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State Guide

New Jersey is a state in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north by New York, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the southwest by Delaware, and on the west by Pennsylvania. Parts of New Jersey lie within the sprawling metropolitan areas of New York and Philadelphia.

Inhabited by Native Americans for more than 2,800 years, the first European settlements in the area were established by the Swedes and Dutch in the early 1600s. The English later seized control of the region, naming it the Province of New Jersey, which was granted to Sir George Carteret and John Berkeley, 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton as a colony. The name was taken from the largest of the English Channel Islands, Jersey. New Jersey was an important site during the American Revolutionary War; several decisive battles were fought there. The winter quarters of the revolutionary army were established twice by George Washington in Morristown, which was called the military capital of revolution. Later, people who worked in factories in cities such as Paterson and Trenton helped to drive the Industrial Revolution in the nineteenth century. New Jersey's position at the center of the BosWash megalopolis, between Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C., fueled its rapid growth through the suburban boom of the 1950s and beyond.


New Jersey is bordered on the north and northeast by New York; on the east by the Atlantic Ocean; on the south and southwest by Delaware across Delaware Bay; and on the west by Pennsylvania across the Delaware River.

New Jersey can be thought of as five regions, based on natural geography and population. Northeastern New Jersey, the Gateway Region, lies within the New York metropolitan area, and some residents commute to the city to work. Northwestern New Jersey, or the "Skylands", is, compared to the northeast, more wooded, rural, and mountainous, but still a popular place to live. The "Shore" along the Atlantic Coast in the southeast has its own residence and lifestyle characteristics owing to the ocean. The southwest is within Metropolitan Philadelphia, and is included in the Delaware Valley. The fifth region is the Pine Barrens in the interior of the southern part and is covered rather extensively by mixed pine and oak forest, and as such has a much lower population density than much of the rest of the state.

New Jersey also can be broadly divided into three geographic regions: North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey. Some people do not consider Central Jersey a region in its own right, but many believe it is a separate geographic and cultural area from the North and South.

The federal Office of Management and Budget divides New Jersey's counties into seven Metropolitan Statistical Areas, including sixteen counties in the New York City or Philadelphia metro areas. Four counties have independent metro areas, and Warren County joins another Pennsylvania-based metro area. (See Metropolitan Statistical Areas of New Jersey for details.)

It is also at the center of the Boston to Washington megalopolis.

Additionally, the New Jersey Commerce, Economic Growth, & Tourism Commission divides the state into six distinct regions to facilitate the state's tourism industry. The regions are:

  • Gateway Region, encompassing Hudson County, Essex County, Union County, Middlesex County, Bergen County, and Passaic County.
  • Skylands Region, encompassing Sussex County, Morris County, Warren County, Hunterdon County, and Somerset County.
  • Shore Region, encompassing Monmouth County and Ocean County.
  • Delaware River Region, encompassing Mercer County, Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, and Salem County.
  • Greater Atlantic City Region, encompassing Atlantic County.
  • Southern Shore Region, encompassing Cumberland County and Cape May County.

High Point, in Montague Township, Sussex County, is the highest elevation, at 1,803 feet (550 m). The Palisades are a line of steep cliffs on the lower west side of the Hudson River.

Major rivers include the Hudson, Delaware, Raritan, Passaic, Hackensack, Rahway, Musconetcong, Mullica, Rancocas, Manasquan, Maurice, and Toms rivers.

Sandy Hook, along the eastern coast, is a popular recreational beach. It is a barrier spit and an extension of the Barnegat Peninsula along the state's Atlantic Ocean coast.

Areas managed by the National Park Service include:

  • Appalachian National Scenic Trail
  • Delaware National Scenic River
  • Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area
  • Edison National Historic Site in West Orange
  • Ellis Island National Monument
  • Gateway National Recreation Area in Monmouth County
  • Great Egg Harbor River
  • Morristown National Historical Park in Morristown
  • New Jersey Coastal Heritage Trail Route
  • New Jersey Pinelands National Reserve

Prominent geographic features include:

  • Delaware Water Gap
  • Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
  • The Highlands
  • New Jersey Meadowlands
  • Pine Barrens
  • South Mountain


Most of New Jersey has a humid subtropical climate except in northwestern regions of the state that have a humid continental climate with slightly cooler temperatures.

The summers are typically hot and humid with statewide average high temperatures of 82 - 88°F (28 - 31°C) and low temperatures of 60 - 70°F (15 - 21°C). Temperatures exceeding 90°F (32°C) occur on average 18-25 days each summer, but temperatures below 0°F (-18°C) or above 100°F (38°C) are uncommon. The winters are cold with temperatures approaching the freezing point in most of the state, and will dip below freezing in the northwestern highlands.

Average annual precipitation ranges from 43 to 51 inches (1,120 - 1,320 mm), which is fairly divided troughout the year. Average snowfall per winter season is about 10 - 15 inches (25 - 38 cm) in the south and near the seacoast, 16 - 30 inches (40 - 78 cm) in the northeast and center of the state, to about 40 - 50 inches (1 - 1,27 m) in the northwestern highlands. During the summer, 25 to 30 thunderstorms occur, but fewer near the seacoast.

During winter and early spring, New Jersey could experiences nor'easters, which cause blizzards and flooding in northeastern parts of the United States. New Jersey could also have drought for weeks. Hurricanes and tropical storms (such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999) are very rare and uncommon.


Around 180 million years ago, during the Jurassic Period, New Jersey bordered North Africa. The pressure of the collision between North America and Africa gave rise to the Appalachian Mountains. Around 18,000 years ago, the Ice Age resulted in glaciers that reached New Jersey. As the glaciers retreated, they left behind Lake Passaic, as well as many rivers, swamps, and gorges.

New Jersey was originally settled by Native Americans, with the Lenni-Lenape being dominant at the time Europeans arrived. The Lenape were loosely organized groups that practiced small-scale agriculture (mainly based on corn) in order to increase their largely mobile hunter-gatherer society in the region surrounding the Delaware River, the lower Hudson River, and western Long Island Sound. The Lenape society was divided into matrilinear clans that were based upon common female ancestors. These clans were organized into three distinct phratries identified by their animal sign: Turtle, Turkey, and Wolf. They first encountered the Dutch in the early 1600s, and their primary relationship with the Europeans was through fur trade.

Colonial era

Since the state's inception, New Jersey has been characterized by ethnic and religious diversity. New England Congregationalists settled alongside Scottish Presbyterians and Dutch Reformed migrants from New York. While the majority of residents lived in towns with individual landholdings of 100 acres (0.4 km²), a few rich proprietors owned vast estates. English Quakers and Anglicans owned large landholdings. New Jersey remained agrarian and rural throughout the colonial era, and commercial farming only developed sporadically. Some townships, though, like Burlington and Perth Amboy, emerged as important ports for shipping to New York and Philadelphia. The colony's fertile lands and tolerant religious policy drew more settlers, and New Jersey boasted a population of 120,000 by 1775.

Much of New Jersey was claimed by the Dutch. The Dutch colony of New Netherland consisted of parts of modern New York (New Amsterdam) and New Jersey. Although the European principle of land ownership was not recognized by the Lenape, Dutch policy required formal purchase of all land settled upon, and the first such purchase was of Manhattan, by Peter Minuit.

The entire region became a territory of England in 1664, when an English fleet under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls sailed into what is today New York Harbor and took over the colony, against extremely low resistance.

During the English Civil War the Channel Isle of Jersey remained loyal to the Crown and gave sanctuary to the King. It was from the Royal Square in St. Helier that Charles II of England was first proclaimed King in 1649, following the execution of his father, Charles I. The North American lands were divided by Charles II, who gave his brother, the Duke of York (later King James II) the region between New England and Maryland as a proprietary colony (as opposed to a royal colony). James then granted the land between the Hudson River and the Delaware River (the land that would become New Jersey) to two friends who had remained loyal through the English Civil War: Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton. The area was named, the Province of New Jersey.

