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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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