Located close to New York City, the state of New Jersey is full of natural beauty and outstanding food. Thanks to a cost of living that’s more affordable than New York City, many families and young professionals choose state-to-state transportation to relocate. That way, they can easily commute to work and enjoy the big city life without sacrificing their peace and quiet.
In popular culture, you’ll find a lot of stereotypes about New Jersey. But, it’s a state full of beautiful cities, kind people, and good weather. Otherwise known as the Garden State, New Jersey is home to some of the best schools in the country, both private and public schools.
Moving to New Jersey can be a difficult decision when you’re not quite sure where to start. There are many things to consider, from public transportation to cost of living and cultural diversity. So, we’ve compiled a guide to help you understand everything you need to know about New Jersey so you can make an informed decision for your move.
New Jersey Climate
New Jersey’s climate is affected by its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The state has two climate zones: North Jersey and South Jersey. Both zones have a continental climate with humid summers and cold winters.
In general, the north is colder than the south, with dryer weather and harsher winters. South Jersey has milder winters, warmer summer months, and more humid temperatures. On average, the lowest temperatures in the state are between 27°F and 33°F, while the highest temperature can be around 85°F.
New Jerseyans see an average of 206 sunny days, 48 inches of rainfall, and 23 inches of snowfall.
The climate in New Jersey is relatively stable, but you should know the weather risks. In the winter, there are blizzards, winter storms, and freezing rain. Less likely, you could experience hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding. Generally, the best time to see Liberty State Park and the Delaware River is during the spring.
New Jersey Taxes
New Jersey has a mix of high and low taxes, so it can be affordable for some items and costly for others. The state doesn’t have local sales tax but has an entire single rate of 6.62%. Items like groceries, clothing, and prescription drugs are exempt from sales taxes, and gas stations have the lowest gasoline tax in the country.
Income taxes are progressive and between 1.4% and 10.75% depending on how much you make on an annual basis.
- For an income between $40,000 and $75,000, your income tax is 6.1%.
- For an income between $75,000 and $500,000, your tax is 7.0%.
- For an income above $500,001, your tax rate is 9.9%.
As for property taxes, buying real estate in New Jersey can be expensive. New Jersey has high taxes for property at 2.39%, which is approximately $6,000 for a $250,000 home.
While taxes can be high in the state, seniors do benefit from a handful of tax breaks, including a $250 deduction on annual property tax. The state has a program called the Senior Freeze, which reimburses some seniors for property tax increases. Veterans also benefit from deductions and exemptions through the Homestead Benefit.
Cost of Living in New Jersey
Within the United States, the cost of living is measured by an index with a national average of 100. If a state has an index lower than 100, the cost of living is cheaper than the national average. New Jersey has a cost of living index of 120.4 which is more expensive than average.
The high cost of living is from high property prices, with median home prices at $397,900. Median rent for one-bedroom apartments is $1,259. Buying a home for your entire household in the Garden State can be expensive. But, healthcare costs are below average, so you can get the services you need for a lower price.
Healthcare in New Jersey
New Jersey has some of the best healthcare in the country, ranking at #4. Residents of the state have excellent access to healthcare (ranked #3), excellent healthcare quality (ranked #11), and fantastic public health (ranked #2).
When you move to New Jersey, you should also look at different healthcare plans. You can choose between Gold, Silver, and Bronze plans depending on how much coverage you need.
- If you’re a relatively young person with no health problems, you can choose the Bronze plan.
- If you qualify for cost-sharing reductions (CSRs), you should opt for the Silver plan because it provides more benefits.
- If you need a lot of prescription medicine and have many health problems, you can choose the Gold plan. This plan offers more comprehensive coverage but boasts higher premiums.
If you’re a 30-year-old married person with two children, the Bronze plan in New Jersey would cost you around $1,000, the Silver Plan $1,300, and the Gold Plan $2,100.
Job Opportunities in New Jersey
New Jersey has a bustling economy, ranking #33 in comparison to other states, and many jobs in the state. In small towns, you can either find a job there or commute to the large cities. Currently, unemployment is at a 7.1% low, compared to the previous year when it was much higher due to economic downturns.
Some of the key industries with the highest job growth are clean energy, food and healthcare, technology, life sciences, and financial services. The largest employers are:
- Wakefern Food Corporation
- Barnabas Health
- United Parcel Service (UPS)
- Wal-Mart Stores
- Verizon Communications
New Jersey Education
New Jersey has some of the best education in the country. The US News World Report ranks New Jersey as the #1 state for Pre and K-12 levels and #27 for higher education. So, you can rest assured that your children will have a world-class education with excellent public schools and universities.
