The fastest growing small city in New Jersey may also be one of the most livable. The decades-old cooperation of government, academia, and the private sector have made New Brunswick a cultural, industrial, and educational hub for New Jersey.
According to Glenn Patterson, director of planning, community and economic development for New Brunswick, the city's population is now as large as it's ever been. He adds that growth in last decade has averaged 17 percent—making the metropolis the fastest-growing city in the state.
And, Patterson adds, the city is building new housing, has a number of aggressive revitalization programs, and for the last 20-plus years, supported a tremendous amount of new development. "We've got about six cranes sticking up in the air at various different projects right now. For a small city of 50,000 people, there's a lot of stuff going on here".
New Brunswick is not only growing—it may also be the most diverse in the state. Residents of this 5.2 square-mile city trace their ancestries to all parts of Europe, South and Central America, Asia, and Africa. During the last census, residents claimed over 75 distinct ancestries.
One Town, Many Names
Long before New Brunswick was the growing city it is today, it was home to Lenni-Lenape Native Americans, Dutch settlers, English proprietors, and an influx of pre-revolutionary European immigrants. Located on the Raritan River, it has had many names; the first was Hollander Dorp in the 1626 when it was settled by 31 Dutch settlers intent on trading with the Lenni-Lenapes. The English became the majority during the 1670's when the 180 residents called Prigmore's Swamp home.