Skip to content

A Comprehensive Guide to Living in Bergen County NJ

Bergen County is a county located in the northeastern part of New Jersey. It is home to a diverse population of about 955,000 according to the 2020 census and offers a range of housing options, educational opportunities, and recreational activities. We will explore what it is like living in Bergen County, covering topics such as the geography and demographics of the county, the housing market and how it has changed over time, the education system both public and private, employment opportunities, economy, and the recreational and cultural activities available. Whether you are considering a move to Bergen County or simply want to learn more about this part of New Jersey, this post will provide you with valuable insights and information.

Table of Contents

Why Should You Live in Bergen County?

There are many reasons why you should consider living in Bergen County, NJ. Here are just a few:

  • Proximity to New York City: Bergen County is located just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan, making it a convenient location for commuting to the city.

  • Great schools: Bergen County is known for its strong public school system, which is consistently ranked among the best in the state of New Jersey.

  • Beautiful natural surroundings: The county is home to a number of parks and recreational areas, including the Palisades Interstate Park, which offers stunning views of the Hudson River.

  • Thriving job market: Bergen County has a diverse and thriving job market, with a wide range of employment opportunities available.

  • Cultural attractions: The county is home to a number of museums, performing arts centers, and festivals, making it a great place to experience different cultures and participate in the arts.

Bergen County Geography

Bergen County is located in the northeastern part of New Jersey, along the southwestern border of New York State. It is the most populous county in the state, with a total area of just over 250 square miles and a population of just over 955,000 according to the 2020 census. Bergen County is divided into 70 municipalities ranging in size from Teterboro (1.11 square miles and 67 residents) to Mahwah (26 square miles and 25,000 residents).

The county seat is located in Hackensack, NJ which is centrally located. The county seat is home to county buildings housing the Bergen County Clerk, Bergen County Courts, and other county officials. Hackensack is also home to about 45,000 residents making it the most populous city in the county.

The topography of Bergen County is varied, with a mix of urban suburban areas. The county is home to the Palisades, a line of steep cliffs along the Hudson River that offer panoramic views of the New York City skyline. Along the Palisades you will find hiking trails, walking paths, and picnic areas in the Palisades Interstate Park.

The Palisades Interstate Park is a beautiful stretch of protected parkland that runs along the Hudson River in Bergen County. It is a part of the Palisades Interstate Park system, which also includes a section in New York. The park in New Jersey covers more than 12,000 acres and is known for its steep cliffs rising more than 500 feet above the river. The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, and offers a range of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, picnic areas, and fishing. In addition to its natural beauty, the park is also home to several historic sites, including the Rockefeller Lookout and the Henry Hudson Monument. Overall, the Palisades Interstate Park is a must-see destination for anyone living in or visiting Bergen County, NJ.

The Ramapo Mountains are a mountain range that runs through Bergen County. The mountains are part of the Appalachian Mountain range and are known for their rugged terrain and dense forests. The mountains are home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, and offer a range of recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, and birdwatching. Several state and county parks, including Ramapo Valley County Reservation and Ringwood State Park, are located within the mountain range and offer access to the trails and natural areas. The Ramapo Mountains are a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts living in Bergen County and the surrounding areas.

Bergen County Demographics

According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of Bergen County as of 2020 was approximately 955,000. The county has a population density of about 4,600 people per square mile, making it the most densely populated county in New Jersey. Despite its populous the county still offers 1,000s of acres of parks and open spaces.

Bergen County, located just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan, is a bustling suburban hub with a diverse and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Its population is made up of people from a wide range of backgrounds, including different nationalities, religions, races, and family structures. In fact, Bergen County is home to many immigrants, with South Korea, Poland, and India being the top countries of origin for foreign-born residents. This diversity is one of the many reasons that Bergen County is such a vibrant and dynamic place to live.

Bergen County is home to a population of over 950,000 people, with around 343,000 households and 242,000 families. With a population density of almost 4,000 people per square mile, it is a bustling and vibrant place to live.

The county is home to a diverse range of households, with married couples making up the majority. However, there are also many single-parent households and non-traditional families. The average household size is 3.18 people, and the average family size is 3.25 people.

The population of Bergen County is fairly evenly split between males and females, with slightly more females than males. The median age is 42.1 years old, with a significant portion of the population falling within the 18-44 age range. However, there is also a significant number of young people under the age of 18 and seniors over the age of 65.

Overall, Bergen County has a high standard of living, with a median household income of over $100,000 and a median family income of over $120,000. While the majority of residents are well above the poverty line, there is a small percentage of the population that falls below it, including some children and seniors.

