100 Interesting Facts About New Jersey

Interesting New Jersey facts

Find out what the “Garden State” is known for with these fun facts about New Jersey.

The state is famous for its casinos, beaches, proximity to New York City, and Albert Einstein’s and Thomas Edison’s residences. Also, read these fun facts about Atlantic City, home of the world’s most famous boardwalk.

General New Jersey Facts

1. New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.

2. Because much of Greater New York City spills into Jersey, the state is often associated with the country’s largest city.

3. New Jersey’s six largest cities are all of the New York City metropolitan area. They are (in order of population) Newark, Jersey City, Paterson, Elizabeth, Lakewood, and Edison (named after Thomas Edison, who had a lab there).

4. New Jersey is bordered by New York State to the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, southeast and south, Delaware State, Bay, and River to the west, and Pennsylvania to the west.

5. At 8723 mi² (22,591 km²), New Jersey is the 4th smallest state in the country, slightly larger than Connecticut, but smaller than New Hampshire.

6. If it were a country, New Jersey would rank between Belize and El Salvador in terms of size.

7. In terms of population, New Jersey ranks 11th in the country, with close to 9.3 million residents. That puts it between Michigan and Virginia.

The skyline of Jersey City viewed from across Hudson River at night
Jersey City, with the Statue of Liberty visible on the left

8. Because of its small but large population, New Jersey has the highest population density of any state: 1263 people per mi2 (488 per km2). Only Washington D.C. has a higher density (10 times higher, to be precise!)

9. Trenton is the capital city of New Jersey. With only 91,000 people, it is the 10th largest city in the state.

10. Believe it or not, Trenton was once the capital of the United States. However, this honor lasted less than two months in 1784.

11. New Jersey is home to three federally recognized Native American tribes: the Ramapough Lenape, Powhatan Renape, and Lenni Lenape.

12. New Jersey is the only state in the country with all its counties classified as metropolitan areas.

13. The state’s abbreviation is NJ.

Aerial view of Trenton, New Jersey, including the capitol building and Delaware River
The New Jersey State House (capitol building) in Trenton

14. New Jersey was named after the isle of Jersey in the English Channel, off the coast of France. It is a sovereign state of the United Kingdom. One of the first colonists in New Jersey was from Jersey Island.

15. Residents of New Jersey are called New Jerseyites or New Jerseyans.

16. New Jerseyites are famous for their accent, although the state actually has numerous distinct accents.

17. The official nickname for New Jersey is “Garden State”. The name was first used to advertise farmland in one part of the state, the Pine Barrens.

18. Some other nicknames used in the past have included Camden and Amboy State (after railway lines), Mosquito State (after a plague of mosquitoes in NYC from swamps in New Jersey in the 1880s), Pathway of the Revolution (many battles were fought there), Jersey Blue State (after blue uniforms in the Civil War), and Clam State.

Some buildings across from Princeton University, New Jersey
Buildings around Princeton University, 4th oldest in the country

19. For many years, New Jersey has lacked tourism slogans or just gone with “Garden State.” However, many cities and towns have their own, such as “The World Takes, Trenton Makes” and “Let There Be Light” in Edison.

20. The official state motto of New Jersey is “Liberty and prosperity.”

21. Violets are found growing on New Jersey lawns, fields, and meadows, so it only makes sense that the violet is the official state flower.

22. The honeybee is New Jersey’s official state bug, while the horse is its official state mammal. The latter is also on the state seal.

23. George Washington supposedly chose the state’s official colors, buff (a yellowish-beige) and blue, when he was stationed in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War.

The New Jersey state flag
The state flag of New Jersey

24. The New Jersey state flag features the state coat of arms on a buff background. The shield is emblazoned with three plows with a horse’s head above it. Two women represent the goddesses of Liberty and Agriculture. At the bottom, a blue flag ribbon includes the year of independence, 1776, and the state motto.

Random Interesting Facts About New Jersey

25. New Jersey earns around $2.8 billion per year from gambling in casinos, second only to Nevada (home of the famous Las Vegas), which earns 7.8 billion.

