Workforce Diversity In The Meadowlands

Any place or region is only as prosperous as its people, and the population of the Meadowlands is rich with a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. It is the home of a greater ethnic diversity than both New Jersey and the United States as a whole, a significant bilingual population, over 360,000 immigrants from all around the world and a large amount of minority-owned businesses.

The Meadowlands region, just a few miles from the historical immigrant hub of Ellis Island, is a welcoming place for any business or business owner and a location abundant with the opportunity to build a uniquely skilled workforce, a multicultural network and a diverse clientele.

Cultural diversity as a resource for economic growthdiverseworkplace

Diverse communities and successful businesses go hand in hand. Research has shown that the inclusion of diverse cultures, ideas and backgrounds is a benefit to businesses in more ways than one. A survey by Forbes of executives from over 300 different highly successful companies found that, “A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity and guide business strategies. Multiple voices lead to new ideas, new services and new products, and encourage out-of-the-box thinking.”

The benefits of a diverse environment also extend beyond the advantages of a diverse pool of potential employees. One report from the peer-reviewed Graziadio Business Review states that, “With increasing population and business growth rates, it is imperative that corporations learn how to infuse minority employees, customers and suppliers into their business processes in order to gain and maintain a long-term competitive edge.”

Another study by the Hackett Group found that companies that “focus heavily on supplier diversity” by networking and doing business with minority-owned business benefited from a 133 percent greater return on procurement investments than those who did not reach out to diverse suppliers. These businesses also spent an average of 20 percent less on operations.

These are just a few of the proven ways that a diverse location like the Meadowlands can offer businesses an upper hand—we are chock-full of perspectives and idea. In addition, the great amount of minority-owned businesses and immigrant communities in the area create a more welcoming atmosphere for minority and immigrant businesses owners to settle into.

There are allies and connections to be made in the Meadowlands community for anyone of any origin.

Diversity by the numbers

Data and estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that the Meadowlands, much like New York City, is a melting pot of many races, ethnicities, languages, cultures and national origins.

According to the date, the population of the Meadowlands is more heterogeneous—more diverse—than both the state and the nation it resides within.

Category Meadowlands New Jersey United States
White 56.8 percent 68.7 percent 73.8 percent
Black 12.1 percent 13.5 percent 12.6 percent
Native American or Alaskan Native 0.3 percent 0.2 percent 0.8 percent
Asian 14.8 percent 8.8 percent 5 percent
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0.03 percent 0.03 percent 0.2 percent
Other race 13.1 percent 6.3 percent 4.7 percent
Two or more races 2.9 percent 2.5 percent 2.9 percent
Hispanic or Latino (including white Hispanics) 34.7 percent 16.6 percent 16.9 percent

This diversity additionally shines through in the high proportion of minority-owned businesses within the region—over 45 percent of all firms in the Meadowlands are minority-owned. To compare, 30 percent of firms in New Jersey are minority-owned—and in the United States as a whole, only 28.8 percent are minority-owned.

As mentioned earlier, these businesses represent not only the progress made by immigrants and their descendants in this great “nation of immigrants,” but also valuable allies, contacts and clients for minority and nonminority-owned businesses alike to partner with in order to strengthen, diversify and enrich their network.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, an estimated 363,844 foreign-born people reside in the Meadowlands—immigrants from all around the world with a wide variety of cultures, skills, knowledge, languages and experience. Most of these residents come from Latin American. The second most common place of birth is Asia. There are also over 52,000 immigrants from Europe and over 17,000 from Africa. Nearly every corner of the Earth is represented in the Meadowlands, and from each of these corners comes skills and experience that can be uniquely beneficial to the local economy.

Along with a high immigrant population comes a high bilingual or multilingual population. In an increasingly global business world, the ability to translate foreign languages and reach a multilingual customer base is essential—and nearly one in three residents possesses this valuable skillset in the Meadowlands.

A multilingual environment opens up the doors of communication to countless more opportunities than an English-only environment. The amount and diversity of bilingual Meadowlands residents make for an abundance of these opportunities.

