New Jersey's population grew by 0.3 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to new U.S. Census Bureau estimates.

Nine of the Garden State's 21 counties experienced a decrease in the number of residents, from as few as two in Hunterdon County to as many as 1,376 in Cumberland County. All nine of these counties also lost population from 2015 to 2016.

At -0.89 percent, Cumberland saw the most drastic population change from year to year. Ocean County's population jumped by 0.84 percent.

According to the estimates, Hudson County (population: 691,643) surpassed its previous population peak set 87 years ago.

NJ county population change

According to New Jersey Future, a nonprofit that promotes policies for sustainable growth and development, this year's and last year's Census data present proof of a migration back to the state's urban locales. Residents are flocking to compact, walkable spots "with existing infrastructure and vibrant downtowns."

Following Ocean County, the five fastest-growing counties can be found in the North Jersey urban core, the organization noted. Hudson, Essex, Bergen, Union and Middlesex counties outpaced the population growth of the state overall.

"This move back to walkable downtowns on the part of the Millennial generation is real," said Tim Evans, research director at New Jersey Future. "It's pretty remarkable to see, just in my tenure here, to see how things have turned around, and those counties out there on the northwestern fringe of the New York metro area are actually losing population now."

Nationally, 3 out of 7 counties lost population from 2016 to 2017. So the state's numbers mirror the country's.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The graphic for this story was updated to show Somerset County in green.

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