A new study confirms what many New Jersey residents already know – a dollar doesn’t go as far in the Garden State as in most other parts of the country.

A 24/7 Wall Street report based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis finds the real value of a dollar in Jersey is actually 88 cents.

“We are sort of in a reverse elite company, with New York, Hawaii and California. These are the most expensive places to live,” says James Hughes, a Rutgers University professor of economics.

The report finds the state with the lowest value of a dollar is Hawaii, at 84 cents, followed by New York, where the purchasing power of a dollar is 87 cents. Then comes New Jersey and California tied at 88 cents.

Hughes points out compared to most states in the nation, “with our high housing costs and our high taxes and the like, New Jersey is a very difficult environment to live in economically.

“We have extraordinarily high costs of housing in New Jersey. This is a difficult environment to build in, there’s not much easily developable land left and we have high rates of taxation. We depend upon toll roads, which adds significantly to the cost of living.”

The report finds many southern states will give you the most bang for the buck, led by Mississippi, where a dollar is worth $1.16, and Alabama, where a dollar is worth $1.15.

Hughes points out while these and other southern and western states offer a much better value for someone’s money up front, “many of those places lack services."

"Their taxes are low because they don’t provide services. Those are not places that have stellar educational systems.”

For that reason, he says, “they’re usually not in high demand for people moving from other states.”

Hughes adds while New Jersey is expensive, it does offer “one of the finest public school systems in the country, and so some people that are raising families are loath to leave while their kids are in school.”

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You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com