|Founded||February 7, 1837|
|Named for||"Pasaeck", a Lenape word meaning "valley"|
|Largest city||Paterson (population)|
West Milford (area)
|• Director of the Board of County Commissioners||Bruce James (D, term ends December 31, 2022)|
|• Total||197.10 sq mi (510.5 km2)|
|• Land||186 sq mi (480 km2)|
|• Water||12.51 sq mi (32.4 km2) 6.35%|
|• Density||2,839.4/sq mi (1,096.3/km2)|
|Congressional districts||5th, 9th, 11th|
Passaic County (// pə-SAY-ik) is a county in the U.S. state of New Jersey that is part of the New York metropolitan area. As of the 2020 United States census, the population of Passaic County was enumerated at 524,118, an increase of 22,892 (4.6%) from the 501,226 counted at the 2010 U.S. census, in turn an increase of 12,177 (+2.5%) from the 489,049 counted in the 2000 census. The most populous place in Passaic County is Paterson, with 159,732 residents at the 2020 Census, more than 29% of the county's population, while West Milford covered 80.32 square miles (208.0 km2), the largest total area of any municipality and more than 40% of the county's area.
Passaic County was created on February 7, 1837, from portions of Bergen and Essex counties. The county derives its name from "Pasaeck", which is a native Lenape word meaning "valley." The county is part of the North Jersey region.
In recent years, average temperatures in the county seat of Paterson have ranged from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in January to a high of 86 °F (30 °C) in July, although a record low of −11 °F (−24 °C) was recorded in January 1961 and a record high of 105 °F (41 °C) was recorded in September 1953. Average monthly precipitation ranged from 2.86 inches (73 mm) in February to 4.78 inches (121 mm) in September. The county has a humid continental climate which is hot-summer (Dfa) except in higher areas to the north where it is warm-summer (Dfb).
The landscape of Passaic County, near the north edge of New Jersey, spans some hilly areas and has dozens of lakes. The county covers a region about 30 × 20 miles wide (48 × 32 km). The region is split by major roads, including portions of Interstate 287 and Interstate 80, near Paterson. The Garden State Parkway cuts across the southern end, near Clifton. The Passaic River winds northeast past Totowa into Paterson, where the river then turns south to Passaic, on the way to Newark, further south.
The highest point is any one of six areas on Bearfort Ridge in West Milford at approximately 1,480 feet (450 m) above sea level. The lowest elevation is approximately 20 feet (6.1 m) along the Passaic River in Clifton. The southeastern, more populous half of the county is either flat near the river or mildly hilly. The northwestern section is rugged and mountainous.
According to the 2010 Census, the county had a total area of 197.10 square miles (510.5 km2), including 184.59 square miles (478.1 km2) of land (93.7%) and 12.51 square miles (32.4 km2) of water (6.35%).
|Paterson, New Jersey|
|Climate chart (explanation)|
|Historical sources: 1790-1990|
1970-2010 2000 2010 2000-2010
As of the Census of 2020, the county's had 524,118 people, 168,059 households, and 120,593 families. The population density was 2,817.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,088.0/km2). There were 185,367 housing units at an average density of 996.59 per square mile (384.8/km2). The county's racial makeup was 38.8% White, 9.9% African American, 0.13% Native American, 5.76% Asian, and 1.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 42.74% of the population.
Of the 168,059 households, of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 30.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 15.2% had a male householder with no wife present and 28.2% were non-families. 47.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.93 and the average family size was 3.49.
About 23.7% of the county's population was under age 18, 9.6% was from age 18 to 24, 39.6% was from age 15 to 44, and 15.0% was age 65 or older. The median age was 37.7 years. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males.
The county's median household income was $77,040, and the median family income was $81,873. About 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.7% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.
The 2010 United States census counted 501,226 people, 166,785 households, and 120,919 families in the county. The population density was 2,715.3 per square mile (1,048.4/km2). There were 175,966 housing units at an average density of 953.3 per square mile (368.1/km2). The racial makeup was 62.65% (314,001) White, 12.83% (64,295) Black or African American, 0.67% (3,348) Native American, 5.01% (25,092) Asian, 0.03% (156) Pacific Islander, 15.11% (75,735) from other races, and 3.71% (18,599) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 37.04% (185,677) of the population.
Of the 166,785 households, 34.5% had children under the age of 18; 48.7% were married couples living together; 17.5% had a female householder with no husband present and 27.5% were non-families. Of all households, 22.6% were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.94 and the average family size was 3.45.
24.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 27.1% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 12% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.1 years. For every 100 females, the population had 94.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 91.1 males.
