These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In New Jersey


We used science and data to determine which people in NJ are the unhappiest of all.

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Do you live in one of the most miserable places in New Jersey?

According to a Harris Poll taken in October of 2015, only a third of Americans say they are truly happy. That’s too bad, considering that Americans – especially folks in New Jersey – don’t really have it too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But, we were curious – which New Jersey cities might be the most miserable? We’re about to find out, using science and data.

After analyzing the largest cities, we sadly present the most miserable cities in the Garden State:

  1. Newark (Photos)
  2. West New York (Photos)
  3. East Orange (Photos)
  4. Guttenberg (Photos)
  5. Union City (Photos)
  6. Keansburg (Photos)
  7. Jersey City (Photos)
  8. Asbury Park (Photos)
  9. Plainfield (Photos)
  10. Bridgeton (Photos)

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. If you have a smile on your face, you probably don’t live in one of these cities.

Oh, and by the way, Hamilton Square is the happiest place in New Jersey.

Or check out the Most Miserable Cities In America.

If you’re looking for something more positive, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

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How We Measured The Most Miserable Cities In New Jersey

In order to rank the unhappiest places in New Jersey, we had to determine what criteria makes people happy. It isn’t a stretch to assume that happy people earn great salaries, are relatively stress free, and have a stable home life.

So we went to the Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 report for the criteria, flipped the list, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Percentage of residents with a college degree
  • Average commute times
  • Unemployment rates
  • Cost of living
  • % of married couples
  • % of home owners
  • Poverty rate

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 108 places in New Jersey with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 257 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the most miserable (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Miserable Index for each place with the lowest overall Miserable Index ‘earning’ the title ‘Most Miserable City In New Jersey’.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, most miserable to happiest, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the unabridged chart.

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1. Newark

Newark, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 278,750
People Who Own Their Home: 18.74%
Married Adults: 27.47%

2. West New York

West New York, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 51,511
People Who Own Their Home: 18.7%
Married Adults: 40.13%

3. East Orange

East Orange, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 64,538
People Who Own Their Home: 22.35%
Married Adults: 25.65%

4. Guttenberg

Guttenberg, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,397
People Who Own Their Home: 28.75%
Married Adults: 35.92%

5. Union City

Union City, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 68,001
People Who Own Their Home: 16.61%
Married Adults: 37.19%

6. Keansburg

Keansburg, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 10,011
People Who Own Their Home: 45.55%
Married Adults: 36.91%

7. Jersey City

Jersey City, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 255,861
People Who Own Their Home: 26.23%
Married Adults: 41.06%

8. Asbury Park

Asbury Park, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 15,933
People Who Own Their Home: 16.26%
Married Adults: 21.9%

9. Plainfield

Plainfield, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 50,423
People Who Own Their Home: 43.5%
Married Adults: 32.67%

10. Bridgeton

Bridgeton, New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,252
People Who Own Their Home: 35.28%
Married Adults: 28.06%

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the most miserable cities in {state} is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing cities where people are not stable, where you’re stuck in traffic, and no one spent the time to go to college, then this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the happiest cities in {state}, according to science:
For more New Jersey reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Miserable Places In New Jersey

