Much has been written in jest about the major generations of people in the U.S.
The baby boomers are too set in their ways. Generation X are the rebel slackers who found their footing. The milliennials are ruining everything.
But the ebbs and flows of different age groups across the Garden State can reveal hints about the future and what communities can expect as the needs of their population change.
Below are four interactive maps showing the concentration of major generations in the state today and what it may mean for New Jersey.
Click or tap on any of the maps below for more information on a specific town. Pinch or use the +/- controls to zoom.
The Baby Boomers, who are in their mid-50s to early 70s, have started to concentrate on the outskirts of New Jersey as many reach retirement age. Census data shows the outer ring suburbs in Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties have among the highest percentage of Baby Boomers in the state.
As time moves on and more of them retire, this could present new challenges for these communities should these trends continue. Municipalities with an older population will have fewer children in their school systems, which could lead to calls for further regionalization.
Additionally, experts say an aging population will also have more robust healthcare needs, which, if unsupported, could lead to the continuation of population flight that would erode the tax base further.
Generation X, sometimes referred to as the Baby Busters because it is so much smaller than the generations that preceded and followed it, are more scattered but generally follow some of the trends of Millienials.
Most Gen Xers, who are in their late 30s to early 50s, are at or near the top of their earning potential. So while they’re most highly concentrated in metropolitan adjacent suburbs, they can afford communities with higher costs of living (see also: property taxes) like Summit, Millburn and many communities in Bergen County.
These communities are some of the hottest real estate markets in the state, but may be out of the price-range of first-time homebuyers, which today are largely comprised of Millennials. Enter Generation X.
New Census data shows that since the Great Recession and the housing crisis of the late 2000s, Millienials have gravitated towards cities and urbanized suburbs with access to mass transit, bucking the trends of their predecessors who were the champions of suburban sprawl.
The renewed interest in these areas has driven up real estate prices, so it remains to be seen how long this will continue and what will happen if Milliennials, many of whom are only just exploring buying their first home, are priced out of these areas.
While they could slowly push back out to the outer ring suburbs so popular with their parents, they could also leave the state entirely in search of lower housing and living costs.
The oldest members of Generation Z are in their…