61 Interesting Facts About New Jersey

Last updated on June 29th, 2023

New Jersey is the 11th most populous and the 47th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern regions of the United States. The state attained statehood on December 18, 1787, becoming the 3rd state to join the union. Its three bordering states are Delaware, New York, and PennsylvaniaNew Hampshire (nicknamed: Garden State) has 21 counties. The state’s capital is Trenton. The postal abbreviation for New Jersey is NJ. With these facts about New Jersey, let us learn more about its history, geography, culture, people, economy and more.  

Interesting Facts About New Jersey

1. New Jersey is slightly larger than the country of El Salvador and Djibouti.

2. The state has 21 counties and 566 municipalities.

3. The state’s name originates from the English Channel Island of Jersey.

4. The world’s first dinosaur statue was discovered in Haddonfield, New Jersey in October 1858. It was the first complete dinosaur skeleton to be found and the first to be publicly displayed as well.

New Jersey on the map
New Jersey (in red) on the map with neighboring states.

5. New Jersey is one of the thirteen original colonies.

6. Despite the fact that that New Jersey is one of the smallest states in the Union, it has five distinct climate regions – Northern, Central, Pine Barrens, Southwest, and Coastal.

7. Large swaths of northwestern and southern New Jersey are extremely rural; in spite of the fact that the state has the highest population density of any state in the U.S.

8. The Miss America Beauty Pageant is the country’s most famous pageant. It was first held in Atlantic City in 1921 over Labor Day weekend as a scholarship event.

9. Legendary American musician Bruce Springsteen was born in 1949 in Freehold, New Jersey. He has continued to live there his entire career in spite of his massive success.

New Jersey on the map

10. New Jersey is located about halfway between the Equator and the North Pole, on the eastern coast of the United States.

11. New Jersey is also known as the “medicine chest of the world.”

12. Some of the most prolific inventions of the 20th century happened right here in New Jersey. One was done by Thomas Edison when he introduced the world to his idea of an electric light bulb. At his laboratory in Menlo Park, Edison built his first high resistance, incandescent electric light. Edison was born in Ohio on February 11, 1847.

13. The world’s largest light bulb which is 13 feet tall and weighs eight tons stands near Thomas Edison’s old lab in Edison, New Jersey. The light bulb was constructed in 1938 and it is encased by 153 individual pieces of Pyrex.

Thomas Edison Labs at the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, NJ
Thomas Edison Labs at the Edison National Historic Site in West Orange, NJ. Photo © Joe Sohm

14. Thomas Edison filed more than 400 patents from his laboratory in Menlo Park. He used copper in almost all his electrical inventions; inside phones, motors, generators and electromagnets.

15. Italian Americans are the state’s largest ethnic group.

16. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the United States. The state is home to the top four densely populated municipalities in the United States and seven of the top ten.

17. According to WorldAtlas.com, Guttenberg is the 23rd most densely populated place in the world.

Monopoly Board Game
Photo © Steven Cukrov

18. The popular board game Monopoly was created and patented in 1935 and was based on the real streets and locations in Atlantic City.

19. In 1991, New Jersey terminated ocean dumping. To bring about the shift from ocean dumping to a more sustainable and environmental friendly way discarding the waste, the state had to spend more than a $100 million.

20. In June 1933, New Jersey opened the world’s first drive-in theater in Pennsauken. The owner, Richard Hollingshead showed the movies using a motion picture projector.

21. The honeybee became New Jersey’s state bug in June 1974. These little critters help keep gardens populated and pollinated.

22. While many believe Ellis Island and Liberty Island (named in 1956) are in New York’s waters, they’re actually in New Jersey’s waters.

23. Some of the nicknames given to the state of New Jersey include Jersey Blue State, Clam State, Camden State, and Mosquito State (after the New York mosquito plague from the NJ swamps in the 1880s).

24. New Jersey is also the leading state for the development and manufacturing of flavors and fragrances.

Gold dome of the New Jersey State Capitol Building in Trenton
Gold dome of the New Jersey State Capitol Building in Trenton on a beautiful spring day.

25. The gold on the dome of the New Jersey’s state capitol was funded by the school kids from the state. The dome has 48,000 piece of gold leaf and each piece of gold leaf cost $1. New Jersey school kids raised the money through the “Dimes for the Dome” program.

26. The lighthouse of the sandy hook is in service since June 11, 1764. The lighthouse completed 250 years of service in 2014 and a celebration was held to mark the historic occasion.

