New Jersey is the fourth smallest and most densely populated state of the United States of America; the U.S. postal abbreviation is NJ. The state is named after the island of Jersey in the English Channel.
- 1 History
- 2 Law and government
- 3 Geography
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Cities, towns, boroughs, villages, and townships
- 9 Counties
- 10 Lists of municipalities
- 11 Education
- 12 Professional sports teams
- 13 Miscellaneous information
- 14 See also
- 15 External links
- Main article: History of New Jersey
Once inhabited by the tribes of the Lenape Indians, New Jersey was settled by the Dutch in the early 1630s, who formed a settlement at present-day Jersey City. At the time, much of what is now New Jersey was claimed as part of the Dutch colony of New Netherland, which also included parts of present-day New York State and had its capital at New Amsterdam, now known as New York City. Some of southwestern New Jersey also was settled by the Swedes in the mid-1600s as part of the Swedish colony of New Sweden, which included parts of Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania. These territories were taken by the Dutch in 1654 and incorporated into New Netherlands.
- Main article: Province of New Jersey
The entire region became a territory of Britain in 1664 when a British fleet under the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls sailed into what is today New York Harbor and took over the colony. They met minimal resistance, perhaps because of the unpopularity of the Dutch colonial governor, Peter Stuyvesant. The newly taken lands were divided by King Charles II of England, 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 been loyal through the English Civil War: Sir George Carteret and Lord Berkeley of Stratton.
During the English Civil War the Channel Isle of Jersey remained loyal to The English 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 of England in 1649, following the execution of his father, Charles I of England. In 1663 in recognition of his loyalty to the English Crown Sir George Carteret, Jersey's Royalist Governor, was gifted a large tract of land in North America henceforth known as New Jersey.
Settlement for the first 10 years of English rule was in the Hudson River region and came primarily from New England. The first permanent English settlement was Elizabethtown, now Elizabeth. On March 18, 1673 Berkeley sold his half of New Jersey 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 as two distinct provinces, West Jersey and East Jersey, for the 28 years between 1674 and 1702. In 1702, the two provinces were united under a royal, rather than a proprietary, governor.
Revolutionary War era
During the War for Independence, British and American armies crossed New Jersey several times. Today, New Jersey is often referred to as "The Crossroads of the Revolution".
In December, 1776, the Continental Army under George Washington crossed the Delaware River and engaged Hessian troops in the Battle of Trenton. The river crossing has become an iconic moment in the early history of the United States of America, having been immortalized in Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze's painting Washington Crossing the Delaware.
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.
Ironically, on February 15, 1804 New Jersey became the last northern state to abolish slavery by enacting legislation that slowly phased out slavery. However, by the close of the Civil War, about a dozen African-Americans in New Jersey were still apprenticed freedmen and New Jersey initially refused to ratify the Constitutional Amendments banning slavery and granting rights to America's Black population.
The New Jersey Constitution of 1776 gives the vote to "all inhabitants of this Colony, of full age, who are worth fifty pounds proclamation money." This included blacks, spinsters, and widows. (Married women could not own property under the common law.) It used to be held that this was an accident of hasty drafting: the British were at Staten Island when the constitution was proclaimed, and it declares itself temporary, void if there was reconciliation with Great Britain. Klinghoffer and Elkis ("The Petticoat Electors: Women’s Suffrage in New Jersey, 1776–1807." Journal of the Early Republic 12, no. 2 (1992): 159–193.) show that it was a considered decision, and enforced by later law.
Both sides in elections mocked the other for relying on "petticoat electors"; both accused each other of letting unqualified women (including married women) vote. A Federalist legislature passed a voting rights act which applied only to those counties where the Federalists were strong; a Democratic legislature extended it to the entire state. In 1807, as a side-effect of a reconciliation within the Democratic Party, the legislature reinterpreted the constitution (which had been an ordinary act of the Provincial Congress) to mean universal white male suffrage, with no property requirement; but they disenfranchised paupers, to keep down the Irish.
