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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 2021.
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 2021
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 2nd lowest on this list at $35,199.
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.
The same problems that plague other cities on the list also affect Lindenwold. The only real difference is Lindenwold is a tiny bit safer, and the schools are rated a lot higher in terms of resources for students.
However, the unemployment rate in Lindenwold is at 7.0%, which is the 29th worst in New Jersey. And households earn a combined $45,789 a year, which is far below the state average. An average home in Lindenwold is merely $124,200.
Lindenwold is across the Tangier Sound on Route 50.
With the 4th lowest median income, the 8th worst crime index, AND the 3worst 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.
Plainfield, NJ needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 7.9%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 35th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 62.6 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
Vineland's situation is very similar to others on the list; bottom of the barrel scores in unemployment, income, and crime, with decent education statistics keeping it from the very top of this list.
Vineland has the 16th worst crime index of any place in New Jersey, and has the 19th lowest income.
When you're looking at the worst places you could live in New Jersey, Camden came in 6th. Let's see why.
Located in Camden County with a population of 74,002, Camden has the highest unemployment rate in New Jersey. Crime is high for the state as well, coming in as the most dangerous.
Additionally, 36.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Out of all the places to live in New Jersey, Long Branch ranks as the 7th worst -- not something to brag about.
Long Branch's unemployment rate stands at 7.6%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $59,892 a year in salaries. That's not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 94th cheapest in the entire state at $362,400. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there's not a lot of demand to live way out in Long Branch. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 24th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 48.8 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 279 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Linden is the 14th most dangerous place in the state of New Jersey. That's part of the reason it's the 8th worst place in New Jersey.
The fact remains, that when you're within Linden city limits, you have a 1 in 34.4 chance of being robbed or having something you own vandalized.Does that sound like a fun place to live?
Did you know Linden also has the 26th highest unemployment rate in the state at 7.2%? Or that homes are only valued at $281,800?
Say what you want about cheap living. The fact is, homes are priced by demand, and there's little demand to live in Linden.
Wildwood has some of the same issues that the cities above have. The crime is statistically the 2nd-highest in the state of New Jersey. And residents earn far less than it takes to live a normal life. The unemployment rank is also higher than almost every other city in the state at 11.5%.
Additionally, 19.4% of the population lives below the poverty line.
you're looking to live in New Jersey, Asbury Park might not be the best choice as it places 10th in our ranking of the worst places to live for 2021.
Asbury Park doesn't have the worst crime in the state, but it's sure up there. And when you factor in one of the lowest household incomes in the state and a sky high unemployment rate, Asbury Park may not be your first choice for a vacation.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey for 2021
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 2021.
If you're curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Jersey:
- Haddonfield (Pop. 11,345)
- Park Ridge (Pop. 8,766)
- Waldwick (Pop. 9,986)
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
Where Are The Worst Places To Live In New Jersey?