February 3, 2011 | New Jersey Newsroom | Original Article

Census finds Hispanics now New Jersey's largest minority

Hispanics are now the largest minority in New Jersey, making up almost 18 percent of the state's population, according to 2010 census data made public Thursday.

Figures show there were 1,555,144 million Hispanics in New Jersey last year. In 2000, Hispanics accounted for about 13 percent of the population.

Under census standards, Hispanics can be of any race.

Overall, New Jersey's population is 8,791,894, up from 8,414,347 in 2000.

The number of white New Jerseyans declined in the past decade to 6,029,248 million, or 68 percent of the population.

The number of New Jerseyans who identify themselves as African-American totaled 1,204,826 million, increased from 1,140,000 million in 2000. African-Americans now make up 13.7 percent of the population.

New Jersey's Asian population also continued to grow, rising to 8 percent from 5 percent in 2000 or a total of 725,726 people.

Another 240,000 New Jerseyans, or 2 percent, identified themselves as multiracial.

State Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) said the data will be used to reshape the state's 40 legislative districts in the coming months.

"Now that the census data is available, we must move forward with a redistricting process that is fair, open and has as much feedback from the public as possible," Sweeney said. "A completely open process is one in which all the players are known, transparency is the norm — not the exception — and which places absolute fairness above all else. The best interests of New Jersey can only be served by a map that ensures diversity and equal opportunities for all residents to serve in every district."

"The hard work now begins to create a new legislative map that mirrors how New Jersey actually looks," Oliver said. She added, "We must implement a map that allows the diversity present in our daily lives to be reflected. We must reject any strategy that limits that possibility."