Bergen County Housing

Bergen County offers a range of housing options to meet the needs of its diverse population. The county is home to a mix of single-family homes, apartments, townhomes, coops, and condos, providing options for those looking to buy or rent.

Single Family Homes

Single-family homes are the most common type of housing in Bergen County. These homes can range in size and style, from smaller, more modest homes to large, luxurious estates. Throughout the county you will find differences in yard sizes, housing density, amenities like garages, basements, and outdoor spaces, and overall home sizes.

The average single family home in Bergen County sold for 2022 was $836,000, which is a 9% increase over 2021. In total 6,756 single family homes sold in 2022 and took an average of 39 days to accept a contract of sale. The median home sale price was $660,000.

Apartments and Rentals

Apartments are also a popular housing option in Bergen County, particularly for those who prefer the convenience of renting or for those who want to live in a more urban setting. The county is home to a wide range of apartments, from small studio units to larger, multi-bedroom units. A large increase of apartments has been taking place over the last few years particularly in Hackensack where new developments of luxury apartments are being built regularly.

According to NJMLS the average rent in Bergen County is $2,845 overall. A 1 bedroom will go for about $1,800 though there are options for less. The cost of rent in Bergen County is typically higher than both the state and national average as housing prices are higher here than other areas.

Condos

Condos are another option for those looking to buy a home in Bergen County but not looking for as much upkeep. Condos are typically smaller than single-family homes and are available throughout the county. They offer the benefits of home ownership while requiring less maintenance and upkeep. Towns where you will see large opportunities to find condos would be Hackensack, Fort Lee, Mahwah, and Ramsey though other towns have condo options.

The average sales price of a condo in Bergen County in 2022 was about $554,000, which is 12% higher than in 2021. In total 2,320 condos sold in 2022 with an average days on market of 49 days. the median sale price was $450,000.

Overall, Bergen County offers a diverse range of housing options to meet the needs of its residents. Bergen County home values have typically increased in value year to year as a result of local infrastructure, job opportunities, high quality schools, and ease of commuting to New York City.

Notable Bergen County Neighborhoods

Bergen County is home to a number of notable neighborhoods and communities, each with its own unique character and amenities. Some of the notable neighborhoods and communities within the county include:

  • Ridgewood: Located in the northeastern part of the county, Ridgewood is a affluent suburb known for its tree-lined streets, charming downtown area, and excellent schools. It is a popular choice for families and professionals looking for a high-quality, small-town feel.

  • Englewood: Located in the southeastern part of the county, Englewood is a diverse and vibrant community with a mix of residential and commercial areas. It is home to several major hospitals and medical centers, as well as a number of cultural and recreational attractions.

  • Fort Lee: Located in the southeastern part of the county, Fort Lee is a predominantly residential community known for its high-rise apartment buildings and diverse population. It is a popular choice for those looking for a more urban setting and is known for its easy access to New York City via the George Washington Bridge.

  • Tenafly: Located in the eastern part of the county, Tenafly is a affluent suburb known for its excellent schools, spacious homes, and active community. It is a popular choice for families and professionals looking for a high-quality, small-town feel.

  • Edgewater: Located in the eastern part of the county, Edgewater is a waterfront community known for its diverse population and vibrant arts scene. It is a popular choice for those looking for a more urban setting and offers easy access to New York City via the George Washington Bridge and public transportation.

  • Park Ridge: Located in the central part of the county, Park Ridge is a affluent suburb known for its tree-lined streets, spacious homes, and excellent schools. It is a popular choice for families and professionals looking for a high-quality, small-town feel.

Overall, Bergen County is home to a range of neighborhoods and communities, each with its own unique character and amenities.

Cost of Living in Bergen County

The cost of living in Bergen County is generally higher than the national average, due in part to the county’s proximity to New York City. The county has a high median household income, which reflects the higher cost of living.

Housing is a major contributor to the high cost of living in Bergen County. The median home price in the county is around $660,000, which is significantly higher than the national average. Rent prices are also high, with the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the county hovering around $1,800 per month.

Other living expenses in Bergen County, such as food, transportation, and healthcare, are also generally higher than the national and state averages. However, the county does offer a range of options for these expenses, including a variety of grocery stores and restaurants, as well as public transportation options such as buses and trains. Having variety of services can help household maintain a budget and keep costs down.

Overall, while the cost of living in Bergen County is high, it is still a popular place to live due to its proximity to New York City, high-quality schools, and diverse range of recreational and cultural activities.

Bergen County Schools

Bergen County is home to a wide range of education options, including public schools, private schools, and higher education institutions.

