NJ has the most Italian town in the U.S. and it’s not what you think
One of the longest-running controversies in New Jersey is which town is the “Italian-est.”
The richness of Italian-American culture is a beautiful thing to celebrate, and just like other groups, when Italians first arrived in this country, they clustered together. And many who arrived in NY or Philadelphia stayed right here in NJ. So many towns claim to have the biggest Italian-American population, but let’s break it down to get to the bottom of it.
Toms River is home to the largest Italian-American population in New Jersey, 29,062 to be specific. Strictly by population, it’s the most Italian city. About 29,000 people out of the total population of 91,000 in Toms River! That’s almost 30%. Pretty impressive! But not a winner.
Not even enough to make it to a list of the top 20 most Italian towns in the country. By population alone, meaning the number of people who say they’re Italian-American, Brick Township is ranked number 2 on the list, followed by Middletown in Monmouth County.
But the percentage of the population is a different story. You’ve got a higher chance of meeting an Italian-American in Hammonton, a town in Atlantic County.
In fact, a 2012 NJ Monthly article called the “most Italian town” Hammonton, because according to the 2010 census and the American Community Survey figures, 44.6% of Hammonton’s 14,791 residents are of Italian ancestry. That’s a huge percentage.
But according to Italianamericanstudies.net, one town is not only the most Italian in NJ, but also in the whole country.
On a list of the top 20 most Italian cities in the United States, a whopping seven of them are in NJ. And number one is Fairfield, in Essex County. That’s followed by Hammonton, Ocean Gate, East Hanover, Cedar Grove, Wood-Ridge, and Newfield, at numbers 5,6,7,9,10 & 13, respectively.
In Fairfield, Italian Americans make up just over half of the total population. 50.3% to be exact. It’s safe to say that this is the most Italian town in NJ, and according to this list, in the entire country!
- Fairfield, N.J., 50.3%
- Johnston, R.I., 49.5%
- North Branford , Conn., 43.9%
- East Haven, Conn., 43.6%
- Hammonton, N.J., 43.2%
- Ocean Gate, N.J., 42.6%
- East Hanover, N.J., 41.3%
- North Haven, Conn., 41.2%
- Cedar Grove, N.J., 40.8%
- Wood-Ridge, N.J., 40.6%
- North Providence, R.I., 38.9%
- Dunmore, Pa., 38.9%
- Newfield, N.J., 38.8%
- Saugus, Mass., 38.5%
- Jenkins, Pa., 38.4%
- West Pittston, Pa., 37.9%
- Old Forge, Pa., 37.8%
- Lowellville, Ohio, 37.5%
- Hughestown, Pa., 37.5%
- Prospect, Conn., 37.5%
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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