Nicknames are common for people and sports teams, but why would a U.S. state have a nickname? The 50 States in the U.S. all have special and different qualities that they like to boast about, some of which are used to attract people to the state, whether to live there, or just for a visit, while others are rooted in long-standing history.

All these factors culminate into several interesting facts about New Jersey, with one of the more notable ones being that New Jersey is the 11th largest state by population, boasting a population of over 8.8 million people. However, the state also has one of the smallest land areas out of all 50 states, ranking 47th.

Many states developed an initial nickname after they entered the union 200+ years ago, but not all state nicknames have stuck with each state over the years, and many have developed additional nicknames or primary nicknames that they identify with the most or that set them apart from other states. States take their nicknames from various sources so let’s take a look at New Jersey’s nickname.

New Jersey's Nickname

What is New Jersey’s Nickname? It is “The Garden State”.

The Garden State is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean (America’s East Coast), considered to be part of the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. There are two other states that share the same border as New Jersey, New York along the northern border, and Pennsylvania to the west.

New Jersey’s nickname originates from August 24th, 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia on Jersey Day. According to Alfred Heston’s book, “Jersey Waggon Jaunts”, which came out in 1926, “The Garden State” was a name used by Abraham Browning, of Camden. “In his address Mr. Browning compared New Jersey to an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and the New Yorkers from the other. He called New Jersey the Garden State, and the name has clung to it ever since.”

Although this theory is the most recognized when it comes to the adoption of New Jersey’s nickname, there are more recent ideas for the adoption of this nickname. The newer theories reference New Jersey truck farms that provide agricultural produce to local cities and towns. These farms cater to the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas, displaying huge importance to the US economy.

New Jersey State Nickname

Much the same as other states, New Jersey has adopted multiple nicknames over the years, not just one. Although the New Jersey state nickname is “The Garden State”, there are other nicknames that are associated with New Jersey, let’s take a look at the other New Jersey nicknames.

  • The Clam State – this New Jersey state nickname references the abundance of Clams taken off the coast and in the Delaware Bay.
  • The Camden & Amboy State – this nickname refers to the old Camden and Amboy railroad while highlighting the powerful influence this famous railroad had in the state.
  • The Jersey Blue State – during the revolutionary war, the soldiers representing New Jersey would wear blue uniforms, that is where this New Jersey state nickname originates from.
  • The Pathway of Revolution – this nickname is a reference to the battles fought on New Jersey soil during the revolutionary war.
  • The Switzerland of America – it is unusual for states to share the exact same nickname as another, however, this nickname is also New Hampshire’s Nickname – referencing the beautiful mountain ranges, and glorious landscapes that make New Jersey, comparing it to that of Switzerland.
  • The Mosquito State – this rather bizarre nickname was adopted by New Jersey due to, you guessed it, the sheer number of these bloodthirsty insects residing in the state.

New Jersey Nicknames

Now that you know the New Jersey state nickname, and non-official nicknames it makes sense to take a look at New Jersey’s motto. All states have a unique state motto/slogan, usually derived from an event linked with the state’s historical past, mottos tend to be given to the state as a representation of the people past and present.

“Liberty and prosperity” was originally adopted as the slogan for New Jersey in 1777. This motto reflects the optimistic and strong mindsets of the people of New Jersey past and present and can be seen featured on the official New Jersey state seal.

If you are interested in knowing all about the New Jersey State abbreviation, take a look at our page dedicated to this. The New Jersey state abbreviation is sometimes confused with other states that have similar letters in them, knowing and memorizing these state abbreviations is highly recommended for a multitude of reasons.