The county is served by a number of public school districts, which offer education for students from kindergarten through high school. The public schools in Bergen County are known for their strong academic programs and diverse range of extracurricular activities. In addition to traditional public schools, the county also offers several charter schools and magnet schools, which offer specialized programs and curricula.

Bergen County Academies (BCA) is a public magnet high school located in Hackensack, New Jersey. BCA has consistently been among the top ranked schools in the state since its opening in 1972. It has also been nationally recognized for its excellence, earning a US News and World Report gold medal for the past several years. BCA offers challenging academics and numerous extracurricular activities to students from more than 100 towns and cities across the state. Admission into BCA is selective and requires an application with several essay responses along with teacher recommendations and other academic records. Students from Bergen County who meet the criteria will be considered for admission into BCA’s rigorous academic program.

Private schools are also an option for those living in and around Bergen County. These schools are independent of the public school system and can offer a range of educational programs, from early childhood education to high school. Private schools may have a religious or non-religious focus and may have a competitive admissions process.

Higher education institutions in Bergen County include Bergen Community College, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Ramapo College. These institutions offer a range of academic programs, from associate’s degrees to advanced degrees. Bergen County is also close to many other colleges and universities throughout New Jersey and the tristate area making finding a school close to home easier for aspiring college students.

According to niche.com the following school districts ranked in the top 25 districts in the state of New Jersey:

  • Northern Valley Regional #2

  • Ridgewood Public School District #5

  • Tenafly Public School District #6

  • Pascack Valley regional High School District #9

  • Mahwah Public School District #19

  • Ramapo Indian Hills Regional High School District #20

  • River Dell Regional High School District #24

  • Glen Rock Board of Education #25

Overall, Bergen County offers a wide range of education options to meet the needs of its diverse population.

Bergen County Employment

Bergen County, NJ is home to a number of major industries and employers due to its proximity to New York City. The county’s economy is heavily reliant on the service sector with health care, retail, education and information technology being the main sources of employment. Bergen County is also home to several Fortune 500 companies such as Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, Quest Diagnostics, and United Technologies Corporation. Other major employers in the area are Valley Health System and Englewood Hospital & Medical Center, Hackensack UMC, Myriad Genetics and Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Bergen County is truly a powerhouse for the business world. The county’s economy is heavily reliant on the service sector with health care, retail, education and information technology being the main sources of employment. With MetLife Stadium – the home of two National Football League franchises, the New York Jets and the New York Giants – and an impressive AAA bond rating from Moody’s for over 35 years, Bergen County’s booming economy is driven by a number of powerful players in industry. This includes Hackensack UMC, LG Electronics, Becton Dickinson, Stryker, KPMG, Samsung, BMW, Sharp, Jaguar Land Rover, Quest Diagnostics, Konica Minolta, Unilever, CNBC and Dassault Falcon. These companies occupy 36 million square feet of county inventory managed by some of the nation’s top real estate firms. Even more impressive is that Bergen County owns more than 100 million square feet of industrial/flex space making it one of the leading inventories in Northern New Jersey.

Bergen County Retail

Bergen County is known nationwide for its retail for good reason. On average Bergen County generates about $19 billion a year in retail sales, a staggering number. It is mainly due to the Routes 4 and 17 corridors and the mecca of retail that is Paramus, NJ. Paramus alone accounts for about $5 billion in retail sales making it the number one zip code in the country. This creates numerous opportunities for small and large retailers and as well those looking for retail jobs.

Bergen County Blue Laws

Bergen County is one of very few counties in the United States that still has Blue Laws. Blue Laws restrict the sale of certain items on Sundays like clothing, lumber, cars, and other retail items. “Essential items” like food are exempt from the laws allowing grocery stores and restaurants to be open. Over the years many have tried to upend the Blue laws but native Bergen County residents look at them as a way to avoid the congested roads due to heavy retail traffic. With easy access to local counties that are open on Sundays it is easy to still get your shopping done on a Sunday.

Bergen County Parks and Recreation

Bergen County is home to a wide range of recreational activities and attractions, making it a great place to live for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. Facilities are run eiother by the county itself or by individual municipalities. Some notable recreational activities and attractions in the county include:

  • Parks: Bergen County is home to a number of parks, including Van Saun County Park, which features a zoo, a carousel, and a train ride, and Overpeck County Park, which offers a range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and fishing. the Bergen County Parks System has over 9,000 acres of designated parkland over 21 parks.

  • Historic Sites: Bergen County has a rich history and you can learn a lot about it at 9 historic sites throughout the county. The most notable would be Historic Newbridge Landing in River Edge. The site has 2 historic homes and is the site of the Bridge that Saved a Nation helping General Washington and his troops avoid the British forces.

