These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

We analyzed every place in New Jersey to determine which are the real pits.

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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:

  1. Newark (Photos)
  2. West New York (Photos)
  3. City of Orange Township
  4. Irvington Township
  5. Union City (Photos)
  6. Lindenwold (Photos)
  7. Guttenberg (Photos)
  8. Madison Park
  9. Berkeley Township
  10. Bridgeton (Photos)

Just how’d we end up with such an insulting list? Read on below.

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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.

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1. Newark

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey


Population: 276,478
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

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 49,816
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

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 30,345
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

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 54,205
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.

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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.

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5. Union City

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 66,646
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.

6. Lindenwold

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey


Population: 17,663
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.

7. Guttenberg

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 11,166
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

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey


Population: 6,837
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.

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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

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikiwand

Population: 41,376
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.

10. Bridgeton

Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,252
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

See the data here.

Disclaimer: This article is an opinion based on data. It should not be taken as fact.

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49 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey

  1. I might throw Union city under the bus but Wny and guttenberg are pretty decent places especially considering how dense they are, have you been to Irvington? Vineland? Camden? Bayonne?

  2. Having lived in West New York for thirty years and having worked in Union City for many of those, I certainly can’t argue with this assessment. Overpopulation is one of many problems plaguing the area. There is also so much corruption. I left many years ago and was so happy to do so.

  3. Itotally adisagree with your statement regarding Union City. It’s completely the opposite!!! Come to the city and you will see. God bless Union City!!

  4. I am not even sure where to begin with this list …. Clearly you haven’t been to the towns you’ve list and haven’t done any actual research but simply going off someone else “statistics”… If anything you sound like someone who calls himself a Chef, voicing his amazing culinary skill but has never tasted his own food… In other words …Ridiculous and an unreliable source…. Hopefully in the near future you can take the time to do some actual investigation work on the topic your writing about ….

  5. This article is satire and the person who wrote the article has no idea what the hell he is talking about. The fact that he used “stuff to do” as a static, plus the fact that Camden is not on the list AT ALL proves my point. Unbiased my ass.

  6. I have to strongly disagree with your list. No way WNY, Guttenberg and UC are worse places to live in than JC, Paterson, Camden, Atlantic City, and many other cities in NJ. Their educational districts are much better than whatever stats you came up with. You have many foreigners taking tests, and the tests are not reflective of the successful integration of so many nationalities.

    1. Union city , gutternberg and west New York way better than jersey city ,Paterson ….
      Educational districts , low crime

  7. This is no report. It’s totally ludicrous, rediculous and ambiguous. Look at that beautiful picture of WNY. And the meltingpot of all kinds of people that actually say, “Good morning”, “Thank you”, etc.
    How condescending to compare a tv show to the Real People of New Jersey who never to a NY minute to rush to the aide of the many victims of 9/11, Sandy or anything else coming their way!
    How dare you! You should be ashamed of yourself!
    And that’s all I have to say about that!

  8. Who’s wrote this stupid article. FYI college educated, work in the city and I live in Orange for 5 years.This is a bias article foh!

  9. I do not believe that about Madison park . It is a devopment not a town and the picture is Sayreville. Maybe who ever wrote this should know what they are talking about. All facts wrong, the writer that wrote this is sadly mistaken and a letter of apology should be posted on facebook

    1. My thoughts exactly. Madison Park is a great place. It is a housing development (neighborhood) in Old Bridge Township. I have lived there for over 50 years and have never experienced any problems.

  10. When I read your article it bothered me so much. I grew up in WNY and I could tell you we had everything you wanted and needed to prepare you for the world. Not to many places you can go and have New York City as your backdrop as you played basketball in the park or I can never remember not having a friend to hang out with, still today many of my friends are my childhood friends. We had everything we needed nearby, from movie theaters, Bergenline Ave with over 100 blocks of stores, we also had every sport you can imagine, plus the Meadowlands and we did not only watch them, we played them as well and of course we had the greatest city in the world in our door step, we did not only stay in WNY we were near everything. By the way all of New Jersey weather is crappy, so that puts the entire state on the list and as far as income we had again New York City to tap into if we wanted. No town is perfect, but WNY made me who I am today a father of 4 kids, Married 27 years to my WNY High School sweatheart, graduate from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and a successful entrepreneur. I will always carry WNY in my heart !