27. New Jersey’s official state flower, the common blue violet, is easy to find all along the east coast. It’s easy to recognize thanks to its blue-purple color and small size. The New Jersey gardening clubs lobbied to get the violet to be the state flower and won in 1971.

28. Although the area now known as New Jersey was a territory within the new country since the Revolutionary War ended, it didn’t officially become a state until December 1787 when the Constitution approved it as a state.

29. During the 60 years that it was open, the port at Ellis Island welcomed over 12 million immigrants in search of a new life. Although it’s been closed for more than 50 years, the island is now a national landmark.

30. Since 1935, the state bird of New Jersey has been the goldfinch. This yellow bird can be found all over the state and is known to help the state’s ecosystem greatly.

Telegraph machine
An old Telegraph.

31. The first public demonstration of the telegraph was made at Speedwell Ironworks in Morristown, New Jersey on January 11, 1838.

32. At least 100 battles were fought in New Jersey during the Revolutionary War. This was primarily due to its location near the center of the thirteen colonies and between New York and Philadelphia. All ten of New Jersey’s largest cities are within 30 miles of New York or Philadelphia.

33. The world’s first boardwalk is built in Atlantic City in 1870. At 5.5 miles, it is the longest on Earth and the oldest in the United States.

34. Cape May is the nation’s first sea side resort. It is named for the Dutch sea captain Cornelius Jacobsen May.

A Peregrine Falcon (Falco spreading it's wings. new Jersey facts.
A Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) spreading it’s wings while perched on a stump. These birds are the fastest animals in the world.

35. The state is home to 26 known nesting pairs of peregrine falcons, the fastest animals on Earth. The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on earth – catching speeds of over 200 miles per hour.  

36. Stephen Grover Cleveland born Caldwell, New Jersey, who served as the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, is the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office (1885–1889 and 1893–1897).

37. The state was nicknamed the “garden state” because of its fertile land. However, due to urban expansion and industrialization, the landscape of the state has changed considerably.

38. New Jersey is home to the tallest water tower in the world. The Union Watersphere is located in the town of Union and stands at an impressive 212 feet (64.6 meters) tall.

39. The Hudson River Walkway (or Waterfront Walkway) is over 18 miles (29 km) long and 30 feet (4.83 meters) wide. It forms part of the East Coast Greenway, which is aiming to have more than 3,000 miles (4,828 km) of walking paths to reduce vehicle use.

40. Lambert Castle was built in 1892-93 and once belonged to the owner of a silk mill. The castle has seen many renovations, but in 1975, it became a National Historic Place and home to over 400 spoons.

41. In 1776, crossing the Delaware River into Trenton, New Jersey; George Washington fought with, and ultimately defeated the British forces. This was one of the first major victories in the Revolutionary War.

Cherry tree blossom in Hurd Park, Dover, New Jersey.
Cherry tree blossom in Hurd Park, Dover, New Jersey. Photo © Mihai Andritoiu

42. India Square, New Jersey, is home to the highest concentration of Asian Indians in the Western Hemisphere.

43. Baseball has been a big part of American culture since the 1800s. The first official game of baseball was played in Hoboken, New Jersey in June 1846 between the New York Nines and the Knickerbockers. The Nines beat the Knickerbockers 23-1 in 4 innings.

44. New Jersey has an official state dance – the square dance! Although square dancing is mainly associated with the southern states, it’s been a symbol amongst New Jersey residents since 1983.

45. The home of the Prudential Center is one of New Jersey’s most notable cities. Newark is the biggest city in the state, covering over 25 square miles (65 square km).

46. Trenton is the capital city of New Jersey, and while it’s not the biggest or most populated city, it’s at the heart of government. Back in 1783, this city was the US capital for a while after Congress fell in love with it.

47. The state has one of the busiest and most extensive transportation systems in the world.

Salt Water Taffy
Salt Water Taffy. Photo © Julie Feinstein

48. The chewy treat often sold in coastal towns and cities, salt water taffy, was invented in 1883 in Atlantic City. A local candy store flooded and soaked the taffy, leading the owner to call it salt water taffy, and the name stuck.

49. More than two-fifths of the land is forested. The state has 28 state parks and 11 state forests.

50. Lakes and ponds cover about 300 square miles of the state’s area. The Delaware is its major river and the state shares it with Pennsylvania. The Hudson River forms the boundary between New Jersey and New York.

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