Skip to comments.N.J. has last laugh: No. 5 in livability
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.
Thought you might be interested.
Who would have thought through the roof taxes, disarming the law abiding and massive corruption would have helped so much?
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.
Anybody with a working brain.
lol! or razor wire :-P
Ah-hah! Now we know why Tony Soprano lives there!
Then I take it you're not laughing.
You do realize Tony Soprano is a fictional character?
Apart from that though I don't really have any complaints.
Yeah...just ask Tony & Carmella!
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)
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.
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.
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.
All this in spite of our governance!
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