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Thirty-six percent of New Jerseyans would move out of state if given opportunity, new Eagleton poll shows

A recent poll conducted by the Eagleton Institute of Politics has shown that there has been a decline in positivity toward New Jersey as a place to live over the last several decades. – Photo by Famartin / Wikimedia.org

A recent Eagleton Institute of Politics poll found that 36 percent of New Jerseyans would move out of New Jersey, a 6 percent increase since the last survey in 2018 and a 17 percent increase since the turn of the century.

The survey asked participants several questions about their views on the quality of life in New Jersey, which included asking residents to define their beliefs as either excellent, good, fair, poor or "do not know."

Live interviewers also asked individuals whether they would move from their homes if given the opportunity, according to the poll, which was conducted through phone calls to both landlines and cell phones from a random sample of 1,044 New Jersey adults in the winter of 2022.

While most respondents said that they have an overall favorable view of New Jersey as a place to live, specific aspects of life were rated more critically, according to data released by Eagleton.

Jessica Roman, a research associate at the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling (ECPIP), said that residents were last polled on these issues a few years ago. 

She said that approximately 60 percent of respondents said that the state is an "excellent" or "good" location to live in, in comparison to 41 percent who say the state is "fair" or "poor.”

In addition, there has been a decline in positivity toward the state as a place to live as in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, approximately 75 percent of residents thought the state was an excellent or good place to live, she said.

Pollsters also asked interviewees about their thoughts on several issues, including education, entertainment, raising children, employment, starting a business and retirement in New Jersey.

The poll found that three-quarters of respondents had a favorable view of entertainment and education in New Jersey. Additionally, two-thirds of interviewees gave favorable ratings on raising a family and employment opportunities in the state.

In contrast, 75 percent of interviewees had a negative outlook of New Jersey as a place to retire. Though, this is an improvement from 2015, when 79 percent of respondents said that the state was a “fair” or “poor” place for retirement, according to poll data.

Ashley Koning, an assistant research professor and director of the ECPIP, said that, for the most part, residents are content with the specific areas where they live in the state. 

Though, not each demographic group has the same desire to stay, she said. Residents in urban areas and those between the ages of 18 and 34 were the least likely to answer that they wanted to stay where they are, with just 26 percent responding that they wanted to stay put.

The survey found that senior citizens were the most likely to respond that they wanted to remain in their current locations, and Black and Hispanic residents mostly wished to move to another town rather than leave the state entirely, Koning said.

She also said that high property taxes and affordability struggles are some of the key factors that explain why people want to move out of New Jersey.

Roman also said that when comparing poll results between the two political parties, Republicans displayed a higher percentage of wanting to leave the state for reasons that include high taxes.

“Something we have found in our polling efforts is that New Jerseyans are frustrated by the state’s taxes,” Roman said. “In particular, New Jerseyans feel property taxes are a major issue. Generally, frustrations around the cost of living may be one of the driving factors behind this interest in moving.”

She said that while these issues may lead to a lack of positivity among Jerseyans about their state, other aspects of New Jersey life, like education and raising a family, have been yielding higher rates of positive responses than in years past.

“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 — likely due to issues surrounding affordability and taxes, political polarization and hyper-partisanship,” Koning said.


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