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:
- Newark (Photos)
- Bridgeton (Photos)
- Lindenwold (Photos)
- Vineland (Photos)
- Millville (Photos)
- Plainfield (Photos)
- Long Branch (Photos)
- Camden (Photos)
- East Orange (Photos)
- Pine Hill (Photos)
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
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.
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, part of Camden County, is the 3rd worst place to live in New Jersey for 2017.
. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $41,346, and crime 15th worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 17.5% in Lindenwold.
If you live in New Jersey, you may or may not be surprised that Vineland ranked, at least on paper, as the 4th worst place to live in the state. It has the 42nd highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 10th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Vineland is the 6th most densely populated city in New Jersey. Draw your own conclusions.
Would you believe that Millville is the 3rd most dangerous place in New Jersey? That’s the case, as every year, you have a 1 in 18.2 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within Millville city limits.
In addition, every year, you have a 1 in 176 chance of being a victim of a violent crime in Millville. That means raped, attacked or killed. Again, for New Jersey, that’s just unacceptable.
Beyond the crime numbers, Millville’s unemployment rate is the 12th highest in New Jersey (11.2%), and homes are the 9th cheapest in the state ($156,900). 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 Millville.
Plainfield needs some tough love.
Years ago, someone told me the sun never shines in Plainfield. That’s not true, of course, but you can understand why she might say that when you analyze certain facts about Plainfield. Of the 175 cities considered in this ranking, Plainfield had the least to be proud of across the board.
Not only does Plainfield have New Jersey’s 37th lowest home value rank, but it also had the 36th and 27th 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 Plainfield, tag them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Long Branch 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 19th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Long Branch had a 1 in 36.7 chance of being robbed in 2016. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Long Branch, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Long Branch’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (8.6%) and income levels of its residents ($54,398).
Camden is one of the poorest cities in the state of New Jersey. This city has 14.0% of its residents out of work, and those who have jobs earn under $26,105 a year.
Cities can be charming, but not when they are dangerous. Camden has the 7th 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.
East Orange, where there’s absolutely nothing to do unless you enjoy bowling, ranks as the 9th worst city in New Jersey.
Besides the lack of pure amenities, East Orange has some real economic problems to contend with. The unemployment rate hovers near 15.1%, and families earn around $41,819 a year. It’s also the 36th highest in New Jersey for crime, where 1 in 61.5 people gets robbed every year.
Does living in a place where people who come to visit are robbed sound like fun?
If you live in Pine Hill, this might not be a surprise, but you have the 30th highest crime rate, per capita in the state of New Jersey. Every year you spend here, you have a 1 in 42.2 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 32 violent crimes in the last FBI reporting year. That means if you spent a year there, you’d have a 1 in 328 chance of being raped or attacked.
Finally, the folks who live here earn the 24th lowest salaries in New Jersey At $51,286 a household, that’s simply not enough to get by for most folks.
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:
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In New Jersey
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In New Jersey
- 10 Safest Places In New Jersey
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In New Jersey
Detailed List Of The Worst Places To Live In New Jersey
|21||West New York||53,345|
|93||West Long Branch||7,944|