26. The street names in Monopoly come from Atlantic City on the coast of New Jersey.

A row of closed shops along Atlantic City's boardwalk at night
Atlantic City Boardwalk

27. Atlantic City is home to the Miss America pageant and the world’s longest boardwalk.

28. New Jersey has no national parks, but it has 50 state parks and forests. These parks cover 7.28% of the state, the 5th highest percentage of any state after Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Connecticut.

29. The largest is Stephens State Park, which protects a section of Morris Canal, which once carried coal from Pennsylvania to New York Harbor.

30. The most popular state park in New Jersey is Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The park was built for the country’s 200-year anniversary. It features views of the Manhattan skyline, a memorial for the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, and ferry service to the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island of New York State, which is just 1984 ft (605 m) offshore from the park.

Boardwalk in Liberty State Park, with buildings of Jersey City in background
Liberty State Park

31. Ellis Island, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, belongs to New Jersey and New York State. The two states claimed the island for years until the U.S. Supreme Court decided that 83% of it belonged to New Jersey in the 1998 New Jersey vs. New York case.

32. The part of Ellis Island belonging to New York state is inland and surrounded by New Jersey’s part, making it a landlocked enclave of New York state within New Jersey. The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is in the New York part of the island.

33. Ellis Island was once the busiest immigration station in the country, with 12 million immigrants passing through it from 1892 to 1954. Most Statue of Liberty tours also stop at Ellis Island.

34. There is actually a bridge from New Jersey’s Liberty State Park to Ellis Island. It was built in 1986 to transport materials there. It is no longer strong enough to be used, but it still hasn’t been torn down.

Ellis Island in the foreground, with the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in the background
Ellis Island, in the foreground, is shared by New York and New Jersey

35. There are 58 National Historic Landmarks in New Jersey, a list that includes a historic golf club, prison, farms, churches, lighthouses, a 1930s Negro League baseball stadium, Lucy the Elephant in Atlantic City, and many others.

36. Two other entries on the list are Albert Einstein House, where he lived for all his time in the US, and Walt Whitman House, the last residence of the famous poet.

37. Yet another is Hangar No. 1, Lakehurst Naval Air Station, the site of the 1937 Hinderburg Disaster, when a German passenger airship caught fire while attempting to dock with its mooring vast. Led Zeppelin’s iconic self-titled album cover shows an image of the crash.

38. Still another is the Holland Tunnel, below the Hudson River between New Jersey and Manhattan, the world’s first mechanically ventilated underwater tunnel.

Several lanes leading to a tunnel with the words Holland Tunnel above it, at night
Entrance to the Holland Tunnel in Jersey City

39. The nation’s densest system of railroads and highways is found in New Jersey.

40. Newark in North Jersey has been called the “Car Theft Capital of the World.”

41. New Jersey is home to the highest concentration of diners in the world, so it is sometimes referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World”.

42. The state also has the world’s most shopping malls in one area, with 7 major malls in a 25-square-mile radius.

43. New Jersey ranks 2nd in the nation in the production of blueberries, 3rd in spinach and cranberries, and 4th in lettuce, bell peppers, and peaches.

44. New Jersey is also one of the leading states when it comes to the manufacturing and development of fragrances and flavors.

Tower atop a hill in High Point State Park, New Jersey
High Point is literally the highest point in New Jersey.

45. The state is home to 28 Fortune 500 companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Avis Budget Group, and Campbell Soup.

46. Several of New Jersey’s counties have been ranked among the highest-income counties in the country, including Somerset (7th), Morris (10th), Hunterdon (13th), Bergen (21st), and Monmouth (42nd).

47. On July 10, 1936, New Jersey recorded the highest temperature in the state’s history: 110°F (43.33°C) in Runyon. The lowest ever was -34°F (-36.7°C) in River Vale on January 5, 1904

48. On December 14, 1915, Rutherford, New Jersey, set a record 32 inches of snowfall in 24 hours.

49. High Point in High Point State Park is New Jersey’s highest point, at 1803 feet (549.6 meters) above sea level. Atop the highest point stands the High Point Monument for New Jersey’s veterans.

