GSI/FDU poll: Nearly half of N.J. residents are planning to leave

Leaving the state is a dream among many New Jerseyans — a dream many are planning to make a reality.

According to a recent study by Garden State Initiative and Fairleigh Dickinson University‘s School of Public & Global Affairs, nearly half (44%) of residents in New Jersey are planning to leave in the not-so-distant future, with one in four (28%) planning for the expedition within five years.

The Top 2 drivers pushing people away from the state including property taxes and the overall cost of living, with government corruption and concerns about crime and drugs rounding out the Top 4.

“What’s interesting is that New Jersey’s top two problems are really deeply rooted political problems,” Peter Woolley, director of FDU’s School of Public & Global Affairs, said. “That means our big problems can only be resolved through a sustained and resolute political process.”

Younger residents (18-29) want to leave the most, with nearly 40% saying they plan to leave over the next five years. On the other end, a third of those (33%) close to retirement age (50-64) also plan to leave within five years.

The study found a large majority of residents have a set plan to leave within the next 10 years (39%), with an additional 5% indicating they will move after 10 years.

“These results should alarm every elected official and policymaker in New Jersey,” Regina M. Egea, president, GSI, said. “We have a crisis of confidence in the ability of our leaders to address property taxes and the cost of living whether at the start of their career, in prime earning years, or repositioning for retirement, New Jersey residents see greener pastures in other states.  This crisis presents a profound challenge to our state as we are faced with a generation of young residents looking elsewhere to build their careers, establish families and make investments like homeownership.”

The survey was conducted over telephone between Sept. 26 and Oct. 2 with a selected random sample of 801 New Jersey adults.