🔵 Just 18% of NJ residents rate the state as an "excellent" place to live

🔵 More than half of poll respondents say they're likely to leave the state

🔵 A still-in-progress tax relief program could persuade folks to stay


Plenty of folks consider New Jersey a fine place to call home, but there's also a good number of residents who want out.

In a poll released Wednesday out of Monmouth University, 48% of New Jersey adults said they would like to move out of the Garden State at some point. The same percentage said they'd like to stay here for good.

Twenty-eight percent said they are very likely to leave New Jersey, whether or not they'd like to. Another 27% said a move out of the state is somewhat likely.

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Among the poll respondents who said they're likely to move out of New Jersey at some point, 40% said the move wouldn't happen until after retirement.

Stay NJ may keep residents from leaving

Older residents' views may change, however, before that time comes.

The same poll found that close to two-thirds of New Jerseyans know "nothing at all" about the state's tax relief program Stay NJ, which is designed to cut property tax bills in half for seniors.

More than half of the residents polled said they'd be more likely to stay in New Jersey if the Stay NJ program becomes a reality. The target implementation date is January 1, 2026.

"Hypotheticals in polling have to be taken with a grant of salt. However, these results suggest that the Stay NJ program will have at least some success meeting its goal of retaining a good number of senior homeowners who would otherwise leave the state," said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Stay NJ is designed to assist seniors with a gross income under $500,000.

SEE ALSO: 8 NJ counties that have lost population since COVID hit

Overall in the Monmouth University poll, 60% of Republicans and 57% of independents indicated a desire to move out of New Jersey at some point. Less than a third of Democrats are interested in leaving.

Among those looking to leave New Jersey sooner or later, 43% note that the state's cost of living is the driving factor. Fifty-two percent say the cost of living is one of several top factors.

Garden State Quality of Life Index

When poll respondents were asked to name the most important one or two issues facing the state right now, the most popular response was property taxes, followed by cost of living.

As they did in August 2023, 62% of Garden Staters in the latest Monmouth University poll consider New Jersey to be a good or excellent place to live.

That's one of the key measures in Monmouth's own Garden State Quality of Life Index, which gauges how residents feel about living here, on a scale from -100 to +100.

The index for March came in at +24, in line with the overall findings from the past few years. The index was as high as +37 in April 2020, when New Jersey was in the beginning stages of battling the coronavirus pandemic.

"Being right now in the mid-20s is an indication that things are going OK," Murray said.

The index also takes into account how residents view: their hometown, the performance of local schools, the local environment, and safety in their neighborhood.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they feel very safe in their neighborhood at night. Three-quarters rate their own municipality as a good or excellent place to live, and three-quarters give positive marks to the quality of the environment where they live.

More than 40% of poll respondents said local schools are doing "good," and another 19% said they're "excellent."

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