New York is crazy expensive, and many New Yorkers are escaping the high cost of living. Relocating from NY to NJ is one of the most popular moves! Offering numerous benefits – cheaper housing, lower taxes, proximity to NYC, a more relaxing lifestyle, and more – The Garden State offers many of the modern conveniences and amenities of New York with a more reasonable price tag. Since there are many similarities and variations between the neighboring states, it’s always a good idea to do ample research. Below you’ll find a handy guide to help make your move to New Jersey a smooth one!
What to Know About Moving from New York to New Jersey
New Jersey and New York are neighbors that share a lot in common, but they also have some distinct differences. If you’re considering a move from the Empire State to the Garden State, give yourself the advantage of knowing what to expect before packing up for NJ.
Yay, taxes! Not the most fun topic, but it’s essential to know how much you’ll have to pay. It might not come as a shock, but New York takes the crown for the highest tax burden in the United States. New Jersey also makes the Top 10, but at least it sits lower on the list at #7. The ranking depends on a handful of subcategories as a percentage of average income: property tax (NJ’s 5.01% vs. NY’s 4.44%), individual income tax (NJ’s 2.4% vs. NY’s 4.4%), and total sales & excise tax burden (NJ’s 2.47% vs. NY’s 3.44%). It’s not the cheapest place in terms of tax liability, but compared to its neighbor, the Garden State helps you keep more money in your pocket.
Economy and Job Growth
Where does New Jersey stand in terms of economic rankings? Well, as one of the smallest states, it sits in the middle of the pack at #31. The state of New York, surprisingly, is a couple of rings lower at #33. At the beginning of 2020, New Jersey had an unemployment rate of 4.2% and an anticipated job growth of 25% over the next decade. By comparison, New York State had an unemployment rate of 4.1% and a future job growth rate of 30.7% over the next ten years. The cool part? If you still want to commute to NYC or another part of the Empire State for work, you’re right there!
Weather and Climate
Since they share a border, the climate can be quite similar in New Jersey and New York. Flanked by the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware River, the Garden State has a humid subtropical climate in the south and a continental climate in the north. Here’s a breakdown of averages: rainfall (48 in NJ vs. 47 inches in NY), snowfall (23 inches vs. 25 inches), sunny days (206 vs. 224), summer high temperature (85°F vs. 84°F), and winter low temperature (22°F vs. 26°F). If you’re coming from NYC or another part of the Empire State, hang on to your current wardrobe. You’ll be right at home with the weather in New Jersey.
Sitting right along the Atlantic Ocean, just east of Pennsylvania and south of New York State, New Jersey is the 47th smallest state in America (with a total area of 8,721 square miles). It offers everything from the eastern coastline and lowlands to mountains to the west. One can divide the Garden State into four distinct regions: the Ridge & Valley (northwest area where you can find the Appalachian Mountains), the Highlands (southern portion), the Piedmont (central region, which is home to many top cities and suburbs), and the Coastal Plain (found along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean).
Housing and Cost of Living
Did you skip to this section? A lot of people do. When comparing the cost of living, it’s insane to see how expensive it is to live in New York. Currently, the Empire State has an index of 187.2. That’s nearly double the US average of 100! Now, a breath of fresh air – New Jersey has a cost of living index of 120.4. Yes, it’s still more than the national average, but compared to its neighbor, it represents enormous savings. Are you wondering about housing costs? The Garden State has a median list price of $340,000 and a median rent price of $2,000. If you’re coming from NYC, you’ll be familiar with much higher figures: a median list price of more than $760,000 and a median monthly rent price of nearly $3,000.
Things to Do
From the Jersey Shore and proximity to Long Island (as well as 130+ miles of coastline), New Jersey packs quite a punch for such a small state. Cape May, which sits on Delaware Bay, offers charming homes, an iconic beach, and historic lighthouse. Of course, we have to mention Atlantic City (and the Boardwalk), the famous resort town known for its casinos. For history buffs, Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a top destination. Along with summer fun and beach excursions, there’s plenty of opportunities across the state to enjoy the arts, rich heritage, and diverse eats. You’ll have fun exploring the assortment of stuff to do! For a full list of things to do in New Jersey, click here.
When it comes to education, New Jersey is quite impressive! According to education rankings by US News, the Garden State ranks #2 overall. For comparison, New York is found a bit down the list at #22. NJ ranks #2 for PreK-12th grade education, compared to NY’s #25 ranking. In terms of higher education, NJ ranks #30, while NY ranks #15. Though NJ is a bit far down on the post-secondary education list, it does have some institutions that shine. Notable colleges & universities include Princeton University (#1 university nationwide!), Rutgers University-New Brunswick (#62), Stevens Institute of Technology (#74), New Jersey Institute of Technology (#97), and Rutgers University – Newark (#132).
