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North Jersey

Coordinates: 40°47′29″N 74°15′45″W / 40.7915°N 74.2624°W / 40.7915; -74.2624
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George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest vehicle bridge, connects Fort Lee in North Jersey with Upper Manhattan and New York City

North Jersey comprises the northern portions of the U.S. state of New Jersey between the upper Delaware River and the Atlantic Ocean. As a distinct toponym, North Jersey is a colloquial one rather than an administrative one, reflecting geographical and perceived cultural and other differences between it and the southern part of the state.[1][2]

North Jersey is characterized by its position, both geographically and culturally, within the greater New York City metropolitan area, as well as its high economic output, including its regional economic engines of Paramus in Bergen County, which had $6 billion in annual retail sales as of 2018[3] and Jersey City, whose financial district has been nicknamed "Wall Street West",[4] Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, and Port Newark–Elizabeth Marine Terminal.

Bergen County is the most populous county in both North Jersey and the state and serves as the western terminus for the George Washington Bridge, the world's busiest motor vehicle bridge, which connects Fort Lee, New Jersey to Upper Manhattan in New York City.[5] Newark, located in Essex County, is New Jersey's most populous city. Jersey City, Paterson, and Elizabeth, located in Hudson, Passaic, and Union counties in North Jersey are the second, third, and fourth most populous cities in the state after Newark.

The exact definition of which counties constitute North Jersey is a subject of debate. Definitions of the North Jersey region of the state most consistently include Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties, though definitions of North Jersey frequently vary and may include other New Jersey counties in the New York metropolitan area that are sometimes differentiated as or considered "Central Jersey", including Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Mercer County, and even the northern portion or all of Ocean County.


A definition of North Jersey includes Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Sussex, Union, and Warren counties.
The beach at Sea Bright in Monmouth County
The Hudson River seen below an overlook on the Palisades in Alpine
Delaware Water Gap at the border of Warren County and the Lehigh Valley in eastern Pennsylvania

Geologically, North Jersey is largely in the Piedmont Province, the Highlands Province, and the Ridge and Valley Province. Depending on definitions, some are counted as being in the Atlantic coastal plain.

North Jersey has a Humid Continental Climate (Dfb) by Köppen.


One particular definition of North Jersey includes all points in New Jersey north of I-295 in the western part of the state and all points north of I-195 in the eastern part of the state. Another definition uses the old 1956-era 201 telephone area code, not the modern 201 area code, and all its additions, as this area code loosely included all of New Jersey north of Trenton. Some residents of the northern tier of counties use a narrower definition, counting only that area north of the mouth of the Raritan River. Conversely, people in South Jersey and within the Philadelphia metropolitan area, when using a two-portion approach that excludes Central Jersey as a separate category, may define North Jersey as consisting of Ocean County and every county north of it, essentially placing all New Jersey counties that are within the New York metropolitan area under the definition of North Jersey. The state is also sometimes described as having North Jersey and South Jersey separated from each other by Central Jersey.[6]

Further subdivision[edit]

In 2008, the New Jersey State Department of Tourism divided the state into six tourist regions with the Gateway and Skylands regions included in North Jersey.[7]

Counties most consistently defined as North Jersey counties[edit]

The following counties are most consistently considered North Jersey:


North Jersey was the site of some of the earliest European settlements in what would become the United States of America. Its colonial history started after Henry Hudson sailed through Newark Bay in 1609. Although Hudson was British, he worked for the Netherlands, so he claimed the land for the Dutch as part of the provincial colony of New Netherland,[8] with original settlements centered in Bergen in today's Hudson County. In 1664, the region became part of the Province of New Jersey.

During the American Revolutionary War, New Jersey was a strategic location between New York City, and the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. Important materials necessary to the war effort were sometimes produced in North Jersey, and the Continental Army made its home in North Jersey for part of the war. George Washington, commanding general of the Continental Army, maintained his headquarters at Ford Mansion in Morristown for part of the Revolutionary War, from December 1779 to June 1780. In the northwestern part of the state, iron mines and foundries supplied raw material for the Continental Army's guns and ammunition.

The American Industrial Revolution started by the founding of the North Jersey town of Paterson. Today, the United States and the world enjoy the fruit born of seeds planted in North Jersey during the Industrial Revolution. Alexander Hamilton, Secretary for the Treasury and President of the Bank of New York during the end of the eighteenth century, selected the Great Falls area, also known as the Passaic Falls, for an ambitious experiment. He promoted the natural power of the Great Falls as an excellent location for textile mills and other manufacturers.

Paterson attracted skilled craftsmen and engineers from Europe to run the mills and produced a large concentration of creative and able people. During the mid-nineteenth century, many of the engines and materials that would be used to colonize a continent were made here. Thomas Edison installed one of the first hydroelectric power plants in the world, which still provides electricity today, using the Great Falls as an energy source.

