Poll numbers: N.J. is good place to live (58%), raise family (66%) — but 1 in 3 want to move away

Here’s the good news: 44% of New Jerseyans view the state as a “good” place to live. And 14% call it “excellent,” meaning nearly 6 in 10 residents appear to like living here. In contrast, 28% only rated the state as a “fair” place to live, while 13% viewed New Jersey as a “poor” place to live.

The not-so-good news: Those numbers are down from a generation ago, according to Ashley Koning, the director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers-New Brunswick.

“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,” she said. “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.”

The state scores better when it comes to how it is viewed to raise a family, as 21% rated it as “excellent” and 45% said it was “good.”

So, why do folks want to leave?

When it comes moving — always a key metric — the survey said approximately half of the respondents wishes they could, with 36% indicating they wished they could move out of state (3% wish to move within their town; 15% want to move to another town in the state).

“New Jerseyans’ desire to move has increased by double digits over the last decade,” Koning said. “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.”

Even more, there’s no evidence that anyone taking the survey has used United Van Lines recently.

What does this all mean: Like the much-maligned United Van Lines annual survey, each set of numbers comes with an interpretation.

Here’s a look at the answers to certain questions. We’ll let you interpret the meaning:

Rate your town or city

  • Excellent: 26%
  • Good: 44%

Rate your neighborhood

  • Excellent: 34%
  • Good: 41%

Rate New Jersey as a place to live based on …

  • Education
    • Excellent: 30%
    • Good: 42%
  • Entertainment and recreation
    • Excellent: 29%
    • Good: 45%

Rate New Jersey as a place to retire

  • Fair: 27%
  • Poor: 48%

Results are from a statewide poll of 1,044 adults contacted by live interviewers on landlines and cell phones from Feb. 25 – March 4. The full sample has a margin of error of +/-3.5
percentage points.