Cities in New Jersey
New Jersey allows municipal charter cities and counties. There are 21 total counties in New Jersey. 6 counties operate under the Optional County Charter Law statutes.
Types of local government
Local government in New Jersey consists of:
- Counties, of which there are 21
- Municipalities, of which there are 566. Municipalities are classified under state law as either: Township, Borough, City, Town, or Village
- In addition, there are 234 special districts and 523 independent school districts.
"In New Jersey, borough, city, town, village, and township governments have similar powers and perform similar functions. All areas of the state are encompassed by township governments except areas within the boundaries of a borough, city, town, or village."
The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments shows that, as of September of 2012, New Jersey had:
- 21 county governments.
- 242 township governments.
- 324 other municipal governments (boroughs, cities, towns, and villages).
Counties: 6 of the 21 counties operate under the Optional County Charter Law (Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union)
Each of the five types of municipalities may operate under the unique form of government historically associated with it, or under one of the following optional forms of government provided by state statute:
- Commission, of which there are 32
- Council Manager Act of 1923, of which there are 7
- Optional Municipal Charter Law, of which there are 129
- or a Special Charter granted by the state legislature, of which there are 11.
Initiative process availability
The local units of government in New Jersey that make the initiative process available are:
- Counties operating under the optional county charter law have state specified initiative and referendum. There are 6 such counties (Atlantic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Mercer and Union).
- Municipalities operating under the optional municipal charter law (129) or commission form of government (32) have state specified initiative and referendum procedures. A list of these 161 municipalities is provided below in the external links, "Initiative and Referendum in New Jersey’s Counties and Municipalities."
- 3 of the 11 municipalities with special act charters provide for local initiative and referendum in the charter (Middletown Township, Montville Township, and Plainfield City). These charters were special acts of the legislature.
- In addition, Tenafly Borough, which generally operates under the borough form of government, has provided its voters with the powers of initiative and referendum pursuant to a local law specifically enacted to provide those powers.
10 most populated cities
|List of Most Populated Cities in New Jersey|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
|Newark||277,540||Optional Municipal Charter Law||2014|
|Jersey City||250,323||Optional Municipal Charter Law||2017|
|Paterson||146,427||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|Elizabeth||125,660||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|Trenton||84,899||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|Camden||77,283||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|Passaic||69,893||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|Union City||67,187||Optional Municipal Charter Law||N/A|
|East Orange||64,365||General law city||N/A|
Full list of cities
- See also: List of New Jersey cities
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
- Laws governing local ballot measures in New Jersey
- New Jersey ballot measures
- Counties in New Jersey
- Local Government Types and Numbers Research Spreadsheet
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- U.S. Census Bureau's Report, "Governments--Individual State Descriptions", 2007
- Initiative and Referendum in New Jersey’s Counties and Municipalities
- New Jersey State League of Municipalities, Types and forms of government
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)