In West Orange, Edison created the first technical research and development facility with his invention factory. Electric light, improved motion pictures, and sound recording, were among the hundreds of inventions produced here.[9]


The seven counties that are most commonly included in North Jersey have an estimated total population of 3,787,937 as of 2022; this rises to 4,357,752 with the inclusion of Union County.[10] As of the 2000 U.S. Census, the demographics of all the seven main counties combined are 66.8% White, 18.5% Hispanic or Latino, 15.4% African American, 6.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American, and 0.1% Pacific Islander.


Municipalities with over 30,000 population
2017 Rank Municipality County Population in


Population in




1 Newark Essex 285,154 277,140 City
2 Jersey City Hudson 270,753 247,597 City
3 Paterson Passaic 148,678 146,199 City
4 Clifton Passaic 86,607 84,136 City
5 Passaic Passaic 71,247 69,781 City
6 Union City Hudson 70,387 66,455 City
7 Bayonne Hudson 67,186 63,024 City
8 East Orange Essex 65,378 64,270 City
9 North Bergen Hudson 63,659 60,773 Township
10 Hoboken Hudson 55,131 50,005 City
11 Wayne Passaic 55,072 54,717 Township
12 Irvington Essex 54,865 53,926 Township
13 West New York Hudson 54,227 49,708 Town
14 Parsippany-Troy Hills Morris 53,201 53,238 Township
15 Bloomfield Essex 50,970 47,315 Township
16 West Orange Essex 48,425 46,207 Township
17 Hackensack Bergen 45,248 43,010 City
18 Kearny Hudson 42,670 40,648 Town
19 Teaneck Bergen 41,311 39,776 Township
20 Montclair Essex 39,227 37,669 Township
21 Fort Lee Bergen 37,907 35,345 Borough
22 Belleville Essex 36,498 35,926 Township
23 Fair Lawn Bergen 33,710 32,457 Borough
24 Garfield Bergen 32,393 30,487 City
25 City of Orange Essex 30,813 30,134 Township
26 Livingston Essex 30,142 29,366 Township
County population
Rank County Population in 2022 County seat Area
1 Bergen 952,997 Hackensack 234 sq mi

(606 km2)

2 Essex 849,477 Newark 126 sq mi

(326 km2)

3 Hudson 703,366 Jersey City 47 sq mi

(122 km2)

4 Passaic 513,936 Paterson 185 sq mi

(479 km2)

5 Morris 511,151 Morristown 469 sq mi

(1,215 km2)

6 Sussex 146,084 Newton 521 sq mi

(1,349 km2)

7 Warren 110,926 Belvidere 358 sq mi

(927 km2)

Professional sports fans[edit]

Sports allegiances are often divided between the northern and southern portions of the state.[2] The 2009 World Series divided the people of New Jersey, because South Jersey residents generally root for the Philadelphia Phillies, while North Jersey residents usually root for the New York Yankees or the New York Mets. A similar trend exists for most other major sports, with North Jersey residents supporting the Brooklyn Nets or the New York Knicks in basketball, the New Jersey Devils, or the New York Rangers in hockey, the New York Red Bulls or New York City FC in soccer, and the New York Giants or the New York Jets in football.


Notable North Jerseyans[edit]

See also[edit]

References and footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ "Drawing the line: Talking with the blogger behind "Where is the Line Between North & South Jersey?"". nj.com. 28 March 2008.
  2. ^ a b Mikle, Jean (March 31, 2008). "An invisible boundary divides N.J." Home News Tribune. Retrieved January 12, 2010.("Of course, part of the problem with understanding New Jersey's enduring regional tension is that few residents can agree on where the northern half of the state end and the southern half begins.")
  3. ^ Allison Pries (March 10, 2019). "Inside the N.J. town where retail spending beats Hollywood and tourism rivals Disney". New Jersey On-Line LLC. Retrieved May 5, 2019. The former farming community already sees more retail sales than any other zip code in the country...More than $6 billion in retail sales happen in Paramus each year.
  4. ^ A Vision for Smart Transit in Jersey City Archived 2016-12-26 at the Wayback Machine, United States Department of Transportation, February 4, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2019. "Development along the Hudson River waterfront led to the development of the 'Wall Street West' financial district, one of the largest centers of banking and finance in the nation."
  5. ^ "Bridges & Tunnels Home". www.panynj.gov. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  6. ^ Stirling, Stephen (April 24, 2015). "Here are the North, Central and South Jersey borders as determined by you (INTERACTIVE)". NJ.com. Retrieved December 16, 2015. For one, NJ.com readers overwhelmingly agreed that Central Jersey does, in fact, exist. More than 50,000 of the votes received went toward categorizing Central Jersey towns, far outweighing those received for North and South Jersey.
  7. ^ "New Jersey Travel Destinations (map)". 2008. Archived from the original on September 18, 2008. Retrieved June 21, 2015.
  8. ^ "A short history of New Jersey".
  9. ^ History of Northern New Jersey from Rt23.com
  10. ^ Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Minor Civil Divisions in New Jersey: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022, United States Census Bureau. Accessed January 19, 2024.

External links[edit]

40°47′29″N 74°15′45″W / 40.7915°N 74.2624°W / 40.7915; -74.2624