  • Hiking and biking trails: The county is home to a number of hiking and biking trails, including the popular Palisades Interstate Park, which offers a range of trails with stunning views of the Hudson River.

  • Sports teams: Bergen County is home to the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets who play their home games at MetLife Stadium in east Rutherford. The stadium has hosted the Super Bowl, numerous international soccer matches, concerts, and will be a host site of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

  • Cultural and entertainment venues: The county is home to a number of cultural and entertainment venues. The Bergen Performing Arts Center or Bergen PAC is a wonderful venue for concerts and other cultural events. Located in Englewood it is convenient to all towns in the county.

Overall, Bergen County offers a wide range of recreational activities and attractions, making it a great place to live for those who enjoy an active and diverse lifestyle.

Explore Bergen County Parks

Bergen County Culture

Bergen County is home to a vibrant cultural scene, with a wide range of museums, performing arts centers, and festivals to enjoy. Some notable cultural attractions in the county include:

  • Nestled in the charming town of Ho-Ho-Kus, The Hermitage is a historic treasure that is not to be missed. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark and listed on both the National and State Registers of Historic Places, this picturesque Gothic Revival house is a true architectural masterpiece. Its unique design, dating back to 1847-48, was created by renowned architect William H. Ranlett for Elijah Rosencrantz Jr.

    But The Hermitage is more than just a museum – it is a vital part of the community and a valuable resource for all who live and work in the area. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon, The Hermitage is sure to delight and inspire.

  • Experience the rich history of New Jersey’s aviation and space achievements at the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum. This enriching museum is perfect for visitors of all ages, from seniors to young students. Discover the important role that New Jersey has played in the aerospace industry, from spaceflight and engineering to research and piloting.

    The museum features a range of exhibits, including historic aircraft, air and space artifacts, photographs, fine art, and an extensive model collection. Kids will love learning about the many career opportunities available in the aerospace industry, from manufacturing and engineering to research and management. And with a library boasting over 2500 volumes and hundreds of aviation videotapes, there’s plenty of information to keep visitors of all ages engaged and informed.

  • Festivals: The county is home to a number of festivals, including the Bergen County Fair featuring carnival rides, games, and live music. Many towns and churches host yearly carnivals and town days to celebrate their heritage or town pride. These events are well attended are become part of the yearly activities of local residents.

Overall, Bergen County is home to a wide range of cultural attractions, making it a great place to live for those who enjoy experiencing different cultures and participating in the arts.

Bergen County Fantastic Food Options

Bergen County is a foodie paradise, with a wide range of fantastic dining options to choose from. From high-end restaurants to casual cafes, there’s something for every taste and budget.

Looking for a great place to enjoy a beer, a great meal, and a convenient location? Check out the Steel Wheel Tavern in Ridgewood. They are located just across from the Ridgewood Train Station and feature a menu to suit anyone’s tastes and a creative and large drink list.

Maybe you just want a classic diner or a late night snack. Bergen county has some of the best diners you will find anywhere but who could miss the Bendix Diner on Route 17 in Hasbrouck Heights. Its convenient location and classic diner feel and menu make it a must visit.

A burger is what you need? You have a ton of options from Five Guys to the Iron Horse to Smash Burger and Habit. But if you want one the best burgers you can find anywhere head to White Manna in Hackensack. their slider sized burgers are cooked to order with or without onions on an old school flat top. Add fries and a shake and you can’t go wrong. Just ask Guy Fieri as he featured the one of a kind burger joint on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives.

But that’s just the beginning – Bergen County is home to a wide variety of restaurants serving up everything from Italian and American to Chinese and Korean. There are also plenty of cafes and bakeries for a quick bite or a relaxing cup of coffee.

Overall, Bergen County is a great place to eat, with a fantastic selection of dining options to choose from. Whether you’re in the mood for fine dining or a casual bite, you’ll find something to satisfy your cravings.

Manageable Commute to Manhattan

Bergen County is located just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan connecting in Fort Lee, making it a convenient location for commuting to the city. There are several options for commuting from Bergen County to Manhattan, including:

  • Driving: Bergen County is easily accessible from Manhattan via several major roads, including the New Jersey Turnpike, the Garden State Parkway, and Route 4. The drive from Bergen County to Manhattan typically takes around 30-45 minutes, depending on traffic. Rush hours in the morning and evening can drastically change these times as can your proximity to the bridge. Depending on your final destination you may also consider the Holland Tunnel and Lincoln Tunnel that connect New Jersey to midtown and downtown Manhattan.

