Fast facts about moving to New Jersey

Fast Facts About Moving to New Jersey

Perched on the eastern edge of the Mid-Atlantic, New Jersey has a reputation and culture like no other.

Only you’re not interested in the television-show depictions and recycled stereotypes. You’re looking for what it’s like living and moving in New Jersey — it’s cities, regions, weather, people, food, cost-of-living and more. You know, the real-life, everyday stuff.

Here’s what you really need to know about moving to New Jersey, plus some insider extras that’ll have you walking and talking like a born-and-bred New Jerseyan who has spent their entire life in the garden state.


Typical Weather in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey is a continental mesothermal climate.

In normal-human speak, that means the state experiences a moderate fluctuation in temperatures, fair levels of humidity and climate variability between the four seasons.

Fast Facts About Moving to New Jersey

Typical New Jersey seasonal weather patterns break down as follows:

  • Summer: Summer in New Jersey will be warm and humid, with an average temperature around the low-to-mid 80s. The weather will likely feel warmer, though, particularly the farther inland you live. July constitutes the state’s warmest and sunniest month of the year.
  • Autumn: Autumn weather in New Jersey is characteristically dry and temperate. Temperatures range between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit but lower significantly as the state slips into late October and early November.
  • Winter: Winter in New Jersey is marked by cool temperatures, humid winter air and cloudy skies. In fact, New Jersey averages only four hours of sunlight per day in wintertime, making it notably more overcast than other periods in the year. Winter temperatures fluctuate, adjusting from around 36 to 47 degrees Fahrenheit to freezing temperatures of 21 to 34 degrees Fahrenheit by February. Generally, snowfall is low to moderate.
  • Spring: Spring brings rain and warmth to all three regions of New Jersey. By the end of April, temperatures will adjust back into the 50 to 60-degree range, with May rainfall and increasing temperatures paving the way for the region’s humid summer climate.


U.S. News continually ranks New Jersey as one of the strongest states for education, beginning at the preschool level and extending into college opportunities and advancements.

In fact, New Jersey ranks second in the nation for preschool through K12 education, behind only Massachusetts. As for its collegiate atmosphere, New Jersey is home to one of the most prestigious universities in the country — Princeton — as well as Rutgers University and Montclair State, two other world-renowned institutions.

The state’s education system is particularly known for its life and biological sciences research and graduate programs. State education rankings are based on several criteria, including the percentage of the population with college degrees, student loan debt, tuition costs, standardized test scores, high school and college graduation rates, and their degree timelines.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in New Jersey will range depending on the city and county you’re moving to.

For example, living in the northern Newark metro area will cost the average household (two adults, two children) over $94,000 per year.

Consider these top variables calculated into the average cost of living in New Jersey:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Taxes
  • Child care

Yet even considering the above-average classification, living in New Jersey is considered favorable, particularly for those commuting to and from work in New York City. Cost of living variables like transportation and housing are significantly reduced living across the Hudson River, making New Jersey suburbs and metro areas in Hudson County particularly attractive for commuters desiring lower costs than New York.

Breakdown of the Different Areas in New Jersey

Relative to its size, New Jersey is an incredibly diverse state with a unique demographic makeup contributing to its regional cultures and subcultures.

In New Jersey, over 20 percent of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino and 15 percent identifies as black or African American.

Let’s explore each of the state’s three main regions — Northern, Central and South New Jersey — to better grasp the geographic and cultural diversity inherent to the Garden State, helping you identify where to feel most at home.

1. Northern New Jersey

Too-often relegated as the lower-cost alternative to living in Manhattan, it’s easy for outsiders to oversimplify living and moving to North New Jersey. Yet Northern New Jersey’s suburbs are microcosms of their own, each with interesting facts and affordances for those living and moving there.

Defining features of living and working in Northern New Jersey include:

  • Economic strength: Bergen County represents the top retail zip code in the United States, generating over $6 billion in retail sales annually within this one country alone. Take that, Rodeo Drive.
  • “Wall Street West”: The bustling metro that sandwiches the Hudson River alongside Lower Manhattan has also been dubbed “Wall Street West” due to its prominent financial district.
  • I-195 border: Northern New Jersey’s geographic perimeter is generally defined by the Delaware River to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the East and I-195 to its south. In the eyes of many locals, crossing over I-195 puts you in central New Jersey territory.