Settlement for the first 10 years of English rule was in the Hudson River region and came primarily from New England. On March 18, 1673, Berkeley sold his half of the colony to Quakers in England (with William Penn acting as trustee for a time), who settled the Delaware Valley region as a Quaker colony. New Jersey was governed very briefly as two distinct provinces, East and West Jersey, for 28 years between 1674 and 1702. In 1702, the two provinces were reunited under a royal, rather than a proprietary, governor. Edward Hyde, Lord Cornbury became the first governor of the colony as a royal colony. Lord Cornbury was an ineffective and corrupt ruler, taking bribes and speculating on land, so in 1708 he was recalled to England. New Jersey was then ruled by the governors of New York, but this infuriated the settlers of New Jersey, who accused those governors of favoritism to New York. Judge Lewis Morris led the case for a separate governor, and was appointed governor by King George II in 1738.

Revolutionary War era

New Jersey was one of the Thirteen Colonies that revolted against British rule in the American Revolution. The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 was passed July 2, 1776, just two days before the Second Continental Congress declared American Independence from Britain. It was an act of the Provincial Congress, which made itself into the state Legislature. To reassure neutrals, it provided that it would become void if New Jersey reached reconciliation with Great Britain.

New Jersey representatives Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, and Abraham Clark were among those who signed the United States Declaration of Independence.

During the American Revolutionary War, British and American armies crossed New Jersey numerous times and several pivotal battles took place in the state. Because of this, New Jersey today is often referred to as "The Crossroads of the Revolution."

On December 25, 1776, the Continental Army under George Washington crossed the Delaware River and engaged the unprepared Hessian troops in the Battle of Trenton. Slightly more than a week after victory at Trenton, on January 3, 1777, the American forces gained an important victory by stopping Cornwallis's charges at the Second Battle of Trenton. By evading Cornwallis's army, Washington made a surprise attack on Princeton, and successfully defeated the British forces there.

Later, American forces under Washington met the forces under General Henry Clinton at the Battle of Monmouth in an indecisive engagement. Washington attempted to take the British column by surprise; when the British army attempted to flank the Americans, the Americans retreated in disorder. The ranks were later reorganized and withstood the British charges.

In the summer of 1783, the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall at Princeton University, making Princeton the nation's capital for four months. It was there that the Continental Congress learned of the signing of the Treaty of Paris (1783), which ended the war.

New Jersey was the third state to ratify the United States Constitution, which was overwhelmingly popular in New Jersey, as it prevented New York and Pennsylvania from charging and keeping tariffs on goods imported from Europe. In November 20, 1789, the state became the first in the newly-formed Union to ratify the Bill of Rights.

The 1776 New Jersey State Constitution gave the vote to "all inhabitants" who had a certain level of wealth. This included both women and blacks; although not married women, who could not own property. Both sides, in several elections, claimed that the other side had had unqualified women vote, and mocked them for use of "petticoat electors" (entitled to vote or not); on the other hand, both parties passed Voting Rights Acts. In 1807, the legislature passed a bill interpreting the constitution to mean universal white male suffrage, excluding paupers. (This was less revolutionary than it sounds: the "constitution" was itself only an act of the legislature.)

Nineteenth century

On February 15, 1804, New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish new slavery and enacted legislation that slowly phased out existing slavery. This lead to a gradual scale-down of the slave population, but by the close of the Civil War about a dozen African-Americans in New Jersey were still apprenticed freedmen. New Jersey initially refused to ratify the Constitutional Amendments banning slavery and granting rights to America's Black population.

In 1844, the second state constitution was ratified and brought into effect. Counties thereby became districts for the State Senate, and some realignment of boundaries (including the creation of Mercer County) immediately followed. This provision was retained in the 1947 Constitution, but was overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1962 by the decision Baker v. Carr. While the Governorship was stronger than under the 1776 constitution, the constitution of 1844 created many offices that were not responsible to him, or to the people, and it gave him a three-year term, but he could not succeed himself.

Unlike the Revolutionary War, no Civil War battles took place within the state. However, throughout the course of the Civil War, over 80,000 enlisted in the Northern army to defeat the Southern Confederacy.

New Jersey was one of the few states to reject President Abraham Lincoln twice in national elections, and sided with Stephen Douglas and George B. McClellan during their campaigns. McClellan later became governor. During the war, the state was led first by Republican Governor Charles Smith Olden, then by Democrat Joel Parker.

In the Industrial Revolution, cities like Paterson grew and prospered. Previously, the economy had been largely agrarian, which was problematically subject to crop failures and poor soil. This caused a shift to a more industrialized economy, one based on manufactured commodities such as textiles and silk. Inventor Thomas Edison also became an important figure of the Industrial Revolution, having been granted 1,093 patents, many of which for inventions he developed while working in New Jersey. Transportation was greatly improved as locomotion and steamboats were introduced to New Jersey.

Iron mining was also a prevalent industry during the middle to late 1800s. Mines such as Mt. Hope, Mine Hill and the Rockaway Valley Mines created a thriving industry, which spawned new towns and was one of the driving forces behind the need for the Morris Canal.

Twentieth century

Through both World Wars, New Jersey was a center for war production, especially in naval construction. Battleships, cruisers, and destroyers were all made in this state. In addition, Fort Dix (1917) (originally called "Camp Dix"), Camp Merritt(1917) and Camp Kilmer(1941), were all constructed to house and train American soldiers through both World Wars. New Jersey also became a principal location for defense in the Cold War. Fourteen Nike Missile stations were constructed, especially for the defense of New York City and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. PT-109, commanded by Lt.(jg) John F. Kennedy, was built at the Elco Boatworks in Bayonne, and the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) was briefly docked at the Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne in the 1950s before she was sent to Japan to be scrapped. In 1962, the world's first nuclear powered cargo ship, the NS Savannah was launched at Camden.

New Jersey prospered through the Roaring Twenties. The first Miss America Pageant was held in 1921, the first drive in movie was shown in Camden in 1933, and in 1927 the Holland Tunnel opened. During the Great Depression of the nineteen thirties, the state offered begging licenses to unemployed residents, the zeppelin Hindenburg went up in flames over Lakehurst, and the SS Morro Castle beached itself on the Jersey Shore after going up in flames while at sea.

In 1951, the New Jersey Turnpike opened, permitting fast travel by car or truck from the northern cities to southern New Jersey and Philadelphia area.

In the 1960s, residents of a few New Jersey cities rioted. Because many of the rioters had dark skin, these events were often referred to as race riots. The first race riots in New Jersey occurred in Jersey City on August 2, 1964. Several others ensued in 1967, in Newark and Plainfield. Camden rioted in 1971.


State population

Residents of New Jersey are most commonly referred to as "New Jerseyans" or "New Jerseyites." The United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2006, estimated New Jersey's population at 8,724,560, which represents an increase of 310,213, or 3.7%, since the last census in 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 254,766 people (that is 705,812 births minus 451,046 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 79,211 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 357,111 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 277,900 people. There are 1.6 million foreign-born living in the state (accounting for 19.2% of the population).

As of 2006, New Jersey is the eleventh-most populous state, but the most densely populated, at 1,174 residents per square mile (453 per km²), although the density varies widely across the state. It is also the second wealthiest state in the United States according to the United States Census Bureau.

The center of population for New Jersey is located in Middlesex County, in the town of Milltown, just east of the New Jersey Turnpike (see map of location).

Racial group, ethnicity, and ancestry

New Jersey is one of the most religiously and ethnically diverse states in the country. It has the second largest Jewish population by percentage after New York; the second largest Muslim population by percent (after Michigan); the third highest Asian population by percent, the third highest Italian-American population by percent of any state according to the 2000 Census; and a large percentage of the population is Black, White American, Hispanic American, Arab American, and Asian American. It has the second highest Indian American population of any state by absolute numbers.[19][20][21][22]

The five largest ancestry groups are: Italian (17.9%), Irish (15.9%), African (13.6%), German (12.6%), Polish (6.9%).

Newark and Camden are two of the poorest cities in America, but New Jersey as a whole has the second highest median household income among the states. This is largely because so much of New Jersey consists of suburbs, most of them affluent, of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey is also the most densely populated state in the nation, and the only state that has had every one of its counties deemed "urban" as defined by the Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area.

