New Jersey is located in the Northeastern, Mid Atlantic portion of the
United States. It was one of the original thirteen colonies that fought
to become independent from Great Britain. The state is currently
divided into twenty one counties. Thirteen of the counties date back to
the colonial era. Bergen and Middlesex are the most populous counties
in the state.
New Jersey is the most densely populated and second wealthiest state in
the U.S. The state has the highest percentage of millionaire
households. Although New Jersey is generally wealthy, Newark is the
fourth poorest city in the U.S. Much of the state consists of suburbs
of New York City and Philadelphia. New Jersey is the only state to have
all its counties deemed "urban."
New Jersey is one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse
states. It has the second largest Jewish population (after New York),
the largest number of Cubans outside of Florida, the second largest
Muslim population (after Michigan), and also large groups of Costa
Ricans, Asians, African Americans, Arabs, Filipinos and Indians. It is
also known as one of the most politically liberal states in the U.S.
Crime and Punishment
Just like every other state, New Jersey has laws and those who break
them. The state is home of the DeCavalcante crime family, who inspired
many aspects of the HBO hit "The Sopranos." The mafia has its roots in
the Italian community and has been actively committing organized crime
since the early 1900's.
Although there have been numerous "take downs" of this organization, it
currently continues to operate and thrive. New Jersey has an
incarceration rate of 291 per 100,000 people, which is lower than the
national rate of 502. A large proportion of prisoners are incarcerated
for non-violent drug offenses. There is some speculation that drug laws
in this state are too rigid and this is the reason for the high number
of drug related incarcerations.
New Jersey has some of the most stringent gun control laws in the
nation. These include bans on assault firearms, hollow-nose bullets and
even slingshots. Every gun offense in the state is considered a felony.
BB guns and black powder guns are all treated as modern firearms. New
Jersey does not acknowledge out-of-state gun licenses. The state
aggressively enforces its gun laws.
Every state has some weird laws on their books, and New Jersey is no
exception. While murder is obviously an illegal act, so is wearing a
bulletproof vest while committing murder. It is against the law for a
man to knit during fishing season. If you have been convicted of
driving while intoxicated, you are forever prohibited from applying for
personalized license plates.
It is against the law to frown at a police officer, so paint on that
smile! In Bernards Township, it is illegal to frown at all as the town
is a "Frown-free town zone." Statewide, it is against the law to slurp
your soup (we think a mom must have come up with this one).