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)
- Newark (Photos)
- Lindenwold (Photos)
- Millville (Photos)
- Pleasantville (Photos)
- Trenton (Photos)
- Vineland (Photos)
- Phillipsburg (Photos)
- East Orange (Photos)
- Pine Hill
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 2018.
How we determined the worst places to live in New Jersey for 2018
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 177 cities.
We then ranked each city from 1 to 177 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: 25,209Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Home Values: $108,500 (3rd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.8% (15th worst)
With the 7th lowest median income, the 7th worst crime index, AND the 15th worst unemployment rate on this list, it’s not surprising that Bridgeton is the worst place to live in NJ for the second year in a row.
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: 280,139Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Home Values: $222,100 (30th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.2% (2nd 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 2nd worst in New Jersey).
The median household income in Newark is the 3rd lowest on this list at $33,025.
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.
Population: 17,482Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Values: $124,300 (5th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.1% (21st worst)
Here in Lindenwold, you have some of the highest crime and the highest unemployment rates in New Jersey. That’s not a good combination.
Located in Camden County, you have a 1 in 35.6 chance of being the victim of a property crime when inside Lindenwold city limits every year. Some of those crimes might be due to the relatively high unemployment rate (11.1%). That’s good for the 21st highest unemployment rate in New Jersey.
Population: 28,399Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 8)
Home Values: $160,200 (9th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 12.2% (13th worst)
Millville, NJ needs a big hug right now. Residents here are underpaid, underemployed and possibly lonely.
Additionally, crime is 4th worst in the state, which is very high considering Millville is so far removed from the rest of New Jersey.
If you know anyone in Millville, dm them on Facebook and tell them you love them. They can probably use it right about now.
Population: 20,532Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Home Values: $157,900 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.6% (8th worst)
Out of all the places to live in New Jersey, Pleasantville ranks as the 5th worst — not something to brag about.
Pleasantville’s unemployment rate stands at 13.6%. While the income levels out here are some of the lowest in the state. Residents earn a combined $42,971 a year in salaries. That’s not enough to really get ahead in life.
Additionally, the homes are the 8th cheapest in the entire state at $157,900. Again, some people like the cheap cost of living, but housing is priced on demand, and the fact is, there’s not a lot of demand to live way out in Pleasantville. Plus, what do you do for fun here anyway?
Crime is the 36th worst in the state. You have a 1 in 55.8 chance of being robbed here and a 1 in 180 chance of being attacked or raped. Yikes.
Population: 84,559Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 7)
Home Values: $100,000 (2nd worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.0% (5th worst)
Trenton ranks as the 6th worst city in New Jersey. Located in Mercer County, Trenton has the 6th lowest income levels in the state of New Jersey ($34,412), and some of the lowest number of doctors in the state (in case you were wondering).
Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 16.0%.
Population: 60,876Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Home Values: $164,700 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.4% (52nd worst)
Vineland ranks as the 7th worst city in New Jersey.
Located in Cumberland County, Vineland has the 22nd lowest income levels in the state of New Jersey ($48,986).
Crime is above average, and the unemployment rate is 8.4%.
On the bright side, at least people have jobs here compared to other cities on the list.
Population: 14,570Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 9)
Home Values: $140,100 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 11.7% (16th worst)
Phillipsburg, part of Warren County, is the 8th 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 $44,660, and crime is the 38th worst in New Jersey.
Additionally, the poverty level is 19.6% in Phillipsburg.
9. East Orange
Population: 64,621Rank Last Year: 14 (Up 5)
Home Values: $209,500 (25th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 16.9% (3rd worst)
Say what you want about how beautiful East Orange might be. The fact is that the economy here is one of the worst in the state.
The unemployment rate rankss 3rd highest in the state at 16.9%. Homes are the 25th lowest priced ($209,500), and the median income per household is just a tad over $38,403.
The fact is most of the people who live here are having a hard time making ends meet, when you consider their earned incomes and lack of jobs.
10. Pine Hill
Population: 10,472 Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 2)
Home Values: $140,100 (6th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 8.5% (49th worst)
When you’re looking at the worst places you could live in New Jersey, Pine Hill ranks 10th worst. Let’s see why.
Here in Pine Hill, crime is the 51st highest in the state, and 1 out of 54.5 residents was robbed here according to the latest FBI numbers.
Additionally, you have a 1 in 498 chance of being the victim of a violent crime, which includes rapes, attacks or murders. That’s really high.
When you look at adult education in New Jersey, the folks in Pine Hill have the 56th highest drop out rate. And other factors that make Pine Hill undesirable are the low median incomes and home prices.
The unemployment rate is the 49th highest in New Jersey, at 8.5%.
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 2018.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in New Jersey:
- North Caldwell (Pop. 6,519)
- Woodcliff Lake (Pop. 5,844)
- Haddonfield (Pop. 11,444)
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 Snobbiest Places In New Jersey
Detailed List Of The Worst Cities In New Jersey
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