THE 10 BEST Places To Live In New Jersey For 2020

We crunched the numbers to find out the best place to live in the best state in the good ole US of A.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best places to live in New Jersey.

We all know New Jersey is the best state in the Union. What with the bagels, diners, the shore, and all the great produce.

But because the whole state is so awesome, it's hard to choose the best place to live within New Jersey. Thankfully for you, we decided this question needed to be answered once and for all. So we turned to data and analytics to understand the best place to live in New Jersey. In particular, we looked at home prices, crime rates, unemployment, and other quality of life factors across the state. You know, the things that people from New Jersey would find important when looking for a new place to live.

And while you might have heard about Hoboken, Trenton, or Newark, New Jersey has some awesome smaller places that we're going to highlight today.

After analyzing over 175 places in New Jersey, we came up with this list as the best places in the Garden State to call home.

There you have it, the best that New Jersey has to offer when it comes to finding a place to live.

What's the best place to live in the Garden State? That would be North Caldwell, the best place to live in New Jersey based on FBI and Census data. At the end of the day, it looks like the places with low unemployment and high incomes like North Caldwell outmatched their short commute counterparts.

However, in our humble opinion, there's no better state in the nation than New Jersey, so any place inside the state boundaries is a great place to live.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more New Jersey reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In New Jersey For 2020

North Caldwell, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,621
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $722,400 (13th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.9% (2nd best)
More on North Caldwell: Real Estate | Data | Photos

At an unemployment rate of 1.9%, everyone who wants a job can get one in North Caldwell. And the residents command high salaries ($190,028 a year combined income), and live in big fancy homes ($722,400 each).

We're not saying money is why these cities are the 'best' in New Jersey. What we're implying is that money means safety and peace of mind. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,816
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $790,400 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.6% (8th best)
More on Woodcliff Lake: Real Estate | Data | Photos

There's two types of people who live in Woodcliff Lake. Either the old hold outs who have lived there forever and are watching their home values skyrocket, or those d who can afford to buy a $790,400 home there.

Either way, you're set. Your kids go to great schools, there's a ton of things to do, and you earn a great salary. Woodcliff Lake is exactly what you hoped for when you played that board game, LIFE as a kid.

Haddonfield, NJ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,369
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $508,100 (39th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (6th best)
More on Haddonfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

You might be surprised to see the Town of Haddonfield so high on the list. Unless you live in Haddonfield.

The unemployment rate here is really low, and at 2.5%, Haddonfield residents are some of the hardest working in the state of New Jersey. When you factor in high home prices, high incomes and low crime, Haddonfield is doing quite well.

Let's be honest -- Haddonfield is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Glen Rock, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,826
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 8)
Median Home Value: $631,900 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (29th best)
More on Glen Rock: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glen Rock makes a case for being one of the best places to live in New Jersey mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 3.5% of folks are jobless, you can bet Glen Rock residents are glad to live where they do.

Waldwick, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,948
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 6)
Median Home Value: $440,800 (54th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (12th best)
More on Waldwick: Real Estate | Data | Photos

It's obvious why Waldwick ranks 5th in the state for best places to live: they have the 12th lowest unemployment rate and the 54th highest home values.

Plus, they're known for their quality education and relatively low crime, making Waldwick a great place to live.

Westfield, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 30,086
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $727,600 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.3% (23rd best)
More on Westfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Well, I guess technically 3.3% of Westfield residents who want to have a job can't find one, so not everyone has a job, but it's the 23rd closest of any city in New Jersey.

You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.

In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Westfield also ranked well for crime (58th) and median income ($168,721).

Upper Saddle River, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,242
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Home Value: $884,500 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (90th best)
More on Upper Saddle River: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Upper Saddle River isn't just the nicest place to live in New Jersey - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 90th lowest unemployment rate, the 8th highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Upper Saddle River definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2020.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,849
Rank Last Year: 37 (Up 29)
Median Home Value: $500,800 (41st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (7th best)
More on Roseland: Real Estate | Data

If you own a home in Roseland, you're aware that your home values are skyrocketing right now. That's a sign that things are going swimmingly. Most people there have good jobs, and the commute times are short.

The median home costs a cool $500,800 and households make $126,250 which is good for 35th in New Jersey.Roseland has a well deserved spot on this list.

Midland Park, NJ

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,263
Rank Last Year: 24 (Up 15)
Median Home Value: $498,500 (42nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (15th best)
More on Midland Park: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Let's take a look at why Midland Park is a great place to call home for 2020.

There's low crime in Midland Park, and the residents here are gainfully employed (2.8% unemployment rate).

You can make Midland Park your home for only $498,500 which won't be too hard on a $119,231 household salary.