Law and government
The state capital of New Jersey is Trenton. Jon Corzine was elected Governor of New Jersey on November 8, 2005, and will take office on January 10, 2006. Currently, Richard Codey (Democrat) is the Acting governor, because he is (and concurrently serves as) President of the State Senate. Former Governor James E. McGreevey resigned on November 15, 2004, and New Jersey (along with Arizona, Maine, New Hampshire, Oregon, West Virginia, and Wyoming) had no position of Lieutenant Governor at the time. However, on Election Day, November 8, 2005, the voters passed an amendment to the state constitution that creates the position of Lieutenant Governor, effective with the 2009 elections. The amendment also provides that in the event of a permanent vacancy in the office of Governor before the first Lieutenant Governor takes office, the President of the Senate, followed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, would become Governor (rather than Acting Governor) but will now be required to vacate his or her Senate (or Assembly) seat.
The New Jersey governor is considered one of the most powerful governorships in the nation, as it is the only state-wide elected office in the state and appoints many government officials. Additionally, an acting governor is even more powerful as he simultaneously serves as president of the senate, thus directing the entire legislative and executive process. Current Acting Governor Codey will be the last Acting Governor to serve simultaneously as Senate President, as a result of the Constitutional amendment approved by the voters in 2005.
The state's two U.S. Senators are Frank R. Lautenberg (Democrat) and Jon Corzine (Democrat). As governor-elect, Corzine will appoint his own replacement after he steps down from the Senate and is sworn in as Governor in January. New Jersey has 13 Congressional Districts.
New Jersey is a politically competitive state; the Governorship has alternated between the parties since the election of Richard J. Hughes in 1961; the legislature has also switched hands, and one house was evenly divided from 1999–2001. Three of the last four gubernatorial elections have been close. The Congressional seats have also been as evenly divided as thirteen seats can be.
In national elections, the state now tends to lean 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. In national elections, the state gave large victories to Democrats in the 1990's, while in the 2004 presidential election, John F. Kerry defeated George W. Bush by about 6%. The last elected Republican to hold a Senate seat from New Jersey was Clifford P. Case in 1979. (Nicholas 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. Brady served eight months.
The state's Democratic strongholds include Mercer County around the cities of 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; as well as in Camden County and most of the other urban communities just outside of Philadelphia and New York City. More suburban northern counties in the orbit of New York, such as Union and Middlesex, also trend Democratic.
The more suburban northwestern and southeastern counties of the state are reliably Republican: Republicans have strong 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 and Hunterdon counties, more suburban counties in the region, are also Republican in local elections, but can be competitive in national races. In the 2004 General Election, Bush received about 51% in Somerset and 56% 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 tend to go Republican, as they also have population in conservative areas.
The governor's mansion is Drumthwacket.
The constitution was adopted in 1947. It provides for a bicameral Legislature consisting of a Senate of 40 members and an Assembly of 80 members. Each of the 40 legislative districts elects one Senator and two Assembly members. Assembly members are elected by the people for a two year term in all odd-numbered years; Senators are elected in the years ending in 1, 3, and 7 and thus serve either four or two year terms.
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.
New Jersey is broadly divided into three geographic regions: they are North Jersey, Central Jersey, and South Jersey. North Jersey is within New York City's general sphere of influence, with many of its residents commuting into the city for work. Central Jersey is a largely suburban area, while South Jersey is within Philadelphia's general sphere of influence. Such geographic definitions are broad, however, and there is often dispute over where one region begins and another ends.
New Jersey is bordered on the north and northeast by New York, on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Delaware, and on the west by Pennsylvania (the latter two across the Delaware River.) Prominent geographic features include:
- Delaware Water Gap
- Musconetcong River
- New Jersey Meadowlands
- The Palisades
- Passaic River
- Pine Barrens
- Rancocas River
- Raritan River
- Sandy Hook
- South Mountain
The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that New Jersey's total state product in 2003 was $397 billion. New Jersey's per capita income is the highest in the nation. Its per capita personal income in 2003 was $40,427, 4th in the United States of America. Its median household income is also the highest in the nation with $55,146. It is also 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 also in the wealthiest 100 of the country. Women in New Jersey earn the highest per capita income as stated in a 2002 article in the Newark Star-Ledger.
Its agricultural outputs are nursery stock, horses, vegetables, fruits and nuts, seafood, and dairy products. In particular, cranberries and eggplant are two of the state's largest crops. Hammonton in the southern part of the state is known as the blueberry capital of the world. Its industrial outputs are pharmaceutical and chemical products, food processing, electric equipment, printing and publishing, and tourism. New Jersey's economy has a large base of industry and chemical manufacturing. Additionally, New Jersey is home to the largest petroleum containment system in the world, outside of the Middle East. Although the state is certainly not defined by these activities, their existence and visibility to those passing through the state along some of its major highways does contribute to many jokes about pollution and ironic plays on the state's nickname, the "Garden State." In terms of quantity and quality, New Jersey ranks ninth in the union, in the number of manufactured goods that come from this state's factories.