The state has very sizable enclaves of different language speaking communities. Some of these include (by ranking)

  • Spanish-spoken in many of the Hudson County towns, especially Union City.
  • Portuguese-spoken throughout the entire state, but Portuguese is common in the Ironbound section of Newark.
  • Italian-spoken throughout the state also, but is concentrated in the towns of Hudson and Essex counties.

The dominant race, ethnicity, or ancestry by county, according to the 2000 Census, is the following:

  • Italian - Bergen, Morris, Somerset, Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex, Union, Passaic, Hudson, Atlantic, Cumberland
  • Irish - Sussex, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Cape May
  • Black - Essex
  • German - Warren, Hunterdon, Salem

6.7% of its population was reported as under age 5, 24.8% under 18, and 13.2% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.5% of the population.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 12.31% of the population aged 5 and over speak Spanish at home, while 1.48% speak Italian.


Distributions of religions in New Jersey (2001)
Religious group %
Catholic 37
None 15
Baptist 8
Methodist 6
Refused to identify 5
(no denomination stated)
(by religion only)
Other 4
Presbyterian 4
Lutheran 3
Episcopalian/Anglican 2
Protestant 2
Jehovah's Witness 1
Mormon/LDS 1
Muslim/Islamic 1
Non-denominational 1
Pentecostal 1
Assemblies of God *
Buddhist *
Church of Christ *
Church of God *
Congregational/UCC *
Evangelical *
Seventh Day Adventist *

 *Less than 0.5%


The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that New Jersey's total state product in 2006 was $434 billion. Its per capita personal income in 2004 was $41,636, 2nd in the U.S. and 126% of the national average of $33,041. Its median household income is the highest in the nation with $55,146. It is ranked 2nd in the nation by the number of places with per capita incomes above national average with 76.4%. Nine of New Jersey's counties are in the wealthiest 100 of the country. New Jersey faces a deficit that could be as large as 3 billion for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2008.

New Jersey has seven tax brackets for determining income tax rates. The rates range from 1.4 to 8.97%. The standard sales tax rate is 7%, applicable to all retail sales unless specifically exempt by law. Exemptions include most food items for at-home preparation, medicines, clothing (except fur items), footwear, and disposable paper products for use in the home. Approximately 30 New Jersey municipalities are designated as Urban Enterprise Zones and shoppers are charged a 3½% tax rate, half of the rate charged outside the UEZs. Sections of Elizabeth and Jersey City are examples of communities that are subject to the lower sales tax rate. All real property located in the state is subject to property tax unless specifically exempted by statute. New Jersey does not assess an intangible personal property tax, but it does impose an inheritance tax.


New Jersey's economy is centered on the pharmaceutical industry, chemical development, telecommunications, food processing, electric equipment, printing and publishing, and tourism. New Jersey's agricultural outputs are nursery stock, horses, vegetables, fruits and nuts, seafood, and dairy products.

Although New Jersey is home to many energy-intensive industries, its energy consumption is only 2.7% of the U.S. total, and its carbon dioxide emissions are only 0.8% of the U.S. total. Its comparatively low greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to nuclear power. According to the Energy Information Administration, nuclear power dominates New Jersey’s electricity market, typically supplying more than one-half of State generation. New Jersey has three nuclear power plants, including the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, which came online in 1969 and is the oldest operating nuclear plant in the country.

New Jersey has a strong scientific economy. New Jersey is home to major pharmaceutical firms such as Johnson and Johnson, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Pfizer, Merck, Wyeth, Hoffman-LaRoche, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Schering-Plough. New Jersey is home to major telecommunications firms such as Verizon Wireless, Avaya, Alcatel-Lucent and AT&T Communications. Furthermore, New Jersey draws upon its large and well-educated labor pool which also supports the myriad of industries that exist today.

New Jersey is the ultimate bedroom community since the state is right next to New York City and Philadelphia. Thus, there is a strong service economy in New Jersey serving residents who work in New York City or Philadelphia. Some of these industries include retail sales, education and real estate. Newark Liberty International Airport is ranked seventh among the nation's busiest airports and among the top 20 busiest airports in the world.

Shipping is a strong industry in New Jersey because of the state's strategic location. The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal was the world's first container port and is one of the world's largest container ports. New Jersey also has a strong presence in chemical development, refining and food processing operations.

New Jersey hosts several business headquarters, including twenty-four Fortune 500 companies. Paramus is noted for having one of the highest retail sales per person ratios in the nation.

Several New Jersey counties such as Somerset (7), Morris (10), Hunterdon (13), Bergen (21), Monmouth (42) counties are ranked among the highest-income counties in the United States. Four others are also in the top 100.

Federal taxation disparity

New Jersey has the highest imbalance of any state in the United States between what it gives to the federal government and what it receives. In fiscal year 2005, New Jersey taxpayers gave the federal government $77 billion dollars but only received $55 billion dollars back. This difference is higher than any other state and means that for every $1.00 New Jersey taxpayers send to Washington, the state only receives $0.61 dollars back. This calculation is applied correctly after making the federal government deficit neutral as sometimes the federal government spends more than it takes in. As of 2005, New Jersey has never been above 48th in rank for per capita federal spending (with a rank of 50th for the majority of that time) since 1982 while being 2nd or 3rd in the per capita federal taxes paid to Washington.

As a result, New Jersey runs into deficits frequently and has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation. Factors for this include the large federal tax liability which is not adjusted for New Jersey's higher cost of living and Medicaid funding formulas. Incomes tend to be higher in New Jersey as shown by the study which puts people in higher tax brackets especially vulnerable to the alternative minimum tax, however such higher salaries are negated by the high taxes when you include the high property and state/local income taxes and the low rate of return by the federal government which may cause those high taxes.

Natural resources

New Jersey's greatest natural resource is its location, which has made the state a crossroads of commerce. Other commercial advantages include its extensive transportation system, which puts one quarter of all United States consumers within overnight delivery range. Lake and seaside resorts such as Atlantic City have contributed to New Jersey's rank of fifth among the states in revenues from tourism.

Despite more than three centuries of development almost half of New Jersey is still wooded. The chief tree of the northern forests is the oak. A large part of the southern section is in pine. Jersey oak has been used extensively in shipbuilding.

The mineral resources in New Jersey are small. The state, however, does rank high in smelting and refining minerals from other states. Some mining activity does still take place in the area in and around the Franklin Furnace, which was long a center of zinc production (see New Jersey Zinc Company).



The New Jersey Turnpike is one of the best-known and most-trafficked roadways in the United States. This toll road carries interstate traffic between Delaware and New York, and the East Coast in general. Commonly referred to as simply "the Turnpike," it is known for its numerous rest-areas named after prominent New Jerseyans as diverse as inventor Thomas Edison; United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton; United States Presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson; writers James Fenimore Cooper, Joyce Kilmer, and Walt Whitman; patriot Molly Pitcher; Red Cross advocate Clara Barton; and football coach Vince Lombardi.

The Garden State Parkway, or simply "the Parkway," carries more in-state traffic and runs from the town of Montvale along New Jersey's northern border to its southernmost tip at Cape May for 172.4 miles (277.5 km). It is the trunk that connects the New York metropolitan area to Atlantic City and it consistently one of the safest roads in the nation.

New Jersey is connected to New York City via various bridges and tunnels. The George Washington Bridge carries one of the heaviest loads of traffic in the world from New Jersey to the Washington Heights neighborhood in Upper Manhattan in New York City. The Lincoln Tunnel connects to Midtown Manhattan and the Holland Tunnel connects to Lower Manhattan. These are the three major Hudson River crossings that see heavy vehicular traffic. New Jersey is also connected to Staten Island by three bridges. From the southernmost to northernmost; the Outerbridge Crossing, Goethals Bridge, and Bayonne Bridge. The Goethals Bridge also provides a route from New Jersey to Brooklyn, New York.