City Rank People Who Own Their Home
Newark 1 18.74%
West New York 2 18.7%
East Orange 3 22.35%
Guttenberg 4 28.75%
Union City 5 16.61%
Keansburg 6 45.55%
Jersey City 7 26.23%
Asbury Park 8 16.26%
Plainfield 9 43.5%
Bridgeton 10 35.28%
Sussex 11 35.25%
Fairview 12 36.32%
Lindenwold 13 34.59%
Elizabeth 14 23.95%
Penns Grove 15 26.32%
Trenton 16 30.8%
Roselle 17 47.42%
New Brunswick 18 19.42%
Passaic 19 22.19%
Atlantic City 20 22.83%
Camden 21 31.87%
Highlands 22 48.21%
Harrison 23 27.95%
Long Branch 24 33.92%
Paterson 25 24.28%
Wildwood 26 14.14%
Ventnor City 27 32.06%
Salem 28 25.73%
Red Bank 29 42.16%
Pleasantville 30 49.69%
Beverly 31 63.86%
Carneys Point 32 58.23%
Bayonne 33 34.66%
Washington 34 45.88%
Madison Park 35 25.24%
Palisades Park 36 29.84%
Paulsboro 37 52.95%
Phillipsburg 38 46.56%
South River 39 61.39%
Newton 40 44.54%
Cliffside Park 41 46.69%
Hackensack 42 32.84%
Kearny 43 43.09%
Belmar 44 35.64%
Prospect Park 45 42.68%
Carteret 46 54.74%
Lodi 47 34.88%
Magnolia 48 62.2%
Woodbury 49 54.48%
Rahway 50 53.48%
Garfield 51 33.35%
Linden 52 53.07%
Echelon 53 37.36%
Millville 54 58.23%
Browns Mills 55 67.57%
Franklin 56 64.43%
North Plainfield 57 54.82%
Pine Hill 58 58.52%
Bound Brook 59 44.21%
Clementon 60 65.46%
Perth Amboy 61 31.69%
Englewood 62 46.9%
Gloucester City 63 59.67%
Wharton 64 55.67%
Fort Lee 65 52.31%
Haledon 66 47.33%
Westville 67 67.04%
Forked River 68 71.3%
Union Beach 69 79.41%
Rossmoor 70 78.97%
Hoboken 71 28.56%
Villas 72 48.0%
Vineland 73 60.87%
Freehold 74 46.67%
Brigantine 75 32.1%
Burlington 76 56.36%
Glassboro 77 61.77%
Dover 78 44.52%
Little Ferry 79 39.23%
Berlin 80 71.84%
Manville 81 56.78%
Edgewater 82 31.16%
Highland Park 83 39.04%
Bellmawr 84 60.93%
Mystic Island 85 53.16%
East Franklin 86 49.21%
Jamesburg 87 55.62%
Keyport 88 49.08%
Twin Rivers 89 72.94%
Princeton Meadows 90 33.92%
Bogota 91 66.07%
Carlstadt 92 51.41%
Stratford 93 71.66%
Ridgefield 94 51.06%
Wallington 95 35.4%
Avenel 96 50.09%
Williamstown 97 69.08%
North Arlington 98 50.05%
Clifton 99 56.62%
Hopatcong 100 80.41%
Clayton 101 68.5%
Holiday City-Berkeley 102 79.71%
Bergenfield 103 64.31%
Leonia 104 59.55%
Budd Lake 105 62.74%
Crestwood Village 106 77.24%
East Rutherford 107 38.59%
Franklin Park 108 55.0%
Lakewood 109 31.62%
Woodbridge 110 56.26%
Ridgefield Park 111 51.69%
Palmyra 112 71.88%
Caldwell 113 45.82%
Hammonton 114 64.95%
Collingswood 115 49.8%
Butler 116 65.23%
Barrington 117 58.32%
Bloomingdale 118 64.61%
Concordia 119 79.72%
Smithville 120 68.67%
Pomona 121 80.11%
Matawan 122 60.68%
Hasbrouck Heights 123 64.54%
Totowa 124 73.33%
Iselin 125 62.09%
Ocean City 126 17.6%
Margate City 127 34.19%
Oceanport 128 74.28%
Tinton Falls 129 69.26%
Spring Lake 130 47.42%
Toms River 131 74.02%
Emerson 132 77.17%
Pennsville 133 67.79%
Point Pleasant 134 73.0%
Wanaque 135 80.25%
Fort Dix 136 0.4%
Woodland Park 137 56.85%
Belvidere 138 62.2%
New Milford 139 59.75%
Manasquan 140 51.3%
Boonton 141 61.75%
Somerville 142 47.29%
Elmwood Park 143 55.33%
Laurence Harbor 144 73.87%
Florence 145 66.31%
Finderne 146 58.36%
Glendora 147 73.33%
Mount Arlington 148 65.57%
Fords 149 72.07%
Pine Lake Park 150 85.71%
Hawthorne 151 62.75%
Maywood 152 62.28%
Lambertville 153 59.47%
Somerset 154 71.92%
Dunellen 155 69.41%
Cherry Hill Mall 156 63.39%
Clinton 157 70.45%
Pompton Lakes 158 72.52%
Tenafly 159 73.76%
Westwood 160 60.86%
Fairview 161 89.39%
West Long Branch 162 74.76%
Pitman 163 69.57%
Absecon 164 78.2%
East Freehold 165 90.76%
