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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.
Would you believe that Lindenwold is the 16th most dangerous place in New Jersey? That's the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 38.1 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within Lindenwold city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 156 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Lindenwold. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for New Jersey, that's just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Lindenwold's unemployment rate is the 22nd highest in New Jersey (8.0%), and homes are the 5th cheapest in the state ($120,600). Say what you want about 'cheap living', the fact is homes are priced on demand, and there's not a lot of demand to live in Lindenwold.
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 needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Vineland. That's not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Vineland. Of the 175 cities considered in this ranking, Vineland had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Vineland have New Jersey's 14th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 52nd and 11th highest rankings in unemployment and crime respectively. Statistics like that will certainly make the sun shine a bit dimmer, and it will win you are in contention for title of "Worst City in New Jersey."
If you know anyone in Vineland, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
The unemployment rate in Millville is a sky high 9.8%, which is the 11th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Millville is $52,352. That means 19.2% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn't horrible here, but you have a 1 in 23.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you're within city limits every year.
Woodbury needs some tough love as it ranks as the 6th worst city to live in New Jersey for 2020. There's not a lot to do here, and when you factor in some of the lowest student support in the state and some of the worst weather, it's not a place you might want to move to.
And the 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.
According to science, Asbury Park is the 7th worst place you can live in New Jersey.
Let's see why. Asbury Park has the 4th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Asbury Park is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($346,300), and the 7th-highest unemployment rate in the state (10.3%), and across the board, Asbury Park doesn't sound like the best of the best.
Plus, there's simply not a lot to do here (unless you count having a Walmart and a Piggly Wiggly as fun). We're aware that people enjoy outdoor activities, but in terms of pure entertainment, you'd have to drive a ways away.
Camden, part of Camden County, is the 8th 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 $27,070, and crime 7th worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 36.8% in Camden.
Long Branch ranks as the 9th worst city in New Jersey. Located in Monmouth County, Long Branch has the 32nd lowest income levels in the state of New Jersey ($58,232), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state. Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 7.3%.
Linden'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.
Linden has the 18th worst crime index of any place in New Jersey, and has the 5lowest income.
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?