New Jersey is also a leader in the number of businesses that have their headquarters or do business here. 50 Fortune 500 companies alone have headquarters or do business in Morris County alone. Nearly 100 Fortune 500 companies have headquarters or conduct business in New Jersey. This allows New Jersey to have the largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the world. Paramus is long noted for having one of the highest business per person ratio in the nation, because of the huge number of shops in that town and the surrounding area. Several New Jersey counties such as Essex, Morris, Middlesex, Union, and Bergen counties have been ranked in the World Almanac 2002, as being among the top 15 highest per person per capita income areas in the country. New Jersey has the nation's most diverse economy, with its major industries being agriculture, tourism, nursery products, electronics, manufacturing equipment, pharmacuticals, etc. It is for this reason, New Jersey is able to weather severe economic declines in the national economy and it is why New Jersey's unemployment rate is well below the national average. New Jersey's location between Philadephia and New York City, has allowed New Jersey to grow and thrive since the time of its creation as a state in 1702. Another of New Jersey's great strengths is its large and well-educated labor pool that allow the myriad of industries to exist today. The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is the world's largest container ports. Newark Liberty International Airport is ranked as number 7 in the top ten list of the nation's busiest airports and among the top 20 busiest airports in the world.
Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the largest theme parks in the world. It is home to the largest wild safari out of Africa and is now home to the world's tallest and fastest coaster, Kingda Ka. As of 2001, New Jersey makes $30 billion each year from tourism as stated in the Star-Ledger's article The Best Of New Jersey. New Jersey is one of the top ten most visited states in the nation.
As of 2004, the population of New Jersey was estimated to be 8,698,879. There are 1.6 million foreign-born living in the state (accounting for 19.2% of the state population). New Jersey is the tenth most populous state, but the most densely populated, at 1,134.4 residents per square mile. .
Race, ethnicity, and ancestry
The racial makeup of New Jersey is:
- 66.0% White Non-Hispanic
- 13.6% Black
- 13.3% Hispanic
- 5.7% Asian
- 0.2% Native American (U.S. Census)
- 2.5% Mixed race
New Jersey has the 15th largest percentage of minority residents of any state and the 2nd highest percentage in the North.
Race/ethnicity citation with state percentages: (Adobe PDF)
Diversity index citation with state percentages: (Microsoft Excel) It also has the second largest percentage of Jews (after New York), the second largest percentage of Muslims (after Michigan). New Jersey is the third most Italian-American state in the nation, according to the 2000 Census, and has large percentages of Blacks, Hispanics, Arabs, and Asians.
Ancestry citation with state percentages: (Adobe PDF)
Newark and Camden are two of the poorest cities in America, but New Jersey as a whole has the highest median household income in the nation, as well as the second highest per capita income, after Connecticut. This is largely due to the fact that so much of New Jersey is comprised 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 first and only state that has had every one of its 21 counties deemed "urban," as opposed to rural.
The dominant race, ethnicity, or ancestry by region and county, according to the 2000 Census, are the following:
- New Jersey
- Italian - Bergen, Morris, Somerset, Ocean, Monmouth counties
- Irish - Sussex
- Black - Essex, Union, Mercer
- German - Warren, Hunterdon
- Polish/Slavic - Middlesex
- Puerto Rican/Hispanic - Hudson, Passaic
- Turkish - Passaic, Hudson, Bergen
6.7% of its population were reported as under 5, 24.8% under 18, and 13.2% were 65 or older. Females made up approximately 51.5% of the population.
The religious affiliations of adults of New Jersey are:
- Christian – 77%
- Jewish – 5%
- Muslim – 1%
- Other Religions (e.g. Hindu, Sikh) – 1%
- Non-Religious – 16%
- Musician Bruce Springsteen, who has sung of New Jersey life on his debut album, Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. and in many of his most popular songs, including "Atlantic City," "Born to Run," "Darlington County," "Freehold," "Jersey Girl" (written by Tom Waits), "Jungleland," "Spirit in the Night," and others. Fellow musician Jon Bon Jovi has also written many songs about New Jersey and even named one of his albums after it (see New Jersey). Both reside in New Jersey today.
