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 is a hot mess right now. There are some big economic problems here AND crime is really high. In fact, Lindenwold is the 15th most dangerous place you can live in New Jersey.
Residents in Lindenwold have a 1 in 34.7 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and sunglasses.
When you’re considering home prices, you can’t do much lower than in Lindenwold, where average homes are valued at only$121,900. That’s the 5th-lowest in the state. But residents earn far less than in other cities, so their mortgage payments might still seem overwhelming.
There’s probably not many people in New Jersey that would be surprised to see Vineland on this list. In fact, if Vineland wasn’t somewhere in the top 10, most people would start to wonder if our data was accurate.
Here are the statistics. Vineland has the 10th worst crime rate in New Jersey. No surprises there. How dangerous is it though? There were almost 298 violent crimes in Vineland in 2019. Residents here had a 1 in 204 chance of being killed, raped or attacked. Just wow.
The home values in Vineland are the 11th cheapest in the state ($164,500), the unemployment rate is the 42nd highest (8.1%), and the annual household income is 23rd lowest in New Jersey, at $51,113. That’s basically at the poverty level for a family of four.
Millville ranks as the 5th-worst place in New Jersey due to a variety of factors, placing in the bottom third for unemployment, median income, and crime.
On top of that, residents have the 161st-worst commute of any place in the state.
When you’re looking at science and data, the city of Plainfield is the 6th 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 27th-highest in the state per capita, according to the FBI data base.
Residents in Plainfield had a 1 in 48.4 chance of being robbed in 2018. To put things into perspective, since the average person has 300 friends on Facebook, if everyone you friended lived in Plainfield, statistically, 25 of them would have been the victim of a property crime, meaning a home robbery, car break in or a stolen wallet.
Plainfield’s other issues are a very high unemployment rate (8.6%) and income levels of its residents ($56,425).
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.
Camden, part of Camden County, is the 8th worst place to live in New Jersey for 2019.
Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $26,105, and crime 7th worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 37.4% in Camden.
If you live in East Orange, you’re either going to fiercely protect your town, or you agree that it should be on this list. Either way, it doesn’t matter, because science says it’s the 9th worst place to live in the state.
You’ve got the 36th highest crime rate in New Jersey, which saw 473 violent crimes last year. You have a 1 in 61.5 chance of being robbed and a 1 in 137 chance of being attacked, raped or killed here for every year you spend in the city limits of East Orange.
Plus, folks are simply out of work. East Orange sports the state’s 3rd highest unemployment rate (15.1%), and families bring in a combined $41,819 a year, which is far below the state average.
No wonder homes are cheap; you can get one yourself for only $205,100.
When you’re looking at things from purely a scientific standpoint, Pine Hill is the 10th worst place in the state of New Jersey.
The U.S. defines the poverty line at $24,600 a year for a family of four. Pine Hill is right on the verge of that when you look at what the average citizen there earns a year. And the home values are eye-opening low. On average, the home value in Pine Hill are the 7th lowest in the entire state.
And when you factor in high crime and a high tax rate, it really can’t get much worse in New Jersey.
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
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