Differences in Lifestyles in New Jersey from a Southerner Perspective

During Memorial Day Weekend, my family and I drove up to New Jersey to see family. 

Many, including myself, did not realize that there is much difference between the way Americans live in our own country.

I noticed three main differences in the way people live in New Jersey from a North Carolinian perspective.

You Cannot Pump Your Gas in New Jersey

This law is the first difference my family and I noticed coming into New Jersey. 

We just entered the state, and my dad drove to a gas station. When he got out of the car to pump the gas, an attendant told my father he could not do that, and it is against the law.

My father did not believe him until my sister went to Google and found that it is a state law in New Jersey that you cannot pump your gas.

New Jersey is the only state with this law, created in 1949, citing the fire hazard of pumping gas. Oregon had the law as well, but lifted some restrictions on gas pumping in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

After that, I kept searching the streets of New Jersey to find someone who pumped their gas because I could not believe the law. I did not see anyone pumping their gas.

The Prices for Food are Expensive

The first restaurant we went to in New Jersey was Harold’s Deli Restaurant listed above. My family already knew that prices in the north are different from prices in the south, but I did not.

The sandwich above is a Harold’s Hero sandwich and the restaurant recommends two customers share the sandwich. The sandwich itself is $30, which sounds logical for two people. But, as you order more off the menu, it can become very pricy. 

When my family and I went out to dinner our last night in New Jersey, we went to a seafood restaurant on the beach. My family from North Carolina already knew that the prices in the north tend to be more expensive than in the south, so we wanted a place my New Jersey family found moderate.

When we looked at the restaurant menu, many of the entrees were $35 or over. Most people in the south do not consider that a moderately priced restaurant. But that is my family from New Jersey’s perception of moderately priced.

The Housing Prices are much higher than the South

One day, we were all riding through New Jersey neighborhoods and pondering the prices of the houses. My cousins responded with fascinating values.

A home in North Carolina with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms and more square feet would only be worth almost as much as a townhome in New Jersey with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms and less square feet.

This may be because New Jersey is the 10th most expensive state to reside in. Many other states in the north and northeast occupy the list as well.

Having the chance to see the differences between what a moderate restaurant is or moderate housing price is a fascinating part of the country to witness.


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