Why Are People Leaving New Jersey?

According to data, it’s believed that approximately 31 million people move within the United States annually. Additionally, it’s estimated that 3 million Americans make an interstate move each year. Yet some states have experienced greater outbound moves than others.

In 2020 the 44th Annual National Migration Study was released by American Van Lines. This study showed that New Jersey is the state that experiences the most outbound moves in the country. According to the study’s findings, approximately 70 percent of all moves completed in New Jersey were residents leaving the garden state.

So why are people leaving New Jersey, and who are the people leaving this state? Well, we have done the research required to answer these questions so that you don’t have to. If you’re curious about why people are leaving New Jersey, continue reading to find out.

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What are the main reasons people are leaving New Jersey?

There are multiple reasons people choose to leave New Jersey and move to other states. Below we have discussed a few of the most common and relevant reasons why people are moving on to seemingly greener pastures.

1. Retirement

Commonly people are leaving New Jersey due to retirement. In America, with the current state of the economy and the high standard of living in New Jersey, many older people worry about how they will afford to live in this state without an active income.

When they have retired, many New Jersey residents don’t want to worry about not maintaining their lifestyle. That’s why many residents who have spent years living and working in New Jersey choose to leave the state and move to states with a lower cost of living, better attractions, and nicer weather.

2. Taxes

Some choose to leave a state because of high taxes, and the people of New Jersey are no different. Many middle-class families are choosing to leave this state, but it isn’t because of income taxes or sales taxes but rather property taxes. Let’s have a look at the different taxes in the state so that you can understand why many are choosing to leave and buy a home elsewhere.

New Jersey has a state income tax range of between 1.4 percent and 10.75 percent, with those earning more than $1 million pay taxes at the rate of 10.75 percent. This is not too high in comparison with other states in America. The average combined state and local tax rate is also reasonable at 6.6 percent.

Yet the median property tax rate is $2,417 per $100,000, which is one of the highest in the entire country. Let’s put this into perspective. If you were to buy a home for $300,000 in this state, you would need to pay an average of $7,251 on property taxes.

3. Work Opportunities

According to data, the main reason why people left New Jersey in 2020 and continued to do so in 2021 is because of better work opportunities. Research estimates that out of all residents who left the state, 46 percent cited “job” as their reason for going.

Well, it’s presumed that many NJ residents are moving to the states that have the lowest unemployment rates and best job availability, and many of these states are in the west and south. Some of these states include Idaho with an unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, Iowa with an estimated unemployment rate of about 2.7 percent, and Utah with an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent.

4. Cost of living

Another reason many people are leaving New Jersey is the high cost of living. It’s estimated that the average cost of living in this state is $1951, which is approximately 1.1 times more expensive than the overall average cost of living in the US. Interestingly, based on these statistics, New Jersey is the 12th most expensive state to live in.

With such an exorbitantly high cost of living, it’s unsurprising that many are choosing to leave. Let’s look at the cost of living in NJ by looking at the cost of living comparison between New Jersey and Mississippi to get an idea of just how much more expensive NJ is.

Overall, New Jersey is estimated to be 49.9 percent more expensive than Mississippi. For example, in New Jersey, you will pay 25.9 percent more to eat at a restaurant, 37.9 percent more on transportation costs, and 51.8 percent more on housing. Additionally, you will pay 30.1 percent more for groceries, 34.2 percent more for entertainment, 25.6 percent more for clothing, and 2.4 times more for childcare services.

5. Education

A major reason people are leaving New Jersey is attending college in a different state. According to data for the last five years, New Jersey has been one of America’s top exporters of college students. Not only does this state see the most students leaving to attend elsewhere, but it also doesn’t receive nearly enough inbound students from other states to bridge the gap.

Shockingly, in New Jersey, only about 45 percent of high school students choose to attend college in their own state. In 2016, about 31,000 students left this state to attend college, but only roughly 4,000 out-of-state students moved to this state for college.

One of the possible reasons why so many choose to attend college elsewhere is how expensive education is in New Jersey. According to figures released by the College Board in 2017, New Jersey is the fourth most expensive state in America about completing a four-year public education degree.

6. Expensive Housing

In addition to having incredibly high property taxes, it is also very expensive to rent a home in New Jersey in areas deemed desirable. This is why many millennials choose to leave the state and seek more affordable housing elsewhere.

It’s estimated that around 47 percent of millennials in New Jersey are currently living with their parents because they cannot find suitable housing in sought-after areas for an affordable rental amount.

The average monthly rental cost for areas where millennials want to settle in New Jersey is between $2,100 and $2,600, which is far too expensive for many.

7. The Weather

It might not seem like a driving factor, but many people are leaving New Jersey because of the weather. Unlike other states in America, New Jersey does not have year-round sunny weather. Although different parts in this state experience different conditions, for the most part, it experiences cold winters and warm to humid summers.

Cold and dreary weather makes for bad moves and negative emotions. Even scientific evidence proves those who experience bad weather conditions are unhappier in certain instances. Since New Jersey experiences its fair share of bad weather, it makes sense that people leave and find somewhere with better climate.

Who is mainly leaving New jersey?

The insightful study by Universal Van Lines revealed that certain age groups are leaving New Jersey. Interestingly, according to this study, 85 percent of people who left New Jersey in 2020 were 55 years or older. Additionally, 62 percent of those fleeing New Jersey were 65 or older.

Moreover, it’s believed that both poor and rich people are leaving this state. About 26.31 percent of those who earn an annual income of between $0 and $49,999 left NJ. Meanwhile, the study stated that approximately 21 percent of those leaving this state earned between $75,000 and $149,999.

While we wait for the updated figures of 2021, it’s likely that New Jersey will be the most moved out of state in America for the fourth year in a row.

That’s why people are leaving New Jersey!

Now you are aware of why people are leaving New Jersey and moving to other states in the US.

If you’re an NJ resident, moving out of this state will allow you to benefit from lower property taxes, a more affordable standard of living, and better work opportunities depending on where you choose to move. A move away could also provide you with a better education option. For older residents, they can find a better chance at obtaining a stress-free retirement in a more affordable state.

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