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N.J. has last laugh: No. 5 in livability
Philly Inquirer ^ | Thu, Mar. 09, 2006 | Troy Graham

Posted on 03/09/2006 6:48:25 AM PST by Huck

Who's laughing now?

New Jersey, the state that spawned a thousand wise-guy bumper stickers and became the butt of a million late-night jokes, is actually a nice place to live.

The research group Morgan Quitno crunched the numbers this year and yesterday ranked New Jersey the fifth-most-livable state.

As for its neighbors?

Pennsylvania finished 30th, New York 32d.

"The people we talk to say they wouldn't live anywhere else, and I have to go along with that," said Mark Moran, a Bloomfield resident and one of the editors of Weird New Jersey magazine. "Whether it grows on you or people just don't know any better, I don't know."

New Jersey has long had a tragically poor reputation, earned by corrupt politicians, homicidal mobsters (real and fictional), surreal traffic patterns (who invented the jughandle, anyway?), toxic waste, and big hair.

The state's image has been so bad that even then-acting Gov. Richard Codey took the time last year to rollick in some of the more humorous entries in his public slogan contest.

Among the favorites: "New Jersey: You got a problem with that?" and "New Jersey: Most of our elected officials have not been indicted."

Morgan Quitno, a Kansas-based publisher of statistical data, based its rankings on 44 factors, and New Jersey shined in many.

The state moved up from eighth place a year ago. New Hampshire was judged the most livable state for the third year in a row.

The study determined that New Jersey has excellent schools; an educated, wealthy population; and relatively low rates of crime and poverty.

"We don't claim to be finding the most exciting place or the best place to take a vacation," said Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno. "It's just looking at very basic things. Other people can choose to look at other factors."

In other words, the things that make Jersey so Jersey didn't count against it. (Except for the toxic waste: Morgan found New Jersey had the most "hazardous waste sites on the National Priority List per 10,000 square miles.")

Moran also noted that if auto insurance and property tax rates had been considered, New Jersey's ranking would have sunk like a stone.

But in Morgan Quitno's world, livability is measured by factors such as student-teacher ratios and per-capita spending on the arts, and New Jersey excelled in both.

For Moran, there is no conflict in a state's combining livability with a tradition for the weird and absurd.

"You've got to take the good with the bad," he said. "The fact that it's such an odd and unique place... certainly makes it more livable for me."

Morgan visited the state last year and made a swing through Camden, the city his publishing company has famously labeled the most dangerous the last two years.

"We didn't advertise who we were," he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: corzine; fuhgeddaboudit; gardenstate; gardenstateparkway; gsp; jersey; joisey; lautenberg; mcgreevey; newjersey; nj; njtp; sopranos; thegardenstate; toricelli; turnpike; whatexityouat
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New Jersey rocks. Where I live is farms and mountains, but I can be in Manhattan at a concert or cultural event in about an hour and change. I can be in the Pocono Mountains in about an hour. Or at the beach. We've got redneck towns, artsy towns, boring soccor mom suburbs, urban towns, pretty much whatever your taste is, we've got it here. It's not perfect, but it's pretty darn good.
1 posted on 03/09/2006 6:48:27 AM PST by Huck
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To: Clemenza

Thought you might be interested.


2 posted on 03/09/2006 6:48:55 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck
Camden: Nice place IF YOU'RE A BULLET
3 posted on 03/09/2006 6:50:07 AM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I shall defend to your death my right to say it)
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To: Huck

Who would have thought through the roof taxes, disarming the law abiding and massive corruption would have helped so much?


4 posted on 03/09/2006 6:52:17 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: Huck
"But in Morgan Quitno's world, livability is measured by factors such as student-teacher ratios and per-capita spending on the arts..."

I would think that hailing this "research" as good, would be done at the DU website, not FR.

My measure of livablility is how far I live AWAY from Manhattan.

5 posted on 03/09/2006 6:52:39 AM PST by lormand (...the wrong person came out of the water that fateful night in Chappaquiddick)
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To: Huck
Who's laughing now?

Anybody with a working brain.

