Introduction to Paterson, New Jersey

The New Jersey city of Paterson is the county seat of the state's Passaic County. Located in New Jersey's Piedmont region between the Appalachian foothills and the Coastal Plain, Paterson is situated approximately 30 miles west of New York City. Commuter rail (provided by New Jersey Transit Main Line) and bus service (provided by NJ Transit) is heavily utilized in Paterson, which is also served by several surrounding highways. These include Interstate I-80; U.S. Route 46; and New Jersey State Highways 3, 19, 21, and 23.

Paterson's roots trace back to 1792, when Alexander Hamilton formed an investment group calling itself the Society of Useful Manufactures (SUM). The group's purpose was to raise funds for the development of a planned industrial city in the United States so that the nation's dependence on foreign goods could be reduced. This planned city was later to become Paterson. Its industries were centered around the 77-foot high Great Falls of the Passaic and an associated system of water raceways designed to harness its power. Dozens of mill buildings and other manufacturing structures associated with the textile industry soon sprung forward. Other industries followed, including firearms, railroad locomotive manufacturing, and silk. During the latter half of the 19th century, silk production became dominant in Paterson and was responsible for the city's most prosperous industrial period. Paterson thereupon acquired its well-earned nickname of "Silk City." Paterson became incorporated as a city in 1851.

Arts, Culture, and Entertainment in Paterson

One of Paterson's premiere historic landmarks is the Lambert Castle Museum. Built in 1893, the structure is the former home of Catholina Lambert, owner of a prominent silk mill in the city. Constructed in the Medieval Revival architectural style, the Castle underwent a multi-million dollar restoration in the late 1990s, resulting in a museum and library being formed using all four floors of the building. Paterson residents enjoy many opportunities throughout the year to celebrate the city's ethnic diversity. Every summer, the city celebrates an African-American Day Parade, a Puerto Rican Day Parade, a Dominican Day Parade, a Turkish-American Day Parade, and a Peruvian Day Parade. The city's Peruvian community also celebrates an annual ten-day October festival known as "El Se"or de los Milagros" (translation: "Our Lord of Miracles").

Attractions elsewhere in the New York metropolitan area abound in many forms. Within an hour from Paterson are several things to see and do. Among the more popular are the Empire State Building, the American Museum of Natural History, the Javits Center, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan's Central Park, the Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, Battery Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chrysler Building, the Bronx Zoo, the Apollo Theater, and of course, the Statue of Liberty.

New York and New Jersey are also home to several major league teams spanning multiple sports:

  • Football: New York Jets and Giants (NFL)
  • Baseball: New York Yankees and Mets (MLB)
  • Basketball: New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets (NBA)
  • Hockey: New York Rangers and Islanders; New Jersey Devils (NHL)
  • Women's basketball: New York Liberty (WNBA)
  • Soccer: Red Bull New York (MLS)
  • Lacrosse: Long Island Lizards (MLL)


Total Population 146,987
Male Share of the Population 47.5%
Female Share of the Population 52.5%
Senior Citizens 9.9%
Employed Population 16+ 55,452
Age of the Population 33


% of people married 33.8%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 10.2%
Median Earnings25+ $28,009
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $20,348
Median Earnings With High School Degree $27,393


Median Family Income $37,424
% Above Poverty Level 70.9%
% Below Poverty Level 29.1%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 23 minutes
% Working from Home 1.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work 4.7%
% Using Public Transportation 11.9%


People Living Alone 23.2%
Median Gross Rent $1,112
Median House Value $246,700


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 77%
US/American 0.1%
English 0.2%
Irish 0.8%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Paterson Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Large City 13 miles N of Newark, New Jersey
County Passaic
Standard Zip Codes 07501, 07502, 07503, 07504, 07505, 07506, 07508, 07510, 07512, 07513, 07514, 07522, 07524
P.O. Box Zip Codes 07507, 07509, 07511, 07533, 07538, 07543, 07544
Phone Area Codes 973
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 40.927
Longitude -74.172

Paterson Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Distance 4.4 miles
Jan Temp 20 to 38 F
Apr Temp 40 to 61 F
Jul Temp 64 to 86 F
Oct Temp 42 to 65 F
Annual Precip 51.5 inches
Distance 8.7 miles
Jan Temp 19 to 36 F
Apr Temp 38 to 60 F
Jul Temp 62 to 84 F
Oct Temp 41 to 64 F
Annual Precip 51.9 inches
Distance 13.1 miles
Jan Temp 18 to 36 F
Apr Temp 39 to 60 F
Jul Temp 62 to 84 F
Oct Temp 41 to 64 F
Annual Precip 51 inches

Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Paterson, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

Hillcrest (07502)

Peoples Park (07513, 07543)

South Paterson (07503, 07533)

Totowa Boro (07512)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Fair Lawn 33,164 $111,367
Haledon 8,412 $69,680
Hawthorne 18,989 $102,687
North Haledon 8,507 $110,139
Prospect Park 5,924 $57,246
Totowa 10,931 $101,645

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Paterson Public Libraries

Paterson Free Public Library
Paterson, New Jersey
(973) 321-1223

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Paterson Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(973) 754-2000
Emergency Service: Yes

(Voluntary non-profit - Other)
(973) 977-6600
Emergency Service: Yes

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Paterson High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 3,141 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10.6

Serves 2,676 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 10.2

Serves 245 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 7.4

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Historic Paterson


Passaic Falls c1900

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Passaic Falls c1900

Passaic Falls between 1890 and 1901

Passaic Falls between 1890 and 1901

Additional Resources
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