By Maria Nieves, President & CEO
This year the Chamber celebrates an important milestone in its history—125 years of serving the business community in Hudson County. When the Chamber was established in 1888, the County was in the midst of an immigration boom that would have an impact for decades. Construction, first of ports, and later railroad terminals, would fuel a corresponding real estate boom.
125 years later, Hudson County continues to be a highly dynamic region. The area’s diversity, infrastructure, and the re-development of the last 20 years have given rise to Wall Street West and the Gold Coast. The County continues to live up to its other nickname, “The Gateway to America”.
Hudson County is well positioned for continued growth. Dr. Jim Hughes, Dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, has noted that three trends will drive urban development:
- the aging baby boomers—the largest generation in U.S. history—will seek out urban areas for their golden years;
- continued immigration—the foreign born have historically settled first in urban areas;
- the “baby bust”—as younger generations have smaller families they will tend towards urban areas.
While these trends may not bode well for our nation’s suburban legacy, they do point to our continued urban growth. In fact, Hudson County’s population, after many decades of decline, is on an upswing. Between 1940 and 1990, the population declined by almost 100,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Since 1990, the population has grown by 15% to more than 640,000.
Hudson can lay claim to being New Jersey’s most urban, most diverse, and most densely populated county. Consider this: New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country with 1189 residents per square mile! And Hudson, with the smallest land area of any county in NJ, has 13,879 residents per square mile.
Why should these trends be important to our members? Because it means we’re sitting in the midst of one of the most potent consumer markets in the country. New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states. Opportunity abounds for those who learn how to penetrate the local market. It also means we’re experiencing significant demographic shifts that will impact our businesses for decades to come!
Our mission at the Chamber is to provide our members with resources that enhance their position in the marketplace. If you’re looking for ways to tap into the local market, the Chamber can be a resource to you. I hear often from Chamber Members that their engagement has helped them to connect with decision makers, land a new client, and raise their visibility locally. In fact, I’ve seen new business relationships form between Members. I’m proud to say the Chamber played a role in that.
The key is becoming engaged—attend events, sponsor and advertise with us. If you’re already a member, I encourage you to become even more engaged. If you’re not yet a member, I invite you to join us and become a part of our 125-year tradition. Now is the time to join the most dynamic and energetic business community in New Jersey!