New Jersey had a population of 8,414,350 in 2000, according to the census. That was an increase of 8.9 percent over the 1990 census figure of 7,730,188. The average population density of 454 persons per sq km (1,176 per sq mi) is the highest of the 50 states. Some 94 percent of all New Jerseyites lived in urban areas in 2000, and the population distribution throughout the state is extremely uneven. The ethnic composition of the population reflects the heavy influx of immigrants from Europe, particularly in the period after the American Civil War (1861-1865). After the establishment of a Communist government in Cuba in the late 1950s many Cubans settled in New Jersey.
Whites compose the largest share of the population of New Jersey, representing 72.6 percent of the people in 2000. Some 13.6 percent were black, 5.7 percent were Asian, 0.2 percent were Native American, and those of mixed heritage or not reporting race made up 7.9 percent of the population. Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders numbered 3,329. Hispanics, who may be of any race, were 13.3 percent of the people and were primarily of Puerto Rican or Cuban origin.
New Jersey’s cities radiate out from New York City in continuous chains. Living in northern New Jersey, within a 50-km (30-mi) radius of Manhattan Island, are three-quarters of the people in the state. Another urban concentration is along the Delaware River, in the Trenton-Camden area, where 15 percent of the people live.
Communities clustered in the northern part of Bergen County provide homes for the thousands of commuters to Manhattan. Most of the larger cities in New Jersey, however, have grown as a result of their manufacturing and commercial activities. These include Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Clifton, Passaic, Hoboken, Union City, and Kearny in the north and a smaller urban complex around Camden.
Newark, with a population of 281,402 in 2006, is the largest city in the state. It is an important center for the manufacture of chemicals, food products, and pharmaceuticals. It is also an important port and an office and insurance center.
Jersey City (239,614) is the terminus of several railroads and ocean shipping lines and a manufacturing center for food, textiles, and apparel. Paterson (148,708) was founded in 1791 by the American statesman Alexander Hamilton and his Society for Establishing Useful Manufactures to encourage American economic independence. Waterpower potential from the Great Falls of the Passaic led to the growth of Paterson, as the falls were harnessed by cotton and silk textile mills. Today the leading industries are the manufacture of chemicals, machine tools, and electronic components. Other industrial cities include Elizabeth (126,179), with a fine deepwater harbor on Newark Bay, and Edison (100,499), named after the famous inventor Thomas A. Edison.
Trenton (83,923), the state capital, is a manufacturer of steel and rubber products and the former home of Lenox, one of the world’s finest dinner chinas. Atlantic City (40,368), a famous resort and convention center, is also the home of the state’s only gambling casinos. "New Jersey" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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