- Frank Sinatra, born December 12, 1915, the only child of working-class Italian-American immigrants, in a tenement at 415 Monroe St. 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 and Academy Award winning actor.
- Whitney Houston is from the city of Newark, New Jersey, is best known for her cover of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You" which set new records for sales and weeks at number one. Houston has sold well over 180 million records internationally.
- Bob Dylan's song "Hurricane" is about the accusation and trial of Rubin Carter which took place in Paterson. Dylan's view is that Carter was innocent. (In 1985 United States District Court judge H. Lee Sarokin ruled that Carter had not received a fair trial, saying that the prosecution had been "based on racism rather than reason, and concealment rather than disclosure.")
- Legendary jazz pianist and bandleader Count Basie, born in Red Bank in 1904. In the 1960s, he collaborated on several albums with fellow New Jersey native Frank Sinatra.
- Asbury Park, home of The Stone Pony, where Springsteen and Bon Jovi frequented early in their careers, which is still considered by many to be a "Mecca" for up-and-coming musicians.
- The Velvet Underground, who had their first performance as a band at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey. Songs included "There She Goes Again" and "Heroin."
- Jerseyan Zakk Wylde of Jersey City, who is currently the guitarist with Ozzy Osbourne and is with another popular rock band, Black Label Society. Wylde is famous for his signature "Bulls-eye" Gibson Les Paul guitar.
- Former Fugee Lauryn Hill, a South Orange resident and hip-hop's best-selling solo female artist. Her 1998 debut album, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, sold 10 million copies internationally.
- Hip-hop's longest running radio show, founded by two Jerseyans, Special K (Kevin Bonners) and Teddy Ted (Ted Whiting) of Hackensack, who began on New York's WHBI in 1982 and now appear on WPAT-AM.
- Other rap artists, including Irvington's Queen Latifah, the first female rapper to succeed in music, film, and TV, and the Grammy-winning Naughty By Nature of East Orange, who cut 1992's smash hit "O.P.P." Redman, an influential underground figure and Newark native, has recently found commercial success through collaborations with Eminem and the Wu-Tang Clan's Method Man.
- Musical artists Fountains of Wayne , a group of New Jerseyians who took the name of a semi-famous lawn and garden store  on Route 46 in Wayne, New Jersey (also featured on an episode of The Sopranos).
- The band Snowball 37 , a group of brothers who were inspired by a Kevin Smith reference, is based out of Jersey City.
- The genre Emo until recently thrived in New Jersey, particularly near New Brunswick. Such bands that fit into this category include Thursday, My Chemical Romance, Midtown, Senses Fail, Saves The Day, Hidden In Plain View, The Early November, Armor For Sleep, The Escape Engine, for some more popular bands, recently, the growth of Jersey emo bands has seen somewhat of a decrease as the genre has moved elsewhere.
- Punk music is also an important alternative style in New Jersey, perhaps starting with the band that essentially invented horror punk, The Misfits from Lodi, in the 90's, The Bouncing Souls and Catch 22 were also prominent figures in New Jersey punk, strongly influenced by New Brunswick's Sticks and Stones.
- The DeLeo brothers of Stone Temple Pilots are both from New Jersey. The brothers, Dean and Robert, are the guitarist and bassist for the band.
- Pete Yorn is another New Jersey artist. He has two albums out: musicforthemorningafter (2001) and Day I Forgot (2003).
- Blues Traveler was formed at Princeton High School in 1987. John Popper, along with high school buddies drummer Brendan Hill, guitarist Chan Kinchla and the late bassist Bobby Sheehan are all natives of New Jersey.
- Spin Doctors began as Trucking Company in 1989 with Chris Barron (lead singer) and Eric Schenkman and were high school friends of the aformentioned Blues Traveler frontman John Popper at Princeton High School.
- American Idol season 4 contestant Anwar Robinson, considered to be one of AI's most talented male singers, was born in Newark and grew up in East Orange and Montclair, in addition, he teaches music at Edison Middle School in West Orange
- Legendary rock band Queen (touring with Bad Company frontman Paul Rodgers) chose a New Jersey venue-the Continental Airlines Arena- to perform their first USA concert in 23 years at on October 16, 2005. The crowd surprised them with a strong reaction and plentiful participation, even in what were thought to be the lesser-known songs.
