What is now the City of Brigantine has passed through a series of names and incorporations since it was first created. The area was originally incorporated as Brigantine Beach Borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on June 14, 1890 from portions of Galloway Township, based on the results of a referendum held on June 3, 1890. On April 23, 1897, the area was reincorporated as the City of Brigantine City. This name lasted until April 9, 1914, when it was renamed the City of East Atlantic City. On March 16, 1924, Brigantine was incorporated as a city, replacing East Atlantic City and incorporating further portions of Galloway Township.
New Jersey Monthly magazine ranked Brigantine as its 36th best place to live in its 2008 rankings of the "Best Places To Live" in New Jersey.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.8 square miles (25.4 km²), of which, 6.4 square miles (16.7 km²) of it is land and 3.4 square miles (8.7 km²) of it (34.32%) is water. Brigantine is located on Brigantine Beach Island. The only road to and from Brigantine is New Jersey Route 87, locally known as Brigantine Boulevard.
There were 5,473 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.0% were non-families. 30.7% 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 2.30 and the average family size was 2.89.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 95.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $44,639, and the median income for a family was $51,679. Males had a median income of $40,523 versus $29,779 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,950. About 7.6% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.9% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics) are Brigantine Elementary School for grades K-4 (512 students) and Brigantine North Middle School for grades 5-8 (461 students).
Students in public school for grades 9-12, along with those from Longport, Margate City and Ventnor City, attend Atlantic City High School in neighboring Atlantic City, as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Atlantic City School District.