For the first time, more New Jersey households consist of one person living alone than of a nuclear family with a husband, wife and children under 18, according to census data released Thursday.
One in every four households contains someone living alone. That's slightly but noticeably higher than the number of homes with a mom, dad and kids.
The change shows that New Jersey is slightly less of a bedroom state than it used to be. It still has a higher proportion of nuclear families and a lower percentage of people living alone than the nation as a whole.
The latest findings are the most detailed yet for the state from the home-by-home survey gathered last year.
James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, says it doesn't contain many major surprises. That's partly because the U.S. Census Bureau has been releasing annual reports based on less extensive surveys that have shown many of the same trends.
But the new numbers do offer a more detailed look at changes in the state's nearly 8.8 million people — and how the population lives.
A decade ago, there were about the same number of blacks and Latinos in the state — about 1.1 million each.
Since then, the number of blacks rose by less than 100,000 while the number of Hispanics jumped by 400,000.
The new data show that people with Mexican roots partly fueled the increase of Hispanics. The number of people of Mexican ancestry more than doubled to 217,000. That's a significant change in a state where Puerto Ricans make up the single largest Hispanic group.
There's also been growth in the number of people who claim Asian heritage — from 480,000 to 726,000.
The biggest Asian group — Indians — showed the most growth.