Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Newark.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we’ll use science and data to determine which Newark ‘burbs need a little tender loving care – the sore thumbs of the Newark area if you will. Realistically, you can’t expect all the suburbs to live up to Newark proper, although Scarsdale certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Newark are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
We examined the 214 biggest suburbs of Newark to find out the worst places to live. And while you won’t necessarily find them on the worst places to live in New Jersey lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Newark in terms of quality of life.
Here are the 10 worst suburbs around Newark for 2019:
- Morristown (Photos)
- New Brunswick (Photos)
- Plainfield (Photos)
- Elizabeth (Photos)
- Spring Valley
- South River (Photos)
- Keansburg (Photos)
- East Orange (Photos)
- Paterson (Photos)
Read on to see how we determined the places around Newark that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don’t blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Newark too.
Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In New Jersey
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New Jersey
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey
Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Newark for 2019
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2013-2017, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Newark.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 214 suburbs to evaluate around Newark.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 214 in each category, where 1 was the “worst”.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the “Worst Suburb near Newark.” We’re lookin’ at you, Morristown.
Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
We’ll get the ball rolling with Morristown, the absolute worst place to live around Newark according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Morristown beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 3rd worst in the Newark area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 3rd worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it’s cheap to live there. But there’s a reason for that… it’s Morristown.
You won’t feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren’t a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Welcome to New Brunswick. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 21.7 miles to Newark. Income levels here are the 7th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $38,413 a year, which doesn’t go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $37,595 (6th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (14th highest)
Median Home Value: $86,500 (1st lowest)
More on Greenville:
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Newark suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Greenville on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that’s an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it’s in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Newark suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
If you live in Plainfield, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the 21st lowest Newark suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 25th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Newark. Remember, we looked at 214 cities for this study.
Plainfield is about 14.8 miles to downtown.
Elizabeth has the distinction of being a Newark suburb. Which means that’s about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Elizabeth has the 24th lowest home values in the metro Newark area, where the median price is $268,700. To put that into perspective, in Scarsdale, the median income is $250,000, which is the best in the area.
Elizabeth has an unemployment rate of 8.7% which ranks 21st worst.
6. Spring Valley
Rank Last Year: 6 (No Change)
Median Income: $43,434 (9th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 10.0% (10th highest)
Median Home Value: $278,600 (30th lowest)
More on Spring Valley:
Spring Valley has 32,538 residents that probably know it’s a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you’ve ever been there, you don’t need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 25.9%.
Ah, South River. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Newark.
It’s the place with the 8th most out of work residents in the Newark metro area (10.4%).
Keansburg is a city about 19.1 miles from Newark, but Newark probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You’d be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Keansburg has the 77th most uninsured people, 11th worst incomes, and has the 2nd highest unemployment rate (12.3%) in the entire Newark metro area.
Homes only cost $185,100 for a reason. That’s cheap for Newark standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Newark, then East Orange might be a place for you to consider as it’s only the 9th worst Newark suburb.
About 15.1% of residents are out of work.
Rounding out the ten worst Newark suburbs to call home is Paterson.
Located 13.2 miles outside the city, Patersons is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 59th highest unemployment rate (6.4%), and poverty is far above the area average.
The areas around Newark where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2019
Well there you have it — the worst of the ‘burbs surrounding Newark with Morristown casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Newark aren’t all bad. Scarsdale takes the cake as the best place to live around Newark.
- East Hills
- Woodcliff Lake
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In New Jersey
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In New Jersey
- 10 Safest Places In New Jersey
- 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey
Detailed List Of The Worst Newark Suburbs
|13||West New York||53,345|
|73||South Bound Brook||4,606|
|100||Great Neck Plaza||6,964|