Some of the best New Jersey public school districts include:
- Princeton Schools (Princeton)
- Millburn Township School District (Millburn)
- Livingston Board of Education School District (Livingston)
- Summit Public School District (Summit)
- Tenafly Public School District (Tenafly)
Renowned colleges and prestigious universities in New Jersey include:
- Princeton University (Princeton)
- Rutgers University-New Brunswick (Piscataway) and Newark
- Stevens Institute of Technology (Hoboken)
- College of New Jersey (Ewing)
- Seton Hall University (South Orange)
If you like to be out and about, New Jersey has plenty of activities to choose from. Whether you’re someone who likes to party or stroll in the park, you’ll find it all. So get your Jersey driver’s license and explore the beauty of the Garden State.
When you first move to a state, you have a bucket list of places to see and things to do. Here are a couple of fantastic trips you can add to your bucket list for the Garden State, including:
- Atlantic City: a coastal town with beautiful beaches and many casinos
- Cape May: a group of beautiful Victorian homes that tourists visit yearly
- Princeton & the Battlefield State Park: tourists like to visit the famous and well-ranked university and the location of the Battle of Princeton.
- Barnegat Lighthouse State Park: a beautiful state park located in Long Beach Island
- Hoboken Waterfront Walkway: the famous waterfront park and shore area that offers amazing views of the NYC skyline
- Jersey Shore Alpacas: a farm in Green Creek
Once you’ve seen the tourist spots, you can visit other places like the Jersey Shore and other Jersey cities. During the hot summers, you can have ice cream and relax in the parks. During the winter, you can also visit the many restaurants and try out some delicious new foods, such as the locally famous Taylor Ham.
When you want a change of scenery, you can take a short train ride to New York City, see the Hudson River, visit Ellis Island, walk along Central Park, and grab a slice of New York pizza.
Best Places to Live in New Jersey
Deciding where to move to in New Jersey can be difficult. But it’s helpful to know which places in the state have the best schools and offer a comfortable, ethnically diverse life.
Once you decide where to move, keep in mind these next few tips and learn about the best places to live in New Jersey.
- Don’t forget to change your mailing address
- CDL holders have to update their driver’s licenses
- New Jersey is one of two states in the country where you can’t pump your own gas, so know that gas station attendants will do it for you
- Moving to a new home means going through hoops to check home prices and calculating your high property tax. Make sure you do all the preparatory work before buying a home.
With a population of 55,000, located in Northern New Jersey, Hoboken is one of the best places to live in the Garden State. It is an attractive hub for millennials and young professionals, with many job opportunities and excellent educational institutions. You can commute to New York City or the local area by bus, train, or ferry.
Hoboken has a small-town feel and many shops, gyms, theatres, bars, and restaurants. Hoboken is a family-friendly community, and an ideal place to start a family. No matter your situation, if you’re a young person or looking to start a family, Hoboken should be at the top of your list.
Morristown is known as “Mini Hoboken” because its less than 20,000 people. Most people rent homes in Morristown, but it’s worth it because it has some of the best educational institutions.
The town allows a stress-free life and small-town living, with opportunities for activities like mountain biking and horseback riding. You can have outdoor fun or take a short train ride to major cities like Jersey City, Atlantic City, or the Big Apple.
In North Jersey, North Arlington is close to New York City and MetLife Stadium. The median home value in this small town is under $400,000, so it’s an ideal place to buy a home. With affordable prices and an excellent quality of life, North Arlington is perfect to settle down and enjoy a quiet life while being close to the busy cities.
Fair Haven is the #1 place to raise a family in New Jersey. Located in Central Jersey, it has 6,000 people and a 90% home ownership rate. Fair Haven has a charming community with excellent schools, restaurants, and shopping. The only drawback in Fair Haven is that it lacks diversity since the population is majority white.
Located in Central New Jersey, Jersey City is the second-most populous city with 270,000 people. It offers affordability, great restaurants for foodies, and fun nightlife. Jersey City has beautiful beaches and parks, so there are plenty of activities.
The universities are well-rated in Jersey City, including New Jersey City University, Hudson County Community College, Saint Peter’s University, and more. New York is just a few minutes away, so if you want the busy NYC life without the added expenses, Jersey City is the one for you.
New Jersey provides a stable and quiet place to live. With job opportunities, wonderful healthcare, and high-quality education, you can’t go wrong moving to the Garden State. You’ll experience cold winters and humid summers, but with parks, beaches and mountains, you’ll have things to do in every season.
Choose from lively cities like Atlantic City, Jersey City, or Hoboken to smaller towns with a suburban feel. If you’ve decided to take the leap and move to New Jersey, you need some help moving your belongings and your vehicle. Guardian Auto Transport can help with that as well as shipping your car to New Jersey.
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