Other expressways in New Jersey include the Atlantic City Expressway, the Palisades Interstate Parkway, Interstate 76, Interstate 78, Interstate 80, Interstate 195, Interstate 280, Interstate 287, and Interstate 295. Other major roadways include U.S. 1, U.S. 9, U.S. Route 1/9. Non-major roadways include Interstate 676 and U.S. Route 46.

New Jersey has interstate compacts with all three neighboring states. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the Delaware River Port Authority (with Pennsylvania), and the Delaware River and Bay Authority (with Delaware) operate most of the major transportation routes into and out of New Jersey. Bridge tolls are collected in one direction only — it is free to cross into New Jersey, but motorists must pay when exiting the state. Exceptions to this are the Dingman's Ferry Bridge and the Delaware River-Turnpike Toll Bridge where tolls are charged both ways. The Washington Crossing and Scudders Falls (on I-95) bridges near Trenton, as well as Trenton's Calhoun Street and Bridge Street ("Trenton Makes") bridges, are toll-free.


Newark Liberty International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States. Operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which runs the other two major airports in the New York metropolitan area (John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport), it is one of the main airports serving the New York City area. Continental Airlines is the facility's largest tenant, operating an entire terminal at Newark, which it uses as one of its primary hubs. United Airlines and FedEx operate cargo hubs. The adjacent Newark Airport railroad station provides access to the trains of Amtrak and New Jersey Transit along the Northeast Corridor Line.

Two smaller commercial airports, Atlantic City International Airport and Trenton-Mercer Airport, also operate in other parts of New Jersey. Teterboro Airport, in Bergen County, is a general aviation airport popular with private and corporate aircraft, due to its proximity to New York City. Millville Municipal Airport, in Cumberland County, is a general aviation airport popular with private and corporate aircraft, due to its proximity to the shore.

Rail and bus

The New Jersey Transit Corporation (N. J. Transit) operates extensive rail and bus service throughout the state. N. J. Transit is a state-run corporation that began with the consolidation of several private bus companies in North Jersey. In the early 1980s, it acquired the commuter train operations of Conrail that connect towns in northern and central New Jersey to New York City. NJ Transit has eleven lines that run throughout different parts of the state. Most of the trains start at various points in the state and most end at either Pennsylvania Station, in New York City, or Hoboken Terminal in Hoboken. NJ Transit began service between Atlantic City and Lindenwold in 1989 and extended it to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 1990s.

N. J. Transit also operates three light rail systems in the state. The Hudson-Bergen Light Rail connects Bayonne to North Bergen, with planned expansion into Bergen County communities. The Newark City Subway is the only subway system in the state. Its Main Line connects Newark Penn Station with Grove Street station in Bloomfield. The Broad Street Line of the subway, the first component of the Newark-Elizabeth Rail Link, opened in the summer of 2006. The last of the three light rail lines is the River Line which connects Trenton and Camden.

The PATH links North Jersey and New York City. The PATH operates four lines that connect various points in North Jersey and New York. The lines all start in either Hudson County or Essex County, New Jersey and end either at the World Trade Center station or at 33rd Street in Midtown Manhattan.

The PATCO High Speedline links Camden County and Philadelphia. PATCO operates a single elevated and subway line that runs from Lindenwold to Center City Philadelphia. PATCO operates stations in Lindenwold, Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Haddon Township, Collingswood, and Camden, along with four stations in Philadelphia.

Amtrak also operates numerous long-distance passenger trains in New Jersey to and from neighboring states and around the country. In addition to the Newark Airport connection, other major Amtrak railway stations include Trenton Rail Station, Metropark, and the grand historic Newark Penn Station.

SEPTA also has two lines that operate into New Jersey. The R7 lines terminates at the Trenton Rail Station, and the R3 lines terminates at the West Trenton Rail Station in Ewing.

AirTrain Newark is a monorail connecting the Amtrak/NJ Transit station on the Northeast Corridor to the airport's terminals and parking lots.

Some private bus carriers still remain in New Jersey. Most of these carriers operate with state funding to offset losses and state owned buses are provided to these carriers of which Coach USA companies make up the bulk. Other carriers include private charter and tour bus operators that take gamblers from other parts of New Jersey, New York City, Philadelphia, and Delaware to the casino resorts of Atlantic City.


There are many ferry services that operate in New Jersey.

On the Delaware Bay, the Delaware River and Bay Authority operates the Cape May-Lewes Ferry. The Delaware River and Bay Authority also operates ferries between Fort Mott in New Jersey and Fort Delaware and Fort DuPont in Delaware. The Delaware River Port Authority operates the RiverLink Ferry between the Camden waterfront and Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On the Hudson River, New York Waterway has numerous ferry terminals in Belford, Jersey City, Hoboken and Weehawken. The stops are at Port Liberte, Liberty Harbor, Colgate/Exchange Place in Jersey City, Belford, Port Imperial and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, Hoboken Terminal (Hoboken South) and 14th Street (Hoboken North) in Hoboken. These ferries run to one or several of the Manhattan stops at Wall Street, the World Financial Center or Midtown at 39th St. Liberty Landing in Jersey City has ferries from Portside in Paulus Hook and Liberty Landing in Liberty State Park. The Circle Line ferry has service from Liberty State Park to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Although there is a bridge from Ellis Island to Jersey City, it was built for renovations on the building on the island and is considered unsafe for public use. SeaStreak offers services from the Raritan Bayshore to Manhattan and during the Met's season Shea Stadium. The ferries on the Bayshore leave from Atlantic Highlands and two terminals in Highlands. New York Water Taxi also has seasonal service from Paulus Hook to Wall Street. Ferry service from Keyport and Perth Amboy have been proposed and ferry service from Elizabeth has been discussed with a proposed light rail connection to Newark Airport and Downtown Elizabeth.

Private bus carriers

Several private bus lines provide transportation service in the state of New Jersey. Below is a list of major carriers and their areas of operation:

  • Academy--commuter bus service from Burlington, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean counties to lower and midtown Manhattan
  • Bergen Avenue IBOA--local bus service in Jersey City
  • Broadway Bus--local bus service in Bayonne
  • Coach USA
    • Community Coach--commuter bus service from Essex and Morris counties
    • ONE Bus/Olympia Trails--local bus service in Essex and Union counties, commuter bus service from the Raritan Valley to Manhattan
    • Red & Tan in Hudson County--local bus service in Hudson County
    • Rockland Coaches--commuter and local bus service from Bergen County to Manhattan
    • Suburban Trails--commuter bus service from Middlesex County to Manhattan, local bus service in Middlesex County
  • DeCamp Bus Lines--commuter bus service from Essex County to Manhattan
  • Greyhound--interstate bus service from terminals in Newark, Atlantic City, and Mount Laurel
  • Lakeland Bus Lines--commuter and local bus service from Morris, Somerset, Union, and Sussex counties to Manhattan
  • Martz Trailways--service from Warren County to Manhattan
  • Montgomery & West Side IBOA--local bus service in Jersey City
  • Trans-Bridge Lines--service from the Skylands Region to and from Manhattan

Law and government


Jon Corzine (Democrat) is the Governor. The Governor of New Jersey is considered one of the most powerful governorships in the nation, as it is currently the only state-wide elected office in the state and appoints many government officials. Formerly, an Acting Governor was even more powerful as he simultaneously served as President of the New Jersey State Senate, thus directing half of the legislative and all of the executive process. In 2002 and 2007, President of the State Senate Richard Codey held the position of Acting Governor for a short time, and from 2004 to 2006 Codey became a long term Acting Governor due to Jim McGreevey's resignation. A 2005 amendment to the state Constitution prevents the Senate President from becoming Acting Governor in the event of a permanent gubernatorial vacancy without giving up their seat in the state Senate.

The governor's mansion is Drumthwacket, located in Princeton Township.

New Jersey is one of the few states that has no Lieutenant Governor. The first Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey will take office in January 2010 and will be elected conjointly with the Governor of New Jersey. The position was created as the result of a Constitutional amendment to the New Jersey State Constitution passed by the voters on November 8, 2005 and effective as of January 17, 2006.