6 posted on 03/09/2006 6:53:11 AM PST by facedown (Armed in the Heartland)
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To: Huck

7 posted on 03/09/2006 6:54:16 AM PST by NativeNewYorker (Freepin' Jew Boy)
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To: Puppage

lol! or razor wire :-P


8 posted on 03/09/2006 6:54:37 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck

Ah-hah! Now we know why Tony Soprano lives there!


9 posted on 03/09/2006 6:55:00 AM PST by RexBeach ("There is no substitute for victory." -Douglas MacArthur)
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To: facedown

Then I take it you're not laughing.


10 posted on 03/09/2006 6:55:01 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: RexBeach

You do realize Tony Soprano is a fictional character?


11 posted on 03/09/2006 6:55:35 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck
I moved to NJ from Westchester to lower my property taxes but the gun laws here are driving me nuts.

Apart from that though I don't really have any complaints.

12 posted on 03/09/2006 6:55:43 AM PST by tcostell
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To: Huck
Like my home state of NY....it is unlivable as far as repression of personal freedoms goes. I cant wait to leave for a Red State. Yes there are very pretty areas of NJ and NY. But the scum run both states and the scenery does not come close to make up for the Liberties lost.
13 posted on 03/09/2006 6:56:00 AM PST by Vaquero (time again for the Crusades.)
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To: Huck
"N.J. has last laugh: No. 5 in livability"

Yeah...just ask Tony & Carmella!

14 posted on 03/09/2006 6:56:23 AM PST by harpu ( "...it's better to be hated for who you are than loved for someone you're not!")
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To: Huck

You have to know what criteria are being used to rate the states. I've seen "livability ratings" based on income levels, poverty levels, availability of public transportation, SAT scores, tax rates, health care, number of books in the library, mortality rates,.......

Some of these things would matter to me. Others wouldn't.

(p.s. I'm not knocking NJ)


15 posted on 03/09/2006 6:56:51 AM PST by generally (Ask me about FReepers Folding@Home)
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To: Huck

I still like Florida - plenty of 'Jerseyites come here for the sun and warmth ... it's summer 11 months of the year in FL , instead of 3 months in NJ.


16 posted on 03/09/2006 6:56:55 AM PST by Ken522
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To: Huck; sure_fine; beyond the sea

I lived there and worked in Midtown Manhattan for 17yrs before moving to Penna. Some parts of Joisey are nice, but way too much of it is a fricking sewer and grossly-overcrowded. Ranked fifth? I *seriesly* doubt it.


17 posted on 03/09/2006 6:57:39 AM PST by butternut_squash_bisque (Borders, Language, Culture™)
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To: lormand

I guess you don't like art or music very much. I like the best of both worlds. Nice, quiet, country living on the one hand, but access to all the pleasures of life on the other. I've lived in a dozen states, and been to all but 5. I wouldn't want to live in a place like, say, Alabama (been there, done that) where a lot of bands don't even do shows, where there's no pro sports teams, no mountains, no good restaurants, etc. I want it all, and NJ has it all.


18 posted on 03/09/2006 6:58:15 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck; Calpernia; Liz

All this in spite of our governance!


19 posted on 03/09/2006 6:58:27 AM PST by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Huck
Hi there, Huck.

I think I recall you blowing a gasket on a thread once before when you were defending New Jersey.

Anyway, I'm with you in that it is a fabulous place to live. Now if we could just get rid of the sleezeballs in our government it would be Utopia.
20 posted on 03/09/2006 6:58:34 AM PST by Cagey (You don't pay taxes - they take taxes. ~Chris Rock)
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To: butternut_squash_bisque

Pennsylvania is not a fun place at all.


21 posted on 03/09/2006 6:58:53 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Ken522

I can't take FLA. It's probably one of my least favorite states. Hate the weather. NJ summers are June-Sept. I like having 4 seasons.


22 posted on 03/09/2006 6:59:49 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: facedown

Dear lord, what was their standards?


23 posted on 03/09/2006 6:59:56 AM PST by najida (Somedays you're the mud, other days the pig. Either way, you can sit in the sunshine and dry out ;))
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To: Huck

You live in Jersey? What exit?


24 posted on 03/09/2006 6:59:59 AM PST by SengirV
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To: harpu

Fiction=not real. You know that, right?