- The three members of the Fugees were from South Orange, NJ.
- Coheed and Cambria mentions the Jersey city Devil in one of their songs
TV and film
Motion pictures and televisions 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.
Although not credited, at least one scene from The Godfather (1972) was filmed in New Jersey. The scene with Clemenza's famous line, "Leave the gun. Take the cannolis," was filmed in the marsh along the Hudson River in Jersey City, just west of the Statue of Liberty, in what is now Liberty State Park.
The 2004 Sundance Film Festival favorite Garden State (starring Zach Braff and Natalie Portman) was shot on location in Morris Township. Also, the popular animated series Aqua Teen Hunger Force and not so popular Megas XLR take place primarily in New Jersey.
Director Kevin Smith sets many of his films in New Jersey, particularly his "New Jersey Trilogy" of Clerks., Mallrats and Chasing Amy. The 2004 movie Jersey Girl is also based in New Jersey. Clerks. also had a short-lived animated series spin-off with the same name. It took place in the same locations as the movie.
Actor Jack Nicholson grew up on the Jersey shore, and went to Manasquan High School in Monmouth County.
The 2004 stoner film Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle took place in New Jersey. Several locations seen in the movie include Princeton University, Newark, New Brunswick, and a fictional White Castle in Cherry Hill.
Legends and Ghosts
A long circulated legend says a creature, the Jersey Devil or the Leeds Devil, terrorizes the population of the Pine Barrens (New Jersey). New Jersey is also home to several other urban legends, such as the ghost of Annie's Road in Totowa, Midgetville in Edgewater, Albino Village in Clifton, the haunted and demon-possessed Clinton Road in West Milford, and the Witch of Igoe Road in Marlboro. There is also the popular attraction of the Atco Ghost where the ghost of a little boy runs across the street late at night chasing a basketball located on Burnt Mill Road 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.
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.
Diners are considered very common in New Jersey, and it's thought that nearly all medium-sized and larger towns have one. New Jersey is home to many diner manufacturers.
The New Jersey Turnpike is one of the best-known and most-trafficked roadways in the USA. This toll road carries interstate traffic between Delaware and New York. Commonly referred to as simply "the Turnpike," it is also known for its numerous rest-areas named after prominent New Jerseyans as varied as inventor Thomas Edison; United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton; U.S. 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 just "the Parkway," and "The Garden State Parking Lot" on Fridays during the summer, carries more in-state traffic, and runs from the town of Montvale along New Jersey's northern border with New York to the southernmost tip of the state at Cape May. It is true that some New Jersey residents who live near the Parkway or the Turnpike (a majority of the state population) locate their hometowns according to their respective highway exits, though very few New Jerseyans living anywhere else in the state will do so. It also acts as the trunk that connects the New York metropolitan area to Atlantic City.
The New Jersey Transit Corporation (NJ Transit) operates extensive rail and bus service throughout the state. NJ 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. In 1989, NJ Transit began service between Atlantic City and Lindenwold, extending it to Philadelphia in the 1990s.
New Jersey has interstate compacts with all three neighboring states. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 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. Tolls for the bridges are charged in one direction—it is free to get into New Jersey, but people have to pay to get out. The Scudders Falls bridge on I-95 near Trenton is still free as of this writing.
Newark Liberty International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United States. Run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, who runs the other two major airports in the New York City region: John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, it is one of the main airports serving the New York City area. Continental Airlines is Newark's largest tenant, operating an entire terminal at Newark which they use as a hub. United Airlines and FedEx operate cargo hubs. The airport has its own railroad station on New Jersey Transit's Northeast Corridor Line which is also served by Amtrak.
- See also: List of New Jersey State Highways
Cities, towns, boroughs, villages, and townships
New Jersey has 566 municipalities; until recently, 567. Unlike other states, all of its municipalities are incorporated entities, with fixed boundaries, and no local government can simply absorb land from another.
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, New Jersey has been divided until it is less than a square mile, and consists of a single housing development. Some townships -- notably Middletown, Brick, Hamilton, and Dover (which includes Toms River) -- have, without changing their boundaries, become large stretches of suburbia, as populous as (if often more spread out than) cities, often focused around shopping centers and highways rather than traditional downtowns and main streets.
As with Toms River, many locations in New Jersey are simply 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. The Census Bureau also has a hard time every ten years.