The current version of the New Jersey State Constitution was adopted in 1947. It provides for a bicameral New Jersey Legislature, consisting of an upper house Senate of 40 members and a lower house General Assembly of 80 members. Each of the 40 legislative districts elects one State Senator and two Assembly members. Assembly members are elected for a two-year term in all odd-numbered years; State Senators are elected in the years ending in 1, 3, and 7 and thus serve either four- or two-year terms.

New Jersey is one of only five states that elects its state officials in odd numbered years (The others are Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia). New Jersey holds elections for these offices every 4 years in the years following federal Presidential election years. Thus, the last year when New Jersey elected a Governor was 2005; the next gubernatorial election will occur in 2009, with future gubernatorial elections to take place in 2013, 2017, 2021, etc.


The New Jersey Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. All are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of a majority of the membership of the State Senate. Justices serve an initial seven-year term, after which they can be reappointed to serve until age 70.

Most of the day-to-day work in the New Jersey courts is carried out in the Municipal Courts, where simple traffic tickets, minor criminal offenses, and small civil matters are heard. More serious criminal and civil cases are handled by the Superior Court for each county.

New Jersey is unusual in that it still has separate courts of law and equity, like its neighbor Delaware but unlike most other U.S. states. The New Jersey Superior Court is divided into Law and Chancery Divisions at the trial level.


New Jersey is broken up into 21 counties, 13 of which date from the colonial era. New Jersey was completely divided into counties by 1692; the present counties were created by dividing the existing ones; most recently Union County in 1857. New Jersey is the only state in the nation where elected county officials are called "Freeholders," governing each county as part of its own Board of Chosen Freeholders. The number of freeholders in each county is determined by referendum, and must consist of three, five, seven or nine members.

Depending on the county, the executive and legislative functions may be performed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders or split into separate branches of government. In some counties, members of the Board of Chosen Freeholders perform both legislative and executive functions on a commission basis, with each Freeholder assigned responsibility for a department or group of departments. In other counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Mercer), there is a directly-elected County Executive who performs the executive functions while the Board of Chosen Freeholders retains a legislative and oversight role. In counties without an Executive, a County Administrator (or County Manager) may be hired to perform day-to-day administration of county functions.


New Jersey has 566 municipalities; the number was 567 before Pahaquarry Township was absorbed by Hardwick Township in 1997. Unlike other states in the west and south, all New Jersey land is part of a municipality. In 2008, governor Jon Corzine proposed cutting state aid to all towns under 10,000 people, to encourage mergers to reduce administrative costs.

Types of government

When the types of government were devised in the nineteenth century, the intention was that cities would be large built-up areas, with progressively smaller boroughs, towns, and villages; the rural areas in between would be relatively large townships. This is still often true, although Shrewsbury Township has been divided over the years; today it is less than a square mile, consisting only of a single housing development. Some townships — notably Middletown, Brick, Hamilton, and Toms River — have, without changing their boundaries, become large stretches of suburbia, as populous as cities, often focused around shopping centers and highways rather than traditional downtowns and main streets.

Toms River, Short Hills, Murray Hill, and many other locations in New Jersey are not municipalities but rather neighborhoods, with no exact boundaries; often the cluster of houses, the traditional neighborhood, the postal district, and the Census designated place will differ.

The Federal Government has often failed to understand that a New Jersey township is just another municipality, and some municipalities have changed forms to become the Township of the Borough of Verona or the Township of South Orange Village to receive more federal aid.

Forms of government

The five types of municipality differ mostly in name. Originally, each type had its own form of government but more modern forms are available to any municipality, even though the original type is retained in its formal name. Only boroughs can (but are not required to) have the "borough form" of government.

Starting in the 1900s, largely driven by reform-minded goals, a series of six modern forms of government was implemented. This began with the Walsh Act, enacted in 1911 by the New Jersey Legislature, which provided for a 3- or 5-member commission elected on a non-partisan basis. This was followed by the 1923 Municipal Manager Law, which offered a non-partisan council, provided for a weak mayor elected by and from the members of the council, and introduced Council-Manager government with an (ideally apolitical) appointed manager responsible for day-to-day administration of municipal affairs.

The Faulkner Act, originally enacted in 1950 and substantially amended in 1981, offers four basic plans: Mayor-Council, Council-Manager, Small Municipality, and Mayor-Council-Administrator. The act provides many choices for communities with a preference for a strong executive and professional management of municipal affairs and offers great flexibility in allowing municipalities to select the characteristics of its government: the number of seats on the Council; seats selected at-large, by wards, or through a combination of both; staggered or concurrent terms of office; and a mayor chosen by the Council or elected directly by voters. Most large municipalities and a majority of New Jersey's residents are governed by municipalities with Faulkner Act charters. Municipalities can also formulate their own unique form of government and operate under a Special Charter with the approval of the New Jersey Legislature.

While municipalities retain their names derived from types of government, they may have changed to one of the modern forms of government, or further in the past to one of the other traditional forms, leading to municipalities with formal names quite baffling to the general public. For example, though there are four municipalities that are officially named villages, Loch Arbour is the only one remaining with the village form of government. The three other villages—Ridgefield Park (now with a Walsh Act form), Ridgewood (now with a Faulkner Act Council-Manager charter), and most confusingly, South Orange (now the Township of South Orange Village) —have all migrated to other non-village forms.


Political parties

New Jersey was once a politically competitive state in past federal elections but has become a Democratic stronghold beginning in 1992. In state elections, offices remain competitive; the New Jersey Legislature was evenly divided from 1999 to 2001. Currently, New Jersey Democrats hold the Governorship, have majority control of both houses of the Legislature (Senate: 22-18 & Assembly: 49-31), while federal Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats and also 7 out of 13 of the state's delegation to the United States House of Representatives. Republicans have not won a statewide election since 1997. With the exception of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential victory, no Republican has received a majority of the vote in a statewide election since 1985, though the state had a Republican governor from 1994 to 2002, as Christie Todd Whitman won twice with vote percentages of 47 and 49 percent.

In federal elections, the state leans heavily towards the national Democratic Party. It was, however, a Republican stronghold for years in the past, having given comfortable margins of victory to the Republican candidate in the close elections of 1948, 1968, and 1976. New Jersey was a crucial swing state in the elections of 1960, 1968, and 1992. The last elected Republican to hold a Senate seat from New Jersey was Clifford P. Case in 1979. (Nicholas F. Brady was appointed a U.S. Senator by Governor Thomas Kean in 1982 after Harrison A. Williams resigned the Senate seat following the Abscam investigations.)

The state's Democratic strongholds include Mercer County around Trenton and Princeton; Essex County and Hudson County, the state's two most urban counties, around the state's two largest cities, Newark and Jersey City; Camden County and most of the other urban communities just outside of Philadelphia and New York; and more suburban northern counties in New York's orbit, such as Union County and Middlesex County.

The more suburban northwestern and southeastern counties of the state are reliably Republican: Republicans have backing along the coast in Ocean County and in the mountainous northwestern part of the state, especially Sussex County, Morris County, and Warren County. Somerset County and Hunterdon County, other suburban counties in the region, are also Republican in local elections but can be competitive in national races. In the 2004 General Election, President George W. Bush received about 52% in Somerset and 60% in Hunterdon, while up in rural Republican Sussex County, Bush won with 64% of the vote.

About half of the counties in New Jersey, however, are considered swing counties, but some go more one way than others. For an example, Bergen County, which leans Republican in the northern half of the county, is mostly Democratic in the more populated southern parts, causing it to usually vote slightly Democratic (same with Passaic County, with a highly populated Hispanic Democratic south and a rural, Republican north), other "swing" counties like Cape May County tend to go Republican, as they also have population in conservative areas.

To be eligible to vote in a U.S. election, all New Jerseyans are required to start their residency in the state 30 days prior to an election and register 29 days prior.

Social attitudes and issues

Socially, New Jersey is considered one of the most liberal states in the nation. Polls indicate two-thirds of the population are self-described as pro-choice; and in a Zogby poll of 802 people, a majority supported same-sex marriage. A Rasmussen Reports poll, however, showed that New Jersey voters consider marriage a union between a man and a woman as opposed to one between any two people by a margin of 54-42%.

