By an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 17, 1889, a portion of the old Union Township was incorporated under the name of Boiling Springs Township. The new township took its name from a spring in the community. On March 28, 1894, the Borough of East Rutherford was created, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day, and Boiling Springs Township was dissolved. While there was no change in its borders, the name and form of government were changed.
East Rutherford's claim to national fame is that it is the home of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, which includes Izod Center, where the NBA New Jersey Nets play their home games (and former home of the NHL New Jersey Devils); and Giants Stadium, home of the NFL New York Giants and New York Jets as well as Red Bull New York of Major League Soccer (until 2009, when the Red Bulls move to Harrison). This makes East Rutherford the only municipality with fewer than 10,000 residents to have been home to five professional sports teams simultaneously.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.7 km²), of which, 3.8 square miles (9.9 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.9 km²) of it (8.19%) is water.
The Borough of East Rutherford is bounded on the north by the Boroughs of Carlstadt and Wallington and to the south by the Borough of Rutherford. The Passaic River is the western boundary and the Hackensack River is the eastern boundary. The area in which East Rutherford is located is the valley of the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers.
There were 3,644 households out of which 25.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.8% were non-families. 33.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the borough the population was spread out with 19.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 36.5% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.8 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $50,163, and the median income for a family was $59,583. Males had a median income of $40,798 versus $36,047 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,072. About 7.4% of families and 9.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 11.6% of those age 65 or over.
East Rutherford's Mayor is James L. Cassella (R, term ends December 31, 2011). The Borough Council members are Joel Brizzi (R, 2010), Jeffrey J. Lahullier (R, 2009), George Perry (R, 2009), Edward Ravettine (R, 2010), Saverio "Sam" Stallone (R, 2008) and Gary M. Viccaro (D, 2008). Perry and Stallone, elected as Democrats, defected to the Republican Party in March 2008, giving the Republicans a 5-1 edge on a council that had been evenly split before the party changes.
In elections held on November 6, 2007, voters selected a mayor and filled two seats on the borough council. Incumbent Republican James L. Cassella (1,275 votes) won re-election to a fourth term as mayor over Democratic challenger Gary M. Viccaro (605). Republican Councilmembers Edward Ravettine (1,255) and Joel Brizzi (1,234) won reelection to a fourth and fifth term respectively, defeating Democrats Carol Coronato (619) and Rich DeLauro (598). Republicans retain narrow control on the 2008 council, with the Republican mayor breaking the 3-3 split.
On Election Day, November 7, 2006, the two parties split one seat each, on a council that at the time was evenly split with three Republicans and three Democrats. Jeffrey J. Lahullier (1,228 votes) was successful in his bid for a second term in office and Democratic incumbent George E. Perry, Jr. (1,156) won his third term on the Council, defeating challengers Republican Thomas A. Banca (1,084) and Democrat Richard De Lauro (1,053). Voters rejected a ballot initiative to add a tax of 5¢ per $100 in assessed value that would have gone to an Open Space Trust Fund by an 801-628 margin.
On the national level, East Rutherford is almost evenly split. In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 50% of the vote here, edging Republican George W. Bush, who received around 49%.
For grades 9 to 12, public school students attend the Henry P. Becton Regional High School in East Rutherford, which serves high school students from both Carlstadt and East Rutherford. The school is part of the Carlstadt-East Rutherford Regional School District.