New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Bergenfield as its 211st best place to live in its 2010 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey. The magazine ranked Bergenfield as its 231st best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live".
NeighborhoodScout named Bergenfield as the safest municipality in the nation in 2012 with more than 25,000 residents and in both 2013 and 2014 they named it as the 2nd safest town in the USA only behind Franklin, Massachusetts.
Bergenfield has been called the "Little Manila" of Bergen County. Of the 14,224 Filipino population in the county as a whole enumerated in the 2000 Census, 3,133 (22% of the county total) lived in Bergenfield. By the 2010 Census, 4,569 Bergenfield residents (17.1% of the population) listed themselves as being of Filipino ancestry.
There were 8,852 households, of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.0% were non-families. 19.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.02 and the average family size was 3.46.
In the borough, 23.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.1% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.0 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.8 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $82,546 (with a margin of error of +/- $6,568) and the median family income was $99,963 (+/- $5,602). Males had a median income of $52,891 (+/- $2,058) versus $50,443 (+/- $2,598) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $35,034 (+/- $2,133). About 3.9% of families and 5.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.2% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
There were 8,981 households out of which 36.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.8% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% 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 3.41.
In the borough the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.2 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $62,172, and the median income for a family was $71,187. Males had a median income of $42,074 versus $35,137 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $24,706. About 2.6% of families and 3.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 3.8% of those age 65 or over.
Bergenfield is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Bergenfield, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2015[update], the mayor of Bergenfield is Republican Norman Schmelz, who was sworn in on as the new mayor in November 2013 and will serve until his term ends, on December 31, 2015. Schmelz was elected to fill the seat of Timothy Driscoll, who had died in office in March 2013, defeating Carlos Aguasvivas who had filled the seat on an interim basis since being appointed by the council in April. Members of the Borough Council are Council President Ora C. Kornbluth (D, 2016), Arvin Amatorio (D, 2017), Thomas A. Lodato (D, 2015), Hernando Rivera (D, 2015), Charles K. Steinel (D, 2016) and P. Christopher "Chris" Tully (D, 2017).
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 14,083 registered voters in Bergenfield, of which 5,139 (36.5% vs. 31.7% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 2,151 (15.3% vs. 21.1%) were registered as Republicans and 6,782 (48.2% vs. 47.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 11 voters registered to other parties. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 52.6% (vs. 57.1% in Bergen County) were registered to vote, including 69.2% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 73.7% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,665 votes (62.7% vs. 54.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 3,773 votes (35.5% vs. 43.5%) and other candidates with 91 votes (0.9% vs. 0.9%), among the 10,624 ballots cast by the borough's 15,285 registered voters, for a turnout of 69.5% (vs. 70.4% in Bergen County). In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 6,410 votes (57.6% vs. 53.9% countywide), ahead of Republican John McCain with 4,561 votes (40.9% vs. 44.5%) and other candidates with 70 votes (0.6% vs. 0.8%), among the 11,138 ballots cast by the borough's 14,721 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.7% (vs. 76.8% in Bergen County). In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 5,768 votes (54.8% vs. 51.7% countywide), ahead of Republican George W. Bush with 4,657 votes (44.3% vs. 47.2%) and other candidates with 57 votes (0.5% vs. 0.7%), among the 10,523 ballots cast by the borough's 13,954 registered voters, for a turnout of 75.4% (vs. 76.9% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 59.2% of the vote (3,576 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 40.0% (2,416 votes), and other candidates with 0.8% (47 votes), among the 6,214 ballots cast by the borough's 14,629 registered voters (175 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 42.5%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 3,463 ballots cast (53.9% vs. 48.0% countywide), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 2,599 votes (40.5% vs. 45.8%), Independent Chris Daggett with 276 votes (4.3% vs. 4.7%) and other candidates with 29 votes (0.5% vs. 0.5%), among the 6,420 ballots cast by the borough's 14,488 registered voters, yielding a 44.3% turnout (vs. 50.0% in the county).
The Bergenfield Police Department provides police services to the Borough of Bergenfield. As of 2010, there are a total of 46 sworn officers in the department, 8 civilian telecommunicators, and three civilian Records Bureau employees.
Started in 1905, the Bergenfield Fire Department (BFD) has three independent fire companies and a career staff.
The Bergenfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. (BVAC) was formed in 1941 as the "Bergenfield Volunteer Firemen's Ambulance Corps." Renamed the "Bergenfield Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc." and established as an organization independent of the Bergenfield Fire Department in 1981, BVAC is located at 1 Froelich Street in Bergenfield. The BVAC is a volunteer independent public emergency medical service. As such, they do not bill for services. BVAC is funded by donations from the public as well as limited funding from the borough.
