Most Americans have never been to New Jersey. However, as the people who live there know, New Jersey is an awesome state.
But is it all roses? Definitely not. Just like any other state, New Jersey has its trouble spots. This article aims to determine, using science, the absolute worst small towns to live in the Garden State. Don’t shoot the messenger, this is all using data.
After analyzing more than 188 of New Jersey’s smallest cities, we came up with this list as the 10 worst small towns in New Jersey where you’d never want to live:
So what is the worst small town to call home in New Jersey for 2019? According to the most recent census data, Port Norris is the worst small town to live in New Jersey.
Of course, many of these cities would rank highly if they were in other states, since New Jersey has its stuff figured out.
Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers, or scroll to the bottom to see how your town ranked.
How do you decide if a place is lousy or not?
In order to rank the worst small towns to live in New Jersey, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, things to do and a stable economy.
So we scraped the internet for those criteria, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.
How we determined the worst small towns to live in New Jersey for 2019
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data and the Census’s 2013-2017 American Community Survey, this is the criteria we used:
- Population Density (The lower the worse)
- Highest Unemployment Rates
- Low housing costs (meaning there’s no demand)
- Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
- Education (Number of high school dropouts)
- High Crime
We looked at cities with populations between 1,000 and 5,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 188 to be exact.
Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. Dropout numbers are based on the adult population, not just the current graduation rates of teenagers.
This list is a scientific analysis based on real data and is completely unbiased.
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $131,300 (14th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.6% (38th worst)
More on Port Norris: Data
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $160,300 (29th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 9.9% (34th worst)
More on Chesilhurst: Data
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $182,900 (51st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 17.1% (6th worst)
More on Buena: Data
Rank Last Year: 38 (Up 28)
Median Home Value: $35,000 (1st worst)
Unemployment Rate: 13.2% (16th worst)
More on Cedar Glen West: Data
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 5)
Median Home Value: $103,200 (8th worst)
Unemployment Rate: 4.8% (141st worst)
More on Laurel Lake: Data
There You Have It – The Worst Small Towns In New Jersey
If you’re analyzing teeny places in the Garden State with the worst economic situations, where there’s high crime and there’s not a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
If you’re curious enough, here are the best small towns to live in New Jersey, according to science:
- Shrewsbury (Pop. 4,051)
- Robbinsville (Pop. 3,141)
- Plainsboro Center (Pop. 2,943)
For more New Jersey reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In New Jersey
- 10 Safest Places In New Jersey
- 10 Best Cities For Singles In New Jersey
- 10 Worst Places To Live In New Jersey