Irvington is a township in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the township had a total population of 53,926, having declined by 6,769 (−11.2%) from the 60,695 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 323 (−0.5%) from the 61,018 counted in the 1990 Census.
Clinton Township, which included what is now Irvington, Maplewood and parts of Newark and South Orange, was created on April 14, 1834. The area was known as Camptown until the mid-1800s. In 1850, after Stephen Foster published his ballad, Camptown Races, residents were concerned that the activities described in the song would be associated with their community. The town was renamed, Irvingtown, in honor of Washington Irving.
Irvington was incorporated as an independent village on March 27, 1874, from portions of Clinton Township. What remained of Clinton Township was absorbed into Newark on March 5, 1902. On March 2, 1898, Irvington was incorporated as a Town, replacing Irvington Village. Laws approved in Trenton in both 1903 and 1908 that would have annexed Irvington to Newark were rejected by local voters.
The 1967 Newark riots hastened an exodus of families from that city, many of them moving the few short blocks to Irvington. Until 1965, Irvington was almost exclusively white. By 1980, the town was nearly 40% black, by 1990 it was 70%. On July 1, 1980, Fred Bost, the first black to serve on the Town Council, was sworn in as East Ward Councilman. Michael G. Steele, the town's first black mayor, was elected in 1990, followed by Sara B. Bost in 1994. The current Mayor is Wayne Smith.