25 posted on 03/09/2006 7:00:13 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: generally
Here is the list of factors.
26 posted on 03/09/2006 7:01:07 AM PST by HostileTerritory
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To: Huck

New Jersey rocks BUMP from down the shore.


27 posted on 03/09/2006 7:01:07 AM PST by freeperfromnj
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To: Vaquero

Interesting. I really don't feel any less free in NJ than in most other states that have at least a million people. The peopleless states like Montana or Wyoming are another story, but what do you expect from states with more land than people? You have to be realistic.


28 posted on 03/09/2006 7:01:47 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck
Here are the 2006 livability ratings. Don hip waders before reading.
29 posted on 03/09/2006 7:02:27 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("Facts are a Zionist plot!" --MarkL)
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To: Huck

Livability, let me see:

I'm on the GSP, its Friday rush hour, I am going past the "boneyard" on my way to the "hole in the wall."

And why should I like this????

(to all Freeper, you have to know north jersey traffic to understand this one.)


30 posted on 03/09/2006 7:04:22 AM PST by Al Gator (Remember always to pillage BEFORE you burn!)
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To: Huck

Then why do you have to pay the bridge toll to LEAVE NJ?


31 posted on 03/09/2006 7:05:38 AM PST by kenavi ("Remember, your fathers sacrificed themselves without need of a messianic complex." Ariel Sharon)
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To: NativeNewYorker
Alas, here's the Real Raw Deal in New Jersey:


32 posted on 03/09/2006 7:06:28 AM PST by Incorrigible (If I lead, follow me; If I pause, push me; If I retreat, kill me.)
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To: Huck

He is?


33 posted on 03/09/2006 7:07:06 AM PST by RexBeach ("There is no substitute for victory." -Douglas MacArthur)
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To: Al Gator
Well, if you're heading south, you could like it if you're on your way to the shore, or maybe to red bank to catch a band and some dinner, or even going all the way down to cape may to eat lunch on the beach and watch the dolphins swimming around.

If you are heading north, maybe you are headed up to the Catskills or the Adirondacks for a weekend getaway, or perhaps you're going to the city for some entertainment.

Or maybe you're just a big baby whining about traffic and cemetaries. Oh the horror. Sad so many people have such negative attitudes about life.

34 posted on 03/09/2006 7:07:08 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Huck

Memo to Troy Graham:

The past tense of "shine" is "shone".


35 posted on 03/09/2006 7:07:11 AM PST by Ike (Show solidarity with the Iraqis and end voter fraud: enact "blue finger" legislation!)
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To: Huck
I'm always leery of these studies. The criteria is never clear. What makes education "excellent" - money spent, schools built, number of graduates?

I had to laugh when he said, "the people we talk to say they wouldn't live anywhere else..." That's true no matter where you go because those that would live anywhere else have moved away.
36 posted on 03/09/2006 7:08:22 AM PST by Jaysun (The plain truth is that I am not a fair man, and don't want to hear both sides.)
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To: kenavi

Ask New York or Pennsylvania. You're blaming NJ for NOT charging? I guess you just can't win with some people.


37 posted on 03/09/2006 7:08:27 AM PST by Huck (space for rent)
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To: Ike

Sorry - should have qualified my statement... when shine is used in the intransitive.


38 posted on 03/09/2006 7:09:10 AM PST by Ike (Show solidarity with the Iraqis and end voter fraud: enact "blue finger" legislation!)
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To: Huck
This is a joke,right? Give me the bottom three anytime, spend some time in Lafayette, Hot Springs or Meridian and tell me how bad it is.
39 posted on 03/09/2006 7:11:03 AM PST by gumboyaya
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To: Huck
If you live along the Jersey Shore Monmouth, Ocean, Cape May counties or in the Northwestern part of the state,Morris, Sussex, Warren, Hunterdon I would agree. However the rest of the state is garbage. The long term future of New Jersey is very bad. I would urge anyone with conservative values to leave this state and head for the South or the West not the West Coast. I am talking Idaho, Montana etc. New Jersey under Corzine is headed for bankruptcy after years of left wing liberal leadership both Democrat and Republican.
40 posted on 03/09/2006 7:11:43 AM PST by Courdeleon02
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To: Slings and Arrows

Only one Southern state in the top 10. The last 6 are Southern states. Hogwash I say.


