New Jersey losing loads of residents

The state's cost of living and glut of retirees are fueling the exodus as similarly expensive Washington, DC, becomes the top moving destination.

By Jason Notte Feb 11, 2013 4:06PM
Image: Moving van (Digital Vision/Getty Images/Getty Images)Maybe Bruce Springsteen's "Born To Run" wouldn't have been such a bad state song for New Jersey after all.

It was in contention back in 1980, thanks to the original draft of a state Assembly resolution naming Springsteen "New Jersey Pop Music Ambassador to America" (full text found on Welcome To Asbury Park), but didn't make the final cut after lawmakers were turned off to the song's reference to the state as a "death trap" and "suicide rap."

Apparently lots of Jerseyans agreed, however, as Forbes and United Van Lines discovered that New Jersey has the highest ratio of people moving out to those moving in.

Granted, only about 6,300 moves were tracked in New Jersey in 2012. Of those, though, more than 3,900 (62%) were heading out of state. The land of diners, boardwalks and volatile reality-television personalities shouldn't feel too badly about its distinction, as a bunch of its hoity-toity, think-you're-better neighbor states made the list as well.

New York state came in at No. 2, with 58% of all movers moving out of the Empire State. Maine and Connecticut each had 56% of their movers leave the state. The problem's similarly acute along the Great Lakes, where Illinois (60%), Michigan (58%) and Wisconsin (55%) all saw outflows. The South and Southwest shouldn't feel so smug, either. West Virginia (58%), New Mexico (58%) and Kentucky (55%) all had more people going that coming.

So what's pushing people out? New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie blamed high taxes for his state's exodus back in 2011, but Politifact dubbed his assertion "mostly false" after a Boston College survey put more mundane matters like family and job-related issues at the top of movers' agendas. New Jersey's financial advisers blamed taxes in a 2011 State Treasury survey, but Rutgers University's Edward J. Blounstein School of Planning and Public Policy says housing costs are a far more likely culprit.

As the group New Jersey Future discovered, Jerseyans were just as likely to move to similarly expensive neighboring states as they were to pack up for warmer climates. While Florida topped outgoing Jerseyans' lists, New York and Pennsylvania were similarly popular draws.

Michael Stoll, economist, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, says the common threads for New Jersey and other states losing residents are more than just cold climate and tough economic conditions. A glut of residents over the age of 65 and an job market dissimilar to those in growing states put New Jersey and company at a disadvantage.

The No. 1 moving destination -- Washington, D.C., with 64% of its movers coming in -- is just as costly as its neighbors just up Interstate 95, but has a growing tech sector and lots of federal jobs. Oregon (61%), Nevada (58%), North Carolina (56%) and South Carolina (55%) round out the top five destinations despite incredibly different climates and cultures. Their low housing costs, temperate climates and wealth of options for those 65 and older all make them prime targets for migration.

