Seriously - we need help!

New Jersey is often referred to as the Garden State; this might of been a reasonably accurate description when it was first coined back in the 18th century, when the fertility of the soil in NJ was a celebrated characteristic of the state, but it certainly isn't now! Fair enough, the southeast has retained huge acreages of pine forest, the South Central region has gently rolling hills and lush vegetation, and the North West is still fairly barren hill country but to the North-East is urban sprawl, industrial decay and slums with the associated health problems, pollution and overall congestion. Indeed, the state of New Jersey is one of the most over populated states in the country despite the presence of the ever-popular seaside resorts along the Atlantic Coast, including the famous Atlantic City.

It is very difficult to characterise New Jersey because although industry is very important it could really be described as a dormitory region for the cities of Pennsylvania and New York, both of which lies just outside its boundaries. Indeed, a huge number, several hundreds of thousands of residents, commute every day to work in these cities, travelling out through huge traffic jams, and travelling back the same way and in many ways a lot of them almost feel like New Yorkers or Philadelphians, not NJ residents at all! This lack of a community feel to the state may have been at least partly responsible for much of the organised crime and political corruption that have both blighted the region. Another potent cause has probably been the ethnical mix; the main ethnic groups are Italian Americans, Blacks and Puerto Ricans, and it will be quite incorrect to claim that racial tensions do not exist. Furthermore, the phenomenon known as White Flight is sending the white population out to the suburbs, along with business and commerce, as the Black population moves in to take up the spaces in the poorer quality housing of the cities.

We have the recipe in place for a huge problem as the cities becomes more and more run down and the residents get poorer and poorer.

It is difficult to believe that New Jersey was originally named after the island of New Jersey just off the English coast; two regions with so little in common would be very difficult to find!

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