Urban is a category of geographic location primarily defined by living in a city. This section focuses on the distinguishing features of New Jersey's urban areas including density, development, housing, crime and cost of living.

National Rankings provide data on how New Jersey compares to other states on measures of Urbanization.

State and Local Reports provide featured analysis of current data on New Jersey's urban areas. 


National Rankings compared to other states, New Jersey ranks...

• 2nd in Worst Friday Afternoon Commute

Many New Jersey residents participate in two of the 15 worst Friday afternoon commutes (New York and Philadelphia) according to data compiled for Governing by traffic research firm Inrix in July 2012. Inrix compiles a massive database of more than 100 million daily reports from mobile navigation applications, GPS systems in commercial and private vehicles and information recorded by road sensors to compute delay estimates.

4th Most Expensive City to Fly Out of (Newark)

April 21, 2014.  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average airplane ticket departing Newark Liberty Airport was $499 in 2013.  This placed it fourth out of 100 airports examined, behind only Huntsville, AL; Cincinnati, OH; and, Washington's Dulles airport. 

• Poorly in Best Cities for Job Growth

New Jersey has only 2 cities listed in the top 100 cities for job growth in 2012, Ocean City was ranked number 26 and Trenton was ranked number 89. Texas had the most cities with 20 according to New Geography's 2012 ranking.

• Most Densely Populated State

With 1,195.5 people per square mile in 2010, New Jersey is the most densely populated state according to the U.S. Census. The U.S. average is 87.4. From 1,001.4 per square mile in 1980 to 2010, New Jersey density's increased by almost 20 percent.

9th in Urban Overcrowding

In New Jersey 3.8 percent of occupied housing units in urban areas had more than 1 occupant per room in 2011 according to the American Community Survey. This is the 9th largest percent in the nation. California has the highest with 8.3 percent and Vermont and North Dakota have the lowest with 1.4 percent.

• Newark, NJ has the 2th Largest Police Force Per Capita

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Newark, NJ is tied with Chicago for having the 2nd largest number of local law enforcement full-time sworn personnel per 100,000 residents with 472 in 2008.

• 45th in Urban Interstate Congestion

More than 15 percent of New Jersey's urban interstate mileage is poor according to Reason Foundation’s 19th Annual Highway Report. New Jersey has ranked in last place every year from 2000 to 2008. Overall New Jersey has one of the nation's six least cost-effective and worst-performing road systems.  

1st in Percent of Population Living in Urban Areas

With 94 percent of its population living in urban areas, New Jersey is tied with California as the most urban state in 2000 (the latest statistics available from the U.S. Census.) 


State and Local Reports


Brick City Development Corporation Wins First Annual Achievement in Downtown Revitalization Award 

After a decade-long malaise, Newark, NJ is undergoing a renaissance that is transforming its downtown into a model of 21st Century urban development according to Business Facilities who awarded the Brick City Development Corporation its 2011 Downtown Revitalization Award. This effort has been spearheaded by the award winner, Brick City Development Corporation. According to the report, New Jersey’s largest city has made steady progress in attracting new businesses to the city while maintaining its traditional employment base, a growing center of leading institutions of higher education and a world-class logistics and transportation hub.

Read the full report


Additional Urban Reports

Marc Holzer, Marc Fudge, Robert Shick, Genie Stowers and Aroon Manoharan, "U.S. Municipalities E-Governance Survey, 2010-11: An Assessment and Rankings of Municipal Websites," School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers-Newark, 2012.

Newark Regional Business Partnership, Newark Data Book, 2012.

New Jersey State Police, Gangs in New Jersey: Municipal Law Enforcement Response to the 2010 NJSP Gang Survey, NJ Department of Law & Public Safety, 2010.

Clement Price, “New Jersey and the Near Collapse of Civic Culture: Reflections on the Summer of 1967,” speech delivered at the Commencement of the Rutgers Graduate School of Social Work, May 14, 2007.

Poverty Research Institute, Poverty in the City of Camden, Legal Services of New Jersey, April 2007.



Data from the NJ DataBank may be used with the following acknowledgement:

Source: NJ DataBank (http://njdatabank.newark.rutgers.edu), a project of the School of Public Affairs and Administration, Rutgers University-Campus at Newark