Overall, these counties are widely considered a part of North New Jersey:

  • Bergen
  • Essex
  • Hudson
  • Hunterdon
  • Mercer
  • Middlesex
  • Monmouth
  • Morris
  • Passaic
  • Somerset
  • Warren

2. Central New Jersey

Central New Jersey, as its aptly named, sits in the middle of the state and is home to the state’s capital of Trenton.

While there are many features that make Central New Jersey stand out, some of the region’s most iconic include:

  • Rural and urban affordances: Central New Jersey boasts access to both the urban Mecca of Manhattan to the north as well as Philadelphia to the south, only about an hour away by car (and sometimes even less when driving from cities like Trenton). This lends the center of the state unique access to urban and rural amenities and lifestyles alike.
  • PrincetonOne of the world’s most acclaimed Ivy League schools lies nestled in the identically named township in West-Central New Jersey.
  • A geographic middle child: Many Central New Jerseyans take pride in their neither “here-no-there” status within the trio of New Jersey regions. Their Goldilocks positioning lets them forge their own subculture not quite as influenced by New York City to the north or Philadelphia to the south.

While the exact list is often up for debate, counties in Central New Jersey include:

  • Hunterdon
  • Mercer
  • Middlesex
  • Monmouth
  • Ocean
  • Somerset
  • Union

3. Southern New Jersey

Last but never least, Southern New Jersey stamps its mark on the state in a few distinct ways:

  • Proximity to Philadelphia: Many southeastern New Jersey suburbs sit nestled on the Pennsylvania border, making them a short drive away from Philadelphia. In these regions in particular, you’ll see stark overlap between manners of speech, colloquialisms and expressions — though not without a Jersey twist.
  • The Pine Barrens: Stray south, away from the cities and suburbs constituting its eastern corner, and you’ll soon stumble onto the Atlantic region’s only remaining coastal pine barrens ecosystem. Those living in this distinct part of the state — and country — used to be derogatorily called “Piney’s” — a badge they now wear with honor.
  • Food and drink: South New Jersey is experiencing a distinct and recent foodie Renaissance, thanks in part to the area’s agrarian roots reinvigorating demand for fresh, local and craft food and beverage experiences.

Counties constituting South New Jersey include:

  • Atlantic
  • Burlington
  • Camden
  • Cape May
  • Cumberland
  • Gloucester
  • Salem

Breakdown of New Jersey Expressions and Lingo

Whether you’re visiting or you’ve just recently moved, talk like a New Jersey native with this breakdown of slang and common expressions signature to the Garden State.

Fast Facts About Moving to New Jersey

1. “Down the Shore”

Heading “down the shore?” That means you’re heading to one of South or South-Central New Jersey’s infamous beach towns dotting the Atlantic Ocean.

The phrase is commonly used by north New Jerseyans to describe weekend trips or summer vacations to these coastal destinations. Peak tourist season “down the shore” runs from late May to mid-September.

2. WaWa

No, it’s not just a gas station. It’s an iconic establishment revered in the Garden State as the go-to spot for freshly prepared sandwiches, snacks, an extensive coffee bar, its own line of dairy products, ever-clean facilities and — most importantly — friendly staff ready to fill your visit with pleasant conversation.

While founded in Pennsylvania, New Jerseyans like to claim the convenience store as their adopted own. WaWas are particularly prevalent in the southern counties of the state, though they are increasingly sprinkled in Central and North New Jersey.

3. “Pork Roll”

Ready to level-up your brunch game? Order a pork roll at many restaurants and cafes in South Jersey, where you’ll be served a hot, gooey sandwich of egg, melted American cheese and — the signature ingredient — thick slices of pork-based Taylor Ham, all tucked inside a hard bread roll.