Same-sex couples headed one in 149 households in 2010.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 489,049 people, 163,856 households, and 119,614 families residing in the county. The population density was 2,639 inhabitants per square mile (1,019/km2). There were 170,048 housing units at an average density of 918 per square mile (354/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 62.32% White, 13.22% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 3.69% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 16.24% from other races, and 4.05% from two or more races. 29.95% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Among those who reported their ancestry, 16.6% were of Italian, 9.5% Irish, 8.1% German and 6.2% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.
There were 163,856 households, out of which 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.50% were married couples living together, 16.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.00% were non-families. 22.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.92 and the average family size was 3.42.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.10% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 31.30% from 25 to 44, 21.30% from 45 to 64, and 12.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.80 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $49,210, and the median income for a family was $56,054. Males had a median income of $38,740 versus $29,954 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,370. About 9.40% of families and 12.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.30% of those under age 18 and 9.20% of those age 65 or over.
The Passaic County Court House and Administrative Building complex is located at the county seat in Paterson. In Passaic County's commission form of government, the Board of County Commissioners discharges both executive and legislative responsibilities. Seven Commissioners are elected at-large for three-year terms on a staggered basis. A Director and a Deputy Director are elected from among the seven Commissioners at an annual reorganization meeting in January. Passaic County operates through six standing committees of the Board of County Commissioners. They are Administration & Finance; Health, Education and Community Affairs; Public Works and Buildings & Grounds; Law & Public Safety; Human Services and Planning and Economic Development. The Commissioners also appoint individuals to departments, agencies, boards, and commissions for the effective administration of county government. In 2016, commissioners were paid $28,500 and the director was paid an annual salary of $29,500. The Freeholders select a County Administrator who, in the role of chief administrative officer, supervises the day-to-day operation of county government and its departments; Anthony J. DeNova III is the County Administrator.
As of 2022[update], Passaic County's Commissioners are (with terms for director and deputy ending every December 31st):
|Commissioner||Party, Residence, Term|
|Director Bruce James||D, Clifton, 2023)|
|Deputy Director Cassandra "Sandi" Lazzara||D, Little Falls, 2024|
|John W. Bartlett||D, Wayne, 2024|
|Theodore O. "T.J." Best Jr.||D, Paterson, 2023|
|Terry Duffy||D, West Milford, 2022|
|Nicolino Gallo||R, Totowa, 2024|
|Pasquale "Pat" Lepore||D, Woodland Park, 2022|
Pursuant to Article VII Section II of the New Jersey State Constitution, each county in New Jersey is required to have three elected administrative officials known as "constitutional officers." These officers are the County Clerk and County Surrogate (both elected for five-year terms of office) and the County Sheriff (elected for a three-year term). Constitutional officers, elected on a countywide basis are:
|County Clerk||Danielle Ireland-Imhof (D, 2023), |
|Sheriff||Richard H. Berdnik (D, Clifton, 2022)|
|Surrogate||Zoila Cassanova (D, Wayne, 2026).|
The Passaic County Prosecutor is Camelia M. Valdes of Bloomingdale, who was appointed by Governor of New Jersey Jon S. Corzine in May 2009 and renominated by Governor Chris Christie in June 2015. Passaic County constitutes Vicinage 11 of the New Jersey Superior Court and is seated at the Passaic County Courthouse in Paterson; the Assignment Judge for Vicinage 11 is Ernest M. Caposela. Law enforcement at the county level is provided by the Passaic County Sheriff and the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office.
Three Congressional Districts cover the county, with most of the northern portion of the county in the 5th District, most of the southern portion of the county in the 9th District, and the central portion of the county in the 11th District.
For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Fifth Congressional District is represented by Josh Gottheimer (D, Wyckoff).
For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Ninth Congressional District is represented by Bill Pascrell (D, Paterson).
For the 117th United States Congress, New Jersey's Eleventh Congressional District is represented by Mikie Sherrill (D, Montclair).
