Poll: Is NJ a good place to live?

Dawn Furnas//March 24, 2022

Poll: Is NJ a good place to live?

Dawn Furnas//March 24, 2022

Is the Garden State a good place to live?

That’s what a new Rutgers-Eagleton Poll asked residents, finding that almost 6 in 10 New Jerseyans say it’s an “excellent” (14%) or “good” (44%) place to live. However, 28% percent responded with “only fair” and 13% said “poor.”

The poll broke that down further and found Democrats are more content in New Jersey (74%) than either independents (54%) or Republicans (47%).

When it comes to rating their communities, 70% say their town or city is an “excellent” or “good” choice, and 75% percent rate their current neighborhood as “excellent” or “good.” These responses also varied by race and ethnicity, with white residents giving more positive local ratings than Black residents or Hispanic residents by double-digits.

“New Jerseyans’ views on the Garden State as a place to live have remained stable the past several years but over the decades have gradually become less positive,” Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, said in a statement. “Three-quarters of residents said the state was an excellent or good place to live back in the mid 1990s to early 2000s. Even more – 8 in 10 residents – said the same throughout the mid to late 1980s.”

However, when asked in the new poll if they would move out of their current neighborhood, given the opportunity, half of respondents said yes, with 36% saying they’d even move to another state. But, 42% responded they would stay put.

Koning added that residents’ desire to move has increased by double digits over the past decade.

“These latest numbers set an all-time high in the poll’s history of asking this question for those who want to move out of state and an all-time low for those who want to stay,” she said.

How did the state rank on areas such as education, raising a family, entertainment and recreation, employment and industry? New Jerseyans answered favorably:

  • Getting an education: 30% said “excellent,” 42% said “good”
  • Entertainment and recreation: 29% said “excellent,” 45% said “good”
  • Place to raise a family: 21% said “excellent,” 45% said “good”
  • Finding a job: 17% said “excellent,” 47% said “good”
  • Running a business: 12% said “excellent,” 38% said “good”

Notably, the poll found that Democrats were about twice as likely as Republicans to say the state is an “excellent” place to raise a family, find a job, get an education, retire or run a business.

Women were three times as likely as men to say the state is an “excellent” place to run a business. Meanwhile, non-white residents are twice as likely as white residents to say the state is an “excellent” place to run a business, the poll found.

While white and non-white residents say the state is an “excellent” place to find a job at about the same rate (16% and 17%, respectively), non-white residents are more than twice as likely to say it is a “poor” place to find a job compared with non-Hispanic white residents (15% versus 6%).

“Even though these area-specific ratings are up overall, it is important to recognize the nuances of different perspectives,” said Jessica Roman, an ECPIP research associate. “Though some may find the state to be a hub for academia and business, for example, others may face barriers or challenges in either accessing or navigating these systems. The same could be said for any part of daily life in New Jersey.”

As for retiring in the Garden State, well, it seems New Jerseyans have fewer positive things to say there: 48% percent said it is a “poor” place to retire; 27% said it’s “fair.” This aligns with a Jan. 24 WalletHub study that ranked New Jersey as the nation’s worst state for retirement.

“Views on New Jersey as a place to raise a family, get an education, enjoy entertainment, find a job, run a business, and even retire have gone up since last measured in 2015,” Koning added. “Positivity about jobs and business ownership stand out with ratings on the former double what they were seven years ago and ratings on the latter up by double digits.”

The results are from a statewide poll of 1,044 adults contacted by phone from Feb. 25 to March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. . Read more about the breakdown of the responses here.