East Asian Immigration to New Jersey

Jesse Fried • Jun 14, 2017


Chinese immigration to NJ is massive, and seems to be largely a suburban phenomenon. If there are Chinese neighborhoods in NJ's cities, then I've never seen them, unless you count Edison as a city. This migration didn't really start till the 60's, and I think the Chinese Exclusion Act unfortunately has something to do with that delay.

By now, a sizable portion of suburbanites hailing from all over the state are Chinese-American, reflecting a degree of embededness in suburban NJ approaching that of our Jewish- and Italian-American citizens. As a personal note: growing up in the suburb of Millburn, many of my friends and acquaintances from school were Chinese-American, probably second in number only to Jews as a demographic category.

Edison, in Central Jersey, apparently has a big area of Chinese businesses, though I've never seen it. Route 46 in Morris County has a strip of Chinese (and Indian) restaurants and markets, anchored by an incredible noodle place: Shan Shan. Markets offering imported products, Chinese style bakeries and butcher shops, and produce used in Chinese cuisine are scattered throughout the suburbs. There is a huge one located on Route 10.

The amount of wealth arriving from China is considerable. Short Hills, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods you could probably find anywhere, is home to some Chinese immigrant families (though many more Chinese-American families). Many Chinese international students at NJ's colleges and universities are able to attend without incurring debt, and rent apartments and buy cars while they're here. However, Chinese immigrants to NJ, and international students, come from a variety of social classes.


Bergen County is home to a substantial, and generally suburban, Korean community, centered around Fort Lee.


Edgewater has a very impressive Japanese mall that attracts people from all over. Relatively small numbers of Japanese immmigrants live throughout the suburbs.

Empty comments
The editors
Feb. 24, 2017, 12:39 p.m.

Jesse, you're going to have to make a way for empty comments not to be registered.