Long in the shadow of its hipper sister to the east (NYC), New Jersey gets a bad rap. But if you think you hate New Jersey, you might want to take a second look. It’s not all “Real Housewives” and “Jersey Shore.”
New Jersey is a surprisingly beautiful, affordable, and culturally diverse state with easy access to the big city, as well as to gorgeous upstate New York and nearby Philadelphia. So why not give New Jersey a chance?
1. New Jersey has lower rents than NYC, which is why so many people choose to live in New Jersey and work in New York. For those who choose to both live and work in New Jersey, it’s even more affordable sans commuter costs.
2. New Jersey also offers lower tax rates. NYC residents pay a “New York City tax” in addition to normal state and federal taxes, and it can range from 2.907 percent of your income to 3.876 percent. So, choosing to live in New Jersey will save you roughly 3 percent of your income. New Jersey’s income tax rate is also significantly lower than New York’s - as low as 1.4 percent, unlike the 4 percent New Yorkers pay.
3. Retail sales tax in New Jersey is 7 percent to New York’s 8.875. And certain parts of New Jersey, designated as “enterprise zones,” have an even lower sales tax rate of 3.5 percent. The latter includes Jersey City.
4. As the corridor between two major metropolitan areas (NYC and Philly), New Jersey has one of the country’s best highway and transportation systems, making it easy and convenient to get away for a weekend or an afternoon.
5. Gas is certainly cheaper in the Garden State than it is in metropolitan New York. And if you drive, Jersey has full-serve gas stations. In fact, you couldn’t pump your own gas if you wanted to: it’s illegal. So relax, sit back in the driver’s seat, and let someone else get their hands dirty without an extra charge.
6. And if you don’t drive, cabs are also cheaper in New Jersey than they are in New York City.
7. The Jersey Shore - 127 miles of coastline, from Atlantic City to Asbury Park, makes for an easy summer getaway. Tourism is the third largest industry in the state, and the shore has a lot to do with why.
8. New Jersey’s close proximity to Philly and NY also make for easy city evenings on those nights you want to step up the culture. The PATH train runs right to Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, and there are plenty of busses straight to Port Authority, not to mention ferries across the Hudson.
9. And if you miss New York but don’t feel like making a trip, New Jersey offers stunning views of the city.
10. Culturally, Jersey itself is no slouch. Some people, like Business Insider, say that Jersey City is the new Brooklyn: “Jersey City is enjoying a major renaissance as more people disgusted with New York City prices move across the Hudson, similar to what happened with Brooklyn not too long ago.”
11. New Jersey has great education for the kids - ranked #1 in the nation for high school graduation rates (Source: Diploma Count 2009, Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education Research Center) and 8 out of 10 high school students in the state go on to college, according to a recent survey by the New Jersey Department of Education.
12. The state also offers above average health care. In fact, out of the lower 48, New Jersey was ranked best by AARP in terms of care by primary care physicians and low infant mortality rates.
13. “The Garden State” isn’t a misnomer. New Jersey’s rural farmland produces a bounty of fresh local produce in the summer, and you can buy it at farm stands all over the state.
14. For sports lovers, New Jersey has two NFL teams, an NBA team, and an NHL Team, and there’s plenty of other world-class entertainment to be found, from Atlantic City to Meadowlands Sports Complex.
15. Forbes.com named Northern New Jersey one of the "10 Safest Places to Live in the U.S."
New Jersey is a surprisingly beautiful, affordable, and culturally diverse state.
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