Poll: Majority of residents want to leave NJ
A new poll reveals that New Jersey's high cost of living and high taxes are driving people out of the Garden State.
A Monmouth University-Asbury Park Press poll released Monday reveals exactly half of the Garden State residents surveyed said they'd like to leave the state, and a majority said they are likely to go.
"Fifty percent of New Jersey residents said they would move out of the state at some point if they could. Forty-five percent said that they'd like to stay in the Garden State for the rest of their lives" said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. "When we asked them if they're really going to leave this state, 26 percent said that they're very likely to leave. Another 32 percent said it's somewhat likely."
A lot of high income earners could be leaving, something that could be especially troubling for the state.
Thirty-one percent who make over $100,000 a year said they are very likely to leave the state at some point in their lives, versus 23 percent of those who earn between $50,000 and $100,000, and 24 percent who earn less than $50,000. Among those who are likely to leave the state, exactly half said they will before they retire.
"They might not be able to afford to leave when they retire, and some of them are thinking of leaving while they have a job right now - that would be bad for New Jersey because it would hurt the tax base," Murray said.
As with many things, the reason for wanting to leave the state came down to money. Fifty-four percent cited costs or taxes as their primary motive. Property taxes topped the list at 24 percent, followed by the cost of living in general (19 percent), the lack of jobs (12 percent), other taxes (6 percent) and housing costs (5 percent).
"Taxes and the cost of living are driving people out of this state. People don't think that they can afford to retire in New Jersey and so they're going to try to leave - more and more while they're still in the workforce. It's not because they don't like New Jersey or that it doesn't have a lot to offer. It's simply too expensive to stay in this state," Murray said.
Quality of life concerns are also responsible for people wanting to leave New Jersey. Six percent want to leave because of the weather, and 3 percent cited the environment. Other concerns included crime, congestion and poor government.
Thirty-four percent of New Jersey residents are very concerned about having enough money to retire here and 36 percent are somewhat concerned, while 28 percent said they are not at all concerned about having enough money for their retirement.
The survey was conducted by telephone with 802 New Jersey adults from Sept. 17 to 21, 2014. The margin of error is + 3.5 percent.