When it comes to life in the ‘Garden State’, you can expect not just the blueberries, strawberries, corn and tomatoes, but also the sheer convenience of everyday life. The state has the second highest median household income as well as one of the best school systems in the country. While New Jersey is primarily urban, it has an increasingly diversifying population and a rapidly growing economy that has made the state one with the highest number of millionaires.
It is no secret that New Jersey is also known as the ‘Diner State’ and the ‘Taylor Ham’ is one of its most prized foods. If you live in New Jersey, you are going to eat really well. With no dearth of multicultural restaurants all across the state, there is a place for every kind of taste and price-range. So, if you are thinking of moving to New Jersey, but don’t know where to exactly, here’s a list of the largest cities in New Jersey to help you get started.
Top 10 Largest Cities in New Jersey
Newark is the most populous city in the state of New Jersey but is also its cultural capital. It is also the third oldest city in the United States and other than its historic significance, is a centre for arts and entertainment for its people. The city is spread across an area of 25.89 square miles (67.14 km2) and has a population of 282,011 as estimated in 2019. The cost-of-living index of Newark is 119.5, so it is more expensive than the national average index of 100.
The main jobs in Newark are in the field of insurance, health, finance, import-export and the government. The city is also a dynamic place for the legal field due to the presence of courthouses at the federal, state and county level and the presence of over a thousand law firms. To add to that, Newark is also a college town with a significant student population from its law and medical schools.
When it comes to day-to-day life, Newark is a big city and with any city as such, it is up to the individual to pick the life they want. Newark lacks for nothing. It has plenty of restaurants, bars and coffee shops not to mention theatres, concerts and orchestras. In Newark, you would not lack for recreation in the form of after-work activities or hobbies like classes for acting, baking, pottery or just about anything. And that’s the charm of a city like that: the freedom to curate the life of your choice.
- Median Home Value: $347,000
- Median Rent: $1,260
- Median household Income: $35,199
2. Jersey City
Think the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Island National Park and a downtown area that is as trendy as it gets, and you would start comprehending Jersey City. Add to that the iconic Colgate clock and stunning views of NYC, and you have a pretty accurate picture of the city. Jersey City covers an area of 21.13 square miles (54.74 km2) and houses a population of 262,075 as of 2019.
Jobs in Jersey are in the finance, service, retail, logistics and shipping sectors. Considering that it is a regional employment centre, there is an increase in population during the day. Jersey City has something called Wall Street West – it is where Verisk Analytics and Lord Abbott are headquartered. Other prominent companies that operate out of Jersey are Computershare, NEX Group, Fidelity Investments and others.
Jersey is the oldest city in the United States and the most diverse in the state of New Jersey. The place also has a reputation of being very artistic with a good number of flourishing artists and ample opportunities for future ones. The city also hosts a lot of festivals, fairs and other events throughout the year. Life in Jersey City is pleasant, not to mention visually appealing. Living here is one of the better ideas you can act upon.
- Median Home Value: $546,406
- Median Rent: $1,750
- Median Household Income: $70,752
Also Read: Moving To New Jersey
Paterson is the ‘Silk City’ for the part it played in the production of silk in the 19th century. Since then, the city has moved forward and is now a major stopping point for Hispanic immigrants as well as people from Bangladesh, South Asia and the Arab world. The city has one of the highest Muslim populations in the country. Paterson is spread across an area of 8.71 square miles (22.55 km2) and a population of 145,233 as of 2019.
The cost-of-living index of Paterson is 113.8, so it is higher than the national average index of 100. Economy wise, Paterson is undergoing an economic revitalization and is part of an Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ). Other than a few custom furniture shops, most of the jobs in Paterson are from the government.
For recreation purposes, the locals love the parks and the greenery present in Paterson. You can also take a tour of the Paterson museum to admire and remember the rich history of Paterson that was once instrumental in shaping the United States of today. Or on a lighter note, visiting the Great Falls National Park and the nearby amphitheatre for a view of the waterfalls is more than enough to put you in a good mood. As a place to live, Paterson is decent as long as one is clear about the economic opportunities they can expect from this place.
