Leaving New Jersey | and Going Where?

Cori Dunphy
Published on February 1, 2023

Leaving New Jersey | and Going Where?

In a recent study done, it confirmed that more people left New Jersey than came into the state in 2021 and in 2022 and this is the 5th year that NJ has had the biggest exodus. . BUT WHY?  Where are they going?  And why would anyone move out of New Jersey?  Stick around and let’s figure out why people have given up on New Jersey! Stick around and let’s figure out why people have given up on New Jersey!

Welcome back.  My name is Cori I’m a local realtor here in New Jersey who loves to talk about life in Monmouth County and living down the shore. I talk about real estate, Monmouth County the good the bad, and the ugly and I keep people updated with the housing market here along the Jersey Shore.   

So let’s start by looking at how many people are actually leaving New Jersey.   

According to United Van Lines Study,  According to study’s findings, approximately 70 percent of all moves completed in New Jersey were residents leaving the garden state. But why? And to make matters worse, New Jersey ranked as #1 of the least desirable states to move into.   So let’s review the 5 reasons people are leaving NJ and then lets’ see where they are actually going!

Top 5 reasons people are leaving New Jersey

Number 1

Retirement – So many New Jersey residents have spent years living and working in New Jersey and are choosing to leave the state and move to states with a lower cost of living, better attractions, and nicer weather.  People looking to retire are looking for a place to live with a lower cost of living, we all know how expensive it is to stay here in NJ. 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. I think I’d go south when it’s time for me to retire, maybe to North or South Carolina.  Where would you? 

Number 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. 

The property taxes here in New Jersey are truly insane.  The median property tax rate is $2,417 per $100,000, which is one of the very 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.  I have talked about taxes before in other videos and we just have to face it, our property taxes, well it’s just awful.

Number 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, or lack of work opportunities here in the Garden State.   Research stated that out of all residents who left the state, 46 percent cited “job” as their reason for going. With so many people still working from home, heading to somewhere with a less expensive cost of living, makes sense. 

Number 4

Cost of Living – Another reason many people are leaving New Jersey is the high cost of living.  We all know that New Jersey is an expensive place to live, and there are definitely some places that are more expensive than others. 

With such an exorbitantly high cost of living, it’s not so surprising that many are choosing to leave. An interesting comparison was done.  Let’s look at the cost of living in NJ by looking at the cost of living comparison between New Jersey and Mississippi.  This should give us an idea of just how much more expensive NJ is.

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

So now, I just have to say.  New Jersey and Mississippi, well they are VERY VERY DIFFERENT.  But if you can adjust to the VERY VERY different lifestyle, Mississippi is a place you can definitely live for cheaper.  

Number 5

Education – A major reason people are leaving New Jersey is to attend 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.  I mean let’s think about this.  I have a college student and maybe 2% of his friends stayed in state here in New Jersey to attend college.  The other 98% are in Florida, The Carolinas, Ohio, Indiana and more.  I don’t find it shocking at all that nearly  45 percent of high school students choose to attend college in another state.  Have you seen how expensive education is here in New Jersey?

According to figures released by the College Board, New Jersey is the fourth most expensive state in America about completing a four-year public education degree.

Number 6 

Expensive Housing – In addition to having incredibly high property taxes, it is also very expensive to rent a home in New Jersey.  This is why so many millennials are leaving the state in search of more affordable housing. 

It’s estimated that around 47%of millennials in New Jersey are currently living with their parents the cost of rent is simply too high. 

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.

Number 7

The Weather – You may not believe it, but many people are leaving New Jersey because of the weather. I personally love the weather here, because I love the 4 different seasons.  Although sometimes our winters can be a bit rough, it forces me to relax and lay low, so for me, it’s a good thing.  New  Jersey experiences cold winters and warm to humid summers. 

So now we know WHY people are leaving New Jersey, let’s see where they are going. 

According to an Allied.com study, Here are the Top 5 destinations people moved to when they left New Jersey:

  1. Tampa, FL
  2. Philadelphia, PA
  3. Sarasota, FL
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Fort Lauderdale, FL

Okay, so I can totally get behind the moving to Florida.  If you want amazing weather I can understand, I personally LOVE having 4 seasons, but I know many just can’t stand our winters.  Florida’s taxes are way way better than ours here in NJ.  But there has been such a migration to Florida, the prices are not as low as they were a few years ago.  Philadelphia and Los Angeles totally threw me!  I have no idea personally why anyone would move to California.  I guess maybe Pennsylvania is more affordable than New Jersey, but to me, it just feels like a lateral move.

If you were leaving New Jersey where you go?  I personally Love the Carolinas, but those didn’t even make the top 5? 

So Now let’s see who is really moving out of New Jersey?

The 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.

It’s also 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.

So according to everything I”m reading if you are of retirement age maybe it makes sense to retire somewhere else.  For now, I’m not going anywhere, New Jersey is my home and I’m one of those crazy Jersey Girls who loves where she lives, but I do understand why so many are choosing to go and make their homes elsewhere.  

If you’re like me and you love New Jersey and are looking to stick around check out some of my videos all about New Jersey and Monmouth County!

Thanks for joining me, I’ll see you on the next one!

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