Hispanic, Asian populations explode in Camden County

February 04, 2011

By Julie Shaw

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Camden County’s population rose slightly last decade but, for the county's Hispanic and Asian populations, the increase was huge, according to census 2010 data released yesterday for the state of New Jersey.

The number of Hispanics jumped 49 percent, from 49,166 in 2000 to 73,124 in 2010.

Meanwhile, the number of Asians increased 39 percent, from 18,710 in 2000 to 26,043 in 2010.

The number of African-Americans also increased, but not as much. There were 88,017 blacks in 2000, compared with 94,762 in 2010, or a 7.6 percent rise.

On the other hand, while whites still make up the majority of the county's population, the number of whites decreased 11 percent in the past decade, from 344,998 in 2000 to 309,648.

Camden County as a whole saw a 0.9 percent increase in population from 508,932 in 2000 to 513,657 in 2010 - that is, a mere 4,725 additional people.

The Census Bureau is releasing the first set of local-level data - that is, down to the block level in towns and cities for each county - on a rolling basis this month and next. Yesterday was the first day of data release for the first set of states - New Jersey, Louisiana, Mississippi and Virginia.

Local-level data for Pennsylvania has not yet been released. It's not known yet when it will be.

The 2010 counts - which attempt to tally every person in the nation - are based on figures as of April 1, 2010.

The city of Camden lost 3 percent of its population in the past 10 years, going from 79,904 people in 2000 to 77,344 in 2010. The city, however, had a 17 percent increase in the number of Hispanic people from 31,019 in 2000 to 36,379 in 2010.

Richard Harris, professor of political science and director of the Walter Rand Institute for Public Affairs at Rutgers University-Camden, said the increase in the city's Hispanic population can be seen in East Camden.

"If you go down Federal Street, it's clear there are businesses that cater to the Hispanic population," he said. Looking at the county overall, clusters of Asians have pocketed middle-to-high-income enclaves in Cherry Hill and Voorhees, he said.

Harris said the decrease in the number of whites in the county is likely due to two factors. First, the white population is generally older and tends to move out of New Jersey, whose property taxes are among the highest in the nation, to states with lower property taxes. Second, he said, the birthrate among the white population tends to be lower than that of other groups.

The black population did not increase as much as the Hispanic or Asian populations because those other groups are fueled by immigration growth, he noted.

New Jersey, as a whole, increased in population from 8.4 million in 2000 to 8.8 million in 2010. Since it did not grow as much as other states', such as in the South and West, it will be losing a congressional seat.

Bergen County, in northern New Jersey, remains the most populous county in the state. Camden County is the eighth-largest of the state's 21 counties. Burlington County, the 11th-largest county, increased in population by 6 percent from 423,394 people in 2000 to 448,734 in 2010. Gloucester County, the 14th-largest county, also rose in population by 13 percent from 254,673 in 2000 to 288,288 in 2010.

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