and Delaware.

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Cape May County

Situated at the southernmost point of the state, this county recorded a population of 94,663 in 2020, marking a 2.68% decline from 2010. Cape May County is renowned for its tourism sector, with a particular emphasis on its beaches and resorts.

Nevertheless, the county contends with a significant share of elderly residents, some of whom may have relocated or passed away in the past decade. Additionally, it faces competition from other popular tourist destinations like Ocean City and Atlantic City.

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Salem County

Situated in the southwestern region of the state, this county recorded a population of 64,462 in 2020, marking a 2.45% decrease from the count in 2010. Salem County possesses a predominantly rural and agricultural ambiance, complemented by the presence of industrial and nuclear facilities.

The county has experienced a decline in population, with residents relocating to neighboring counties like Gloucester and Cumberland, or venturing to other states such as Delaware and Maryland.

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Sussex County

This northwestern state county had a population of 142,709 in 2020, experiencing a 4.39% decline from 2010. Renowned for its natural charm with lakes, forests, and mountains, Sussex County has been witnessing a population decrease as residents migrate to neighboring counties like Morris and Warren, or to states like Pennsylvania and New York.

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Warren County

Situated in the northern region of the state, this county recorded a population of 109,914 in 2020, reflecting a 1.12% increase since 2010. Warren County stands out as the sole county in this compilation that experienced positive population growth, albeit at the slowest rate among all New Jersey counties.

The county has drawn in residents from neighboring counties like Sussex and Hunterdon, while concurrently witnessing some outmigration to states such as Pennsylvania and New York.

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Final Words

These five counties illustrate the diverse trends and challenges confronting New Jersey’s population in the 21st century. While some counties are experiencing rapid growth, others grapple with retaining or attracting residents.

The drivers of these shifts are intricate and encompass various factors, including the economy, environment, culture, and lifestyle. As New Jersey undergoes ongoing evolution and diversification, it will be intriguing to observe how its counties adjust and react to the evolving needs and preferences of its residents.


With more than two years of expertise in news and analysis, Eileen Stewart is a seasoned reporter. Eileen is a respected voice in this field, well-known for her sharp reporting and insightful analysis. Her writing covers a wide range of subjects, from politics to culture and more.