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 2019.
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In New Jersey
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In New Jersey
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In New Jersey
The 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey For 2019
As the largest city in New Jersey, Newark proves that old adage that bigger isn’t always better (in this case, it’s the 1st worst im New Jersey).
The median household income in Newark is the 4th lowest on this list at $34,826.
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.
With the 3rd lowest median income, the 8th worst crime index, AND the 10th 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.
Lindenwold is another place in the Garden State that has some real eye-opening numbers. The unemployment rate in Lindenwold is a staggering 9.7%, but at least those who have jobs earn a modest salary ($41,346 a year). Homes are actually priced respectfully at $121,900, but still far lower than the state average.
Crime in Lindenwold is bad, but not horrible.
Vineland ranks as the 4th worst city on this list.
Vineland has the 10th highest crime rate in New Jersey, where residents have a 1 in 25.2 chance of being robbed every year. Homes are the 11th cheapest in the state ($164,500), and the uninsured rate here is far below average as well.
Millville is one of the poorest cities in the state of New Jersey. This city has 11.2% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $49,950 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Millville has the 3rd highest crime rate in New Jersey. While the numbers aren’t staggering (New Jersey is a relatively safe place when you compare it to the rest of the country), it’s still undesirable when you consider that there are far safer (and more stimulating) places to make your home in the Garden State.
The unemployment rate in Plainfield is a sky high 8.6%, which is the 36th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Plainfield is $56,425. That means 20.9% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 48.4 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
According to science, Long Branch is the 7th worst place you can live in New Jersey.
Let’s see why. Long Branch has the 19th-highest crime rate in the state, surprisingly. In terms of number of crimes per person, Long Branch is certainly up there.
Factor in a very low housing cost ($337,000), and the 36th-highest unemployment rate in the state (8.6%), and across the board, Long Branch 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.
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in New Jersey, Camden came in 8th. Let’s see why.
When you’re comparing the unemployment rate to the rest of the nation, New Jersey residents are very hard workers. But when comparing the unemployment rate among cities in New Jersey, you can see some really big differences. In Camden, the number of people out of work is 14.0%
In New Jersey, that’s the 5th highest in the state.
The residents in Camden have the 1st lowest incomes in the state. Folks in Camden average $26,105 a year. Which isn’t too shabby in comparison to the other ‘lowest’ income cities in most other states.
Additionally, the homes are valued at $82,300 on average. That’s the 1st lowest in the state.
If you live in New Jersey, you may or may not be surprised that East Orange ranked, at least on paper, as the 9th worst place to live in the state. It has the 3rd highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 36th most dangerous.
Incidentally, East Orange is the 168th most densely populated city in New Jersey. Draw your own conclusions.
While the median household income in Pine Hill is higher than other towns on this list, causing it to be lower down on the list of “worst cities”, Pine Hill still has the 22nd worst unemployment rate in the state, as well as the 30th worst crime index.
Therefore, though the average Pine Hill 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.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey for 2019
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.
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 2019.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Jersey:
- Fair Haven (Pop. 6,015)
- North Caldwell (Pop. 6,637)
- Woodcliff Lake (Pop. 5,868)
For more New Jersey reading, check out: