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High Rents, Property Prices Drive Emigration From New Jersey

Published: May 22, 2023
The New Brunswick NJ Transit rail station in the city of the same name. Photo dates to June 18, 2014. (Image: Adam Moss/via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0)

Despite its beautiful environment and comfortable living conditions, New Jersey has become a state from which an increasing number of people are moving away due to expensive real estate and high taxes. In the past few years, New Jersey has become the state with the highest number of residents “moving out”.

According to Stacker’s analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey data, the top three destinations for New Jersey residents are Pennsylvania, New York, and Florida. In 2019, 43,295 people moved to Pennsylvania, accounting for 18. percent of the total number of people moving out; 31,942 people moved to New York, accounting for 13.9 percent of the total; and 28,222 people moved to Florida, accounting for 12.3 percent of the total. When it comes to retirement, most people tend to move to states such as North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Florida.

On paper, New Jersey has numerous situational advantages and a talented workforce, but quality of life in the Garden State ranks lower than one would expect. Some argue that the difficulties are down to poor management.

People who have moved away say that it’s not that they dislike New Jersey, but rather that the state is unaffordable. For young people, not only is buying a house difficult, but even renting is hard because New Jersey ranks fourth in the country for its rental prices. And for retirees, living in New Jersey is even more challenging compared to other states. According to Kiplinger’s report, New Jersey is the least tax-friendly state for retirees.

The various regulations in New Jersey have also made it difficult for many companies to sustain their operations here, leading to the state being considered as unfriendly to businesses.

In contrast to New Jersey, there are states that offer financial incentives to attract residents to move there. Fourteen states actually provide funds of up to $15,000 for residents to move to their states. For example, in Maine, if people purchase a home and reside there for five years, they will receive $40,000 in student loan forgiveness. Other states also offer various incentives to attract people to specific areas within their states. However, some regions have restrictions, such as minimum income and minimum credit score requirements.