2020 Census: Counting Kids in the Garden State

Last week, the U.S. Census Bureau released the first of the data from the 2020 Decennial Census. These data will allow states to begin the redrawing of voting districts across the country - a reminder of the power of accurate Census data. The August 12th release included data for the total population and the population of adults ages 18 and over. Though the count of children may not be a part of redistricting, child population counts are included in the numbers used to determine funding for important programs like SNAP, NJ FamilyCare, Special Education Grants, school meal programs and more.

Thanks to an interactive dashboard produced by the Census Bureau, we are able to hone in on the child population for all 50 states, and their respective counties. New Jersey saw a decline in its total child population, dropping three percent, from 2,065,214 in 2010 to 2,007,684 in 2020. Though the state saw its overall child population decrease, Ocean, Essex, Hudson and Union counties saw an increase. The remaining counties all saw their child populations decline, with Sussex, Hunterdon, Warren and Monmouth seeing the largest percentage decrease over the past ten years.

New Jersey Child Population Under Age 18, 2010 vs. 2020
County 2010 Child Population 2020 Child Population % Change # Change
Atlantic 63,888 56,541 -11.5% -7,347
Bergen 204,405 200,498 -1.9% -3,907
Burlington 104,243 96,455 -7.5% -7,788
Camden 125,117 116,981 -6.5% -8,136
Cape May 18,349 16,292 -11.2% -2,057
Cumberland 37,705 35,731 -5.2% -1,974
Essex 194,918 202,220 3.7% 7,302
Gloucester 70,261 65,013 -7.5% -5,248
Hudson 131,162 142,103 8.3% 10,941
Hunterdon 30,217 24,927 -17.5% -5,290
Mercer 82,982 82,668 -0.4% -314
Middlesex 185,457 183,153 -1.2% -2,304
Monmouth 150,299 131,945 -12.2% -18,354
Morris 117,695 105,692 -10.2% -12,003
Ocean 134,919 154,629 14.6% 19,710
Passaic 124,613 120,302 -3.5% -4,311
Salem 15,510 14,299 -7.8% -1,211
Somerset 80,835 74,157 -8.3% -6,678
Sussex 35,773 27,776 -22.4% -7,997
Union 131,258 134,489 2.5% 3,231
Warren 25,608 21,813 -14.8% -3,795
New Jersey 2,065,214 2,007,684 -2.8% -57,530

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 and 2020 Redistricting Data Summary files, retrieved from https://www.census.gov/library/visualizations/interactive/adult-and-under-the-age-of-18-populations-2020-census.html

It is important to remember that this initial data release does not provide information regarding population counts for specific age groups of kids. In the lead-up to the 2020 Decennial Census, ACNJ worked alongside groups across New Jersey to ensure that young children under age five, in particular, were accurately counted. Young children under age five are the most undercounted age group for a variety of different reasons, but most frequently because households do not include their young children as part of their Census responses. We will have to wait for more detailed data and further analysis on other age groups to be released in 2022. Stay tuned as more Census data are released!