Thinking about visiting North Jersey or making it your home? If you want to stay close to New York but enjoy a more suburban atmosphere and beautiful outdoors, you’ll want to explore Bergen County cities and towns.
Bergen County, along with neighboring Hudson County, is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan, offering NYC skyline views and pockets of bustling cosmopolitan districts amid nature preserves, forests, and scenic waterfront towns. It’s home to some of the best towns for commuting to Manhattan, offering a suburban lifestyle with affordability and space yet a relatively short, easy commute to the city.
There are 70 towns and cities of Bergen County NJ to visit. Here’s an overview of the largest Bergen County towns, boroughs, and cities and what makes each a fantastic choice for visiting or calling home.
Bergen County is part of North Jersey, a region of New Jersey known for its scenic coasts, the Statue of Liberty, and its affluence. The Bergen County area is part of New Jersey’s Gateway Region, the state’s most densely populated urban area and the gateway to New York City. Bergen County is often described as New York City’s “sixth borough” and feels like a suburban Manhattan.
The Bergen County NJ area is one of the country’s largest commercial hubs and one of the richest counties. The county’s median household income is 37% higher than the U.S. median ($69,021) and 18% higher than the New Jersey median ($89,703).
The region isn’t just affluent; it’s incredibly diverse. Close to one-third of residents were born outside the country. South Korea, India, and Poland are the most common countries of origin. All of the top 10 municipalities in the country with the largest share of Korean residents are in Bergen County. In Palisades Park, 51% of residents are Korean American followed by Leonia (26.5%), Ridgefield (25.7%), and Fort Lee (23.5%).
There’s a large Italian American community with 18.5% of Bergen County residents identifying Italian as their first ancestry. This share rises to 28% to 36% in Meadowlands communities like South Hackensack, Lyndhurst, and Saddle Brook.
There is a growing Hispanic population in Bergen County, especially in communities like Lodi (18%), Englewood (21.8%), Hackensack (25.9%), and Fairview (37.1%). German and Irish Americans are the third and fourth largest ancestry groups at 8.8% and 12.7% of the county population respectively.
Bergen County is also home to New Jersey’s largest Jewish population. There’s a growing Orthodox Jewish population in the area. The municipalities with the largest communities of Israeli Americans are Fair Lawn (2.5%), Closter (1.4%), and Tenafly (1.3%).
There are a total of 70 municipalities in Bergen County, New Jersey including 56 boroughs, 9 townships, 3 cities, and two villages. New Jersey is unique in that all these municipalities essentially have the same status, just different forms of municipal government. While a township has a voter-elected committee of 3-5 members which elects a mayor, for example, a borough has a voter-elected mayor and 6 council members. It’s not uncommon to see boroughs, townships, and villages colloquially referred to as towns or cities, depending on their size.
Here are the 10 largest Bergen County New Jersey cities by population.
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Crime: 39% lower than the national average (71% less violent crime)
Hackensack is the largest Bergen town or city and known for its NYC skyline views, rich history, and easy access to New York. The city’s Hackensack University Medical Center is a major employer for the region and the 4th largest teaching hospital in the country. Hackensack neighborhoods run the gamut with everything from single-family homes and duplexes to garden apartments and urban high-rises.
Hackensack is popular with families thanks to its great schools, safe and family-friendly neighborhoods, and parks. Millennials appreciate Hackensack’s proximity to New York and hip, walkable neighborhoods and fun downtown area.
Find out more about what living in Hackensack is really like!
Teaneck is the second largest of Bergen County cities and towns and an amazingly diverse community. It’s home to large African American and Black, Jewish, Hispanic, and Asian communities with the county’s second-largest share of Black or African American residents and the center of the growing Orthodox Jewish community of Northern New Jersey.
Teaneck is known for its beauty with great outdoor recreation and open space yet close to the city. The commute to Upper Manhattan or Midtown is just 30 minutes from Teaneck which makes it one of the best NJ commuter towns. You’ll also enjoy four main commercial centers for shopping and dining plus the Fairleigh Dickinson University Metropolitan Campus for educational opportunities.
