Morristown or Morris City?


Morristown has seen substantial improvements to its infrastructure as construction quickly turns our hometown into what more closely resembles an up-and-coming city. So, what do you think, Morristown or Morris City?

Would you consider Morristown a “Town” or a “City?”

Morristown in recent years more closely resembles an up-and-coming city than a town suburb. With a population nearing 20k people, and 3 square miles of land, Morristown is one of the larger municipalities in New Jersey.

Living in Morristown offers an urban feel and most residents rent their homes, unlike most suburban towns where homeownership is more common. Morristown offers a large variety of restaurants, retailers, and public spaces like parks and trails.

What was once a suburban oasis, an escape from our neighbor NYC, has become a bustling cityscape itself. But I can’t go as far as claiming the “suburban town” has become a city because the words “town” and “city” have no distinct designation.

Generally speaking, both a town and a city are urban centers but differ by geographical size, population, and level of infrastructural development. What is a town in one country or state may be considered a city in another location; the definition is arbitrary and the boundary between town and city is unclear.

The main difference between a town and a city is size: population and geographical area.

Additionally, cities tend to be more developed than towns, having more advanced infrastructure.

This arbitrary definition leaves us with an unclear delineation of what constitutes a town or city; a city is larger than a town, and a town is smaller than a city but larger than a village.

Cities tend to be densely populated areas with legally defined boundaries and have a population engaged in non-agricultural activities as a source of livelihood.

Most cities, or developed urban centers, have advanced infrastructural systems, including housing, transportation, and communications, along with state-of-the-art social amenities.

Cities will most often have a Central Business District (CBD), and downtown, or city center, that serves as political, economic, and religious centers.

Cities have public spaces like parks and sporting facilities. These urban centers are continuously growing in size and boundary, merging with surrounding areas. (Some countries, including Japan, India, and China have cities that merged to form metropolis areas with 30-40 million people)

Another important distinction: cities are an entity with legal powers assigned to them by the county or state authorities. 

In other words, cities usually have more power to self-govern than towns.

As for a town, once again there is no official definition, and all towns vary by size. Some states define a town by population. In some states, a town is a form of municipal government with legally defined borders. Towns with distinct governments are known as incorporated towns, while the rest are unincorporated towns. Unlike cities, heads of towns like chairpersons are most often appointed not elected.

Morristown doesn’t come close to the population or geographical size of the largest cities in America. Compare Morristown to 150 of the largest cities in the US and Morristown certainly looks like a suburban town.

Yet with recent construction bringing increasing forms of non-agricultural focus business, and improvements to the town’s infrastructure, Morristown is starting to look like a bustling cityscape.

Morristown has what one could claim is a central business district; we’ve seen new businesses come into town, take for example the M Station construction bringing Deloitte into Morristown. Morristown also has public parks and open spaces like the Morristown Green and includes political, economic, and religious centers. Morristown presents itself as a town that is quickly developing into a city in more ways than one.

So, there may not be a clear distinction between towns and cities, but what do you think? As a resident of Morristown, NJ do you consider your home a town or a city?

Vote in the comments!

More statistics about the surrounding area:

Morris County has a population holding around 490k since plateauing and then declining in 2013.

According to New Jersey Demographics, Morristown is one of 565 cities [ or MUNICIPALITIES] in New Jersey. Ranked from largest to smallest by population, Newark is #1 with Jersey City not too far behind at #2.

Morris Township, listed by NJ Demographics as Morris City, is the 116th most populated city in New Jersey. Morris Township completely surrounds Morristown and is 15.81 square miles with a population of about 23k. Morristown is number 136, and Morris Plains with a population of 5,888 is number 340.

If Morristown continues to grow, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Morristown and Morris Township merge into a larger metropolis.

Pine Valley, a place we’ve heard a lot about lately, has a population of around a dozen people and is the third smallest “city” [or MUNICIPLITY] in New Jersey.

Tavistock is the smallest of NJs “cities” [MUNCIPALITIES] with a population of 5.* According to the US Census Bureau in 2020

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