Top Bilingual/Multilingual Municipalities
  By Amount By Percentage (of total municipality population)
Most foreign language speakers (who also speak English) 1.       Jersey City (73,322) 1.       Harrison (42 percent)
2.       Clifton (26,897) 2.    North Bergen (40.9 percent)
3.       North Bergen (25,430) 3.    Ridgefield (40.4 percent)
Most Spanish-speakers (who also speak English) 1.       Jersey City (31,059) 1.     North Bergen (34.7 percent)
2.       North Bergen (21,554) 2.    Passaic (27.5 percent)
3.       Passaic (19,461) 3.    Ridgefield Park (25.9 percent)
Most speakers of other Indo-European languages (who also speak English) 1.       Jersey City (20,867) 1.       Wallington (21 percent)
2.       Clifton (6,214) 2.    East Rutherford (14.9 percent)
3.       Kearny (4,867) 3.    Secaucus (14.4 percent)
Most speakers of Asian or Pacific Islander languages (who also speak English) 1.       Jersey City (16,751) 1.     Palisades Park (21.3 percent)
2.       Palisades Park (4,284)  2.    Ridgefield (19.8 percent)
3.       Clifton (2,854)  3.    Leonia (17.2 percent)


Beyond the data

airportportDiversity is more than data. Beyond the digits and decimal points, a diverse population shares invaluable aspects of culture within the community. Several of these communities exist within the Meadowlands, each standing out with unique foods, music, traditions and talents.

The Meadowlands has been welcoming Italian immigrants for generations now and several of our communities are among the top 100 communities with the highest concentration of Italian ancestry in the United States, including Lyndhurst, Hasbrouck Heights, Carlstadt, Moonachie, Lodi, East Rutherford, Wood-Ridge and Nutley. Italian restaurants, pizzerias, cafes, bakeries, specialty grocery stores, and Italian pork stores are not surprisingly abundant throughout the region—and our area includes presence from many Italian companies including Bindi Dessert Services Inc. (Kearny), Caffo Beverages Inc. (Carlstadt), Emeggi USA, Inc. (East Rutherford), Tocco Magico (Kearny), Fratelli Beretta (South Hackensack), Giorgetti USA (Teaneck, IGM Corp. Headquarters (North Bergen), Luceplan USA Inc. (Secaucus), Filippo Berio Brand (Lyndhurst)

In Wallington, approximately half of the population is of Polish ancestry. Many residents are descendants of post-World War I immigrants who established many of the borough’s early churches, schools and social clubs. Others are from more recent waves of immigration. Restaurants serving authentic Polish food and featuring performance groups singing and dancing to traditional Polish music keep this culture alive and well in this pocket of the Meadowlands region.

The Meadowlands hosts a growing Latino Hispanic community, with a few municipalities having Latino Hispanic majority populations, especially in Hudson County. The Meadowlands hosts numerous Hispanic-owned businesses including Goya Foods (located Jersey City and Secaucus), which is the largest Hispanic-owned food company in the United States.

People of Korean ancestry make up 6.9 percent of Bergen County’s population, according to the American Community Survey, with an estimated 63,247 individuals. This is the highest percentage of Korean-Americans for any county in the United States. Bergen County contains all of the top ten municipalities in the United States as ranked by Korean ancestry.

Hudson County is home to the state’s second largest Asian Indian population with a community of approximately 38,000 people, concentrated in Secaucus and Jersey City. There are sizeable Asian Indian communities throughout Hudson and Bergen counties as well, growing tremendously in the past 20 years according to Census data.

Jersey City is both the most populous and one of the most diverse municipalities of the Meadowlands region. One of the many thriving ethnic communities within the city is “Little Manila,” located in the Five Corners district, where dozens of Filipino businesses operate, offering Filipino food, such as a vinegar and garlic marinated meat stew known as “adobo,” Filipino-language media and countless other goods and services. Jersey City was named the second most diverse city in the United States in a comprehensive study by WalletHub. Together with the rest of the Meadowlands, this location of many languages, traditions, tight-knit communities and diverse experiences is certainly worth doing business in.

These are just a few examples of the many cultural communities we proudly host in our vibrant region. The convergence of cultures in the Meadowlands makes for a vibrant business environment with no lack of talent, allyship, knowledge or flare.

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Laura French

Laura French

Laura French is the associate editor of Forensic Magazine, a publication of Advantage Business Media in Rockaway, N.J. She is also a freelance writer and reporter and can be reached at laurafrench16@gmail.com.

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