People want out of New Jersey, and not enough want in.

A new report out of Rutgers University suggests immigration is crucial as the Garden State and the region experience lower birthrates and a vast exodus of residents.

From 2010 to 2018, more than 935,000 people from abroad helped replace the 1.4 million people that left the 35-county metropolitan region including most of New Jersey's population that's examined in the report released this month.

"New Jersey as a whole lost 443,000 people due to domestic outmigration. That's 147 per day," author James Hughes told the Townsquare News Nerwork. "Without immigration today, and the outflow of people from the region ... we'd be facing not quite a demographic catastrophe, but certainly a major, major demographic problem, an economic problem, a market problem."

A declining population, Hughes noted, affects housing, job and other markets. State finances can be hurt as well, with fewer people paying income and sales taxes.

Most of the population loss in the region, according to the report, can be attributed to an outflow of New Jersey residents, most of whom were moving to warmer southern states. The report cited a "dramatic shift" in population away from northeastern states, and no indication that the pattern will slow down.

"Since the fertility rate is at an historic low, there is even more pressure to bring in more immigrants to the region," Hughes said. "Immigration is something we have to cherish."

The region once had a "monopoly as an immigration destination," Hughes said. But over the past decade or so, immigrants have become more attracted to more affordable counties throughout the country, resulting in a growing dispersion of new arrivals from abroad.

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