10 Pros and Cons of Living in New Jersey Right Now

Smart Things To Know Before Moving To New Jersey

Have you been considering the pros and cons of living in New Jersey? If yes. Then you have come to the right place.

Because we are going to go deep into the benefits of living in New Jersey.  Also, the top reasons not to move to New Jersey in the first place.

As a bonus, we will pull it all together for you. To answer the big question: Is New Jersey a good place to live?

So, let’s get moving. And address the living in New Jersey pros and cons…

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Disclosure: At no cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Pros And Cons Of Living In New Jersey

Our top 10 New Jersey pros and cons include:

  • Multiple lifestyle options
  • Close to everything
  • Lots of fun things to do
  • A good public school system
  • High marks for health and safety
  • Expensive cost of living
  • A heavy income tax burden
  • High property taxes
  • Extreme weather
  • Highly congested

We will go through each one of these pros and cons of New Jersey in just a bit. But first, allow me to answer the all-important question…

Is New Jersey A Good Place To Live?

Every state has some good. And some bad.

But, New Jersey is one of those places where people seem to either love it. Or, hate it.

There is very little middle ground.

So, why live in New Jersey? Let’s discuss…

Reasons To Move To New Jersey

First, you can choose from several lifestyle options. Whether you want urban, small-town, rural, coastal, or want to enjoy nature in the mountains.

Next, the state is small. So you are close to everything.

Including world-class cities in neighboring states. Specifically, New York City and Philadelphia.

Furthermore, you won’t lack for having fun things to do. Since there are art galleries, unlimited entertainment options, casinos, beaches, and mountains to choose from.

Finally, New Jersey is a good place to raise a family. Select the right location and you will find excellent schools, low crime, and access to quality health care for when you need it.

Sounds great, right? And it is. Since many residents consider the New Jersey quality of life quite high.

But this article about the pros and cons of living in New Jersey would not be complete. Without addressing some reasons not to live in New Jersey in the first place.

Here goes…

Disadvantages Of Living In New Jersey

First, money may be the biggest drawback of living here.

Because the cost of living in New Jersey is very high. With just about every budget category running well above the national average.

Second, there are taxes. Where income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and toll roads. Will take up a large share of your finances.

And last, there are other inconveniences

Such as less than perfect weather, a congested area with a fast pace culture. And plenty of bad traffic jams. To stress you out and create a negative vibe.

So, you can see that living in New Jersey. Well, it’s a “mixed bag” as the saying goes.

Now. With those highlights of this living in New Jersey review taken care of.

Let’s go through each of the pros and cons of moving to New Jersey. And do so one by one…

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Multiple Lifestyle Options

Even though this is a very small state. It is difficult to generalize about the New Jersey lifestyle.

Since the state can be divided up into multiple regions. And each one has something different to offer.

So, here is one of the best things about New Jersey…

Specifically, you can drive 50 miles in any direction. And find yourself in a completely different living environment.

But know that much of the state is composed of nice, laid-back towns. And residents of every single town believe theirs to be the best place to live.

Because from one town to the next. They tend to be very different from each other.

Also, most areas of the state have beach towns located on the shore. If enjoying the unique aspects of coastal living here, is your desire.

With those global comments covered regarding life in New Jersey. Let’s talk about the different regions

Living In New Jersey: Northwestern Region

First of all, you can choose a nature-filled life in the northwest corner. Where the Kittatinny Mountains are located. Across from the border state of Pennsylvania.

Here you will find a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. Where some through-hikers have commented that the New Jersey portion was one of the most scenic areas.

Furthermore, black bears still roam these parts. And there are many other options for hiking and exploring. Including scenic lake towns.

Living In New Jersey: Northeastern Region

Next, we have the most densely populated area in the northeast. Sometimes referred to as North Jersey. It is partially defined by its proximity to New York City.

It is an intensely urban area. Including Bergen County. Known as one of the most populated counties in the U.S.

