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November 22, 2014

If you live in New Jersey, you already know we live in one of the most diverse states in the country. Our ancestors hail from just about every nation you can name, and first-generation immigrants continue to arrive. One in five New Jersey residents was born outside the U.S. (only California and New York have higher percentages). Nowhere is better than the Garden State to find people from many cultures living in close proximity. That means plenty of good food to flag on the EthnicNJ map. Now EthnicNJ is mapping New Jersey’s ethnic ancestry too.

EthnicNJ MapWith the support of a NJ News Commons grant, EthnicNJ has added interactive demographic maps that shed light on the ethnic roots of New Jersey’s population. Three new EthnicNJ maps display ancestry and countries of birth information for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties and for 570 individual towns.

EthnicNJ maps are a resource for anyone seeking to better understand New Jersey’s rich ethnic landscape. EthnicNJ has become an indispensable tool for hungry Jersey food fans, mapping over 980 restaurants serving some fifty different cuisines. The EthnicNJ Food Map provides a unique, real-time picture of New Jersey’s ethnic communities, viewed through the lens of ethnic restaurants.

Mapping ethnic food in New Jersey reveals our state’s many ethnic enclaves. By displaying Census demographics visually on a color-coded map, you get a much clearer picture of New Jersey communities.

Ancestry MapUse the EthnicNJ Ancestry Map to see 106 different ancestries reported by New Jerseyans, from Afghan to Yugoslavian, and where they live. The United States Census collects population data annually in its American Community Survey. Because the Census collects information about Hispanic and Asian populations separately under the category “Race and Hispanic Origin,” there is a separate EthnicNJ Hispanic and Asian Ancestry Map. “Hispanic” includes people whose ancestors hail from the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, or from Spain. Asian includes people from any of sixteen specific Asian backgrounds, from Asian Indian to Vietnamese. The EthnicNJ Place of Birth Map , which includes Asian and Latin American countries together with the rest of the world, illustrates the countries of birth of New Jersey’s substantial foreign-born population, featuring 158 different birthplaces.

Place of Birth MapIf you are even a little bit of a geography geek like me, these maps are fun to explore, and a source of endless interesting demographic facts about New Jersey. Did you know, for example, that:

  • Jersey City, Newark and Elizabeth have the largest foreign-born populations.
  • Camden County is home to the largest Vietnamese community.
  • More Costa Ricans live in Summit than any other town.
  • Palisade Park’s foreign-born community is 43% Korean.
"Ellis Island in 1905" by A. Coeffler - Library of Congress via the American Heritage website. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

“Ellis Island in 1905” by A. Coeffler – Library of Congress via the American Heritage website. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

EthnicNJ’s demographic maps can answer all kinds of questions about New Jersey’s population today. EthnicNJ is already using them to find the best food in New Jersey’s ethnic communities. I know Newark is the place to find excellent Brazilian food. I did not know Long Branch is now home to a significant Brazilian community. Sure enough, there are a couple of Brazilian steakhouses there that are now on my list of places to try.

Check out EthnicNJ to find New Jersey’s best food, and to see our ethnic origins, all on the map.

One Response to “Mapping Jersey Diversity”

  1. […] places embrace diversity like New Jersey. One in five New Jersey residents was born outside the U.S. All of our ancestors […]