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:
- Bridgeton (Photos)
- Lindenwold (Photos)
- Newark (Photos)
- Penns Grove (Photos)
- Camden (Photos)
- Pleasantville (Photos)
- Paulsboro (Photos)
- Pine Hill
- Plainfield (Photos)
- Vineland (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. Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and see how your city fared in 2017.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey for 2017
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
The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report.
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 178 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 178 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 — Bridgeton. 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.
Population: 25,201Home Values: $109,300 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.1% (15th worst)
With the 9th lowest median income, the 8th worst crime index, AND the 15th 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.
Population: 17,492Home Values: $124,800 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.5% (27th worst)
You can sure expect that Lindenwold is going to be a pretty rough place to live, it comes in 2nd in our analysis. It is. In fact, Lindenwold has the 16th-highest crime rate in the state. Probably no surprises there.
There were 120 violent crimes here in 2015, and residents have a 1 in 34.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime. That means, most likely, if you live in Lindenwold, either you or someone on your block had their home or car broken into last year.
You can also imagine that the economy here is in the pits — the unemployment rate sits at 11.5% which is the 27th worst in New Jersey.
Population: 279,793Home Values: $223,400 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.4% (5th worst)
As the largest city in New Jersey, Newark proves that old adage that bigger isn’t always better (in this case, it’s the 3rd worst im New Jersey).
The median household income in Newark is the 7th lowest on this list at $33,139.
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.
4. Penns Grove
Population: 5,032Home Values: $119,100 (4th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 20.3% (2nd worst)
Tthe small town of Penns Grove has the 3rd lowest income levels in the entire state. At $31,406, many of the people are having trouble making ends meet, and the unemployment rate is 20.3%. Additionally, 23.9% of the population lives below the poverty line.
The cost of a home here is bottom barrell at $119,100.
At least the crime is very minimal here.
Population: 76,904Home Values: $84,600 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 19.6% (3rd worst)
Camden, part of Camden County, is the 5th worst place to live in New Jersey for 2015.
. Residents here earn almost the lowest salaries per year relative to any other residents in the state at $25,042, and crime 2nd worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 36.7% in Camden.
Population: 20,518Home Values: $159,700 (11th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 15.6% (8th worst)
Pleasantville’s main issue is crime. It’s the 30th most dangerous place in the state of New Jersey. Is that a surprise?
If you live in Pleasantville, you have a 1 in 50.9 chance that you’ll be the victim of a property crime. That’s really high, especially for a city of its size. That’s a lot of stolen lawn mowers, cell phones and cameras. Perhaps it’s because the folks here live in far nicer homes than some of the other cities to top this list. They’re targets.
The unemployment rate is higher than the state average at 15.6%.
Population: 6,025Home Values: $124,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 18.9% (4th worst)
Paulsboro, NJ needs a big hug right now. The unemployment rate here is 18.9%, the median income is just above the poverty line, and the crime is the 11th highest in the state. You have a 1 in 26.4 chance of being robbed here every year.
You could find a much better place to call home.
8. Pine Hill
Population: 10,419 Home Values: $147,000 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.7% (54th worst)
The unemployment rate in Pine Hill is a sky high 9.7%, which is the 54th highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Pine Hill is $50,184. That means 15.7% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 39.0 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
Population: 50,678Home Values: $242,600 (38th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (23rd worst)
The unemployment rate in Plainfield is a sky high 11.8%, which is the 23rd highest in the state. Ouch.
The median income in Plainfield is $54,500. That means 20.2% of the population is living below the poverty line. Crime isn’t horrible here, but you have a 1 in 43.3 chance of being the victim of a property crime when you’re within city limits every year.
Population: 60,987Home Values: $165,000 (13th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (55th worst)
If you live in New Jersey, you may or may not be surprised that Vineland ranked, at least on paper, as the 10th worst place to live in the state. It has the 55th highest unemployment rate in the state, and the 10th most dangerous.
Incidentally, Vineland is the 7th most densely populated city in New Jersey. Draw your own conclusions.
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, Bridgeton ranks as the worst city to live in New Jersey for 2017.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Jersey:
- Fair Haven (Pop. 6,075)
- North Caldwell (Pop. 6,415)
- Glen Rock (Pop. 11,859)
For more New Jersey reading , check out:
- These Are The 10 Most Boring Places In New Jersey
- 43 New Jersey Facts They Never Taught You In High School
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In New Jersey
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New Jersey
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