Name-brand purists may refer to this New Jersey delicacy simply as a Taylor Ham, given the brand of tinned ham originally used to make this stick-in-your gut breakfast. For a real New Jersey feast, enjoy your pork roll with a side of disco fries, or french fries smothered in cheese and gravy. You’re welcome.

4. “The City”

“The City” is New Jersey shorthand for heading to New York City or Philadelphia.

Depending on where you move or live in the state, referencing “The City” will automatically denote where you’re heading or where you’re coming from. In North Jersey, “The City” indicates nearby NYC, particularly Manhattan, while in South Jersey, it references neighboring Philly.

Bonus fact: People from “The City” often join the crowds flocking “down the shore” for some sun, surf and sand during summertime.

5. Subs Versus Hoagies

You aren’t in New Jersey if you don’t overhear some argument, at some point, between a North or Central Jerseyan and a South Jerseyan regarding the name of their sandwich.

In the north and middle parts of the state, those meats, cheeses and vegetables stuffed between slices of bread are subs — end of story.

In the south, though, you better believe it’s a hoagie — a term again reflecting this region’s connections to nearby Philly. Hoagies can also be called grinders or heroes, though, for even more southern regional somersaults.

6. “Pie”

“Pies” are a way of life for a state where nearly 20 percent of the population claims Italian lineage.

New Jersey’s take on pizza prioritizes the sauce, specifically a balance between a sweet-yet-savory tomato sauce and a thin crust. In certain parts of the state like Trenton, a “tomato pie” is a local cuisine staple, with the toppings added first before layering on that tomato-sauce goodness.

7. “Exit”

Whether directing movers or helping a friend navigate to your place, “exit” is a useful Garden State-ism relaying where you live in regards to the nearest numbered highway exit.

East Jersey residents are particularly famous for using this slang, as epitomized in the now-iconic Saturday Night Live sketch “What Exit?” that’s become part pop-culture punchline, part New Jersey-quirk turned badge of honor.

8. “Jughandle”

Jughandles are New Jersey’s take on highway off ramps or slip roads.

More specifically, cars enter the “jughandle” to make left turns, most often after exiting a highway or interstate. Drivers enter the jughandle on their right, marked as its own designated lane, then proceed to make a large loop that aerially resembles the handle of a jug (hence the name).

By the end of the loop, drivers are re-set on their course left, all while avoiding other directions of traffic and maintaining — at least theoretically — an efficient use of road infrastructure.

Short History and Fast Facts About New Jersey

Check out these fast facts and historical tidbits, many of which give instant street cred when moving or living in New Jersey.

Fast Facts About Moving to New Jersey

  • The first brewery in America opened in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1663, thanks to an entrepreneurial Dutch settler named Nicholas Varlett. Prior to Varlett’s establishment, though, there were area Native Americans brewing beer from corn, roots, birch sap and spring water.  
  • The first film development and movie-production studio began in Thomas Edison’s own laboratory in West Orange, North New Jersey. Edison dubbed his state-of-the-art film lab “The Black Maria.”
  • The first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey, on the summery eve of June 6, 1933. At the time, the theater called itself a “park-in,” launching a popular new form of entertainment venue that would sweep the nation well into the 20th century.
  • Saltwater taffy was invented on the Atlantic City boardwalk, which also happens to be the largest boardwalk not only in the United States but the entire world. As if that wasn’t enough, its four-plus-mile stretch is also the oldest continual boardwalk in America. 
  • Native Americans first inhabited the NJ area about 15,000 years ago. While there are no federally recognized tribes calling New Jersey their current home, Native American tribes indigenous to the state include the Lenni-Lenape, the Powhatan Renape and the Ramapough Lenape Indian Nations.
  • New Jersey has the highest concentration of shopping malls in the world, with one region in North New Jersey housing over seven retail shopping malls within a 25-square mile radius.

Movers in NJ

Looking for a moving company in South Jersey to take the headaches and hassle out of your big move? Request a free quote online today


Transtar Moving Systems is the local expert when moving to or from Central or North New Jersey into the southern part of the Garden State — and beyond. See our full suite of moving services in South Jersey, including residential, commercial, specialized and long-distance moves. We do it all.