The population increased by 369 (+3.4%) from the 10,807 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 2,539 (+30.7%) from the 8,268 counted in the 1990 Census. As of the 2010 Census, about one-fifth of the town's population resides in the Galaxy Towers, a trio of residential skyscrapers overlooking the Hudson River.
The current population growth and density in Guttenberg represents a significant change since 1983, when it was described by The New York Times, as "an old community of two-story row houses, small stores and light industry."
A 2009 sign on Boulevard East advertising the town's 150th anniversary. In the background is one of the three towers of the Galaxy apartments.
Guttenberg was formerly a farm owned by William Cooper, sold in 1853 to a group of New Yorkers, who had formed the Weehawken Land and Ferry Association. Like nearby Union Hill, it was subdivided and lots were sold mostly to Germans. The company ran two ferries, the Hultz and the Flora, which crossed the Hudson from the landings at the foot of Bulls Ferry Road, Pleasant Valley, Fort Lee, and Spring Street in Manhattan.
Guttenberg was formed as a town on March 9, 1859, from portions of North Bergen Township, but remained as a part of the township that was not fully independent. Guttenberg became part of Union Township when it was formed on February 28, 1861, and became fully independent as of April 1, 1878. The municipality takes its name from Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press, though other sources indicate that the name derives from "good village" in German.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town had a total area of 0.243 square miles (0.628 km2), including 0.196 square miles (0.507 km2) of land and 0.047 square miles (0.121 km2) of water (19.24%).
The town is ten blocks long and four blocks wide. It takes less than a minute to drive through.
The 4,473 households accounted 27.5% with children under the age of 18 living with them; 37.6% were married couples living together; 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the town, the population age was spread out with 20.5% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 34.7% from 25 to 44, 24.9% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.4 years. For every 100 females, the population had 95.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 93.0 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $49,981 (with a margin of error of +/− $8,219) and the median family income was $53,945 (+/− $9,457). Males had a median income of $50,227 (+/− $8,459) versus $32,089 (+/− $6,483) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $33,239 (+/− $8,416). About 14.8% of families and 16.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.7% of those under age 18 and 11.8% of those age 65 or over.
There were 4,493 households out of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.7% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 36.9% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $44,515, and the median income for a family was $47,440. Males had a median income of $38,628 versus $33,154 for females. The per capita income for the town was $27,931. About 11.1% of families and 13.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.7% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.
The town is a bedroom community with about 36% of its employed residents working in New York City, including 1,648 of the 4,993 Guttenberg residents in the workforce who commute to employment in Manhattan as of the 2000 Census.
Portions of the town are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), one of 32 zones covering 37 municipalities statewide. Guttenberg was selected in 1996 as one of a group of seven zones added to participate in the program. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment and investment within the UEZ, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3.3125% sales tax rate (half of the 65⁄8% rate charged statewide) at eligible merchants. Established in May 1996, the city's Urban Enterprise Zone status expires in May 2027. Areas included in the Guttenberg UEZ are:
Guttenberg operates under the Town form of New Jersey municipal government, and is governed by a mayor and a five-member council. Town council members are elected at-large to four-year terms on a staggered basis in partisan elections, with two seats up for election in one year, three seats together with the mayoral seat up for election in the following year, followed by two years with no elections.
As of 2019[update], the Mayor of Guttenberg is Democrat Wayne D. Zitt Jr., whose term of office ends December 31, 2021. Members of the Guttenberg Town Council are Richard Delafuente (D, 2021), Monica Fundora (D, 2021) and John D. Habermann (D, 2021), William Hokien (D, 2022) and Juana Malave (D, 2022).
In December 2015, Wayne Zitt was selected from three candidates nominated by the Democratic municipal committee to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2017 of Efrain Velez, who resigned earlier that month.
Political scandals in the 21st century have included the 2008 convictions of then-mayor David Delle Donna and his wife, a member of the town planning board, on federal extortion and mail fraud charges, for which they were each sentenced to four years in federal prison. A former mayor, Peter LaVilla, pleaded guilty in 2003 to misappropriating campaign funds and using the money for a private brokerage account. In addition, a councilman resigned in 2002 after being accused of receiving illegal advances on his salary, and the same year, a chief financial officer, pleaded guilty to misappropriation of funds.
Guttenberg is served by North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, a regional fire department established in 1999 serving communities in northern Hudson County, that also serves North Bergen, Union City, Weehawken and West New York, replacing the five independent departments that had served each of the communities.