The area has everything a world-class city offers. All within close reach.

Living In New Jersey: Central Region

Those who live in the central part of the state. Benefit from being near the shore. And being close to New York City and Philadelphia.

Living In New Jersey: Southern Region

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The southern region is more connected with the Philadelphia metropolitan area.

But as you move farther to the south. And closer to the nearby state of Delaware. Or, west towards the Atlantic ocean.

There you will find many small towns. Pleasant rural areas. And ample farmland (some of which is for sale).

On the shore, popular beach towns include Cape May, Point Pleasant, and Atlantic City.

Given all of these options. The best moving to New Jersey advice I can give you is this…

Decide on exactly what you are looking for out of life. Then do your research before committing to one of the New Jersey lifestyles at your disposal.

Ready or not. I have another one of the reasons to live in New Jersey coming your way…

Close To Everything

Because if you can’t find exactly what you are looking for in New Jersey. Whatever “it” is. Know that the state gets high marks for its location and accessibility.

So, you can surely find whatever it is you are looking for. By taking a trip to the Philadelphia or New York City metropolitan areas.

Also, you can access great hiking and skiing in upstate New York. Vermont and New Hampshire too.

Plus drives to Cape Cod in the state of Massachusetts. And other northeastern cities like Boston and Washington, D.C. are manageable.

So if you are looking for the city, shopping, dining, beach, farms, mountains, skiing, or hiking. You can probably find it in New Jersey.

And, if not. Find it in one of the nearby cities or states.

Next, I have another one of the good things about New Jersey…

Lots Of Fun Things To Do

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New Jersey is one of the most diverse states in the nation. You can find people from almost every culture and every country here.

And keeping all of these different folks entertained is not a problem. Since there are plenty of fun things to do.

Allow me to highlight a few things that come to mind…

Culture And Entertainment

If you are into the arts scene, then you will be happy to know that Jersey has a ton of museums, galleries, and concert venues.

Some of the best include:

  • Morris Museum
  • Newark Museum of Art
  • Princeton University Art Museum
  • Zimmerli Art Museum

Furthermore, this state is great for outdoorsy types. Since there are plenty of cool things about New Jersey happening outdoors…

Jersey Shore, Beaches, And Natural Spaces

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First of all, the Jersey beaches line most of its east coast. As the state has more than 100 miles of ocean shoreline.

And for the most part, the beaches are very clean. And a great place to relax on a hot summer day.

Next, the state has the most boardwalks in the country. Since almost every town and city along the Jersey Shore have one.

They offer various attractions and entertainment. Including carnival rides, shopping, and restaurants.

Most noteworthy, Atlantic City is home to the longest boardwalk in the world. And has incredible casinos and nightlife.

Furthermore, known as “The Garden State”. New Jersey has some lush farms, pinelands, and wetlands too.

Leading us to the many beautiful parks, forests, miles of riverfront, and a lot of open spaces to enjoy.

Such as…

  • Brendan T. Byrne Forest
  • Kittatinny Mountains
  • Liberty State Park
  • Tyler State Park
  • Wharton State Forest

So, whatever your outdoor passion is. Hunting, fishing, boating, swimming, biking, or something else. I bet you can find it in New Jersey.

And what makes all of this outdoor fun possible. Well, it’s another one of the great things about New Jersey…

Four Season Weather

Since New Jersey’s weather is distinctly marked by the four seasons. Just to keep things interesting.

Spring usually starts chilly and windy. But the thaw and warmer temperatures are welcomed by New Jersey residents.

Bringing the forests to life. And blooms from flowers everywhere.

Summer gets warm and humid. With temperatures easily reaching the 80s and 90s.

While the autumn season is colorful.  As the leaves turn. And the temperatures turn cool and crisp.

Finally, the winter brings fresh blankets of snow. And plenty of colder temperatures. That normally holds that snow until spring. When the cycle begins anew.

