It’s a huge number.

About 1.9 million immigrants from more than 75 nations around the world are now living in the Garden State.

For many of them, the benefits outweigh the negatives.

Monica, who came from Honduras many years ago, works long hours in Hudson County to support her kids. She’s still learning English, but feels accepted by her Jersey neighbors.

“The people are friendly. Whatever the country it is (someone's from) or the color, it’s nice. A lot of people (are) nice," she said. "You know, you can’t generalize everybody you know.”

Raju Patel, the president of the Jersey City Asian Merchants Association, said when he first came to Jersey more than 35 years ago, he occasionally encountered people who were unfriendly and even hostile. But he said that's largely changed, and overall, living in the Garden state has been wonderful.

“It’s a great state. Let me put it this way: Because people are nice, receptive, because of the immigrant population they are not that suspicious of immigrants,” he said.

Johanna Calle, who is the program coordinator for the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, said people from around the world come to New Jersey for better economic opportunities — but also for many other reasons.

“You want your kids to potentially go to better schools. You probably have or want to have some sort of freedom. Some folks are refugees,” she said.

“New Jersey is definitely a melting pot state.”

Julian from Togo, Africa won a visa lottery to come to the Garden State almost 16 years ago. He now lives in Newark with his family, and feels accepted and happy in his new country.

“New Jersey is nice, beautiful. I like to ... live in New Jersey,” he said.

Kamal Khanna came to the United States from India in 1965. He now owns a clothing company in New York, but prefers to live in the Garden State. He's got deep roots in his community — he's a former West Windsor councilman and is running for mayor this year.

“You have everything available to you," he said. "The quality of life is there, whatever you want raise your family, educate your children, just have a comfortable family life, you have it here."

Khanna described New Jersey is a progressive state, with lots going on.

"And I think it kind of goes with my personality to keep moving all the time,” he said.

Khanna said immigrants are “absolutely” given a chance to succeed and be happy in New Jersey.

“Your opportunity to immediately get the support system, what you can get in New Jersey you can’t get anywhere else,” he said.

“My wife and I have always felt accepted. We both have never felt any kind of discrimination. I’m sure there is in a subtle way with some people being misinformed, but otherwise I would not have been able to develop my own business," he said.

Khanna also pointed out he was the second Indo-American to win elected office in New Jersey.

Mapping where NJ immigrants live

Zoom in and click on a town to see how many immigrants make up the population. The brighter the red, the greater the percentage of foreign-born residents. Map is best viewed on a desktop computer or on our app. The map is based on Census population estimates, so numbers may not be exact.

Source: U.S. Census 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates

With reporting by Sergio Bichao

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

This is part of an ongoing series. Tomorrow: A look at what immigrants struggle with, the challenges of living in the Garden State.

You can contact reporter David Matthau at