Clifton boasts an ethnic and culturally diverse population of approximately 78,672 residents. Originally known as Acquackanonk Township, the city was officially incorporated in 1917 by the New Jersey Legislature and named Clifton.
The Italian, Polish, Irish and German immigrants who first settled in the area are now joined by Arab, Turkish, Albanian, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Asian Indians and contribute a rich ethnic flavor to the general area. The city offers a variety of art, music and cuisine influenced by its citizens and is showcased with neighborhood festivals and independent businesses throughout the different neighborhoods.
A centerpiece of the city is the The Clifton Arts Center, which is municipally operated and governed by an Advisory Board of Trustees, operated by Clifton Arts Center, and is chartered as a non-profit agency by the State of New Jersey. Located in the former U.S. Animal Quarantine Station and now known as the Clifton Municipal Complex, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The original two brick barns that housed the animals have been joined together with a modern, airy atrium to create a unique venue for the exhibition of the visual arts. The complex is also host to a sculpture garden containing the works of more than 30 contemporary sculptures. The opening of the Arts Center in 2000 has given the City of Clifton the distinction of being one of the most arts-friendly municipalities in the Northeast.