15 Pros and Cons of Living in New Jersey

A skyline view of Atlantic City, NJ. The ocean and a wide beach are in the front. Tall casino and hotel buildings are in the back

“Is New Jersey a good place to stay?” This is a common question among people who want to make New Jersey their permanent residence. To start with, New Jersey is an excellent state with diverse lifestyle options, numerous attractions, and fun activities for all generations.

Despite the numerous attractions, the state has various downsides, like the high cost of living, making living in the state worth a debate. For this reason, we will discuss 15 pros and cons of living in New Jersey to influence your decision on whether to stay in the state.

Read on!

Advantages of Living In New Jersey

Below are various reasons you may be interested in living in this eastern state.

1. Diverse Lifestyles

The state has something unique to offer to all classes of people. For instance, if you want to lead a luxurious lifestyle after retirement, you can buy a mansion in one of its coastal towns and enjoy the coastal lifestyle for the rest of your life.

On the other hand, you can put up a permanent home in the rural or small-town areas if you want to live a normal life, with minimum interference from the state authorities.

You can also isolate yourself in one of the mountainous regions and enjoy the natural climate for the rest of your life. In a nutshell, the state offers numerous lifestyle options, making it easy for you to find people of your caliber and move on with life.

2. Proximity to Everything

New Jersey is generally a tiny state, meaning you are close to numerous attractions in the state, including luxurious resorts, coastal towns, transportation centers, schools, hospitals, and even attractions in the neighboring states. This proximity offers you diverse getaway options should you experience monotonous life in your space.

For instance, if you are located in the Princeton town of New Jersey, you can set out to Princeton battlefield state park or move out to the neighboring states, including Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York.

3. Better Access to Art and Culture

New Jersey is a cultural state. This is evidenced by many museums spread throughout the state, each with a unique offering for visitors from all corners of the globe. Upon becoming a resident, you will be enjoying the amenities at various museums at a considerable price.

That said, the museums would offer you an effective way of learning about the history and other aspects of the state. They would also provide you with a great way of making up for your free time.

For instance, the Trenton’s State Museum and Planetarium can equip you with information about the state’s natural history, ethnology, and archeology. This is not forgetting the fine art skills and artistic products you can get at the museum.

4. Low Crime Rates

Studies indicate that New Jersey is a safe state to stay in, as most town residents are concerned about their safety. Criminal activities have been declining over the years. At the time of this writing, reports show that crime rates have gone below the national average.

For instance, regions like Middletown, Bergen, and Morris experience 136 crimes for every 1,000 people within a year. In 2018, residents in the Township of Bergen County reported a single crime.

The numbers above reflect what happens in other towns in New Jersey. As such, you can expect a peaceful stay in whichever New Jersey town you choose to stay.

5. Excellent Weather for 9 Months

A photo of Cape May beach. A wide sand beach is on the left, blue ocean water on the right. There are footprints in the sand

New Jersey can be your perfect home if you are looking for a place with a humid subtropical climate.

For instance, the spring season (between March and May) is moderately cold. If you are a retiree within the Garden State, this is your best time to visit the blooming botanical farms or enjoy the bustling street festivals.

During summer (between June and August), the weather is usually hot. You can enjoy hot weather outdoors, exploring the mountain views, farms, and museums with international visitors.

The hot summer temperatures keep declining as the fall (September to November) welcomes the cold winter, which lasts for three months (from December to February).

As you can see, New Jersey experiences only three months of cold weather, meaning that you can comfortably stay in the place with minimal disturbance from cold weather.

6. Quality Health Care

Another reason you might make New Jersey your residence is its quality health care. In the U.S. News rankings, New Jersey appeared among the top five states with the best healthcare in the United States. Therefore, relocating permanently to Garden State will give you access to world-class health care.

An excellent example of the various health care centers in the state is the Morristown Medical Center, known for heart surgery, cardiology, geriatrics, gastroenterology, and GI surgery, among other human procedures.

The other healthcare centers within the Garden State include Hackensack University Medical Center, Saint Barnabas, and Robert Wood Johnson, among others.

7. Healthy Lifestyle

New Jersey boasts of wetlands, pinelands, and fully operating farms in different corners of the state. Examples include the Alstede farms in Chester, Argos farms in the Forked River, and Demarest farms in Hillsdale.

That said, you can be sure to get fresh produce that is naturally produced from one of the 145 community markets for local farmers.

Additionally, you can find trails for walking, skiing, snowshoeing, and in different locations in the state, where you can exercise to enhance your physical health.