  11. I would drive into and walk around parts of Newark. I wouldn’t set foot in Patterson without a strong guy with me. The cops wait am hour to go to a crime scene to make sure the idiots are done shooting. They send a three cop cars..1 to respond, 2 for backup, 3 to watch the cop cars so they aren’t stolen. Camden as well. I won’t go without my body guard. I am not being racist. . it’s just a mess and unsafe.

  12. Jersey City is in the middle of Iraq including BAYONNE. If i had the money to buy these 2 cities including newark i will sell them to iraq.they’re really bad to raised kid’s really not safe for anyone.

  13. I agree being a Jersey girl, Jersey city, East Orange not Orange, Camden and some parts of Trenton are pretty rough. Cause he didn’t go by crime rate.

  14. This is opinionated not factual. Yes cities like Newark, Irvington, and Orange are high crime areas! Why! When the necessities needed for basic survival are denied, chaos happens. I lived in two of these cities and know first hand the difficulty of finding employment there. The majority of jobs are doled out to outsiders, inside and outside the state solely because the residents there aren’t provided with services and resources that would provide productivity. There are plenty here qualified to perform the same tasks as the outsiders but are denied solely because they are residents of the cities in question, deemed the same as the rest. It doesn’t matter the skin color, just saying you are from these places raises brows and cast a shadow
    of doubt not just for employment but residency, visitation and everything-else. Most places has their problem sector but these mentioned as the worst for high crime (on and off the list) are prejudged. Many may say no to this but those saying no aren’t from there. Given the chance to improve surely would give us the opportunity to seek better but this too is not wanted by most. Nay sayers may be disagreeing with this list but many don’t and won’t let them out no matter their qualifications, standards and desire for

  15. I agree that our towns were sht sometimes sht holes, but the claim that they are ranked by a criteria shows that you know nothing about New Jersey. Union City, West New York and Newark have great commuting. Newark has a Pen Station for goodness sake. They put the Red Bulls and Devils in Newark because of the ease of transportation. Union City and West New York have pretty good education systems considering the dense population. And if we are ranking by crime, poverty, and high unemployment, where the hell is Camden, Atlantic City, and Trenton?

  16. As a Jersey girl, I must say that only 2 of the people of the TV show “Jersey Shore” are from NJ. Most of them are from
    Staten Island! 😀

  17. Madison Park is not a town, it is a subset of north/northwest Old Bridge Township…and the picture shown for it is approximately 1 mile north into the next town (sayreville).

  18. Seriously dude how can you leave out Camden this list is a joke I’m guessing you don’t even live in new jersey

  19. This list is absolutely right on.. My parents bought a house in WNY in 1982 .. I graduated from memorial in ’85 it was an incredibly lovely town where everyone knew each other shopping and restaurants were amazing . There was a sense of safety . After 33 years I’m sad to say it’s definitely time to go .. There isn’t a restaurant worth going to ,every store is a .99 cent , if u get home past 7:30 good luck finding a parking . When u actually see the decline of what was once a beautiful suburban town its a damn shame and I don’t appreciate people trying to paint it any better than the dispicable overpopulated mess it is now

    1. Sorry, you’re wrong. The town turned to absolute shit in the mid-60’s. I couldn’t wait to get out of there.

  20. Where’s Jersey City? Bayonne? Camden? Paterson? The author of this article is obviously not from New Jersey if he thinks these are the worst places.

  21. This list is ridiculous. West New York, Union City and Guttenberg made the list but not Jersey City, Camden, Patterson, or Atlantic City?!?!? AND you said the cast of the Jersey shore came from New Jersey when most of them were born in New York? I know internet articles generally have low standards but this is horrific.

    You’re obviously not from Jersey and you obviously don’t know how to research very well Mr. Zane.

    1. You were obviously driving through there too fast to not notice the horses, clean living, awesome schools, and high property taxes. Were Rumson, Monmouth Beach, and Elberon equally reprehensible?

  22. Madison Park is a development not a city. The picture shown isn’t Madison Park. Madison Park is a part of Old Bridge. I’ve lived here mist of my life. I don’t hear about all this crime. Again check your info. Madison Park isn’t a city.