Forms of government
Template:NJmunigov 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. This is the only difference between boroughs and cities or townships: only boroughs can have the "borough form" of government.
Starting in the 1900s, largely driven by reform-minded goals, a series of six modern forms of government were implemented. This began with the Walsh Act, enacted in 1911, 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, a weak mayor elected by and from among 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 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.
While municipalities retain their type of government, they may have changed to one of the modern forms 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 with the Village type of government, Loch Arbour is New Jersey's 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.
New Jersey is broken up into 21 counties, most of which are vestiges of the colonial area, and the remainder partitioned from existing counties in the 1800s. New Jersey is the only state in the nation where elected county officials are called "Freeholders," serving together on a Board of Chosen Freeholders in each county. The number of freeholders in each county is determined by referendum, and cannot exceed nine members.
Depending on the county, the executive and legislative functions may be performed by the Board of Chosen Freeholders or split into separate components. 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.
Lists of municipalities
Major cities (and their populations):
Large cities (+ 100,000 pop.)
- Newark: 273,546 (Census Estimate 2003: 278,000)
- Jersey City: 240,055 (Census Estimate 2003: 242,000)
- Paterson: 149,222 (Census Estimate 2003: 152,000)
- Elizabeth: 120,568 (Census Estimate 2003: 124,000)
- Edison 97,687 (Census Estimate 2003: 101,000)
- Woodbridge: 97,203 (Census Estimate 2003: 108,000)
Towns and small cities (60,000–99,999 pop.)
- Dover Township: (Census Estimate 2003: 93,000) - includes Toms River, a subsection of the municipality. This township is not to be confused with the town of Dover, which is in a different county.
- Hamilton: 87,109
- Toms River: 86,327 - a town which is part of Dover Township. This figure is for the census-designated place.
- Trenton: 85,403
- Camden: 79,904
- Clifton: 78,672
- Brick: 76,119
- Cherry Hill: 69,965
- East Orange: 69,824
- Passaic: 67,861
- Union City: 67,088
- Middletown: 66,327
- Gloucester: 64,350
- Bayonne: 61,842
- Irvington: 60,695
- Old Bridge 60,456
- Lakewood 60,352
Other (59,999 -)
The following communities are college towns or other notable places in New Jersey with under 60,000 people.
- Asbury Park
- Atlantic City
- Fort Lee
- Long Branch
- New Brunswick
- Point Pleasant
- Red Bank
- South Orange
- West Orange
Wealth of cities by per capita income:
1 Mantoloking, New Jersey $114,017
693 Newark, New Jersey $13,009
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. In addition, 54% of high school graduates continue on to college or university, 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.
New Jersey is home to more scientists and engineers than any other state. 
Colleges and universities
Institution Name, Location
In addition to the above institutions, there are 19 community colleges, serving the 21 counties in the state.
Institution Name, Location
- Atlantic Cape Community College, Mays Landing
- Bergen Community College, Paramus
- Brookdale Community College, Lincroft
- Burlington County College, Pemberton
- Camden County College, Blackwood, Camden and Cherry Hill
- County College of Morris, Randolph
- Cumberland County College, Vineland
- Essex County College, Newark & West Caldwell campuses
- Gloucester County College, Sewell
- Hudson County Community College, Jersey City
- Mercer County Community College, Trenton
- Middlesex County College, Edison
- Ocean County College, Toms River
- Passaic County Community College, Paterson-Wanaque-Wayne
- Raritan Valley Community College, North Branch
- Salem Community College, Carneys Point
- Sussex County Community College, Newton
- Union County College, Cranford and Elizabeth
- Warren County Community College, Washington
Professional sports teams
- State bird: Eastern Goldfinch
- State animal: Horse
- State flower: Common Violet
- State tree: Red Oak
- State fish: Brook Trout
- State dance: The Square Dance
- State dinosaur: Hadrosaurus Foulkii
- State insect: Honey bee
- State motto: Liberty and prosperity
- State license plate slogan: Garden State
- Official New Jersey state web site
- Official New Jersey state tourism site
- A list of official and unofficial NJ county and municipal web sites
- Descriptions of NJ forms of government (e.g., township, borough, etc.) from NJ State League of Municipalities
- New Jersey History
- US Census Bureau
- Weird NJ
- New Jersey Job Market
- New Jersey Child Support Laws
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