Camden is a city in and the county seat of Camden County, New Jersey, United States. Camden is located directly across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. At the 2020 United States census, the city had a population of 71,791 and was ranked as the 14th most populous municipality in New Jersey, after being ranked 12th in 2020. The city was incorporated on February 13, 1828. Camden has been the county seat of Camden County since the county was formed on March 13, 1844. The city derives its name from Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden. Camden is made up of over 20 neighborhoods.
Beginning in the early 1900s, Camden was a prosperous industrial city, and remained so throughout the Great Depression and World War II. During the 1950s, Camden manufacturers began gradually closing their factories and moving out of the city. With the loss of manufacturing jobs came a sharp population decline. The growth of the interstate highway system also played a large role in suburbanization, which resulted in white flight. Civil unrest and crime became common in Camden. In 1971, civil unrest reached its peak, with riots breaking out in response to the death of Horacio Jimenez, a Puerto Rican motorist who was killed by two police officers.
The Camden waterfront holds three tourist attractions, the USS New Jersey; the Freedom Mortgage Pavilion; and the Adventure Aquarium. The city is the home of Rutgers University–Camden, which was founded as the South Jersey Law School in 1926, and Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, which opened in 2012. Camden also houses both Cooper University Hospital and Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center. Camden County College and Rowan University also have campuses in downtown Camden. The “eds and meds” institutions account for roughly 45% of Camden’s total employment.
Camden has been known for its high crime rate, though there has been a substantial decrease in crime in recent decades, especially since 2012, when the city disbanded its municipal police department and replaced it with a county-level police department. There were 23 homicides in Camden in 2017, the fewest in the city in three decades. The city saw 24 and 23 homicides in 2019 and 2020 respectively, the fourth-highest toll among New Jersey cities, behind Paterson, Trenton, and Newark. As of January 2021, violent crime was down 46% from its high in the 1990s and at the lowest level since the 1960s. Overall crime reports in 2020 were down 74% compared to 1974, the first year of uniform crime-reporting in the city; however, the population is also considerably lower today compared to that decade.