New Jersey is sandwiched between two important cities: New York City in the northeast and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the southwest. "South Jersey" is theoretically the area within the Philadelphia sphere of influence, whereas "North Jersey" is the area within New York City's influence.
South Jersey has often been defined roughly as the area encompassing the historic province of West Jersey, which is almost the same geographically as the contemporary South Jersey area. South Jersey is the area that grew and expanded with Philadelphia, as part of its metropolitan area, as opposed to with New York. Traditionally, the term was used to separate only the very most urban and industrial, northeastern of New Jersey's counties from the rural rest of the state, as West Jersey separated East Jersey historically. While West Jersey encompassed the areas that now make up approximately 14 of New Jersey's 21 counties in the center, south, and northwest of the state, "South Jersey" today is comprised only of 7 counties, with the other 14 now being considered "North Jersey" as they have grown and idustrialized due to the outward growth of New York more so than of Philadelphia.
Because the borderline between the Philadelphia and New York City metro areas can no longer be definitively placed, since all of New Jersey's counties and towns now run one into the next as the entire state is now considered urban, the designation "Central Jersey" was created. It encompasses the counties directly north of Southern Jersey: Middlesex, Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Hunterdon, and Somerset, which could be considered equally part of North Jersey and South Jersey because they have shared features with both regions of the state. Historically, what it now described as Central Jersey was past of West Jersey, and therefore has traditionally been thought of as being part of "South Jersey" (outside New York City's immediate influence).
Today, however, the counties of Central Jersey are almost exclusively considered to be within New York City's metropolitan influence and sprawl and consequently are almost always referred to as part of North Jersey and almost never anymore as South Jersey. As North Jersey continues to migrate south and South Jersey continues to migrate north, the two once distinct regions of the state continue to become more and more similar.
See also: Jersey
South Jersey counties
- Atlantic County
- Burlington County
- Camden County
- Cape May County
- Cumberland County
- Gloucester County
- Salem County
Famous South Jerseyans
|Regions of New Jersey|
|Jersey Shore | Meadowlands | North Jersey | Pine Barrens | South Jersey | New York metropolitan area | Delaware Valley|
Atlantic City | Bayonne | Camden | Clifton | East Orange | Elizabeth | Hackensack | Hoboken | Jersey City | Linden | Long Branch | New Brunswick | Newark | Passaic | Paterson | Perth Amboy | Plainfield | Trenton | Union City | Vineland
|Counties of New Jersey|
Atlantic | Bergen | Burlington | Camden | Cape May | Cumberland | Essex | Gloucester | Hudson | Hunterdon | Mercer | Middlesex | Monmouth | Morris | Ocean | Passaic | Salem | Somerset | Sussex | Union | Warren