The borough of Fort Lee sits on the Hudson River on the Palisades, the iconic steep cliffs along the lower Hudson. Home to one of the country’s largest Korean communities and large Jewish and Japanese-American communities, Fort Lee is a wonderfully diverse Bergen town where it feels like being in the city without the drawbacks. You’ll find a great selection of condos and co-ops in the borough plus easy access to Manhattan via the George Washington Bridge (except during rush hour, of course).
Located on the Saddle and Passaic rivers in western Bergen County, Garfield is adjacent to the Passaic County and several municipalities including Lodi, South Hackensack, Saddle Brook, and Wallington.
The Bergen County city is home to a large Polish American community representing 23% of the population and a growing population of Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, and Georgian Americans. There’s also a large community from Balkan nations like Greece, Macedonia, and Albania.
Unlike many of the sleepy towns in Bergen County, Fair Lawn is a bustling community where there’s always something happening. The small borough is wedged between Paterson and Paramus, each with large shopping centers, and bisected by Route 208 and Route 4. There are three commercial districts in the borough for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Fair Lawn is popular with families thanks to its many parks, highly rated schools, and diverse selection of homes including modest starter homes, new luxury townhomes and condos, and large historic homes.
A popular commuter town, Englewood is also one of the fastest growing Bergen County cities with 8% population growth between 2010 and 2020. It’s home to the Flat Rock Brook Nature Center, a sprawling 150-acre preserve with a butterfly garden only two miles from the George Washington Bridge, and the Bergen Performing Arts Center in downtown Englewood which hosts about 200 shows every year.
Bergenfield consistently ranks as one of the safest towns in North Jersey and the entire country. It’s also been named one of the best places to live in New Jersey. Residents love Bergenfield’s suburban charm with regular family-friendly events, an excellent school system, and diverse housing market – all just 7 miles from the George Washington Bridge.
Bergenfield is sometimes known as Bergen County’s Little Manila thanks to its large Filipino population which is 17% of the total population. The borough’s main shopping district along Washington Avenue boasts more than 50 international food stores and restaurants within one mile!
Many towns near Paramus NJ offer upscale shopping destinations, but Paramus is THE shopping destination in North Jersey. The borough’s Garden State Plaza is with 300 stores and 2.12 million square feet of lease space is considered a “super-regional” mall and one of the country’s most profitable – despite the borough’s strict blue laws that prohibit retail stores from opening on Sundays.
Paramus is also a major job center in Bergen County. There are five major indoor malls, including the Garden State Plaza, with several company headquarters in the borough.
Named for Lodi, Lombardy, Italy, is the Bergen County borough of Lodi. Unlike its affluent neighbors, Lodi is a more working-class community and one of the most affordable places to live near New York City. The median home price in Lodi is just $450,000 – a steal compared to the $695,000 median in Bergen County.
Lodi is an incredibly diverse town with strong Irish roots, as its name implies. About 29% of the population is of Italian descent while 18% of people living in Lodi are Hispanic or Latino. The borough also has one of the largest communities of Indian Americans in Bergen County.
For families, it doesn’t get much better than Ridgewood. One of the safest and most affluent Bergen County towns, Ridgewood also has one of the best school districts in the NYC metro – and that’s saying something. Ridgewood High School is ranked #35 among New Jersey’s 399+ high schools with test scores consistently 25% or more above the state average.
Homes in the village come at a premium, though, and it’s not an ideal Bergen County town if you’re planning a NYC commute. At 19 miles from Manhattan, the average commute takes more than 80 minutes. On the plus side, Ridgewood’s NJ Transit station is a major regional transfer station served by the Bergen County Line and the Main Line. Commuting to Hoboken and nearby North Jersey communities is a breeze!
Learn more about living in Ridgewood to find out if it’s right for you.
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Bergen County is largely made up of many smaller towns or communities – even the largest city has less than 50,000 people! Here are 29 other Bergen County NJ towns with a population of at least 10,000.
|Smaller Bergen County Cities & Towns
Does living in one of these beautiful Bergen County towns sound perfect to you? The North Jersey movers at Catlow Movers are here to help with an easy, seamless relocation. Give us a call today for a free moving estimate from one of Hudson County’s oldest moving companies.
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