More on moneyNOW

Feb 11, 2013 4:32PM
Everyone headed to DC to work for the government, and mooch off the American Peeople by taxing them to death.   
Feb 11, 2013 5:48PM
I had to come back to NJ five years ago and have hated every minute of it. Lived in FL for nine years.  The weather stinks here, everything is so expensive here and you even have to pay to go on the beach.  The cops, trying to generate revenue, are hiding everywhere trying to nail your sorry a$$ with a ticket.  Gift cards purchased in NJ and not redeemed within two years end up going to the state even if unexpired - that's right - NJ ends up getting the money.  My property taxes zoomed last year and I pay TWO SEWER BILLS - one to the county and one to the township!!!  If you want to do business in NJ, you will never encounter such a boondoggle in your entire life.  No wonder they're closing up left and right and taking the jobs with them.  
Feb 11, 2013 5:10PM
Democrats never think there are any negative consequences of taxes. Most of their constituents are freeloaders, union hacks , or government zombies. Taxpayers are the minority.
Feb 11, 2013 5:50PM
I'm leaving NY for much the same reasons...Plus,  an Idiot Mayor, Idiot Governor and a one party welfare state.
Feb 11, 2013 4:18PM
You only have to live hear to know why. The governor is trying but the stupid **** liberals keep putting the same jackasses back in the assembly who do nothing except refuse to do their jobs and stamp their feet like children.
Feb 11, 2013 6:37PM
So scared to see Oregon on this list. We have a huge illegal problem here and schools are near 50% Mexican now. Salem-Keizer Schools are at 48% now. We are just steps behind CA. Our cities are bankrupt and the schools are overrun and teaching so many bilingual classes the non-Spanish speakers are falling behind waiting for the other 50% to learn English. Our country is becoming an extension of Mexico. In 10-50 years the United States will become a majority Latin country. What we've known in the past is no more. I personally wouldn't mind this invasion if Mexicans culture remotely resembled American culture, but it doesn't. These people live and act like savages, they create garbage, destroy neighborhoods, overpopulate to the point of breaking down communities unable to sustain their ever increasing numbers. They have no values beyond take, take, take. All social service offices are full to the brim with Mexicans and all their offspring. Legal or not, they are like parasites on a host. They eat it alive and leave when there's nothing left to take. Look at California. The state is flat broke. They have cities that are already 100% Mexican and only Spanish is spoken. Have you gone to Disneyland lately? We're afraid to ever take our kids there again. My brother who lives in NC visited a town in Florida recently. He had to find an English interpreter in a store. NO ONE spoke English in the entire town. Wake up America! No amnesty for illegals, and secure our borders now. The mistake of amnesty in 1986 was the start of a cultural shift. Those people didn't assimilate into our American society no more than those that are here now will. You can tell how the children of those given amnesty then behave. Even after 20+ years, they still refuse to learn English, they wave their flags and protest for "rights" of illegals. If the majority of illegals weren't Mexican we wouldn't have an immigration issue. Other than those who must find difficult and expensive ways to get to our shores, Mexicans just have to walk here. When is something going to be done about this. Who gives a damn about the Latino vote! As a long term unemployed American citizen trying to raise a family with nothing while looking nonstop for a job, I say, send them all home now. When the 20,000,000 they will give amnesty to this time qualify for the services they supposedly aren't getting now, we will be bankrupt. I can't find a job now. Of course due to making "Spanish speaker or bilingual preferred"  a factor in finding a job now, I hold little hope of finding anything. My children can't even find a job in fast food due to older Mexicans holding all those positions. The very idea that they are going to give these people rights in a country they don't belong in and allowing them to compete with my children for college tuition seems impossible to believe. I could care less about their "dreamers"....what about my American Dream????
Feb 11, 2013 5:33PM
I can't think of any reason to live there anyhow. Apparently neither can many others!
Feb 11, 2013 5:55PM
avatar taxes and housing costs are the problem in NJ.........


As a NJ resident my property taxes were $12k per year with a $650k home. When I moved down south due to a job relocation.....a similar home in size and property dimensions were $280k with prop. taxes at $3k. Huge difference.


With the CNN comparison on city to city cost of living....I gained a 32% pay increase just by moving south!!

Feb 11, 2013 5:18PM
Don't you think the net and gross numbers moving out  along with the number moving out as a % of the total residents would have been informative? People don't move out for tax purposes directly. But the jobs move out or don't come in due to the liberal tax agenda. People follow the jobs and the jobs aren't coming to these states. You cant fix stupid with taxes.
Feb 11, 2013 5:41PM
Feb 11, 2013 5:40PM
Don't want them here in the South spreading their Socialist welfare Democrap ideology. Go west Bolsheviks.
Feb 11, 2013 5:31PM
Every one of the states mentioned is a liberal Dem State, except KY which moves back and forth   CA is not mentioned but is gaining ground fast.
Feb 11, 2013 4:57PM
Big government lots of jobs and job security! DC the place to be as long as Obamee and company in office!
Feb 11, 2013 5:53PM

Yeah, and they come to Virginia for the lower taxes and Jobs, but bring their same attitude on things, like the people they vote for and all the wonder things the gov't did for them in NJ or NY or Mass etc.  Well the reason those states have high taxes, losing jobs etc is the people they vote for, so don't come to Virginia and make it like the crappy states you are comming from, stay away and keep ruining your state and don't bring your attitudes and policies down here.


  A virginian.    

Feb 11, 2013 5:10PM
I live in NJ and have been thinking of moving to Montana or the Dakotas... Outside shot, the Carolinas.
Feb 11, 2013 5:44PM
Why would anyone choose to move to Jersey unless they lived in someplace even more horrible like Massachusetts?   You can be warmer, pay less taxes and arm yourself in much of the rest of the country.
Feb 11, 2013 5:16PM

A huge number of those who move from some of the northern states are retirees moving to warmer winter climes for their golden retirement years.

Feb 11, 2013 5:18PM
what is the population of american citizens in dc now.
I'd move inland to get away from the rising water levels.   If one is going to move, it shouldn't be towards the coast.
Feb 11, 2013 4:11PM
Will it really matter in say 50 years???
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