It is divided into five political wards ,  which are often used by residents to identify their place of habitation. In recent years, residents have begun to identify with specific neighborhood names instead of the larger ward appellations. Nevertheless, the wards remain relatively distinct.
Industrial uses, coupled with the airport and seaport lands, are concentrated in the East and South Wards, while residential neighborhoods exist primarily in the North, Central, and West Wards. Ward boundaries are redrawn, as needed, by a board of ward commissioners consisting of two Democrats and two Republicans appointed at the county level and the municipal clerk.
The boundaries of the wards are altered for various political and demographic reasons and sometimes gerrymandered , especially the northeastern portion of the West Ward. Of these neighborhood designations only University Heights, a more recent designation for the area that was the subject of the novel Howard Street by Nathan Heard , is still in common usage. The Central Ward extends at one point as far north as 2nd Avenue. In the 19th century, the Central Ward was inhabited by Germans and other white Catholic and Christian groups.
The German inhabitants were later replaced by Jews , who were then replaced by Blacks. The increased academic footprint in the University Heights neighborhood has produced gentrification , with landmark buildings undergoing renovation.
The Central Ward forms the present-day heart of Newark, and includes 26 public schools, two police precincts, including headquarters, four firehouses, and one branch library.
A row of residential towers with security guards and secure parking line Mt. Prospect Avenue in the Forest Hill neighborhood. The North Ward has lost geographic area in recent times; its southern boundary is now significantly further north than the traditional boundary near Interstate The North Ward historically had a large Italian population; demographics have transitioned to Latino in recent decades, though the ward as a whole remains ethnically diverse.
It is home to the historic Fairmount Cemetery. The South Ward, once home to residents of predominately Jewish descent, now has ethnic neighborhoods made up primarily of African Americans and Hispanics.
The city's second-largest hospital, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center , can be found in the South Ward, as can 17 public schools, five daycare centers, three branch libraries, one police precinct, a mini precinct, and three fire houses. Today, due to the enterprise of its immigrant population, the Ironbound also known as "Down Neck" and "The Neck"  is a destination for shopping, dining, and nightlife.
The ward is largely composed of densely packed housing, primarily large apartment buildings and rowhouses. The January daily mean is The average seasonal snowfall is The July daily mean is The city receives precipitation ranging from 2.