In April 2004, New Jersey enacted a domestic partnership law, which is available to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples aged 62 and over. During 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court voted 4 to 3 that state lawmakers must provide the rights and benefits of marriage to gay and lesbian couples. Moreover, effective February 19, 2007, New Jersey became the third state in U.S. (the other two being Connecticut and Vermont) to offer civil unions to same-sex couples, conferring over 850 rights, privileges and responsibilities of marriage; legislators declined, however, to use the term "marriage" for same-sex unions. Thus, three separate government-recognized relationships are now in effect in the Garden State: domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriage.

New Jersey also has some of the most stringent gun-control laws in the U.S. These include bans on assault firearms, hollow nose bullets and even slingshots. No gun offense in New Jersey is graded less than a felony. BB guns and black powder guns are all treated as modern firearms. Visitors to the state should beware of bringing any firearms into the state. New Jersey recognizes no out of state gun licenses and aggressively enforces its own gun laws.

Capital punishment

On December 17, 2007 Governor Corzine signed into law a bill that would completely eliminate the death penalty in New Jersey. New Jersey is the first state to pass such legislation since Iowa and West Virginia eliminated executions in 1965. There are only a handful of people on Death Row in New Jersey. Corzine also recently signed a bill that would downgrade the Death Row prisoners' sentences from "Death" to "Life in Prison with No Parole."

Prominent cities and towns

Large cities (100,000 or greater)

For its overall population and nation-leading density, New Jersey has a relative paucity of classic large cities. As of the United States 2000 Census, only four municipalities had populations in excess of 100,000. With the 2004 Census estimate, Woodbridge has surpassed Edison in population, as both joined the 100,000 club. The 2006 Census estimate states that both Edison and Woodbridge Township have dropped below the 100,000 mark.

  • Newark, Essex County: 273,546 (Census Estimate 2006: 281,402)
  • Jersey City, Hudson County: 240,055 (Census Estimate 2006: 241,791)
  • Paterson, Passaic County: 149,222 (Census Estimate 2006: 148,708)
  • Elizabeth, Union County: 120,568 (Census Estimate 2006: 126,179)
  • Edison, Middlesex County 97,687 (Census Estimate 2006: 99,523)
  • Woodbridge Township, Middlesex County: 97,203 (Census Estimate 2006: 99,208)

Towns and small cities (60,000 up to 100,000)

  • Toms River Township, Ocean County: 89,706 (Census Estimate 2006: 94,660)
  • Hamilton Township (Mercer County): 87,109 (Census Estimate 2006: 90,559)
  • Trenton, Mercer County: 85,403
  • Camden: 79,904
  • Clifton: 78,672
  • Brick Township: 76,119
  • Cherry Hill Township: 69,965
  • East Orange: 69,824
  • Passaic: 67,861
  • Union City: 67,088
  • Middletown Township: 66,327
  • Gloucester Township: 64,350
  • Bayonne: 61,842
  • Irvington: 60,695
  • Old Bridge Township 60,456
  • Lakewood Township 60,352

Wealth of municipalities

Wealth of municipalities and communities by per capita income:

1 Mantoloking, New Jersey $114,017
2 Saddle River, New Jersey $85,934
3 Far Hills, New Jersey $81,535
4 Essex Fells, New Jersey $77,434
5 Alpine, New Jersey $76,995

698 New Hanover Township, New Jersey $12,140
699 Lakewood CDP, New Jersey $11,802
700 Bridgeton, New Jersey $10,917
701 Fort Dix, New Jersey $10,543
702 Camden, New Jersey $9,815


Although some problems exist in certain inner city neighborhoods, New Jersey overall is considered to have one of the best public education systems in the United States. 54% of high school graduates continue on to college, which is tied with Massachusetts for the second highest rate in the nation (North Dakota holds first place at 59%). New Jersey also has the highest average scores for advanced placement testing in public schools in the nation. Secretary of Education Rick Rosenberg, appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, has created the Education Advancement Initiative (EAI) to increase College admission rates by 10% for New Jersey's high school students, decrease dropout rates by 15%, and increase the amount of money devoted to schools by 10%. Rosenberg was since forced to retract this plan when publicly criticized for taking the money out of healthcare to fund this initiative. New Jersey is ranked first in the nation in funding K-12 education but is ranked last in higher-education funding. New Jersey is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

Recreation and entertainment

Jersey Shore

  • Asbury Park
  • Allenhurst
  • Atlantic City
  • Avalon
  • Avon-by-the-Sea
  • Barnegat
  • Bay Head
  • Belmar
  • Brigantine
  • Cape May
  • Cliffwood Beach
  • Forked River
  • Island Beach State Park
  • Keansburg
  • Keyport
  • Long Beach Island
  • Long Branch
  • Longport
  • Manasquan
  • Margate
  • Monmouth Beach
  • Middletown
  • Neptune
  • Ocean City
  • Ocean Grove
  • Oceanport
  • Point Pleasant Beach
  • Red Bank
  • Sandy Hook
  • Sea Isle City
  • Sea Bright
  • Seaside Heights
  • Seaside Park
  • Spring Lake
  • Stone Harbor
  • Toms River
  • Union Beach
  • Wall
  • "The Wildwoods":
    • Diamond Beach
    • North Wildwood
    • West Wildwood
    • Wildwood
    • Wildwood Crest

Theme parks

  • Bowcraft Amusement Park
  • Land of Make Believe
  • Morey's Piers
  • Six Flags Great Adventure
  • Mountain Creek Waterpark
  • Clementon Amusement Park

Historic sites

  • The Indian King Tavern
  • Edison National Historic Site
  • Ellis Island National Monument
  • Emilio Carranza Crash Site and Monument
  • Grover Cleveland's Birthplace
  • Long Pond Ironworks State Park
  • Ringwood Manor
  • Monmouth Battlefield State Park
  • Morristown National Historical Park
    • Ford Mansion
    • Fort Nonsense
    • Jockey Hollow
  • New Bridge Landing
  • Old Dutch Parsonage
  • Princeton Battlefield
  • St. Michael's Church and Churchyard, Trenton, NJ
  • The USS New Jersey
  • Wallace House
  • Walt Whitman's Tomb and House
  • Washington Crossing State Park
  • Pomonah Hall


  • The Liberty Science Center
  • The Montclair Art Museum
  • The Morris Museum
  • The Newark Museum
  • The Thomas Edison Museum

Performing arts

  • New Jersey Performing Arts Center
  • Paper Mill Playhouse
  • PNC Bank Arts Center
  • Prudential Center

Camping and hiking

  • The Appalachian Trail
  • Camp Glen Gray
  • South Mountain Reservation


  • Gunnison Beach
  • Rock Lodge Club

Professional sports teams

New Jersey currently has five teams from major professional sports leagues playing in the state, although the Major League Soccer team and two National Football League teams identify as being from New York.

  • National Hockey League
    • New Jersey Devils (Newark)
  • National Basketball Association
    • New Jersey Nets (East Rutherford)
  • Major League Soccer
    • Red Bull New York (East Rutherford)
  • Major League Lacrosse
    • New Jersey Pride (Piscataway)
    • Bergen River Dogs (planned, expected to play at the Meadowlands Xanadu Complex)
  • National Football League
    • New York Giants (East Rutherford)
    • New York Jets (East Rutherford)
  • American Basketball Association
    • Jersey Express (Madison)
  • Great Lakes Indoor Football League
    • New Jersey Revolution (Morristown)
  • Minor League Baseball teams
    • Lakewood BlueClaws
    • New Jersey Jackals (Montclair)
    • Sussex Skyhawks (Augusta)
    • Trenton Thunder
    • Atlantic City Surf
    • Camden Riversharks
    • Newark Bears
    • Somerset Patriots (Bridgewater)
    • Bergen Cliff Hawks (planned, expected to play at the Meadowlands Xanadu Complex)
  • ECHL
    • Trenton Devils
  • MISL
    • New Jersey Ironmen (Newark)

Three of the state's four major professional sports teams play at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford. The Nets play in the Izod Center, and the Giants and Jets play in Giants Stadium. The Meadowlands and its sports venues are widely considered to be outdated by today's professional sports standards. This led to the Devils move away from the Meadowlands to the new Prudential Center in Newark at the start of the 2007-08 seasons. The Nets also have plans to leave the Meadowlands for Brooklyn as soon as the Barclays Center is completed for them. The Giants and Jets though announced in 2005 that they will be staying in the Meadowlands, and a new stadium for both teams should be ready by the 2010 season. The new stadium is part of the Xanadu Project taking shape at the sports complex. The Xanadu Project, when completed in 2008, will be the largest retail and entertainment complex in New Jersey.

