Elizabeth, New Jersey

Elizabeth, New Jersey, is the largest city and the county seat of Union County. As of the 2020 Census, the city had a population of 137,298, making it the fourth most populous city in the state. Founded in 1664, it is rich in history and was the first capital of New Jersey. Elizabeth has grown into a bustling urban center with diverse communities and a dynamic economy.

Elizabeth skyline

History Of Elizabeth, NJ

Elizabeth, initially known as “Elizabethtown,” was founded by English settlers and named after Elizabeth, the wife of Sir George Carteret. It served as New Jersey’s first capital and was a significant site during the American Revolutionary War. The city was officially incorporated in 1855, merging Elizabeth Borough and Elizabeth Township. Over the centuries, Elizabeth has evolved from a colonial settlement to a modern urban city, preserving its historical legacy through various landmarks and buildings.


Elizabeth covers a total area of 13.64 square miles, of which 12.32 square miles is land and 1.32 square miles is water. It is bordered by Newark to the north, Union Township to the west, Hillside to the northwest, and Linden to the southwest. The city is strategically located near major transportation hubs, including Newark Liberty International Airport and the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal, facilitating trade and commerce.

Elizabeth, New Jersey

Economy and Infrastructure

Historically, Elizabeth was a manufacturing powerhouse, home to major companies like the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Electric Boat Company and Carpet Cleaning Wizards Elizabeth. Today, the city’s economy is diverse, encompassing sectors such as retail, transportation, healthcare, and manufacturing. Key commercial areas include the Elizabeth Center and Jersey Gardens, one of the largest outlet malls in New Jersey. The city’s infrastructure supports a high quality of life with extensive public services, recreational facilities, and ongoing urban development projects.


Elizabeth is composed of several neighborhoods, each with its unique character and community:

  • Midtown/Uptown: The central business district, featuring government buildings, shopping centers, and historic sites like the Ritz Theatre.
  • Bayway: Known for its industrial areas and Polish community, close to the Goethals Bridge linking to Staten Island.
  • Elizabethport: The oldest part of the city, undergoing revitalization with new housing and waterfront developments.
  • Elmora and Elmora Hills: Predominantly residential areas with a strong Modern Orthodox Jewish presence and well-regarded schools.
  • Frog Hollow and Keighry Head: Working-class neighborhoods with affordable housing options and community parks.


Elizabeth’s public school system is one of the largest in New Jersey, serving over 28,000 students across 35 schools. The city is also home to Union County College, offering a range of associate degree programs. Additionally, Elizabeth hosts several private and parochial schools, providing diverse educational opportunities. The Elizabeth Public Library system serves the community with multiple branches offering educational and cultural programs.


Elizabeth boasts a comprehensive transportation network, including major highways like the New Jersey Turnpike (Interstate 95) and the Garden State Parkway. NJ Transit provides extensive bus and rail services, connecting residents to New York City and other parts of New Jersey. The Elizabeth Station, part of NJ Transit’s North Jersey Coast Line and Northeast Corridor Line, is a critical hub for commuters. Newark Liberty International Airport, located just north of Elizabeth, offers global connectivity.


Elizabeth operates under the Faulkner Act, utilizing a mayor-council system of government. The current mayor, J. Christian Bollwage, has served since 1992. The city council consists of nine members, including three at-large members and six members representing the city’s wards. This structure allows for local governance that addresses both city-wide and neighborhood-specific issues, fostering community engagement and responsive administration.

Cultural Significance

Elizabeth is culturally rich, with a diverse population contributing to a vibrant community life. The city hosts numerous cultural events and festivals throughout the year, celebrating its multicultural heritage. Notable landmarks include the historic Ritz Theatre, Boxwood Hall, and the Belcher-Ogden Mansion. Elizabeth has also been featured in various films and TV shows, highlighting its unique urban landscape.

For more detailed information, visit the Wikipedia page on Elizabeth, New Jersey.