Why are Ocean, Monmouth counties growing while the NJ overall population shrinks?

The COVID-19 pandemic heavily influenced New Jersey residents’ housing choices between 2020 and 2021, said James Hughes, dean emeritus of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. Fears of catching the virus in crowded apartment complex elevators and mass transit drove some people to the suburbs, but other changes were also happening independent of the pandemic, he said.

“In the year 2020, the oldest millennial was 39 years of age, had been in the early stages of raising families and having children,” Hughes said. “They were tempted to move to the suburbs. They liked living in urban areas in Brooklyn, in Hoboken, and Jersey City, but they were really space constrained. And they really wanted to have more space for their children.”

The
pandemic spurred these fence-sitting millennials to finally make the
move, leading to what Hughes called “the Great Location.”

“Working from home is a lot easier when you have a lot of space,” which was another factor that pushed people to the suburbs, Hughes said.

Asbury Park Press, June 15, 2022 (subscription may be required)