The sports complex is also home to the Meadowlands Racetrack one of three major horse racing tracks in the state. The Meadowlands Racetrack along with Freehold Raceway in Freehold are two of the major harness racing tracks in North America. Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, is also a popular spot for thoroughbred racing in New Jersey and the northeast. It hosted the Breeders' Cup in 2007, and its turf course was renovated in preparation.

Collegiate sports teams

New Jersey's collegiate allegiances are more or less split among the two major Division 1 programs in the state- the Rutgers University (which is New Jersey's official state university) Scarlet Knights and the Seton Hall University (which is the state's largest Roman Catholic university) Pirates. Both compete in the Big East Conference, and the rivalry between the two teams has always been an intense one.

Rutgers, which fields 24 teams from various sports, is nationally known for its excellent football and women's basketball programs. The university is planning a large expansion to the on-campus Rutgers Stadium to accommodate the rising number of fans, and the teams play in Piscataway, which is adjacent to the New Brunswick campus. The university also fields rising basketball and baseball programs. Rutgers' fan base is mostly derived from the western parts of the state and Middlesex County, not to mention its alumni base, which is the largest in the state.

Seton Hall, unlike Rutgers, does not field a football team. However, their basketball team has been one of the most storied programs in the Big East, and they play their home games at the state-of-the-art Prudential Center, located in downtown Newark. The Pirates, while lacking as large of an alumni base as the state university, have a large well of support in the predominantly Roman Catholic areas of the northern part of the state and the Jersey Shore.


In 1978, the New Jersey legislature approved casino gambling in Atlantic City. At that time, Las Vegas was the only mega-casino resort. By 1978, Atlantic City was in decline. It was no longer the seaside resort that it once was. With the institution of casino gambling, Atlantic City has come back as a resort city. There are numerous famous casinos, with its main contributor being Donald Trump. Many lie along the Atlantic City Boardwalk, the longest boardwalk throughout the Jersey Shore.


  • Area code 201, assigned to Bergen and Hudson Counties, was the first area code assigned as part of the North American Numbering Plan.
  • New Jersey was recently rated one of the most excellent U.S. states to visit by Zagat's, second only to Ohio.
  • New Jersey has the lowest rate of depression in the United States found by a study from NAMI National Alliance on Mental Illness (
  • In an April 12, 2007 car accident, Corzine was the third straight New Jersey governor to break a leg while in office. James E. McGreevey broke his left leg in 2002 during a nighttime walk on the beach, and Christie Whitman broke her right leg while skiing in the Swiss Alps in 1999.
  • New Jersey has the largest grove of cherry blossom trees in the United States, in Newark's Branch Brook Park, eclipsing the more famous one in Washington D.C.
  • The USS New Jersey, one of the most decorated vessels in the United States Navy, was named in honor of this state and is now a tourist attraction in Camden.
  • New Jersey is the birthplace of many modern inventions such as: FM radio, the motion picture camera, the lithium battery, the light bulb, transistors, and the electric train. Other New Jersey creations include: the drive-in movie, the cultivated blueberry, cranberry sauce, the postcard, the boardwalk, the zipper, the phonograph, saltwater taffy, the dirigible, the seedless watermelon, the first use of a submarine in warfare, and the ice cream cone.
  • Joseph Bonaparte, the brother of Napoleon I, lived for 17 years in the South Jersey town of Bordentown.
  • New Jersey is home to the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world: Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson Township.
  • The first officially recorded baseball game in history was played at the Elysian Fields, Hoboken, New Jersey, with the New York Base Ball Club defeating the New York Knickerbockers with a score of 23-1. Alexander Cartwright formalized the rules and umpired.
  • The first intercollegiate football game in history was played in New Brunswick, New Jersey on November 6, 1869, with home team Rutgers University defeating Princeton University 6-4. Rutgers University is considered "The Birthplace of College Football."
  • The properties in the United States version of the board game Monopoly are named after the streets of Atlantic City.
  • The four-mile (6 km) long Boardwalk in Atlantic City was the world's first boardwalk and is still its largest.
  • The Lindbergh kidnapping drama unfolded in New Jersey in 1932.
  • New Jersey was the national pioneer of Megan's Law sex offender registries, following the 1994 rape and murder of Megan Kanka.
  • New Jersey has more horses per square mile than any other state. The United States Equestrian Team now is headquartered in Gladstone after being founded in Morristown.
  • The book Jaws by Peter Benchley, which inspired the classic film of the same name, was based on a series of actual shark attacks during the summer of 1916 that took place in Matawan and elsewhere off the Jersey Shore.
  • Diners are common in New Jersey. The state is home to many diner manufacturers and has more diners than any other state: over 600. There are more diners in the state of New Jersey than any other place in the world.
  • Ben Shahn settled in Roosevelt, New Jersey, and did most of his work there. The art building at William Paterson University of New Jersey is named after him.
  • Sculptor Jim Gary grew up in Colts Neck where he also opened his gallery, Iron Butterfly, before moving it to Red Bank. Jim Gary was the only living sculptor ever invited to have a solo show at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Later, his Twentieth Century Dinosaurs exhibition was featured as the first floor exhibit at the grand opening of New Jersey's first major science museum, the Liberty Science Center.
  • New Jersey is one of only two states (along with Oregon) where self-service filling of gasoline is prohibited.
  • The world's highest quality fluorescent minerals and the most number of minerals found in any one location is located in Franklin Furnace.[citation needed] There are mineral museums in Franklin and Ogdensburg.
  • New Jersey is the only state without a state song. "I'm From New Jersey" is incorrectly listed on many websites as being the New Jersey State Song, but wasn't even a contender when in 1996 the New Jersey Arts Council submitted their suggestions to the New Jersey Legislature.
  • As of 2008, New Jersey had more millionaire residents than any other state in the nation.
  • "Dancin' Larry", the mascot of the New York Rangers, is from Clifton.

Legends and ghosts

A long-circulated legend says a creature, the Jersey Devil or the Leeds Devil, terrorizes the population of the Pine Barrens. The New Jersey Devils are named for this mythical creature. New Jersey is also home to several other legends, such as the ghost of Annie's Road in Totowa and the haunted and demon-possessed Clinton Road in West Milford. Cooper Road in Middletown is assumed haunted by strange, ghostly people who jump out from behind trees at cars traveling down the unpaved, portion of the road. The unpaved section has no street lights and thus is very dangerous as it has sharp turns where the ghostly people, are assumed to jump in front of the cars from behind trees causing them to crash. There is also the Atco Ghost—the ghost of a little boy runs across the street late at night in Atco. It is also rumored that Jimmy Hoffa, the late leader of the Teamsters Union, is buried beneath Giants Stadium or the New Jersey Turnpike. However, on the popular television show MythBusters, the myth of Jimmy Hoffa being buried under Giants Stadium was debunked using ground penetrating radar.

The magazine Weird NJ (the creators of which later started Weird U.S.) had started to catalog and explore the ghosts, legends, and prevalence of otherwise "weird" things in the state.