- Median Home Value: $350,064
- Median Rent: $1,200
- Median Household Income: $41,360
The city is New Jersey’s first capital and is famous for its architecture and museums. A little over a decade ago, in 2008, Elizabeth was named in the list of ‘America’s 50 Greenest Cities’. The city is 13.66 square miles (35.37 km2) in area and houses a population of 129,216, as last estimated in 2019. The cost-of-living index is 117.7 which is higher than the national average of 100.
Elizabeth was previously known as ‘Elizabethtown’ and has grown as one of the busiest ports in the world since the second World War. Parts of the city do come under the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), which started in 1992 and expires in 2023. Some other employers in the city are the Newark International Liberty Airport and the Bayway Refinery, a facility that supplies petroleum to New York and New Jersey.
When it comes to everyday life, Elizabeth has the usual cafes, restaurants and coffee shops to give you that change of atmosphere and the taste of a different cuisine. Other than that, there is always the option of shopping at the Mills at Jersey Garden Outlet Mall and the Elizabeth Centre or catching a movie at the Loews theatre. Elizabeth is a big city and the decision to move here can be a wise one if made with due considerations in mind.
- Median Home Value: $356,092
- Median Rent: $1,500
- Median Household Income: $48,407
5. Toms River
One probably remembers Toms River from shows like Boardwalk Empire, Jersey Shore and the original Amityville Horror movie. The TV appearances have made the town one of the most recognizable in the state and the country. The town covers an area of 52.89 square miles (136.98 km2) and has a population of 94,108 as last estimated in 2019.
The cost-of-living index of Toms River is 105.8, which means it is somewhat more expensive than the national average that stands at 100. The town houses the headquarters of EGM Green and OceanFirst Bank. The largest sector of employment is the healthcare and service sector followed closely by retail trade and educational services. Some other significant sources of employment include construction, public administration and food services.
Most of the local events in Toms River, including concerts and sporting events, are held in RWJ Barnabas Health Arena. There is an annual festival called the Toms River Fest that is celebrated by people from the town as well as visitors. Plus there are many beaches in Toms River, along the Jersey Shore, like the Ortley Beach, Normandy Beach and the Ocean Beach, so the town also carries within it a strong beach culture. Despite its popularity, Toms River is a rather laid-back place and it would suit retirees or people with families the best.
- Median Home Value: $273,382
- Median Rent: $1800
- Median Household Income: $79,607
Clifton is the city that perfectly brings together the urban and the suburban. This former farmland has managed to retain a few green plots over the years, where people still grow food and like going once in a while to spend their time and money. The city has an area of 11.43 square miles (29.60 km2) and a population of 85,052 as of 2019. The cost-of-living index of the city is 126.6, making it higher than the national average of 100.
Comodo, one of the best cybersecurity companies in the country, has headquarters in Clifton. Renting out buildings for forms and companies is a popular source of income for the residents, especially on Clifton Avenue and Allwood Road. The city is also home to Rutt’s Hut, a place that has been named as one of the most esteemed hot-dog places in the state of New Jersey. The place is not just a source of employment but is also a cultural icon of the city.
When it comes to relaxing, other than the restaurants and bars in Clifton, people also like to go shopping at the Clifton Commons or to the Promenade Shops, which are somewhat more upscale. Clifton is a decent place to live in, once the decision is made with respect to the employment opportunities present here and the scope of future growth.
- Median Home Value: $416,382
- Median Rent: $1800
- Median Household Income: $76,646
Trenton is the capital city of New Jersey and was once, though for a brief time, the capital of the United States. Some people like to say that Trenton is something of a mini–United States of America. The city is spread over an area of 8.21 square miles (21.25 km2) and has a population of 83,203 as of 2019. The cost-of-living index of Trenton is 80.2, so it is much cheaper than the national average which stands at 100.
Parts of the city come under the Urban Enterprise Zone, which expires in 2023. The largest employer in the city is the State of New Jersey. Some other businesses that actively support the economy are the Italian Peoples Bakery, De Lorenzo’s Tomato Pies and Papa’s Tomato Pies, not to mention the city having a stronghold in the Philadelphia Television Market.
