NJ cities being revitalized by population shift
As millennials continue to flock to urban areas to work and live, some New Jersey suburbs are shrinking.
In fact, Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties have all seen population decreases since the Great Recession, according to James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Policy at Rutgers University.
Hughes said the the trend of more millennials moving away from the suburbs and into the cities could help revitalize many Garden State cities.
"Urban areas will benefit, particularly those that have a job base such as Jersey City or Hoboken, or have easy access to New York City. The suburban counties that are still growing are the ones closest to New York City in the regional core," Hughes said.
So why are cities so attractive to younger people?
"Millennials in Jersey continue to move into urban areas that are relatively safe, close to public transportation and they want walking environments," Hughes said.
Some of the cities experiencing a revitalization include Morristown, Asbury Park and Rahway.
"Morristown has been labeled Hoboken west," Hughes said.
Newark and Paterson are also seeing growth, but Newark's job base remains a significant issue.
With this movement cities, what's going to happen to the suburbs?
"Suburbs are not about to go out of business, but they're simply not the hot commodity that they were," Hughes said.
He also stressed when millennials begin to settle down and start families, they may head back to more suburban settings. However, even then they might want to look to live in towns close to train stations that have a downtown walking environment, shops and restaurants.
"Some suburbs will do better than others. The older, faceless suburbs with no downtown areas will struggle to attract younger residents," Hughes said.