New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau point to an undeniable population shift in the Garden State.

Hoboken NJ
The live-work-play environment in cities like Hoboken is attracting more residents today than in the past. (Michael Bocchieri, Getty Images)

Year after year, the same New Jersey counties are gaining residents by the thousands, while others see their residents ship out.

Between July 2014 and July 2015, Hudson County's population jumped by 0.8 percent — the highest percentage in the state, followed by Bergen County at 0.6 percent, Census data show.

Combined, the two counties have seen an increase of more than 64,000 people since the summer of 2010.

According to James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, New Jersey has seen a "new demographic normal" since 2010 as people step away from the suburbs they once clamored for, and instead move into the cities.

"Places such as Hudson County, Union County and Bergen County are now the growth leaders in New Jersey," Hughes said. "Urban areas are favored over suburban and rural areas."

Passaic County has experienced year-over-year increases since 2010 as well.

In turn, the counties on the outskirts of the broader New York region have seen steady population decreases over the past few years, the statistics show. The numbers have dropped every year since 2010, for example, in Hunterdon and Sussex counties.

"Millennials — those people in their 20s and early 30s — prefer live-work-play environments, and these are located along the waterfront in Jersey City and Hoboken and the like," Hughes explained. "They're probably suffering from suburban fatigue."

Immigration from abroad is another strong contributor to the population trend, Hughes said, as well as the job opportunities available in nearby New York City.

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