Beachwood 166 81.58%
Moorestown-Lenola 167 74.72%
Audubon 168 72.07%
Raritan 169 56.95%
Closter 170 81.43%
Summit 171 67.26%
Fair Lawn 172 76.1%
Kingston Estates 173 65.78%
Lawrenceville 174 89.93%
Metuchen 175 77.53%
Old Bridge 176 81.34%
Montvale 177 81.57%
Ocean Acres 178 87.8%
Park Ridge 179 75.05%
Dumont 180 67.75%
Ogdensburg 181 74.24%
Wood-Ridge 182 73.85%
Ramblewood 183 66.83%
Ridgewood 184 75.82%
Colonia 185 85.68%
Allendale 186 80.2%
Middlesex 187 75.6%
Madison 188 65.61%
Heathcote 189 75.46%
Northfield 190 86.26%
Hamburg 191 82.5%
Kendall Park 192 85.21%
Riverdale 193 73.07%
Riverton 194 73.65%
West Freehold 195 87.08%
Brookdale 196 81.8%
Marlton 197 66.19%
Lincoln Park 198 70.24%
Lake Mohawk 199 82.93%
Haddon Heights 200 76.01%
Spotswood 201 82.02%
Greenwich 202 84.7%
Chatham 203 73.76%
Strathmore 204 87.13%
Morris Plains 205 82.93%
Kenilworth 206 80.54%
Yorketown 207 89.07%
North Haledon 208 88.4%
Midland Park 209 67.15%
Ashland 210 88.67%
Kinnelon 211 85.98%
Old Tappan 212 86.48%
Florham Park 213 70.01%
Watchung 214 79.79%
Westfield 215 76.42%
Bernardsville 216 74.22%
Upper Montclair 217 80.34%
Hillsdale 218 84.6%
Paramus 219 84.74%
Mountainside 220 85.73%
Ramtown 221 91.14%
Norwood 222 83.27%
Cresskill 223 81.92%
Fanwood 224 90.82%
Little Silver 225 90.94%
Dayton 226 79.71%
Bradley Gardens 227 86.03%
New Providence 228 75.09%
Waldwick 229 81.12%
Yardville 230 76.85%
Green Knoll 231 66.55%
Mercerville 232 79.64%
Glen Ridge 233 87.36%
Ringwood 234 88.31%
White Horse 235 80.0%
Franklin Lakes 236 82.56%
Englewood Cliffs 237 81.13%
Lincroft 238 86.89%
Greentree 239 81.99%
Linwood 240 78.62%
Oradell 241 86.34%
Upper Saddle River 242 85.06%
Oakland 243 89.13%
Shrewsbury 244 90.2%
Ramsey 245 85.51%
Glen Rock 246 87.9%
Martinsville 247 95.33%
Haddonfield 248 81.73%
Roseland 249 80.5%
Succasunna 250 94.98%
Mendham 251 81.55%
Woodcliff Lake 252 88.35%
Fair Haven 253 92.71%
North Caldwell 254 94.31%
White Meadow Lake 255 91.79%
Springdale 256 88.22%
Hamilton Square 257 93.43%

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4 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In New Jersey

  1. I moved to Plainfield when I was two and lived in a big Victorian house w/ my 4 siblings, maternal grandmother, and parents. My parents had marital problems, etc. Lived there until age seven. A hard but happy family life. It was the best, most memorable place I lived in, and I’ve moved a lot. We knew all our neighbors. Plainfield used to be a “grand” place to live, including the downtown district. My paternal grandparents lived there a while also. Wonderful memories too numerous to go into…a shame about the deterioration, crime, etc. That’s partly why we had to move (to North Plainfield)! 🙂

  2. The deterioration of these most vibrant cities is a shame. Over the past decades their downfall was evident as lower income people became the majority within their confines. The government assisted this movement with outreach programs to these groups.

    Clinton talks of helping the Low income people if elected. How convenient to create the problem then offer to repair it.

  3. Keansburg- where even the babies have tattoos. Not in agreement re Bayonne, though. It still has some restaurants that attract people from other towns. That should have been a criteria; does this town have a restaurant ( or any other attraction) that people from other towns would go to?

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