Under the terms of an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 17, 1889, a portion of the old Union Township was incorporated under the name of Boiling Springs Township. The new township took its name from a spring in the community. On March 28, 1894, the Borough of East Rutherford was created, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day, and Boiling Springs Township was dissolved. While there was no change in its borders, the name and form of government were changed. The borough was the second formed during the "Boroughitis" phenomenon then sweeping through Bergen County, in which 26 boroughs were formed in the county in 1894 alone.
The borough is also the site of American Dream, a large shopping center and entertainment complex that was originally named "Xanadu" which opened on October 25, 2019.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 4.04 square miles (10.47 km2), including 3.71 square miles (9.61 km2) of land and 0.33 square miles (0.85 km2) of water (8.14%).
Of the 3,792 households, 24.2% had children under the age of 18; 42.9% were married couples living together; 11.6% had a female householder with no husband present and 41.3% were non-families. Of all households, 33.5% were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.06.
18.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 33.2% from 25 to 44, 26.6% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.8 years. For every 100 females, the population had 93.0 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 92.5 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $62,471 (with a margin of error of +/- $8,225) and the median family income was $71,357 (+/- $10,225). Males had a median income of $57,511 (+/- $8,669) versus $48,502 (+/- $2,269) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $32,467 (+/- $2,752). About 5.9% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.2% of those under age 18 and 13.4% of those age 65 or over.
There were 3,644 households, out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the borough, the age distribution of the population shows 19.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 36.5% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $50,163, and the median income for a family was $59,583. Males had a median income of $40,798 versus $36,047 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,072. About 7.4% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.
East Rutherford is home to the Hudson Group, a retailer which operates a chain of newsstands, bookstores, fast food restaurants, and other retail stores chiefly at airports and train stations.
The Dawn Bible Students Association moved to East Rutherford in 1944. The organization has a worldwide outreach and publishes many Bible-based books as well as The Dawn magazine.
East Rutherford is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government, which is used in 218 municipalities (of the 565) statewide, making it the most common form of government in New Jersey. The governing body is comprised of a Mayor and a Borough Council, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council is comprised of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by East Rutherford is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2020[update], East Rutherford's Mayor is Democrat Jeffrey Lahullier, whose term of office ends December 31, 2023. The borough council members are Council President Edward C. Ravettine (D, 2020), Daniel Alvarez (D, 2021), Nancy Banca (R, 2022), George W. Cronk (D, 2022), Michael Lorusso (D, 2021), Philip J. Sorbera II (D, 2019) and Saverio "Sam" Stallone (D, 2020).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,484 registered voters in East Rutherford, of which 1,233 (27.5% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 1,190 (26.5% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 2,058 (45.9% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 3 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 50.3% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 61.5% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2016 presidential election, Democrat Hillary Clinton received 1,918 votes (50.1% vs. 54.2% countywide), ahead of Republican Donald Trump with 1,740 votes (45.5% vs. 41.1% countywide) and other candidates with 169 votes (4.4% vs. 4.6% countywide), among the 3,871 ballots cast by the borough's 5,380 registered voters for a turnout of 71.9% (vs. 72.5% in Bergen County). In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,859 votes (59.7% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 1,340 votes (43.0% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 48 votes (1.5% vs. 0.9%), among the 3,115 ballots cast by the borough's 4,845 registered voters, for a turnout of 64.3% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 1,888 votes (51.8% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 1,660 votes (45.5% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 54 votes (1.5% vs. 0.8%), among the 3,647 ballots cast by the borough's 4,911 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.3% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 1,641 votes (49.6% vs. 51.7% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 1,613 votes (48.7% vs. 47.2%) and other candidates with 30 votes (0.9% vs. 0.7%), among the 3,309 ballots cast by the borough's 4,634 registered voters, for a turnout of 71.4% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 59.4% of the vote (1,205 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 38.7% (785 votes), and other candidates with 1.8% (37 votes), among the 2,111 ballots cast by the borough's 4,596 registered voters (84 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 45.9%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 1,004 votes (48.2% vs. 45.8% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 919 votes (44.1% vs. 48.0%), Independent Chris Daggett with 112 votes (5.4% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 17 votes (0.8% vs. 0.5%), among the 2,082 ballots cast by the borough's 4,709 registered voters, yielding a 44.2% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
^Harvey, Cornelius Burnham. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, p. 11, New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900. Accessed September 1, 2013. "For a period of sixteen years following the passage of this act few boroughs were organized in the State, only three of them being in Bergen County.... As it was twenty-six boroughs were created in the county from January 23, 1894, to December 18, of the same year." Note that the source incorrectly lists June 23, 1894, as the borough's formation date, even though the borough is listed correctly in chronological order.
^Anzidei, Melanie. "It's finally happening: American Dream mall will open Oct. 25", The Record, July 3, 2019. Accessed September 18, 2019. "American Dream, the mega retail and entertainment center that has been sitting in the Meadowlands for over a decade, will open Oct. 25, officials said Wednesday. The 3 million-square-foot center was previously set to open this past spring, then late summer. Officials in May announced a fall opening, and this is the first time a specific date for that opening has been announced."
^The Dawn, Its Ministry, Dawn Bible Students Association. Accessed April 19, 2016. "An old bank building was purchased in East Rutherford, NJ in early 1944. The equipment had to be moved to the new location: 'On the Triangle.' More than fifty years later we are still at this location, and still sending out the message of the kingdom."
^Biography, Congressman Bill Pascrell. Accessed January 3, 2019."A native son of Paterson, N.J., Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. has built a life of public service upon the principles he learned while growing up on the south side of the Silk City."
^Biography of Bob Menendez, United States Senate, January 26, 2015. "Menendez, who started his political career in Union City, moved in September from Paramus to one of Harrison's new apartment buildings near the town's PATH station.."
^East Rutherford Board of Education District Policy 0110 - Identification, East Rutherford School District. Accessed February 11, 2020. "Purpose: The Board of Education exists for the purpose of providing a thorough and efficient system of free public education in grades PreK through 8 in the East Rutherford School District.... Composition: The East Rutherford School District is comprised of all the area within the municipal boundaries of the Borough of East Rutherford."
^Board of Education, Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional School District. Accessed August 13, 2020. "The Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional Board of Education is a nine-member board with four members elected from Carlstadt, and five members elected from East Rutherford. Each member is elected for 3-year terms."
^Stoltz, Marsha A. "Here's why Maywood will send its students to Becton instead of Hackensack High School", The Record, March 9, 2020. Accessed April 6, 2020. "Maywood high school students will have four years to phase out of Hackensack High School and into Henry P. Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford. The process will begin in September, when current Maywood eighth-graders will be the first to attend Becton as freshmen, according to a March 7 joint announcement by the superintendents of the two districts."
^Weinraub, Bernard. "Jersey Girl Makes It Big, at Least on TV", The New York Times, June 20, 2000. Accessed November 25, 2012. "After years of struggling as a writer and working as a waitress and bartender in and around the working- and middle-class North Jersey towns North Arlington and East Rutherford, Ms. Ruggiero (ROUGE-ear-oh) has been plucked from obscurity to write and help produce a new autobiographical television comedy series, That's Life, on CBS."
^Dick Vitale bio, ESPN.com, dated November 2004. Accessed September 13, 2017. "Born June 9, 1939, in East Rutherford, N.J., Vitale and his wife, Lorraine, have two daughters, Terri and Sherri, who both attended Notre Dame on tennis scholarships and who both graduated with MBAs."
Municipal Incorporations of the State of New Jersey (according to Counties) prepared by the Division of Local Government, Department of the Treasury (New Jersey); December 1, 1958