50. With New Jersey’s diverse geography, it’s only natural to find many kinds of different wildlife. The state is home to 485 birds, 450 species of vertebrate wildlife, 336 marine finned fish, 134 freshwater fish species, and 28 marine mammals.

A black and white photograph of Thomas Edison standing among some machines in his lab
Edison in his New Jersey laboratory

51. Many devices were invented by Thomas Edison, who was born in Ohio but lived in New Jersey, that changed the world. These include the electric light bulb, the motion picture camera, the telegraph, and the phonograph.

52. Besides Edison’s many inventions, other things invented in New Jersey include the traffic circle, boardwalks, the vacuum cleaner, the electric guitar, bubble wrap, M&Ms, taffy, TV dinners, and many more.

53. After migrating from Germany to the US in 1933, Albert Einstein lived in New Jersey for 22 years until his death, where he worked at Princeton University.

54. The world’s first patented drive-in theater was in Camden, New Jersey, developed in 1928 and patented in 1933.

55. Motorola general manager Martin Cooper made the world’s first cell phone call, calling from Manhattan to Bell Labs in New Jersey.

56. RCA presented the world’s first color TV at their plant in Camden, New Jersey, in 1940.

57. Italian immigrant Italo Marconi invented the ice cream cone. He lived in Hoboken, New Jersey, and would push his cart to sell ice cream across the Hudson River on Wall Street.

A mosaic of famous people from New Jersey
Famous New Jerseyites Frank Sinatra, Buzz Aldrin, Whitney Houston, Dennis Rodman, Jon Bon Jovi, and John Travolta

58. Some of the most well-known singers from New Jersey include Whitney Houston, Lauryn Hill, Queen Latifah, Frank Sinatra, Bruce Springsteen, Ice-T, Jon Bon Jovi, Glenn Danzig, and Halsey.

59. The bands Kool & the Gang, My Chemical Romance, The Shirelles, The Fugees, Sugarhill Gang, Catch-22, The Bouncing Souls, The Misfits, Yo La Tengo, and Gaslight Anthem were formed in New Jersey.

60. Famous actors and actresses from New Jersey include John Travolta, Michael Douglas, Jack Nicholson, Kevin Spacey, Joe Pesci, Danny DeVito, Paul Rudd, Meryl Streep, Tara Reid, Kirsten Dunst, Zoe Saldana, Christina Milan, and Vera Farmiga.

61. Other famous New Jerseyites include basketballer Dennis Rodman, astronaut Buzz Aldrin (the second person to step on the moon), podcaster Joe Rogan, and baseball player Derek Jeter.

62. Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, was from New Jersey. He’s the only president who served two non-consecutive terms.

Black and white photograph of Grover Cleveland, the former US president
Grover Cleveland, the only US president who was born in New Jersey

63. Some movies filmed or set in New Jersey include Jersey Girl, Garden State, Clerks, Coneheads, Friday the 13th, and the original Babysitter’s Club TV series.

64. Some bizarre old laws are still in existence in New Jersey. For example, it’s against the law to sell a car on Sundays.

65. It’s also illegal to pump your own gas anywhere in the state.

66. you legally can’t sell handcuffs to a minor in New Jersey, frown in Bernards township, swear in Raritan, or dance on Main Street in Caldwell.

Historical Facts About New Jersey

67. Native peoples first arrived in the area of New Jersey over 10,000 years ago.

68. There were up to 20,000 Lenape (Delaware Indians) in the area when Europeans first arrived.

69. In 1524, Giovanni de Verrazano of Florence sailed for France along the New Jersey coast.

A beach on Long Beach Island, New Jersey, with waves washing onto the shore
Long Beach Island, New Jersey

70. Henry Hudson, named after Hudson Bay in Canada, followed in 1609. A few years later came the Dutch, who claimed the area.