There are many major New Jersey newspapers, including:

  • Asbury Park Press
  • Bridgeton News
  • Burlington County Times
  • Courier-Post
  • Cranford Chronicle
  • Daily Record (Morris).
  • The Express-Times
  • Gloucester County Times
  • Herald News
  • Hunterdon County Democrat
  • Independent Press
  • Jersey Journal
  • The New Jersey Herald.
  • The Ocean County Observer
  • The Press of Atlantic City
  • The Record
  • The Record-Press and Suburban News
  • The Reporter (Somerset)
  • The Star-Ledger
  • Today's Sunbeam
  • Trentonian (Mercer)
  • The Warren Reporter
  • The Trenton Times

College newspapers

  • Bergen Community College: The Torch
  • Camden County College: Campus Press
  • College of New Jersey: The Signal
  • Drew University: The Acorn
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University: The Equinox
  • Montclair State: The Montclarion
  • NJ Institute of Tech: The Vector Online
  • Princeton: Nassau Weekly
  • Princeton: The Daily Princetonian
  • Princeton: The Princeton Spectator
  • Rider University: The Rider News
  • Rowan University: The Whit
  • Rutgers: The Daily Targum
  • Rutgers: The Observer
  • Seton Hall: The Setonian
  • Stevens Institute of Technology: The Stute
  • Union County College: The Scroll
  • William Paterson University: Pioneer Times

Television and film

  • In the 1996 science fiction film Independence Day the scene in which Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch are playing chess was filmed in West New York.
  • Motion picture technology was invented in New Jersey, by Thomas Edison. The early work was done at his West Orange laboratory. His "Black Maria" was the first motion picture studio.
  • More recent motion pictures and television shows also have been set in New Jersey:
    • The popular television drama The Sopranos depicts the life of a New Jersey organized crime family and is filmed on location at various places throughout the state.
    • The Family Man, starring Nicholas Cage was filmed in Teaneck in 2000.
    • The 1979 film The Amityville Horror was filmed in Toms River and the scene in the church is filmed in Point Pleasant.
    • The popular FOX television show House is set in a fictional hospital located in the Princeton-Plainsboro area. (The exterior shots of the "hospital" are actually shots of the exterior of Princeton University's Frist Campus Center.)
    • Another FOX show, Point Pleasant was based on a fictional version of the town. (It was not shot on location within the actual town of the same name.)
    • Cartoon Network's Adult Swim cartoon Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Toonami cartoon Megas XLR are both set in New Jersey.
    • The opening of the popular NBC comedy Ed (TV series) was filmed in Hillsdale and Westfield, New Jersey.
  • Cable network CNBC originates most of its in-studio programming from Englewood Cliffs. Sister news network MSNBC broadcast from studios in Secaucus from 1997 until late 2007, when the network moved to Rockefeller Center's GE Building in a cost-cutting measure by parent company NBC Universal.
  • MyNetworkTV flagship station WWOR-TV (Channel 9) is licensed to and broadcasts from Secaucus; former owner RKO General moved the New York-based station across the Hudson in 1983 in an unsuccessful attempt to retain the station's license.
  • All of Kevin Smith's movies take place in New Jersey (though not all of them are filmed there), as Smith grew up in Red Bank.
  • The popular character The Toxic Avenger is often touted as the first superhero from New Jersey.
  • Camp NoBeBoSco in Blairstown was the location of the original Friday the 13th movie (some believe the series of films to be set in New Jersey, although this is never confirmed onscreen), which was partially based on real murders that have occurred near the campground, in the state's rural northwest. Such horror stories were the inspiration behind the now nationally famous Weird NJ magazine and website.
  • In the animated television comedy Futurama, New Jersey is slandered many times by the characters. In one episode, Fry finds a seemingly ideal apartment in New Jersey while house hunting, but later comments that he found "not one place even remotely liveable". In another, when discussing the global garbage problem, a television ad states that "...landfills were full...New Jersey was full...", implying a lack of places to store garbage. Additionally, Robot Hell is located in Atlantic City.
  • In the 2005 film adaptation of War of the Worlds, the beginning of the movie is set in New Jersey, a homage to the 1968 radio broadcast.
  • The film World Trade Center (film) staring Nicholas Cage had numerous scenes shot in Glen Rock, New Jersey


New Jersey has long been an important area for both rock and rap music. Some prominent musicians from or with significant connections to New Jersey are:

  • Singer Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken. He sang with a neighborhood vocal group, the Hoboken Four, and appeared in neighborhood theater amateur shows before he became an entertainment legend as an Academy Award winning actor and one of the most famous male vocalists of all time.
  • Bruce Springsteen, who has sung of New Jersey life on most of his albums, hails from Freehold and is the most popular rock musician to ever come out of the state. Some of his songs that represent New Jersey life are "Born to Run," "Spirit In The Night," "Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)," "Thunder Road," "Atlantic City," and "Jungleland."
  • The Jonas Brothers all reside in Wyckoff, New Jersey, where the eldest brother of the group, Kevin Jonas was born, as well as the youngest Jonas, Frankie.
  • Irvington's Queen Latifah was the first female rapper to succeed in music, film, and television.
  • Lauryn Hill is from South Orange, New Jersey. Her 1998 debut solo album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, sold 10 million copies internationally. She also sold millions with The Fugees second album The Score.
  • Redman (Reggie Noble) was born, raised, and resides in Newark. He is the most successful African-American solo hip-hop artist out of New Jersey.
  • All members of The Sugarhill Gang were born in Englewood.
  • Jon Bon Jovi, who hails from Sayreville, reached fame in the 1980s with hard rock outfit Bon Jovi. The band has also written many songs about life in New Jersey including "Livin' On A Prayer" and even named one of his albums after the state. (see New Jersey)
  • Singer Dionne Warwick was born in East Orange.
  • Singer Whitney Houston (who is Dionne Warwick's cousin) was born in Newark, and grew up in neighboring East Orange.
  • Legendary jazz pianist and bandleader Count Basie was born in Red Bank in 1904. In the 1960s, he collaborated on several albums with fellow New Jersey native Frank Sinatra. The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank is named in his honor.
  • Parliament-Funkadelic, the pioneering funk music collective, was formed in Plainfield by George Clinton.
  • Asbury Park is home of The Stone Pony, which Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi frequented early in their careers and is still considered by many to be a "Mecca" for up-and-coming Jersey Shore musicians.
  • Hip-hop pioneers Naughty By Nature hail from East Orange.
  • In 1964, the Isley Brothers founded the record label T-Neck Records, named after Teaneck, their home at the time.
  • The Broadway musical "Jersey Boys" is based on the lives of the members of the Four Seasons, three of whose members were born in New Jersey (Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli, and Nick Massi)
  • Famous jazz pianist Bill Evans was born in Plainfield in 1929.
  • Famous hardcore rock band Thursday were formed in New Brunswick, NJ. Numerous songs reference the city.
  • Horror punk band The Misfits hail from Lodi, as well as their founder Glenn Danzig.
  • Punk rock poet Patti Smith is from Mantua.
  • Acclaimed indie rock veterans Yo La Tengo are based in Hoboken. They also have a song called "The Night Falls on Hoboken".
  • New Jersey was the hub for ska music in the 90's. Some of the most popular ska bands, such as Catch 22 and Streetlight Manifesto, come from East Brunswick.
  • Black Label Society's and Ozzy Osbourne's famed guitarist Zakk Wylde was born in Bayonne and raised in Jackson
  • The Bouncing Souls original four members grew up in Basking Ridge and formed in New Brunswick in the late 1980s.
  • My Chemical Romance's Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Mikey Way, and Ray Toro all hail from Belleville, New Jersey.
  • Cobra Starship frontman Gabe Saporta is from New Jersey

State symbols

State animal Horse
(Equus caballus)
State bird American Goldfinch
(Carduelis tristis)
State freshwater fish Brook trout
(Salvelinus fontinalis)
State dance Square dance
State insect European honey bee
(Apis mellifera)
State flower Common meadow violet
(Viola sororia)
State motto "Liberty and Prosperity"
State song None[71]
State tree Northern Red Oak
(Quercus borealis maxima)
(syn. Quercus rubra)
State dinosaur Hadrosaurus foulkii
State soil Downer
State color Buff and Jersey Blue
State ship A. J. Meerwald
State fruit Northern highbush blueberry
(Vaccinium corymbosum)
State vegetable Jersey tomato
(Lycopersicon esculentum)
State shell Knobbed whelk
(Busycon carica gmelin)
State memorial tree Dogwood
(Cornus Florida)
State slogan Come See For Yourself

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