Trenton has a strong sports culture, with there being a clear divide amongst the citizens based on the teams they support. The Philadelphia Phillies will definitely not get along well with the New York Yankees. The city is also famous for its historic sites and you can visit them with family for just some general recreation and education when you are not taking a stroll in the city’s parks.
- Median Home Price: $213,538
- Median Rent: $1,200
- Median Household Income: $35,402
Living in Camden is like living in a highly modernised steam-punk novel and the city gets this character from having the architecture and landscape of a post-industrial riverfront town. The total area of the city is 10.34 square miles (26.78 km2) and it has a population of 73,562 as of 2019. The cost-of-living index of the city is 78.6, making it significantly lower than the national average of 100.
The main drivers of the economy of Camden are the educational and medical sectors. While portions of the city do fall under the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), the largest employers happen to be the Campbell Soup Company, the Delaware Riverport Authority and the State of New Jersey.
Due to Camden’s history as an industrial town, it has a very diverse culture and population. The place also houses some historic landmarks like the Walt Whitman house that are a testament to the city’s celebration of literature, music and industry. The place has a very retro nightlife scene which tends to be hidden in nooks and alleyways but manages to be entertaining and dynamic at the same time. Despite its past reputation, the city has made great strides towards improvement and the overall well-being of its citizens and moving here would certainly not leave you with regrets.
- Median Home Value: $75,940
- Median Rent: $1,000
- Median Household Income: $27,015
The city is an ideal home for those people who seek some peace and quiet in their everyday lives. And they can do it in style with the houses having some splendid architecture from the Tudor and Queen Anne era as well as ample mansions to boot. The city covers an area of 3.24 square miles (8.39 km2) and a population of 69,703 as estimated in 2019. The cost-of-living index of Passaic is 124.9, so it is a lot more expensive than the national average of 100.
A part of the city comes under the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ), which is an attempt to revitalise the city’s economy that sure has been successful so far. Passaic was once a textile and metal manufacturing centre and it has retained some of that industry in the present day which does generate significant employment in the city. Other than that, healthcare and the service industry is a major source of income for the residents.
Shopping in Passaic, especially in the downtown area, is quite an enjoyable activity to indulge in, due to the selection of homegrown brands and vintage shops. Other favourite pastimes of the residents include eating out in the quaint restaurants and taking walks in parks. Choosing to live in Passaic is going to be akin to living in a writer’s retreat, the quiet and the beauty blended together for inspiration.
- Median Home Value: $404,107
- Median Rent: $1,800
- Median Household Income: $69,688
10. Union City
Union City is one of the family-oriented places in the state of New Jersey. It’s great for children and always has a bunch of activities going on, and almost all of them are free of cost. The city is spread over an area of 1.29 square miles (3.33 km2) with a population of 67,982, as last estimated in 2019. The cost-of-living index of Union City is 139.5 making it more expensive than the national average index of 100.
Just like a few other cities in the list, Parts of Union City fall under the Urban Enterprise Zone (UEZ) too. If anything, it has been doing well enough to improve the city’s economy. Other avenues of income for the residents of Union City include the educational institutes, healthcare and service centres, banks and small businesses. Its location in the New York media market and its subsequent role on the publishing of daily papers is another avenue of employment.
A simple Google search will reveal that Union City was once called the ‘Embroidery Capital of the World’. But it is not common knowledge that it was also labelled as the ‘Burlesque Capital of the World’. The latter title is owed to the city’s many theatres that hosted such shows, which though discontinued today, have left the city with a flair for theatre and other arts. Money.com selected Union City as the 43rd best place to live in the United States, an honour whose merit is easily understood once you move to the city.
- Median Home Value: $435,050
- Median Rent: $1500
- Median Household Income: $96,625
What Are The Largest Cities In New Jersey?
The cities listed above are the largest cities in New Jersey by population, listed in descending order. By area, West Milford would be the largest city followed by Vineland, Middletown Township and The Waterfront.
From the above information, it is easily decipherable that employment opportunities are a matter of careful consideration when making a move to a city in New Jersey. All the same, the cost-of-living of the city and its affordability for you should also be given enough thought. A fun fact about New Jersey is that you won’t ever have to pump the gas in your car by yourself if you live here – the employees will do that for you. Carefully consider the factors involved to choose the city that suits you best.