Everybody in the Northeast (who isn’t from Jersey) thinks of the state as the armpit of the region; a land mainly comprised of highways, landfills, and factory fumes. Also, as the state that raised the cast of Jersey Shore.
But aside from being the region’s favorite running joke, New Jersey has plenty of lovely places to live. Just not the places you’ll be seeing on this list.
We’ve looked at the numbers to finally determine which cities in New Jersey contribute the most to the state’s bad name (which, incidentally, may be the best places to visit if you want to see why so many in the Northeast ride on the NJ hate-train).
The following cities are the bottom of the barrel in New Jersey:
- Newark (Photos)
- West New York (Photos)
- City of Orange Township
- Irvington Township
- Union City (Photos)
- Lindenwold (Photos)
- Guttenberg (Photos)
- Madison Park
- Berkeley Township
- Bridgeton (Photos)
Just how’d we end up with such an insulting list? Read on below.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey
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 don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:
- Good education
- Lots of jobs
- Low crime
- Great weather
- High incomes
- Low population density
- Short work commutes
- Lots of things to do
We created the ranking based on places that are the worst in all of these categories, crunched the numbers and – like magic – got the list from worst to best.
Read on below to learn more about these terrible places in New Jersey to live. And, if you don’t agree or have a comment about the worst New Jersey rankings list, send a video clip of your feedback to [email protected] and we’ll possibly add it to this post.
And, like always, this list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Unemployment rate: 10.2%
Median income: $34,387
Crime index: 12 – Worst 5% in New Jersey
As the largest city in New Jersey, Newark proves that old adage that bigger isn’t always better (in this case, it’s the worst).
The median household income in Newark is the lowest on this list, and the 9th lowest in New Jersey overall.
Add that to a crime index in the worst 5% of all places in New Jersey and an unemployment rate that’s nearly double the national average, and it’s not a stretch to say Newark truly is the armpit of the armpit of America.
2. West New York
Unemployment rate: 7.9%
Median income: $46,349
Crime index: Worst 25% 89 – in New Jersey
When your town’s name is just a relative direction from a better place, you know things are rough.
The only public high school in the town was ranked 307th out of 328 NJ schools in 2012, and with the highest student-teacher ratio on this list (18.5), it’s not surprising.
On top of that, it’s the third most densely populated place on this list, so you won’t be able to escape seeing all the other people who wished they lived somewhere better.
3. City of Orange Township
Unemployment rate: 8.4%
Median income: $36,847
Crime index: 5 – Worst 2% in New Jersey
The City of Orange is the worst of the worst for crime on this list, and almost for the entire state.
An unemployment rate in the bottom 10% of places in New Jersey may help explain the insanely high amount of crime in Orange.
Since the 2000 census, the city has seen a 8.3% drop in population, as people start to realize that it’s one of the worst places to live.
4. Irvington Township
Unemployment rate: 7.3%
Median income: $40,468
Crime index: 6 – Worst 2% in New Jersey
Irvington Township is on this list primarily because of its high crime index, which ranks 6th in the entire state.
It has the lowest unemployment rate out of the top 5 worst places in NJ, but it’s still 2.8% higher than the national average.
Irvington Township is another place people have been leaving in droves, as the population has seen an 11.2% decrease since 2000.
5. Union City
Unemployment rate: 9.3%
Median income: $40,414
Crime index: 54 – Worst 15% in New Jersey
Union City is the second largest place on this list and the fifth worst place to live overall.
Ranking in the bottom 10% of the state in unemployment rate makes Union City not the best place to snag a job.
Additionally, having the second highest population density of any place in New Jersey seriously doesn’t help things.
Unemployment rate: 6.9%
Median income: $44,972
Crime index: 18 – Worst 5% in New Jersey
Lindenwold’s major issues are crime and education, ranking in the bottom 5% in each category.
All around, Lindenwold has well below average scores in nearly every category, which all adds up to a sixth place spot on this list.
Unemployment rate: 6.9%
Median income: $55.331
Crime index: 143 – Worst 40% in New Jersey
Though a relatively small town, Guttenberg is still cramped – in fact it’s the most densely packed municipality not only in the Garden State, but in the all of America (over twice the density of NYC).
On top of that, it ranks in the bottom 10% for student-teacher ratio, meaning students may not get the attention they need.
The only redeeming quality Guttenberg has going for it is a relatively low crime index when compared to other places on this list.
8. Madison Park
Unemployment rate: 5.7%
Median income: $62,110
Crime index: 25 – Worst 10% in New Jersey
Madison Park may have the highest median income on this list, but they can’t buy themselves out of horrible crime statistics — they placed in the bottom 10% for New Jersey.
The cost of living here is also relatively high, which combined with the 25th worst crime index in the state gives Madison Park a spot on this list.
The good news? Madison Park’s unemployment rate is only .2% higher than national average.
9. Berkeley Township
Unemployment rate: 10.3%
Median income: $43,535
Crime index: 190 – Worst 50% in New Jersey
Berkeley Township is on this for different reasons than Madison Park – it has relatively low crime numbers, but struggles in the economic categories.
The good news is that Berkeley Township is in the top 15% of best places in New Jersey as far as student-teacher ratios go, which maybe, in time, will fix the current problem of tying for the 5th worst unemployment rate in New Jersey.
Unemployment rate: 10%
Median income: $36,753
Crime index: 7 – Worst 2% in New Jersey
With the second lowest median income, the third worst crime index, AND the third worst unemployment rate on this list, it’s surprising that Bridgeton isn’t higher on this list.
Being in the top 35% in New Jersey as far as commute times goes helps, but one wonders if commuting further away from the 10th worst place in New Jersey might actually make a Bridgeton resident’s day a bit better.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it.
While some cities at the top of this list are really in bad shape, things get better the further you get from Newark.
And it definitely stops smelling like armpit.
Again, if you don’t agree or have a comment about the worst New Jersey rankings list, send a video clip of your feedback to [email protected] and we’ll possibly embed it in this post.
Worst Places In New Jersey Complete Ranking
Disclaimer: This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.