The BVAC is a member of the New Jersey State First Aid Council.
Students in Kindergarten through twelfth grade are educated by the Bergenfield Public Schools. As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's seven schools had an enrollment of 1,371 students (in K-8, data for middle and high schools wasn't available) and 269.6 classroom teachers. Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are five elementary schools serving Kindergarten - 5th grade — Franklin Elementary School with 336 students, Hoover Elementary School with 182 students, Jefferson Elementary School with 234 students, Lincoln Elementary School with 350 students, and Washington Elementary School with 269 students — Roy W. Brown Middle School for grades 6 - 8 (NA) and Bergenfield High School grades 9-12 (NA).
As of May 2010[update], the borough had a total of 60.50 miles (97.37 km) of roadways, of which 54.75 miles (88.11 km) were maintained by the municipality and 5.75 miles (9.25 km) by Bergen County.
Main roads include Washington Avenue, Main Street and New Bridge Road.
Bergenfield is one of a growing number of districts to form a SID (Special Improvement District). Bergenfield’s Special Improvement District stretches a mile along Washington Avenue from Teaneck to Dumont has been promoting the local businesses for several years. Its mission is to inform people about Bergenfield's shopping district and its over 50 international restaurants and food stores within one mile.
On May 4, 2006, the ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition came to Bergenfield to build a home for the Llanes family on New Bridge Road. The episode aired as the pre-season two-hour special originally broadcast on September 17, 2006. The Llanes sold their home in 2012 and went to live with relatives because their taxes increased beyond their ability to pay, having risen from under $6,500 in 2007 to more than $15,000 five years later due to the increased assessed value of the home following the renovation.
On July 22, 2007, the Team Bergenfield Roller Hockey Club, won the NARCh National Roller Hockey Championship defeating the Nor-Cal Patriots 6-5 in Estero, Florida. Team Bergenfield went 6-0-1 in the tournament en route to winning the Men's Silver Championship. The team formed in Bergenfield in 1994 and is currently one of the longest running roller hockey clubs in the United States.
Peter "Produce Pete" Napolitano (born c. 1941), grocer best known for his long-running television news produce segments and as a spokesman for the Pathmark supermarket chain who owns Napolitano's Produce in the borough.
Prestige Records, a major producer of jazz recordings that was established in 1949, had its offices located here from the mid-1960s until its sale in 1972.
In popular culture
The infamous group suicide of the "Bergenfield Four" took place in March 1987 and received worldwide attention. The victims were four local high schoolers, ages sixteen to nineteen, and their mutual deaths by carbon monoxide were followed by a rash of copycat attempts. The suicides are examined in sociological perspective in Donna Gaines' Teenage Wasteland (1998). References in the arts include the Tom Russell song "Bergenfield" (1989), and the Alice Donut song "New Jersey Exit" (1988).
Snail Mail No More (2000) and P.S. Longer Letter Later (1998) take place in South Bergenfield, New Jersey. Ann M. Martin, the author of The Babysitters Club, found out about Bergenfield after a TV show and a movie for The Babysitters Club were filmed in Bergenfield, New Jersey instead of Stamford, Connecticut or Stony Brook, New York, and also met Amber Brown author Paula Danziger after 1990–1995. The two-book series takes place in 1998 and 1999, though P.S. was written in 1997 and Snail was published in 2000.
^History of Bergen County, p. 336 ff. shows an incorporation date of July 17, 1894.
^Harvey, Cornelius Burnham. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, p. 11, New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900. Accessed September 1, 2013. "For a period of sixteen years following the passage of this act few boroughs were organized in the State, only three of them being in Bergen County.... As it was twenty-six boroughs were in the county from January 23, 1894, to December 18, of the same year."
^Stevens, Jean. "Popular roast pig finds a following in North Jersey", Herald News, September 12, 2007. "One might find more lechon in Passaic these days. The city may be North Jersey's next so-called Little Manila, following Bergenfield, Bloomfield and Belleville."
^Devencentis, Philip. "Aguasvivas set to face Schmelz in Bergenfield mayor race", Twin-Boro News, May 16, 2013. Accessed November 19, 2013. "The November race for Bergenfield’s unexpired mayoral term will pit Mayor Carlos Aguasvivas, a Democrat, against Republican Norman Schmelz. They are vying to serve out the late Mayor Timothy Driscoll’s two-year, unexpired term. Aguasvivas and Schmelz were the only people who filed for candidacy by the May 3 deadline, which was determined by the date of Mr. Driscoll’s passing, on March 19."