  23. I live in West New York, and I have to say this list is pretty damn accurate.

    There are a lot of variables that Matt has taken into account so do yourself a favor and check the lengthy data he compiled. If he had added a “corruption” metric, West New York would be #1.

    But we can’t be first in anything, alas, save maybe illegal immigrants.

  24. Bridgeton is the county seat of the poorest county in the state,it is taking it’s neighbors Millville and Vineland down with it.Unemployment is up and Social Services are overwhelmed.

  25. Camden(also known as Condemned)is a victim of the de-industrialization of the nation.It looks and acts disgusting.Its suburbs are old, worn out and not very attractive anymore.

  26. There are few things that will convince me that the area of West New York, Union City, and Guttenberg aren’t a giant lump of excrement that I’d never live in again. Seriously, it’s all one area, really. Bad driving, high crime, cockroaches, and just a terrible place. the area gets better when you start going through North Bergen and is gone by the time you get to Cliffside Park. We can also agree that Newark and Irvington are a cesspool of corruption, crime, and drugs. Those are the obvious choices and the author is not wrong in bringing these aboard to his article.

    HOWEVER, he missed a whole bunch that are truly horrific cities. Has the writer ever been to Wildwood, Atlantic City, Seaside, Lakewood, Neptune, or Fairview? Those are terrible places, too. Or how about Camden? It’s like a war zone. Drive through Lakewood on your way down to LBI on Route 9 and you’ll find a city that is dying of neglect. Lakewood is growing, but if you put cancer in a healthy body, it will grow, too.

    No, there are bad places to live in New Jersey. The author found some of the more obvious ones and neglected some of the worst. After all Camden has been on the book of lists as one of the worst places to live in the country since they started writing them.

  27. Bergen County is a bad place to live and so is Camden County not just Camden. A so-called famous woman who said whe was abused in Camden when she was 10 moved with her family to nearby Cherry Hill said it was “like being abducted by aliens and taken to a penal colony” and I’d agree. Bergen County is about as bad and a lot of the local and County governments there are even worse. Lots of ‘worst in the world’ things there from no buying on Sunday to crime and corruption to being treated as poorly and dangerous as Camden County and if you say anything they’ll get mean and may try to hurt you and your kids. Fbi even talked to high school kids in Bergen County because ISIS was sending video messages to the children there – what a terrible place. Lookup “FBI forums focus on ISIS recruitment threat in N.J. ” in May 2016 and “FBI Speaks To Bergen County High School Students About ISIS Recruitment Threat”. Bergen County government is so bad and a lot of people there so mean and harmful to their own children ISIS targets their kids! Lots of racism and even disgraceful eugenics from all races to the the others there and it is supported and encouraged by the criminal justice system and police, not the way to handle a diverse and crowded population. Gets my vote for worst place to live and place to be most avoided in the US.

  28. This list is so inaccurate…Guttenberg & WNY are densely populated & not the best choice of a place to live…but I know many people who love it there. So many great restaurants in the area, easy & close access to the city & I never experienced any danger or crime of any kind.
    There are parks, dog runs & so much to do. What about the tons of desolate, depressing, awful towns in South Jersey… There’s plenty he could’ve added to the list. I don’t think this person really knows anything about New Jersey because he left out so many worse towns…Camden, Paterson, East Orange, etc…

  29. The author of this article is out of touch with reality. Union City is a great area!!! The mayor has taken great strides to beautify the neighborhood and that has given a new sense of pride for the people that live here. People say hello to you on the street. Everything is at your finger tips as far as shopping, restaurants, etc. Let’s also not forget that the commute to Manhattan is only 15 minutes. We have lived here for a year now and stand by the fact that it was a great investment. People are rapidly buying into this area because they see the upward trend of the area. YES it’s Jersey, but get over it! LOVE Union City!!!

  30. SOME of the worst streets are in Paterson, comparable to Camden & Newark (1990s). Those 2 towns are greatly improving, Trenton & (even) Irvington are worse than Newark overall, though, Irvington may not be rated as high as Newark on a crime list. Jersey City is barely better than Newark but may be getting worse again crime-wise. This, basically, applies to what means the ‘worst’ towns given various factors for N.J. cities.

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