More than three-quarters of New Jerseyans rate their own town or city as a good (40 percent) or excellent (37 percent) place to live, according to the Monmouth University Polling Institute’s latest Garden State Quality of Life Index. The overall rating (77 percent) is a numerical high for that question going back through 40 years of statewide polls.
However, while residents rate their local communities as good or great places to live, they are not as upbeat about the state as a whole. The poll found that six in 10 New Jerseyans say the state is an excellent (15 percent) or good (44 percent) place to live. But 28 percent believe it is only fair and 13 percent rate it as a poor place to call home. The resultant overall 59-percent positive rating dips below last year’s mark (62 percent). Indeed, this is only the fourth time the overall positive number has gone below 60 percent in state opinion polls going back to 1980.
“New Jerseyans aren’t overly optimistic about the state as whole, so they seem to be turning to their local communities for reasons to value the Garden State as their home,” said Patrick Murray, director of the polling institute. “Anchoring themselves to their neighborhoods may help stem the tide of folks currently leaving the state, but I’m not sure this is sustainable in the long term,” he said.