  • Public transportation: New Jersey Transit operates both bus and train transportation in and around Bergen County. There are bus stops and train stations throughout the county making it a perfect commuting solution for thousands of Bergen County commuters.

  • Trains: Bergen County is served by the Bergen County Line, Pascack Valley Line, and Main Line. Each Line connects to both Secaucus Station and Hoboken Station with connections to Manhattan and other points across the northeast.

  • Buses: Several bus lines operate between Bergen County and Manhattan, including the New Jersey Transit bus system and private bus companies like the Rockland Bus Line. The bus ride from Bergen County to Manhattan typically takes around 45-60 minutes, depending on traffic.

  • Ferries: NY Waterways operates ferries from Weehawkin and other ports along the Hudson. they offer parking onsite so you can park and ride across the river to Manhattan.

Well, if you ask me, Bergen County is definitely a place to consider living! Not only is it close to the big city (just across the George Washington Bridge from Manhattan), but it’s got some great schools, and beautiful parks and recreational areas too. And let’s not forget the job market – it’s definitely thriving in Bergen County. Plus, there’s always something going on culturally, with museums, performing arts centers, and festivals to check out. But honestly, the best part is probably just how diverse it is. You’ve got people from all over the world living here so its a cultural melting pot.

Now, if you’re not convinced yet, let me tell you about the housing options. Bergen County has a little bit of everything, from single-family homes to apartments and condos. And while the cost of living might be a little higher than some other places, it’s worth it. Where else can you find such a great mix of convenience, quality of life, and diversity all in one place?

Seriously, if you’re thinking about making a move, Bergen County should definitely be on your radar.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Cities are Part of Bergen County?

Bergen County is home to 70 municipalities ranging from the tiny Teterboro to Hackensack the county seat.  The cities that are part of Bergen County are Allendale, Alpine, Bergenfield, Bogota, Carlstadt, Cliffside Park, Closter, Cresskill, Demarest, Dumont, East Rutherford, Edgewater, Elmwood Park, Emerson, Englewood, Englewood Cliffs, Fair Lawn, Fairview, Fort Lee, Franklin Lakes, Garfield, Glen Rock, Hackensack, Harrington Park, Hasbrouck Heights, Haworth, Hillsdale, Ho Ho Kus, Leonia, Little Ferry, Lodi, Lyndhurst ,Mahwah, Maywood, Midland Park, Montvale, Moonachie, New Milford, North Arlington, Northvale, Norwood, Oakland, Old Tappan, Oradell, Palisades Park, Paramus, Park Ridge, Ramsey, Ridgefield, Ridgefield Park, Ridgewood, River Edge, River Vale, Rochelle Park, Rockleigh, Rutherford, Saddle Brook, Saddle River, South Hackensack, Teaneck, Tenafly, Teterboro, Upper Saddle River, Waldwick, Wallington, Washington Township, Westwood, Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, and Wyckoff.

What is Bergen County Famous For?

Bergen County is best known for being the most populous county in New Jersey, as well as for its affluent communities and high quality of life. It is also known for its proximity to New York City and its historic sites, such as the New Bridge Landing. Additionally, Bergen County is home to a variety of parks, museums, and performing arts venues, making it a popular destination for tourists.  Bergen County may be best known though for its retail.  Along the Route 4 and Route 17 corridors you will find thousands of retailers from big box stores like target and Macy’s to car dealers to small mom and pop stores.  Paramus is known nationally as the number 1 zip code for retail bringing in about $6 billion in retail sales annually.

Is Bergen County a Good Place to Live?

Yes, Bergen County is a good place to live. It is a great place to live for its variety of attractions, top-rated schools, low crime rate, and strong economy. The county is home to the Meadowlands Sports Complex, the Palisades Interstate Park, and numerous other parks and recreational areas. There are also many cultural attractions, including the Meadowlands Museum, the Bergen County Zoo, and the Bergen Performing Arts Center. Additionally, there are plenty of shopping and dining options, including many upscale restaurants and boutique stores. With its access to excellent public transportation, Bergen County is an ideal place to live for commuters to New York City. The cost of living is higher than the national average, but the quality of life and convenience to the city make it well worth it.

Why Can’t You Buy Clothes on Sunday in Bergen County?

You can’t buy clothes on Sunday in Bergen County NJ because the Blue Laws prohibit the sale of clothing, clothing accessories and other retail items like lumber and cars on Sundays. This law was passed in the 1950s and is still in effect today. The rationale behind the law is to give workers in the retail industry a day of rest each week. It is also a way to alleviate congestion on the roads that can cause travel to be difficult throughout the county.

Share on Social

Privacy Policy