71. In 1638, a Swedish colony was established along the Delaware River. The Dutch later took over the colony.

72. Bergan, now known as Jersey City, became the state’s first permanent town in 1660.

73. In 1664, the Dutch lost control over the area to the British. The land was split between Lord John Berkley and Sir George Carteret, the latter of whom was from Jersey isle in the English Channel, hence the name Province of New Jersey was chosen.

74. The New Jersey Colony was divided into East and West colonies in 1676, which were then combined into one colony in 1702.

75. In 1721, William Trent established “Trent’s Town”. The village became known as Trenton and eventually became the state’s capital city.

A painting of Washington crossing the river in a boat
Famous painting of the Washington Crossing in New Jersey

76. Lewis Morris became New Jersey’s first governor in 1738 – before that, governorship had been shared with New York.

77. In 1776, New Jersey declared itself an independent state during the Revolutionary War. Many crucial battles were fought there, so it was sometimes called the “Crossroads of the Revolution.”

78. General George Washington famously led his troops across the Delaware River in Trenton, New Jersey, during the War. The crossing site is now a national historic park, and New Jersey and Pennsylvania have towns named Washington Crossing nearby.

79. Also in 1776, the New Jersey Gazette, the state’s first newspaper, issued its first edition.

80. On December 12, 1787, New Jersey became the 3rd state to join the Union after the US Constitution was ratified.

81. In 1789, New Jersey was the first state to ratify the United States Bill of Rights.

A famous New Jersey waterfall called Great Falls of the Passaic River with a bridge going over it
Great Falls of the Passaic River

82. In the early 1800s, Paterson, New Jersey, became one of the most important centers of the Industrial Revolution. The Great Falls of the Passaic River was a major source of power production, now a national historic park.

83. In 1858, the first totally intact dinosaur skeleton was uncovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey. It was a hadrosaur.

84. From November 1 to December 24, 1874, Trenton, NJ, was the capital of the United States.

85. Roselle became the first town in the country to be lighted by electricity in 1883.

86. In 1884, Grover Cleveland of New Jersey became America’s 22nd President.

87. New Jersey’s Governor Woodrow Wilson was elected as president of the US in 1912.

Famous black and white photo of the Hindenburg Disaster
The Hindenburg Disaster in New Jersey

88. The first Miss America pageant was held in September 1921 on the boardwalk in Atlantic City.

89. The nation’s first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden in 1933.

90. On May 6, 1937, 35 people died when the LZ 129 Hindenburg crashed and burned in Manchester Township, New Jersey.

91. Atlantic City legalized gambling in 1978. The city’s first casino was the Resorts International Hotel.

92. In 1991, after the Ocean Dumping Ban Act was enacted, New York and New Jersey had to stop dumping sludge into the sea. New Jersey spent over $100 million to do so successfully.

93. New Jersey had its first female governor in 1993, Christine Todd Whitman.

A skyline of main resorts and casinos in Atlantic City
Casinos in Atlantic City today

94. In 2001, Shirley M Tilghman, a professor of molecular biology, became the first female president of Princeton University in New Jersey.

95. In 2005, New Jersey became the first state to award public funding for stem-cell research.

96. On February 17, 2007, New Jersey officially recognized the civil union of same-sex couples.

97. In 2007, a bill was signed in New Jersey to eliminate the death penalty.

98. In 2008, astronomer Alicia Soderberg at Princeton was the first ever to witness a star exploding, called a supernova.

99. In 2012, Hurricane Sandy struck the coast of New Jersey. It was the deadliest in the state’s history, killing ten and leaving millions without power.

A damaged dock on a beach in New Jersey caused by Hurricane Sandy
Damage on the coast of New Jersey from Hurricane Sandy

100. In 2013, a scandal erupted when appointees of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie intentionally created a huge traffic jam for political reasons. The ensuing federal investigation went on for years, with two people being sentenced to prison, but the convictions were overturned in 2020.

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