New Jersey Population Health Cohort Study


The NJHealth Study is designed to generate practical, actionable knowledge for improving health and wellbeing for people in New Jersey and across the nation.  It focuses on how stressors experienced throughout our lives can contribute to health and wellbeing, and what can be done to reduce the impacts of stressors on health.  The study includes participants from all over New Jersey, including groups that have a high likelihood of experiencing social and personal stressors but have been historically excluded from research. These groups include immigrants, people of color, and low-income and multi-generational families.


New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation and nearly a quarter of its residents are immigrants. While the state ranks among the wealthiest, we have significant and persistent health disparities. Persistent and emerging sources of stress can impact our health and well-being, as suggested in these statistics.

  • In Cumberland County, residents have an average life expectancy of 74.6 years, but in Bergen County, that number jumps to 82.1 years.
  • More than one in 10 New Jerseyans do not have a steady place to live or are worried about losing their homes. Housing instability disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic status households.
  • The maternal death rate in New Jersey is the fourth highest in the country, and black mothers are more than seven times as likely as white mothers to die from pregnancy-related complications.
  • 2.5 million New Jerseyan’s reported feeling down, depressed, or hopeless at least several days over a two-week period in a recent poll. Depression increased 15% from 15.2% to 17.5% of adults between 2020 and 2021.
  • New Jersey is ranked the worst state in the nation for physical environment, which includes factors like air, water quality, climate change, housing, and transit.

New and in-depth data, collected over time, are needed to better understand the factors that contribute to or reduce these disparities. The NJHealth Study, led by the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, is collecting these data to produce insights that can be used to improve the lives of all New Jersey residents.


The study is enrolling about 10,000 participants ages 14 and older from across New Jersey, with an emphasis on historically disadvantaged groups, multi-generational families, and immigrants, including Asian Indian, Chinese, Dominican, Filipino, Haitian, Jamaican, Korean, Mexican, Nigerian immigrants, as well as those as who entered the US seeking asylum, under temporary protected status, or related immigration authorities.  The researchers will combine information from participant surveys and other sources such as lab tests and activity measures to help understand what drives stress and health.  Joel  C. Cantor, ScD is Principal Investigator of the NJHealth Study, which is guided by a leadership team including Paul Duberstein, PhD, William Hu, MD, PhD, FAAN, Dawne Mouzon, PhD, MPH, and Michael Yedidia, PhD, MPH.


The NJHealth Study is being conducted with the active involvement of community representatives and stakeholders. To get involved or learn more, visit or contact us: 888-676-0555 or

Support for this study was provided in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the Foundation.

Support is also provided in part by Rutgers University and the State of New Jersey. Updated October 2023.