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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.
Lindenwold needs some tough love as it ranks as the 2nd worst city to live in New Jersey for 2020.
Crime in Lindenwold is the 16th highest in the state, where 1 in 38.1 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, Lindenwold residents have the 72nd longest commute of any residents on our list.
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.
If you're looking to live in New Jersey, Vineland might not be the best choice as it places 4th in our ranking of the worst places to live in the Garden State for 2020.
The average family earns $55,054 a year out here, and 14.4% of the population is below the poverty line. Nearly 6.5% of the population is out of work.
And when you consider the crime, it's just crazy to think of how dangerous it is to live way out here. When you're in Vineland, every year, you have a 1 in 29.9 chance of being robbed. Can you imagine? Perhaps it's an economic factor, or the fact that the people out there are so isolated, but the fact remains, it's the 11th most dangerous place in the state, per capita.
If you live in Millville, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 5th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of New Jersey. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 23.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime like a car break in or home invasion robbery.
That's a lot of stolen cell phones, laptops and black license plates.
Plus there were 127 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you'd have a 1 in 220 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 18th lowest salaries in New Jersey At $52,352 a household, that's simply not enough to get by for most folks.
Yes, every dog has a few fleas. But the crime in Woodbury is actually quite atrocious. Some of the punks there who are causing trouble need a time out. It's that simple.
Residents here have a 1 in 187 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, meaning raped, attacked or murdered. And they have a 1 in 23.5 chance of being robbed each year. That's off the charts high.
And the unemployment rate is at 9.5%, which isn't horrible, but the 13th-highest in the state. Plus, residents here earn about $53,281 a year in combined household income.
When you're looking at science and data, the city of Asbury Park is the 7th worst place you can live in the state of New Jersey. Let's see why.
You may be surprised to hear that the crime here is the 4th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Asbury Park had a 1 in 24.0 chance of being robbed in 2019. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Asbury Park, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Asbury Park's other issues are a very high unemployment rate (10.3%) and income levels of its residents ($41,336).
While the median household income in Camden is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of "worst cities", Camden still has the 5th worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 7th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Camden household brings in a higher income, there are fewer people working here than in other cities across the state. It doesn't help that everyone has to be constantly worried about crime, either.
Long Branch is the 25th most dangerous place in the state of New Jersey. That's part of the reason it's the 9th worst place in New Jersey.
The fact remains, that when you're within Long Branch city limits, you have a 1 in 47.9 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Long Branch also has the 34th highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.3%? Or that homes are only valued at $353,200?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Long Branch.
Now we can get to some actual cities that might have some normal numbers. In this case, Linden ranks high mainly due to the low economic numbers. Homes are the 55th cheapest in the state here at $276,700. Say what you want about low cost of living. What the data says is that cheaper homes means less demand. And there isn't a lot of demand to live in Linden.
The median income levels here are the 5lowest in the state of New Jersey, at $68,870. Crime is above average, but not horrible like some of the cities we'll talk about in a minute. And almost 7.7% of people in Linden were without jobs according to the latest numbers.
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:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Jersey?