Are you thinking of living in New Jersey? Having lived in New Jersey for five years, I’ve had a firsthand experience of what it’s really like to live in NJ. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of living in New Jersey.
Hope this article will shed some light on understanding what life is really like in NJ and can help you make an informed decision about calling it your home.
Pros of Living in New Jersey
1. No Sales Tax
One of the best things about living in New Jersey is that you don’t have to pay taxes on your groceries and clothing! New Jersey has the advantage of having tax exemptions on food, clothing, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs.
And when you compare it to neighboring states (ahem, New York), New Jersey’s 6.625% sales tax is much lower!
New Jersey is a shopping haven! New Jersey is home to many malls and also many Big Box retail stores like Target and Walmart. You don’t have to drive far to get to a mall or a big box store when you live in New Jersey.
New Jersey is home to American Dream Mall which is the 2nd largest indoor shopping mall in America.
You can live the beach lifestyle in New Jersey! The Jersey Shore is famous for its beautiful sandy beaches.
There are even coastal NJ towns like Rumson and Fair Haven with high-speed ferry service to Manhattan. That means you can live in the Jersey Shore and still be within an hour and a half from NYC!
4. Near NYC and Philadelphia
New Jersey is centrally located adjacent to New York City and Philadelphia. The Northern New Jersey towns are within a short commute to Manhattan while the South Jersey towns are considered suburbs of Philadelphia.
This central location offers NJ residents the unique advantage of enjoying the best of both worlds, with easy access to the Big Apple’s cultural attractions, job opportunities, and entertainment, as well as the rich historical heritage, education centers, and diverse neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
5. Cheap Gas Prices and Full Service Gas
Compared to neighboring New York and Connecticut, New Jersey has remarkably low gas prices. The state’s consistently competitive fuel costs stand out as a silver lining for drivers in an otherwise expensive region.
In New Jersey, it’s illegal for drivers to pump their own gas, a policy aimed at preserving jobs and ensuring safety at the pump.
The combination of affordable fuel and full-service gas makes refueling in the Garden State a hassle-free experience that’s hard to find elsewhere!
New Jersey is very diverse, home to many different communities, chances are, you will find your tribe if you live in New Jersey.
From the bustling streets of Jersey City, where you can hear a multitude of languages spoken on any given day, to the serene suburbs that house a melting pot of families, New Jersey embraces diversity in its fullest sense.
7. Great Food
New Jersey is a foodie haven from the amazing Portuguese, Spanish and Brazilian food in Newark’s Ironbound district to authentic Korean food in Fort Lee to the best Indian food in Edison to waterfront dining in Jersey City.
There is no shortage of good food in New Jersey!
Cons of Living in New Jersey
1. High Property Taxes
New Jersey has the highest property taxes of all of America. NJ has an effective property tax rate of 2.47%, making it the highest in the United States!
To make it worse for NJ homeowners, New Jersey also has relatively high home prices with a median home value of $355,700. That means New Jersey homeowners are burdened with high property taxes and high home prices!
2. Traffic Congestion
The traffic congestion on the New Jersey Turnpike can be nothing short of a maddening ordeal. As one of the busiest toll roads in the United States, this extensive highway system connecting major cities such as New York City and Philadelphia is notorious for its ceaseless gridlock during peak hours.
3. Densely Populated
One of the cons of living in New Jersey is that it is a densely populated state. This often translates into practical inconveniences like the struggle to find parking, especially at crowded malls during weekends. Parking spots can be hard to come by, leading to frustrating hunts and long waits!
We also interviewed a lot of NJ residents so you can get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in New Jersey. Check out our interviews with local New Jersey residents.
Living in New Jersey: FAQ
What is the Population of New Jersey?
The population of New Jersey is approximately 9,288,994.
Are New Jersey Residents Well Educated?
39.7% of New Jersey residents have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher. Compare this to overall United States where 32% of residents have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher.
Is New Jersey Diverse?
71.9% of New Jersey residents are White, 10% of New Jersey residents are Asians, 20.9% of New Jersey residents are Hispanic and 15.1% of New Jersey residents are African Americans.
Are There a Lot of Children Living in New Jersey?
21.8% of New Jersey residents are children under 18 years old and 5.8% of New Jersey residents are children under 5 years old. Compare this to overall United States where 22% of United States residents are children under 18 years old.
Is there a Large Senior Citizen Population in New Jersey?
16.6% of New Jersey residents are seniors aged 65 years old and older. Compare this to overall United States where 17% of residents are seniors aged 65 years old and older.
Is New Jersey Affluent?
New Jersey has a median household income of $82,545. Compare this to overall United States where the median household income is $62,843.
Are There a Lot of Rentals in New Jersey?
In New Jersey, 36.1% of housing units are rentals while 63.9% of housing units in New Jersey are owner occupied.
How Much Is Rent in New Jersey?
The median gross rent in New Jersey is $1,334. Compare this to overall United States where the median gross rent is $1,062.
What is the Median Home Value in New Jersey?
The Median Home Value of owner-occupied homes in New Jersey is $335,600.
How Long is the Average Commute to Work for New Jersey Residents?
The mean travel time to work for New Jersey residents is 32 minutes. Compare this to overall United States where the average time to work is 27 minutes.
How Big is New Jersey?
New Jersey is 7,354.22 square miles.
New Jersey Counties
Below are infographics of New Jersey counties. For more detailed information, click on the link.
New Jersey: Jobs
Wealthiest Towns in New Jersey
Where do the wealthy live in New Jersey? 10 Wealthiest Towns in New Jersey
How Much Is Property Tax in NJ?
The average property tax in New Jersey is $9,115. The Average Effective Property Tax Rate in NJ is 2.74 and the average property value in New Jersey is $377,856.
New Jersey has the highest property tax rates in the nation. This makes New Jersey one of the most expensive states to live in the United States. Property tax rates in New Jersey varies depending on the county and municipality. Below are links to articles about NJ Property taxes.
Interviews with New Jersey Residents
Check out our interviews with New Jersey residents. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in New Jersey.
Interview with Montclair, NJ residents
Interview with Oakland, NJ Resident
Interview with Franklin Lakes, NJ Residents
Interview with Hoboken, NJ Resident
Interview with Sparta, NJ Resident
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Data Source: US Census American Community Survey and New Jersey Department of Community Affairs