^ abDevencentis, Philip. "Republican elected mayor in Bergenfield", Twin-Boro News, November 6, 2013. Accessed November 19, 2013. "Republican Norman Schmelz defeated incumbent Democrat Carlos Aguasvivas by 347 votes - 2,832 to 2,485. In April, Aguasvivas was selected mayor by the Borough Council to succeed the late Mayor Timothy Driscoll.... Meanwhile, in a race for two three-year terms on the council, incumbent Democrats Ora Kornbluth and Charles Steinel turned back a challenge by Republicans John Long and Patricia Walsh-Nardini.... Finally, in a race to decide who will fill the one-year, unexpired council seat, which was vacated by Aguasvivas when he became mayor, Republican challenger Kathleen Sahlberg defeated incumbent Democrat Rafael Marte by 87 votes - 2,595 to 2,508."
^Al Di Meola, Telarc International Corporation. Accessed September 20, 2007. "“In the ‘60s, if you didn’t play like Eric Clapton or Jimi Hendrix or Jimmy Page, you weren’t accepted,” he recalls of his high school years in Bergenfield, New Jersey."
^Hernandez, Cava. "GEORGE GATELY : Creador del gato Heathcliff", El Mundo (Spain), October 6, 2001. Accessed November 20, 2007. "George Gately Gallagher nació en Queens Village, Nueva York, en 1928, meses antes de que estallase la Gran Depresión. Pero, a todos los efectos, hay que considerarle un habitante de New Jersey, en cuya localidad de Bergenfield es donde transcurrieron su infancia y su adolescencia."
^Rotella, Mark. "Straight Out of Newark", The New York Times, October 2, 2005. Accessed October 9, 2007. "Originally from the Bronx, Mr. Gaudio had, at age 15, written the hit "Who Wears Short Shorts," which he made up while driving with friends along the main drag in Bergenfield."
^Mr. G, where might you be? Nary a peep on Penthouse publisher's eviction, Media Life August 11, 2003, "Guccione, who is originally from Bergenfield, N.J., bought his 45-room, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) mansion back in Penthouse’s 1970s heyday. Located on East 67th Street between Central Park and Madison Avenue, its décor includes a swimming pool modeled on a Roman bath and a collection of paintings by the likes of Picasso and Matisse."
^Rosen, Jane Calem. "Local rabbi new head of interfaith center", New Jersey Jewish Standard, August 9, 2007. Accessed July 13, 2012. "As commutes go, his daily trip to and from his home in Bergenfield to his job in Fairfield, Conn. isn't too bad, said Rabbi Dr. Eugene Korn, the new executive director of the Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding at Sacred Heart University."
^Miller, Jonathan. "He Fought the Law. They Both Won.", The New York Times, January 22, 2006. Accessed January 17, 2011. "The child of Filipino doctors, Mr. Lat grew up in blue-collar Bergenfield and well-to-do Saddle River, where his neighbors included former President Richard M. Nixon."
^Feldberg, Robert. "HOW WE HAD FUN", The Record (Bergen County), May 7, 1995. Accessed October 25, 2009. "And Bergenfield-bred Jimmy Lydon, who played the eternal teenager Henry Aldrich on radio and in B movies, had married his high-school sweetheart."
^Mucky Pup, last.fm. Accessed October 25, 2009. "Mucky Pup was a hardcore band formed in Bergenfield, New Jersey, USA in 1985."
^Bloom, Susan. "Growth Stock: Produce Pete explains why Jersey produce beats all.", New Jersey Monthly, March 14, 2011. Accessed June 28, 2012. "The Jersey born and raised fruit-and-vegetable guru affectionately known as Produce Pete is as authentic as his Bergen County roots and the Garden State produce he proudly promotes. Following years of hard work running Napolitano’s Produce, a family business in Bergenfield, this affable Jersey guy has become a local celebrity, known for his enthusiastic Saturday-morning segments on NBC’s Weekend Today in New York, his role as a print and broadcast spokesman for the A&P family of supermarkets, and his appearances on such shows as The View."
^Schoemer, Karen. "Sounds Around Town", The New York Times, July 24, 1992. Accessed May 16, 2012. "Bergenfield, from his album Poor Man's Dream"(Philo/ Rounder), is a look at suburban teen-age suicide."