New Jersey

How Do NJers Rate the Garden State? Most Like It, But a Third Want to Leave: Poll

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It's real love/hate relationship the New Jersey residents have with their home state, according to a recent poll.

According to a new Rutgers-Eagleton poll, six in ten residents say the Garden State is a good or excellent place to live, but more than a third said they would move to another state.

More specifically, 14 percent rated the state as an "excellent" place to live, while 44 percent rated it as good. More than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents to the poll gave the state just a "fair" rating, with another 13 percent saying it is a "poor" place to live.

New Jersey residents overall seem to enjoy the cities, towns and neighborhoods themselves that they live in, the poll found. Seven in 10 said that their town or city is at least a good place to live, while three-quarters of respondents said the same thing about their neighborhoods.

Despite those numbers, half of New Jerseyans would move out of their current neighborhood if given the chance, with a third saying they would move to another state entirely, according to the poll.

"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," said Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. "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 – eight in 10 residents – said the same throughout the mid to late 1980s."

White residents were far more likely to approve of their towns and cities, as eight in 10 rated them as "good" or better; that's compared to just over half (54 percent) of Black residents, and about two-thirds (65 percent) of Hispanic residents. That trend is similar when it comes to neighborhood reviews, as well, the poll

Those who make more than $100,000 a year are also more likely to give favorable reviews for the state, the poll showed.

Koning also said that state residents' desire to move has increased by double digits over the past decade, with the poll showing all-time high numbers of those who want to move out, and all-time lows for those seeking to stay.

When it comes to things like getting an education, entertainment/recreation, or raising a family, the overwhelming majority of respondents gave the state rave reviews, with at least two-thirds saying it was good or excellent.

The one area where most agree New Jersey is not suited well for: retirement. Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) gave it "poor" marks as a place to retire, and just over a quarter gave it "fair" reviews.

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