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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:
What? Where are these places you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we're picking on small town America, that's not the case.
We understand there's a lot of good in every place.
However, according to data (which doesn't measure things like beauty and 'friendly people'), there are far better options in the state for making a place home. And the worst place to live in New Jersey? That would be Newark.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2020.
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In New Jersey
- Cheapest Places To Live In New Jersey
- Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey
The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey For 2020
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 im New Jersey).
The median household income in Newark is the 4th lowest on this list at $35,181.
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 part of the armpit of America.
Welcome to Lindenwold, which might be one of the poorest areas in New Jersey. Residents average $42,124 a year in combined income, which is right at the poverty line. In fact, 14.0% of Lindenwold residents live below the poverty level.
Homes here go for an average of $120,600 and the unemployment rate hovers near 8.0%.
With the 3rd lowest median income, the 12th worst crime index, AND the 36th worst unemployment rate on this list, it's not surprising that Bridgeton is the highest 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 worst place in New Jersey might actually make a Bridgeton resident's day a bit better.
Vineland, part of Cumberland County, is the 4th worst place to live in New Jersey for 2020.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $55,054, and crime 11th worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 14.4% in Vineland.
Millville ranks as the 5th-worst place in New Jersey due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 166th-worst commute of any place in the state.
Woodbury needs some tough love as it ranks as the 6th worst city to live in New Jersey for 2020.
Crime in Woodbury is the 6th highest in the state, where 1 in 23.5 people have a chance of being the victim of a property crime, according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, the income is almost dead last in New Jersey.
If commute time is important, Woodbury residents have the 82nd longest commute of any residents on our list.
When you're looking at science and data, Asbury Park is the worst place you can live in New Jersey. Let's see why.
The unemployment rate here is 10.3%. The schools are underfunded, and property values are well below the state average. A home costs $346,300, which is a sure sign of lack of demand.
You have a 1 in 24.0 chance of being the victim of some type of property crime here every year. That's not fun, either.
Asbury Park is a far drive south from Louisville.
While numbers in New Jersey are clearly better when you compare them to the rest of the nation, the fact is when you compare New Jersey cities against one another, you see big differences.
Home values in Camden average $82,700, which is the lowest in the state. Say what you want about 'cheap living,' the fact is homes are priced by demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Camden.
Plus, 36.8% of the population here lives below the poverty line.
Plus, the crime rate is the 7th highest in the state here. Every year, when you're within Camden city limits, you have a 1 in 33.6 chance of being robbed. That's a lot of broken into cars and homes.
The unemployment rate in Long Branch is a sky high 7.3%, which is the 34th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Long Branch is $58,232. That means 19.1% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 47.9 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
Linden, NJ needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 7.7%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 18th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 37.3 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey for 2020
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
- Low poverty
- Nice homes
- High incomes
- High population density (Lots of things to do)
- Short work commutes
- Health insurance
We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a larger weight -- if you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are normally 7x more common and really bias that ranking.
Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered -- leaving 175 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 175 for all the criteria with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.
Next, we averaged the rankings into one "Worst Place To Live Score".
Finally, we ranked every city on the "Worst Place To Live Score" with the lowest score being the worst city in New Jersey -- Newark. Read on for a detailed look at the 10 worst cities in New Jersey. You can download the data here.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Wrapping Up The Worst In New Jersey
If you're looking at areas in New Jersey with the worst economic situations, where there's higher than average crime, and not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
And in the end, Newark ranks as the worst city to live in New Jersey for 2020.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Jersey:
- North Caldwell (Pop. 6,621)
- Woodcliff Lake (Pop. 5,816)
- Waldwick (Pop. 9,948)
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In New Jersey
- Richest Cities In New Jersey
- Safest Places In New Jersey
- Best Cities For Singles In New Jersey
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Jersey?