Census Data! Population Growth in Multiple Counties Was Led by Orthodox Jewish-Populated Neighborhoods

New numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau from its 2020 count of the population shows that multiple counties across New York and New Jersey had robust growth the last decade largely due to Orthodox Jewish communities.

The population in Ocean County, New Jersey, rose by 60,662 people between the last two Census counts. 42,315 people, or 69.7% of Ocean’s growth, was in the Lakewood Township. The rest of Ocean’s growth was among others in Jackson and in Toms River townships who each saw strong population growth due to an influx of Orthodox Jews. Their growth however was lower than Lakewood’s own 45.5% population jump over the last ten years. What’s more, Lakewood contributed 8.5% of New Jersey’s population growth over the last decade.

In Rockland County, NY, the population rose by 26,642 people of which 83.7% was in the Town of Ramapo whose population rose by 22,214 people or a change of 17.6% from ten years earlier. Elsewhere in Rockland, the New Square population popped by 39.3 percent; Chestnut Ridge jumped by 32.7 percent; Airmont rose by 17.8% and Kaser increased by 16.2%.

Moving North, the population in Orange County, NY rose by 28,497 people of which 44.8% was in Kiryas Joel in Palm Tree whose population exploded by 63.3% or by 12,779 people from a decade ago.

The population growth trends in Orthodox Jewish-populated areas are visible in the annual Jewish school enrollment reports compiled by OJPAC from New York State Department of Education data. In the ten years ending with the September 2020 school year, enrollment in Jewish schools in Rockland was up 67% from a decade earlier and it rose by 58.5% in Orange County; due to growth in Kiryas Joel.

The overall Orthodox Jewish population growth in Kiryas Joel is more aligned with its school growth (63.3% and 58.5% respectively) than in Rockland because the growth in Kiryas Joel is in absolute terms. Meaning, the growth is mostly in new developments and into new housing units that were never occupied. In Rockland however, a large portion of the Orthodox Jewish community growth is in existing housing where - for example - a Hasidic family of 6 would move into a house that was until now occupied by a family of two. More specifically, the Village of Airmont in Ramapo had almost no added housing units the last ten years, which means that Orthodox Jewish families who moved in there did so by buying - at steep prices - existing houses from people who lived there so the net change of people is less than had those families moved into new housing units.

Census data collected by the United Jewish Organization (UJO) of Williamsburg, Brooklyn shows that the population in local Census Tracts that are almost fully populated by Hasidim had 78,980 people in the current count. This is a rise of 13,880 people or 21.3% from a decade ago when the area had 65,100 people. In the same period, Brooklyn's population rose by 9.2 percent.

The population growth of the Orthodox Jewish community will shape redistricting maps especially for state legislative and county legislature seats. For example in Rockland, splitting the 17 districts among the county’s 338,329 people, is 19,901 people per district; giving the Town of Ramapo at least 7 seats.

The population in New York State Senate districts with the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the state rose the last decade in similar numbers among each other according to the website "Restricting and You":

8.3% or 26,348 people in SD-17 in Brooklyn represented by Sen. Simcha Felder.

8.4% or 24,707 people in SD-39 in Orange County represented by Sen. James Skoufis.

9.0% or 26,820 people in SD-38 in Rockland County represented by Sen. Elijah Reichlin-Melnick.

Over in New Jersey, the State Senate District that covers Lakewood, rose by 20.6% or 46,095 people.

Looking at Assembly Districts with large Orthodox Jewish populations, the numbers rose by...

26.0% or 32,237 in AD-50 in Williamsburg represented by AM Emily Gallagher.

15.8% or 21,000 people in AD-98 in Orange and Rockland represented by AM Karl Brabacnec. 

9.5% or 11,711 people in AD-48 in Borough Park represented by AM Simcha Eichenstein.

8.6% or 11,514 people in AD-97 in Rockland represented by AM Mike Lawler.

8.1% or 10,086 people in AD-27 in Queens represented by AM Dan Rosenthal.

7.5% or 9,278 people in AD-23 in Queens represented by AM Stacey Pheffer Amato.

6.2% or 7,995 people in AD-20 on Long Island represented by AM Melissa Miller.

Below are raw population totals in key areas taken from 2020 U.S. census which was gathered mostly in the first half of 2020:

148,919 in Ramapo; up 17.6% from 126,595.

135,258 in Lakewood; up 45.5% from 92,843.

78,980 in Hasidic-populated tracts in Williamsburg; up 21.3% from 65,100.

32,954 in Kiryas Joel; Up 63.3% from 20,365.

10,505 in Village of Chestnut Ridge; up 32.7% from 7,916.

10,166 in Airmont; up 17.8% from 8,628.

9,679 in New Square; up 39.3% from 6,944.

5,491 in Kaser; up 16.2% from 4,724.

The mission of the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council (OJPAC) is to counter the defamation of the Orthodox Jewish Community, and to champion civil rights and civil liberties. Please consider supporting our efforts by following us on Twitter/Facebook (@OJPAC); by sharing our content and by donating funds via our Donate Page. Your support is appreciated!

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