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
So, which state is considered more diverse? New York, right? According to WalletHub, New Jersey actually beats out NY by grabbing the #4 spot among the most diverse states in the US (with the state of New York just behind at #5). This is based on several categories of diversity: socioeconomic (#5 for NJ vs #8 for NY), cultural (#7 vs #8), economic (#40 vs #37), household (#26 vs #6), religious (#19 vs #21), and political (#4 for NJ vs #6 for NY). As for race & ethnicity demographics, New Jersey is 55% White, 21% Hispanic & Latino, 13% Black, 10% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American. New York is 55% White, 19% Hispanic & Latino, 14% Black, and 9% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American.
Transportation and Traffic
When it comes to transportation rankings, New Jersey does have room for improvement. The state currently comes in at #38. This ranking derives from four subcategories: commute time (#48), public transit usage (#2), road quality (#46), bridge quality (#29). In contrast, New York lands at the #16 spot. As for commute times, neither state fairs well. New Jersey ranks #3 for the slowest commutes in the country (with an average commute time of 32.1 minutes). Of course, New York is not to be outdone. The Empire State comes in first place for worst commutes, with an average commute time of 33.7 minutes.
Curious about the difference in public safety? You’ll be pleasantly surprised! New Jersey has a violent crime rate of only 15.3 (compared to the US average of 22.7). The state also enjoys a low property crime rate of 25 (compared to the US average of 35.4). In terms of overall public safety, the Garden State is #4 in the nation! For comparison, New York ranks #12. As for major cities, more good news from NJ. Jersey City has a violent crime rate of 26.3 and a property crime rate of 27.1. Albany, on the other hand, has a violent crime rate of 42.6 and a property crime rate of 52.1.
Yeah, it’s hard to compete with what New York – especially NYC – has to offer in terms of cuisine. But where the Empire State may win in terms of more diverse selection, the Garden State excels at some fantastic signature eats. Known as the Diner Capital of the World, the state is the home of several signature items: Italian hot dogs, hoagies, rippers tomato pie, saltwater taffy, pork rolls, the list goes on. New Jerseyans are known for their strong opinions, and this certainly extends to their tasty food. But if you try any of the great dishes, you’ll know exactly why they’re so passionate about it. Whether you’re a fan of taffy or into fantastic deli sandwiches, the Garden State will certainly not disappoint!
Best Places to Live in New Jersey
The Garden State may be on the smaller side, but that doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of great places to call home. Here are some of the best communities to explore as you contemplate your move:
Located on the western side of the Hudson River and across from Lower Manhattan, Jersey City gazes upon the skyscrapers of New York City but still has a distinct personality and exciting city life. Once the gateway for immigrants in the 19th and early to mid-20th centuries, Jersey City is a diverse medley of many cultures and ethnicities. Learn more in our Jersey City relocation guide.
Offering a small-town feel, Hoboken, population 55,000, is home to charming streets, shops, bars, gyms, theaters, restaurants, and other friendly & fun establishments. You also have your choice of bus, ferry, or train to access everything the Big Apple has to offer easily. Click here to learn more about Hoboken.
Filled with educational opportunities, rich history (known as the “military capital of the American Revolution”), arts & culture, outdoor fun, and events galore, Morristown is considered a distinctive destination. It offers small-town living and serves as a central location in North Jersey, with easy access to major cities.
As a borough of Bergen County, North Arlington is considered by many as the best place to live in New Jersey State. Providing an attractive combination of small-town feel, great amenities, and proximity to everything, North Arlington is a top pick for families and young professionals. Learn more about living in North Arlington.
Offering a short trip to Atlantic beaches (as well as less than an hour of travel to Manhattan and other parts of New York City), Fair Haven is a well-kept and pleasant community known for its parks and arts. Find out more about moving to Fair Haven.
As one of the Top 3 places to live in New Jersey, Princeton is renowned for being a lovely little city and home to arguably the best university in the United States, Princeton University. But you don’t have to be a college student to enjoy living here; it’s also a great place to raise a family!
As a suburb of Philadelphia, Haddonfield offers a thirty-minute commute across the Delaware River to the City of Brotherly Love. It is also a welcoming and close-knit community with just 12,000 residents. If you’re looking for a small town with easy access to Philly, Haddonfield may be the place for you.
Considered the happiest seaside town in America, Ocean City has plenty to offer. It has eight miles of ocean beach and a 2.5-mile boardwalk, which provide entertainment for locals and tourists alike.
Cost of Moving from New York to New Jersey
On average, it costs about $2000-$3000 to move from NY to NJ. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff across state lines. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best New York to New Jersey movers now!