Franklin Lakes, NJ

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,883
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $955,000 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.0% (78th best)
More on Franklin Lakes: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you don't have a job in Franklin Lakes, you're most likely not trying very hard. The unemployment rate here is almost as low as you can get -- 5.0%. In fact, there are probably enough butler and landscaping jobs available here to put every single unemployed resident to work, what with a median income of $159,883.

That's actually not a bad idea...

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in New Jersey

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Trenton with a population of 83,734 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 175 cities, 209 towns, and 67 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in New Jersey have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In New Jersey

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in New Jersey across a number of criteria from one to 175, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In New Jersey".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the data here.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in New Jersey? That would be North Caldwell.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in New Jersey.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with North Caldwell at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In New Jersey

If you're looking at areas in New Jersey with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

North Caldwell made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in New Jersey for 2020.

Best Towns To Live In New Jersey

  1. Plainsboro Center (Pop. 2,733)
  2. Brielle (Pop. 4,745)
  3. Allenwood (Pop. 1,002)
  4. Barclay (Pop. 4,340)
  5. Ho-Ho-Kus (Pop. 4,139)
  6. Pennington (Pop. 2,567)
  7. Spring Lake Heights (Pop. 4,646)
  8. Robbinsville (Pop. 3,321)
  9. Navesink (Pop. 1,699)
  10. Hopewell (Pop. 1,904)

Best Small Towns To Live In New Jersey

  1. Skillman (Pop. 211)
  2. Belle Mead (Pop. 196)
  3. East Rocky Hill (Pop. 223)
  4. Hainesburg (Pop. 59)
  5. Blawenburg (Pop. 305)
  6. Interlaken (Pop. 806)
  7. Mantoloking (Pop. 276)
  8. Loch Arbour (Pop. 202)
  9. Clyde (Pop. 243)
  10. Rocky Hill (Pop. 618)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in New Jersey according to the data:

  1. Lindenwold (Pop. 17,354)
  2. Newark (Pop. 280,463)
  3. Bridgeton (Pop. 24,841)

For more New Jersey reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In New Jersey?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 North Caldwell 6,621 1.9% $722,400
2 Woodcliff Lake 5,816 2.6% $790,400
3 Haddonfield 11,369 2.5% $508,100
4 Glen Rock 11,826 3.5% $631,900
5 Waldwick 9,948 2.7% $440,800
6 Westfield 30,086 3.3% $727,600
7 Upper Saddle River 8,242 5.2% $884,500
8 Roseland 5,849 2.5% $500,800
9 Midland Park 7,263 2.8% $498,500
10 Franklin Lakes 10,883 5.0% $955,000

How Is Your Town In ?

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

8 thoughts on “THE 10 BEST Places To Live In New Jersey For 2020

  1. Born and raised in the Flemington area and delivering milk for Johanna Farms through out most of the state I’m pretty familiar with NJ top to bottom. Hamilton Twp? Really a suburb of Trenton??? I’m very partial to Delaware Twp. The NJ side of New Hope lots of rolling farmland, old stone houses dating to 1700’s- but that’s my 2 cents

  2. If you’re looking for affordability, decent schools and an escape from obnoxious people you might want to head to South Jersey. The towns along the river and the RiverLine train are pretty nice, the river walks are BEAUTIFUL and it’s a nice pace for raising children. Oh and did I mention there are really hot guys here??? My gardener looks like he could be an Abercrombie model.

  3. Gail says:
    And let us not forget all the lovely Jersey Shore towns – quite an assortment – from the Highlands to Cape May – Pt. Pleasant, Spring Lake, Sea Girt, to mention a few
    – no place like the Jersey Shore.

  4. Trenton nj is no place to live. Its not safe. The cops don’t help you. Nobody helps you. Me and my 9 year old went shopping at food bazaar in the robeling market on S.Clinton Ave. Trenton nj 08611 and it was daylight out. We were pushing our shopping cart home and some one hit me in the back of the head with a brick and knocked me out cold and robbed my wallet. My 9 year old son try to help me by hitting the guy in the back. He then punch my son in the mouth and try choking him. The cops have a report. We are ok thankfully. I don’t think I will get my wallet back. In the process of replacing every thing. I’m getting the he’ll out of trenton.Trenton nj is ran by crack heads hookers muggers robbers and murders. A lot of bums. All mercer county isn’t safe. Don’t live here if your white.

  5. As far as I can see you judged north Jersey only,which by the way is totally unfair. I’m from south Jersey and I’m offended by the results. You need to at least give us a shot

  6. I lived in jersey for 45 years and have to say that you are clueless. Data is flawed. try actually living in those areas if you are middle class. Not everybody is a doctor or lawyer. how about a list for those who live in reality land.

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