Okay. I don’t know about you. But all of this talk of outdoor activities. Has made me hungry.

Leading me to the topic of food. Another one of the perks of living in New Jersey…

Good Regional Foods

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First of all, New Jersey is known as the “diner capital of the world”. Having more than 500 diners located throughout the state.

Then there are certain foods the state is known for. Such as…

  • Bagels
  • Pizza
  • Pretzels
  • Taylor ham
  • Disco fries

Taylor ham is especially good on a Jersey breakfast sandwich. Placed on a toasted bagel with cheese.

Disco fries are a specialty too. They are french fries covered in gravy and cheese.

While bagels and pizza are a mainstay of The Garden State diet. Since locals will argue that they produce the best in the country.

So, when thinking about New Jersey living. Have no concern about satisfying a big appetite. With lots of good ole comfort food.

Then consider this next item on our list of things to know about New Jersey. That we can add to the plus column…

Good Public School System

First of all, the school districts in New Jersey are generally above average.  And some say the educational system is one of the best in the country.

Many of the towns are centered on kids and school activities. With youth sports leagues playing a big role.

Some of the things that make the schools stand out include:

  • Low student to teacher ratio
  • Good standardized test scores
  • Excellent high-school graduation rate

Furthermore, there are some excellent choices for higher education too. Such as…

  • Princeton University
  • Rutgers University
  • Monmouth University

Plus, many great colleges and universities in nearby NYC.

Bringing us to another one of the pros and cons of living in New Jersey…

High Marks For Health And Safety

Since the state ranks well for health care. And for the most part, low crime.

Here’s why…

Access To Quality Health Care

Since life in New Jersey means access to high-quality healthcare.  With more than 100 hospitals located in the state.

Some highly rated ones include:

  • Morristown Medical Center – Morristown
  • Hackensack University Medical Center – Hackensack
  • Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center – Livingston
  • Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital – New Brunswick

Low Crime Rates

New Jersey’s property and violent crime are lower than most places in the U.S.

Partly because much of New Jersey is rural. Dotted with small towns and medium-sized cities.

They do not attract a lot of criminal activity. And are some of the safest places to live in the US.

On the other hand, it is important to choose your specific location wisely. Since the state has pockets where crime is an issue. The Camden area always rates high on this list.

Okay. That concludes the many perks of living in New Jersey.

But, an article about 10 living in New Jersey pros and cons would not be complete. Without addressing the disadvantages of living in New Jersey too.

Let’s do that now…

Expensive Cost Of Living

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The average cost of living in New Jersey is more than the national average. Higher in just about every category.

According to BestPlaces.net, the average cost of living here is about 20% more. This includes groceries, housing, transportation, and utilities.

Real estate values on the average home run almost 40% more. Versus the rest of the United States.

And the closer you live to Philadelphia or New York City. The more it costs.

So once again, choose your location wisely.

Since the price of living in New Jersey will be much less than the average. If you choose the southern region of the state. Located away from the major metropolitan areas.

Of course, you give up all that they have to offer. Absent commuting in periodically.

Next, here are a few tips. To shave a few bucks out of your budget. No matter where you choose to live…

Ways To Save Money Living In New Jersey (or anywhere)

Since every dollar counts. No matter where you live.

So, to save some money. As you weigh the pros and cons of living in New Jersey

Make sure your credit score is in good shape.  Check it for free using Credit Karma. Then get busy improving it.

Since home mortgage lenders. And landlords will check your score.

Also, shop for mortgage rates online. To get the best deal on a loan.

Furthermore, I get cashback on all my online purchases. Including the stuff that I buy on Amazon through the Rakuten cash rebate app.

Managing Your Money In New Jersey (or anywhere)

Finally, manage your total financial picture for free. Using Empower.

It’s a great online budgeting and money management tool.

What’s best? Empower and all these other apps and tools are free to sign up for and use.