41 posted on 03/09/2006 7:11:47 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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To: Huck

I agree with you on all but one thing: NJ sucks if you cherish individual liberties. We're still the model nanny-state and only getting more-so.


42 posted on 03/09/2006 7:12:09 AM PST by paulcissa (Only YOU can prevent liberalism.)
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To: stainlessbanner

You'll get no argument from this Low Country boy.


43 posted on 03/09/2006 7:12:46 AM PST by Slings and Arrows ("Facts are a Zionist plot!" --MarkL)
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To: Huck

NJ would be perfect if we could fix the socialist claws squeezing us by our necks.

I really enjoy having mountains, farmland, beach and city within a 2 hour access of my home.


44 posted on 03/09/2006 7:13:32 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Al Gator

::laughing!::

I know where you are!


45 posted on 03/09/2006 7:15:15 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Huck
We don't claim to be finding the most exciting place or the best place to take a vacation," said Scott Morgan, president of Morgan Quitno. "It's just looking at very basic things. Other people can choose to look at other factors.

Wow! I feel really odd. We went to New Jersey last year for our summer vacation.

46 posted on 03/09/2006 7:15:28 AM PST by writmeister
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To: Courdeleon02

Wouldn't that be a GOOD thing? If we hit BK, that means the feds come in. Then we would get the housecleaning that NJ needs.

Does anything else happen if a state hits BK that I should realize?


47 posted on 03/09/2006 7:17:27 AM PST by Calpernia (Breederville.com)
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To: Huck
I live, work, and go to college in Northern NJ. As much as I hate a lot of the laws, politicians, and the overcrowding in some areas, I would not trade it for anyplace else. I happen to like living in the richest county (Morris County, a Republican strangled), in the richest state(NJ!), in the richest country(USA!!!) in the world. Sorry, bragging again ;)

I go to Ramapo College in Bergen county and the scenery is absolutely beautiful in the Ramapo mountains, especially in the fall. It is only a 40 minute drive to NYC, we have easy access to all of the surrounding states, and I like having the ability to only drive a few miles to go to the mall, movies, gym, school, etc...

I just love how everyone knocks NJ on this site. Only New Yorkers pronounce New Jersey as "Joisey". As it is, a lot of New Yorkers have moved here. The highways are the only real problem, aside from politics, as you will DIE if you drive the speed limit. BTW, I can't stand Pennsylvania drivers, they go too damn slow, and I am forced to do unpleasant things to them.

NJ has a high cost of living, but the standard is so much higher than others areas, plus we make a lot more money anyway. We have some of the best public schools and colleges in the country (like Princeton), great sports teams(Giants, Jets, Devils, Nets, etc..), the Jersey shore, Atlantic City, Six Flags Great Adventure, mountains and farms. And yes, you can still hunt in this state, and owns guns, for now anyway. There are a surprisingly large amount of conservatives in this state, and it is unfair to blame us for the outcomes of the Democrat voting machine, with their union morons, minority blocks, and liberal academics.

I would say to those who knock New Jersey, to come visit, but, I really don't want them here in the first place.
48 posted on 03/09/2006 7:18:59 AM PST by Theoden (Fidei Defensor - Deus vult!)
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To: Huck

I live in Ohio, but over the years I have spent a lot of time in NJ, mostly visiting friends in Bergen and Morris County, and vacationing in Cape May Point. The traffic is bad a lot of the time, but that's the case in almost every metro area. The schools, esp. the parochial schools, are excellent. The wide variety of excellent restaurants is fantastic. The only real downside to living in NJ (outside of the inner-city blight of Orange Co. and Camden) is the price of housing. My house in Ohio would cost 3X what it would cost in a comparable neighborhood in NJ.


49 posted on 03/09/2006 7:22:12 AM PST by Remole
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To: Slings and Arrows
Fastest growing states are in the South and the West. Check this out:
The Census data show:

From USAToday

50 posted on 03/09/2006 7:22:34 AM PST by stainlessbanner
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