February 4, 2011 | International Business Times | Original Article

Hispanics now largest minority in New Jersey: Census

Reflecting a growing national trend in the U.S., Hispanics have become the largest minority in the state of New Jersey, supplanting blacks, according to Census Bureau data.

With about 1.5 million Hispanics in the state last year, their percentage of the state's population has climbed to 17.7 percent from 13.3 percent at the last census taken in 2000. The number of Latinos surged by 39 percent during that span.

New Jersey now has ten cities in which Hispanics account for 60 percent of more of the population, with Union City (84.7 percent) topping the list.

"What's happening in New Jersey is something that has occurred in several other states across the nation," said Rosalind Gold, senior director of policy research and advocacy for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

"As New Jersey's leadership looks at public policies and issues, it needs to be more accountable to the Latino population."

The number of African-Americans in the state totaled 1.2-million, slightly higher from 1.14-million ten years ago, but by percentage of the total, they account for 12.8 percent.

By proportion, the white population declined over the decade declined from 66 percent to 59.3 percent.

In addition, the state's Asian population jumped from 5 percent in 2000 to 8 percent in 2010.

"The hard work now begins to create a new legislative map that mirrors how New Jersey actually looks," said Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D., Essex).

On the whole, New Jersey, the nation's most crowded state, gained 4.5 percent in population.