For saving money. And better managing it too. No matter where you choose to live.

Next, another one of the worst things about New Jersey living.  And unfortunately, I’m not done with your money…

Heavy Income Tax Burden

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The state runs a progressive income tax system. Just a fancy way of saying the more you make. The higher your average state income tax rate is going to be.

The state’s rates start at a little more than 1% for lower levels of income. And go all the way up to more than 10%.

This is one of the highest state marginal tax brackets in the country.

Most people will never come close to paying that top rate. Since it takes making big money to trigger it.

But it’s not uncommon for families here to pay at least 4-5%. Of their income in state income taxes.

While high earners will have to pay up. When it comes to state income taxes.

On the plus side, social security income is not taxed. And there are some other modest tax breaks for certain forms of retirement income.

Just in case you are considering the pros and cons of retiring in New Jersey.

Most importantly, everyone’s tax situation is different. So, it’s best to consult with your tax advisor.

To help you understand exactly how a move to New Jersey. Will impact your income taxes.

Next, here is yet another one of the bad things about living in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I’m not done with taxes.

High Property Taxes

Since New Jersey has the highest average property tax rate in the country. And when you factor in that high rate is applied to expensive real estate values. You take a double hit.

There is no arguing it. Property taxes are high in this state.

And before we move off the topic of taxes. Just a little more gas to throw on the fire…

First, the state has a sales tax. Coming in at more than 6% of your purchases. Fortunately, some things are exempt including clothing and groceries.

And the state has a high number of toll roads too. That’s just another type of tax. As you make your way around the state in your automobile.

Next, another one of the negatives of living in New Jersey…

Extreme Weather

On one hand, enjoying the change of seasons is a nice benefit. On the other hand, residents complain that the weather here is rarely ideal. No matter the season.

It is either too hot in the summer. With high humidity. Making it quite uncomfortable.

Or too cold in the winter. With plenty of snow. Making it difficult to get around.

Combine these issues with many cloudy days. And you may find it difficult to be optimistic about the weather here.

Okay. Here is the last of our reasons not to move to New Jersey. Then I will wrap up. I promise.

Highly Congested

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First. the state is small based on land area. Yet, a lot of people live here. While commuting to New York City or Philadelphia for work.

This creates a couple of issues with New Jersey life…

Population Density

First of all, this is the most densely populated state in the country. So, be prepared for dealing with crowds and being around a lot of people. Whenever you head out.

Furthermore, Jersey towns are packed together. In many parts of the state, by driving a few miles in any direction. You will find you have left one town and arrived in another.

Finally, the population density creates another one of the bad things about New Jersey…

Heavy Traffic

Because large portions of the state consist of NYC or Philadelphia commuters. Thus, rush hour traffic can be brutal. Especially when it snows.

Public transportation helps. If that works for your situation.

But many residents still rely on cars. Leading to a lot of traffic congestion. Especially on the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike.

Road construction also plays a role in traffic issues here. Since there always seems to be some kind of maintenance project going on.

Okay. That’s all I have for today.

Allow me to wrap up with a summary…

Pros And Cons Of Living In New Jersey

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Our top 10 moving to New Jersey pros and cons include:

  • Multiple lifestyle options
  • Close to everything
  • Lots of fun things to do
  • A good public school system
  • High marks for health and safety
  • Expensive cost of living
  • A heavy income tax burden
  • High property taxes
  • Extreme weather
  • Highly congested

Hopefully, this discussion has helped you answer some important questions. Such as…

1) Is New Jersey a nice place to live?


2) Should I move to New Jersey?

Most importantly, good luck with your decision. No matter where you decide to move.

More Reading About Living In New Jersey (and beyond)

Best Financial Resources For Living In New Jersey (or anywhere)

Here is a list of the money-saving tools I mentioned in the article. Summarized here for your convenience…

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

The Pros And Cons Of Living In New Jersey Explained