The 16 municipalities of Passaic County are represented by seven separate legislative districts
|26th||Joseph Pennacchio (R)||Christian Barranco (R)
Jay Webber (R)
|West Millford (26,856).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Essex and Morris counties.|
|34th||Nia Gill (D)||Thomas P. Giblin (D)||Clifton (86,607).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Essex County|
|35th||Nellie Pou (D)||Shavonda E. Sumter (D)||Haledon (8,463), North Haledon (8,570), Paterson (148,678) and Prospect Park (5,964).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Bergen County.|
|38th||Joseph Lagana (D)||Lisa Swain (D)
Chris Tully (D)
|Hawthorne (19,101).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Bergen County.|
|36th||Paul Sarlo (D)||Gary Schaer (D)||Passaic (71,247).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Bergen County.|
|39th||Holly Schepisi (R)||Robert Auth (R)
DeAnne DeFuccio (R)
|Bloomingdale (8,242), Ringwood (12,454) and Wanaque (1,994).||The remainder of this district covers portions of Bergen County.|
|40th||Kristin Corrado (R)||Kevin J. Rooney (R)||Little Falls (14,502), Pompton Lakes (11,206), Totowa (10,817), Wayne (55,072) and
Woodland Park (12,834).
|The remainder of this district includes portions of Bergen, Essex, & Morris Counties.|
In 2004, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Act, which regulates the New Jersey Highlands region. The northwestern area of the county, comprising the municipalities of Bloomingdale, Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, Wanaque and West Milford, was included in the highlands preservation area and is subject to the rules of the act and the Highlands Water Protection and Planning Council, a division of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. Some of the territory in the protected region is classified as being in the highlands preservation area, and thus subject to additional rules.
The Passaic County sheriff's department provides law enforcement functions throughout entire Passaic County plus unincorporated county area police patrol, detective, crime scene investigation, SWAT, K-9 function, operation of the Passaic County Jail, and the security of all county-owned facilities, including the Passaic County Courthouse/Administration Complex. The incorporated cities within the county: Paterson, Passaic City, Clifton, Bloomingdale, Pompton Lakes, Prospect Park have separate municipal police departments.
As of August 1, 2020, there were a total of 318,029 registered voters in Passaic County, of which 128,114 (40.3%) were registered as Democrats, 64,389 (20.3%) were registered as Republicans and 120,282 (37.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 5,244 (1.7%) voters registered to other parties. Among the county's 2010 Census population, 53.2% (vs. 53.2% in Passaic County) were registered to vote, including 70.8% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 70.8% countywide).
In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Democrat Barack Obama received over 60% of the vote here in both elections. However, in the 2016 presidential election Democratic support declined to 59.5% and the 2020 presidential election saw Democratic support decline to 57.5% or a margin of 16.5% over Republican President Donald Trump, which is slightly wider than the state as a whole.
In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 50.8% of the vote here (57,010 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 43.2% (48,500 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 3.8% (4,288 votes) and other candidates with 0.9% (981 votes), among the 112,278 ballots cast by the county's 262,723 registered voters, yielding a 42.7% turnout. In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Governor Chris Christe received 52.9% of the vote (53,858 votes) to Democrat Barbara Buono's 45.9% (46,825 votes), marking the only time in the 21st century the county voted Republican. In the 2017 gubernatorial election, Democrat Phil Murphy received 60.3% of the vote (57,415 votes) to Republican Kim Guadagno's 38.0% (36,230 votes). In the 2021 gubernatorial election, Democratic Governor Phil Murphy received 51.5% of the vote (57,812 votes) to Republican Jack Ciattarelli's 47.7% (53,551 votes).
The 16 municipalities in Passaic County (with 2010 Census data for population, housing units and area in square miles) are: Other, unincorporated communities in the county are listed next to their parent municipality. Most of these areas are census-designated places (CDPs) that have been created by the United States Census Bureau for enumeration purposes within a Township. Other communities and enclaves that exist within a municipality are also listed next to the name.
communities / notes
|Bloomingdale||borough||7,656||3,089||9.17||0.45||8.71||878.6||354.5||Butler (9-12) (S/R)
|Little Falls||township||14,432||4,925||2.81||0.07||2.74||5,276.2||1,800.5||Passaic Valley (9-12)
Little Falls (K-8)
Singac CDP (3,618)
|North Haledon||borough||8,417||3,213||3.50||0.04||3.45||2,436.8||930.2||Manchester (9-12)
North Haledon (PK-8)
|Pompton Lakes||borough||11,097||4,341||3.19||0.28||2.91||3,809.1||1,490.1||Pompton Lakes|
|Prospect Park||borough||5,865||1,931||0.48||0.00||0.48||12,347.2||4,065.2||Manchester (9-12)
Prospect Park (PK-8)
|Totowa||borough||10,804||3,918||4.07||0.07||3.99||2,704.9||980.9||Passaic Valley (9-12)
|West Milford||township||25,850||10,419||80.32||5.23||75.09||344.3||138.8||West Milford||Cooper|
|Woodland Park||borough||11,819||4,835||3.11||0.15||2.96||3,987.9||1,631.4||Passaic Valley (9-12)
Woodland Park (K-8)
Passaic County is served by New York City-based commercial television & radio stations and New Jersey Network public television.