8. Numerous Study Opportunities

You don’t have to fear moving to New Jersey due to the fear that your kids may not get a quality education. The state offers numerous educational programs and amenities to enhance learning in all sectors. For instance, your kids can benefit from the free public school program provided by the state government.

If you are a retiree and want to advance your education, you can benefit from the cheaper education program for retirees, which you can take virtually or onsite. If you join universities like Rutgers, you can enjoy the tuition-free program offered to new residents who are 62 and above.

9. Plenty of Fun Activities

Photo of a pier in Atlantic City. On the pier is a carnival with many brightly colored rides. A beach and crashing ocean waved are in the front

As earlier mentioned, New Jersey is full of attractions and fun activities for visitors of all ages. An excellent example of the various getaway locations in New Jersey is the Long Branch. 

Long Branch is a famous town on Jersey beach. Here, you can enjoy on-water activities like kayaking, boat fishing, and exploring the Atlantic’s shores on the sandy beaches.

10. Exemption for Seniors

Suppose you plan to make New Jersey your permanent residence after retirement. In that case, you will enjoy some tax breaks like the annual deduction of $250 on property tax and the property tax increase reimbursement from the senior freeze program, among other homestead benefits and deductions.

11. Good Place for Raise a Family

As you can see in the above sections, New Jersey has everything you may need to live a comfortable life with your family. For instance, quality and cheap schools offer local and international programs.

Also, the state is full of recreational amenities where you can go with your kids to get a break from the job stress and the monotonous school life. Moreover, there are world-class hospitals where you can solve all your health issues.

The above factors make New Jersey a small paradise to live in. However, the place has never been as good for some people. Read to know why in the section below.

Disadvantages of Living In New Jersey

A photo of the NJ Turnpike. Several cars can be seen. A huge green sign is over the highway pointing to I278

The fact that New Jersey hosts many attractions, diverse lifestyles, and fun activities does not make the state flawless. It has its downsides too. In this section, we shall discuss the various factors that may discourage you from staying in the state.

12. High Taxes

The garden state is known for imposing higher taxes than any other state in the region. For instance, its sales tax is approximately 6.6%, while the income tax rates range between 1.4 and 8.97%.

The high tax burden explains why the state keeps losing a colossal amount of adjusted gross income as its residents leave states with low taxes. It can be a significant turn-off towards relocating permanently to the state.

13. Poor Weather for 3 months

While the state experiences one cold season during winter, the spring and autumn seasons can sometimes go extremely cold, to the extent of pushing some residents out of the state for good. You may not be an exception from the weather extremes too.

14. High Cost of Living

New Jersey has a higher cost of living than the other states in the United States. For instance, a gallon of gasoline could cost approximately $2.78 in New Jersey when it stood at $1.88 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. That implies that the cost of living in the Garden State is almost 50% more than in most U.S. states.

The high cost of living implies high ticket prices in various attractions, which drives some potential residents away. You may not be an exemption to this.

15. 1% Mansion Tax

When you have decided to buy a mansion for your family in the garden state, the law requires you to pay 1% mansion tax on any purchase amounting to $ 1million or more.

This tax is too high compared to states like Alabama and Louisiana, with almost zero rates. It is also a turn-off to external visitors who may be willing to relocate into the state.

A photo of the Barnegat Lighthouse. The sun is rising, creating an orange and pink sky. Calm waters sit in front of the lighthouse

Final Words

New Jersey is a great place to stay with numerous lifestyles, better medical facilities, and outstanding educational programs. Also, the state has other attractions, exceptional resorts, beautiful beaches, hill sites, and parks, which can make your everyday life comfortable.

However, the garden state has some downsides, like the high cost of living, which makes most attractions and resources within the state untenable. The high cost of living further limits an average person from residing in the state, making it exclusively for the rich.

If you are interested in making the state your permanent residence, you should weigh the advantages and disadvantages discussed above to determine whether you can make it in the state.

The points that favor your stay in the Garden state include:

●     Diverse lifestyles

●     Proximity to everything

●     Better access to art and culture

●     Low crime rates

●     Excellent weather

●     Quality health care

●     Healthy lifestyle

●     Numerous study opportunities

●     Plenty of fun activities

●     Exemption for seniors

●     Good place for raising a family

On the other hand, the factors that may discourage you from moving to the state include:

●     High taxes

●     Poor weather

●     1% mansion tax

●     High cost of living

Related: 7 Best Places to Live in South Jersey