Do you think New Jersey is a good place to live? Are you happy in the Garden State?

Ashley Koning, the director of the Rutgers-Eagleton poll said, “almost 6 in 10 Jersey residents say the Garden State is an excellent or good place to live."

— 14% say excellent

—  44% say good

—  28% say it's fair

— 13% say it's poor

She noted over time these ratings have become less positive.

“If we look back at the mid-1990s to early 2000s about three-quarters of residents said the state was an excellent or good place to live, even more so about 8 in 10 residents said the same throughout the mid to late 80’s,” said Koning.

The poll also finds people give a higher rating to the town or city they live in compared to the state, with 70% saying their town is excellent.

Koning said those living in the urban areas are less positive about their towns or cities (57% “excellent” or “good”) than those living in other areas, where anywhere from 68 to 78% say their town or city is an “excellent” or “good” place to live.


Get me outta here!

But Koning said the poll also finds half of the respondents would like to move out of their neighborhood if given the opportunity, with 36% saying they would move to an entirely new state, she said.

She said while 42% of respondents would continue living where they are now, the desire to move has actually increased by double-digits over the last 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,” said Koning.

Boxes on ground near moving van
Robert Daly

She said the poll also finds three-quarters of New Jersey residents rate education as well as entertainment and recreation as excellent or good.

Additionally, two-thirds say New Jersey is an excellent or good place to raise a family as well as find a good job. Half say the same about a place to run a business.

Koning said while all of these categories get a favorable response in the survey, the idea of retiring here does not, with 48% saying the state is a poor place to retire.

It depends on who you ask

She pointed out in many categories Democrats are more content in New Jersey than either independents or Republicans.

“The poll finds 74% of Democrats rate life in the Garden State as 'excellent' or 'good,' compared to 54 percent of independents and 47 percent of Republicans,” she said.

South Jersey residents (50%), those in the lowest income bracket (52%), and those with a high school education or less (51%) are the only other groups where about half rate the state negatively as a place to live.

The survey also finds those in households making $100,000 or more annually are more likely than those making less to say New Jersey is an “excellent” place to raise a family (27 versus 16% ) and find a job (24 versus 12%).

Man hands sweeping money,business concept.

Additionally, the poll finds white residents give more positive local ratings than Black residents or Hispanic residents by double-digits. About 8 in 10 white residents rate their town or city as at least a “good” place to live, compared to 54% of Black residents and 65% of Hispanic residents.

For the poll 1,044 adults in New Jersey were contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones from February 25 – March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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