Hudson County is governed by a directly elected County Executive and by a Board of Chosen Freeholders, which serves as the county's legislative body. As of 2017[update], Hudson County's County Executive is Democrat Thomas A. DeGise, whose term of office expires December 31, 2019. Hudson County's Freeholders (all serving concurrent terms that end on December 31, 2018) are
District 1: Kenneth Kopacz (Bayonne and parts of Jersey City),
District 2: William O'Dea, Vice Chairperson (western parts of Jersey City),
District 3: Gerard M. Balmir Jr. (southeastern parts of Jersey City),
District 4: E. Junior Maldonado (northern parts of Jersey City),
District 5: Anthony L. Romano Jr. (Hoboken and adjoining parts of Jersey City),
District 6: Tilo Rivas (Union City),
District 7:Caridad Rodriguez, Chairperson Pro-Tempore (West New York, Weehawken, Guttenberg),
District 8: Anthony P. Vainieri Jr., Chairperson (North Bergen and northern parts of Secaucus) and
District 9: Albert Cifelli (East Newark, Harrison, Kearny and southern parts of Secaucus). Hudson County's constitutional officers are County Clerk Barbara A. Netchert (2017), Sheriff Frank Schillari and Surrogate Joseph J. Ryglicki.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 4,991 registered voters in Guttenberg, of which 2,997 (60.0%) were registered as Democrats, 376 (7.5%) were registered as Republicans, 4 (0.08%) were registered to other parties, and 1,614 (32.3%) were registered as Unaffiliated.
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 77.4% of the vote (2,507 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 21.4% (692 votes), and other candidates with 1.3% (41 votes), among the 3,266 ballots cast by the town's 5,488 registered voters (26 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 59.5%. In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 71.6% of the vote (2,524 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 26.3% (928 votes) and other candidates with 1.3% (45 votes), among the 3,526 ballots cast by the town's 5,878 registered voters, for a turnout of 60.0%. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 67.0% of the vote (2,172 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 31.9% (1,035 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (19 votes), among the 3,241 ballots cast by the town's 5,122 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 63.3.
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 52.5% of the vote (740 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 45.7% (645 votes), and other candidates with 1.8% (25 votes), among the 1,478 ballots cast by the town's 5,545 registered voters (68 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 26.7%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 70.9% of the vote (1,341 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 23.6% (447 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 2.4% (46 votes) and other candidates with 0.6% (12 votes), among the 1,892 ballots cast by the town's 4,983 registered voters, yielding a 38.0% turnout.
As of May 2010[update], the town had a total of 4.39 miles (7.07 km) of roadways, of which 3.95 miles (6.36 km) were maintained by the municipality and 0.44 miles (0.71 km) by Hudson County.
The only significant roads directly serving Guttenberg are county highways. County Route 501 follows Kennedy Boulevard along the town's western border.County Route 505 follows River Road on the east side of town. Both roads are oriented north–south. Boulevard East passes through the town atop the Palisades.
^Astudillo, Carla. "The 10 tiniest towns in New Jersey (they're really small)", NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, November 1, 2016, updated May 16, 2019. Accessed March 5, 2020. "We used square mile data from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to rank the ten municipalities with the smallest area size.... 7. Guttenberg The town of Guttenberg, named after inventor of the printing press Johannes Gutenberg, is not only the seventh-smallest municipality in New Jersey, but it is also the most-densely populated municipality in the United States."
^Rand, Ellen. "New Jersey Housing; The Demise of a Luxury Complex", The New York Times, June 8, 1980. Accessed November 12, 2019. "Guttenberg - When The Galaxy opened for occupancy some four years ago, it was touted as the "ultimate" in luxury living along the Palisades."
^Miller, Jonathan. "F.B.I. Raids on the Mayor Make Him Topic A in a Small Town", The New York Times, February 16, 2007. Accessed October 6, 2007. "In 2003, the former mayor, Peter LaVilla, pleaded guilty to misappropriating campaign funds and using the money for a private brokerage account after an investigation by the United States attorney's office. In 2002, a councilman accused of receiving illegal advances on his salary resigned, although he was never formally charged. The same year, the town's chief financial officer pleaded guilty to misappropriation of funds."
^About North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue, North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Accessed October 26, 2017. "In 1999, North Bergen, Union City, West New York, Weehawken and Guttenberg combined their fire departments into an award-winning and nationally recognized fire-protection unit called North Hudson Regional Fire and Rescue. Before regionalization, the area was served by five small fire departments, each with their own management structure, maintenance program and administrative staff."
^Profile 2016–2017, North Bergen High School. Accessed January 4, 2017. "The Communities: North Bergen & Guttenberg – The urban townships of North Bergen and Guttenberg are located in Hudson County directly between the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Tunnel."
^James, Abraham L. "The Life And Legacy Of Secretary Of State J. Rudolph Grimes", The Perspective, October 22, 2007. Accessed April 17, 2016. "His wife of 57 years, who was with him at the time of his passing at their home in Gutenberg, New Jersey, in the United States, has been a pillar of strength over the years, and in the twilight of his life provided him with special attention and care."
^Hevesi, Dennis. "Stephen Ledogar Dies at 80; Drafted Arms Pacts", The New York Times, May 10, 2010. Accessed April 17, 2016. "Stephen J. Ledogar, a United States ambassador who played a major role in the drafting of three central international arms control treaties, died May 3 in Edgewater, N.J. He was 80 and lived in Guttenberg, N.J."
^Weber, Bruce. "Jane Wright, Oncology Pioneer, Dies at 93", The New York Times, March 2, 2013. Accessed April 17, 2016. "Dr. Jane C. Wright, a pioneering oncologist who helped elevate chemotherapy from a last resort for cancer patients to an often viable treatment option, died on Feb. 19 at her home in Guttenberg, N.J."