Whatever the reason for your relocation, you’ll be happy that you chose to move to Jersey City, New Jersey. Located on the western side of the Hudson River and across from Lower Manhattan, Jersey City gazes upon the skyscrapers of New York City but still has a distinct personality and exciting city life. Once the gateway for immigrants in the 19th and early to mid-20th centuries, Jersey City is a diverse medley of many cultures and ethnicities, as well as a historical and artistic hub of the northeast.
Downtown offers a vibrant and lively nightlife, while Liberty Park is more tranquil for those who love and enjoy nature. Delectable combinations of smells from the variety of standard and ethnic cafes, restaurants, pubs, and bars will tease your nose as your stroll down Jersey City streets. From museums to movie theaters, there’s plenty to do and see, whether it’s just you or your entire family too.
With so much to offer, Jersey City is waiting for you!
Living in Jersey City, NJ: What to Know Before Moving to Jersey City
Jersey City became known as the nation’s “Golden Door” during the mass immigration of the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries. When immigrants passed through Ellis Island, many of them chose to settle in Jersey City, causing the city to grow exponentially. Today, with over 265,000 residents, Jersey City is one of the most populous cities in New Jersey. Originally recognized as a city full of opportunities, Jersey City continues to be appealing to new residents due to its blend of diverse cultures, vibrant atmosphere, and high-ranking school districts.
Pros and Cons of Living in Jersey City
As you’re deciding where to move, it’s important to know the good and the bad of living in an area. Here are a few of Jersey City’s pros and cons:
- Diversity: Out of 228 cities, Niche.com ranks Jersey City as the #4 ‘Most Diverse City in America’. It also ranks Jersey City as the #1 ‘Most Diverse Place to Live in New Jersey’.
- Education: Many of Jersey City’s schools are highly rated. It’s no wonder that U.S. News and World Report ranks New Jersey as the second-best state for education in the US.
- Plenty to do: From boutiques and movie theaters to learning centers and historical landmarks, there’s so much to do in Jersey City. And with Manhattan just across the Hudson River, you’ll find endless activities to keep you busy.
- Cuisine: Because of its history as a “melting pot,” Jersey City has many delicious and diverse places to eat. From Indian to French to Mediterranean to African cuisine, this city has it all!
- Traffic: Even though Jersey City is on the opposite side of the river from New York City, it still has some of the worst traffic in the nation.
- The high cost of living: One of the biggest complaints of long-time residents is the high cost of living and the high taxes in Jersey City. According to payscale.com, Jersey City’s cost of living is 31% higher than the country’s average.
- Rodent issues: The city’s rat population always seems to be on the rise due to an absence of natural predators.
- Noisy: As a bustling city, there are few places you can go to get some peace and quiet. The nightlife tends to be lively, and Jersey City is also a prime location for tourists.
- Property Tax: When compared to the national average property tax rate of 1.080%, Jersey City assesses a significantly higher average property tax rate of 2.341%. However, this is slightly lower than the state’s average rate of 2.442%.
- Sales Tax: According to avalara.com, New Jersey is one of the few states that have a single sales tax rate for the entire state. As such, Jersey City imposes the state’s sales tax rate of 6.625%.
- State Income Tax: While Jersey City’s income tax rates vary between the tax brackets, the state’s average income tax is 6.37%.
In the past year, home values have increased by 3.9% and are projected to continue growing over the next year. As of October 2019, Zillow.com estimates the median home value to be $487,400. With only 38.5% of the city’s residents being homeowners, the majority of people in Jersey City are renters. The median rental price is $2,250, but a few of the cheapest neighborhoods to live in are the Waterfront, Hackensack Riverfront, and Greenville.
Cost of Living
According to Bestplaces.net, the cost of living index in Jersey City, out of an average US index of 100, is 146.8. The cost of living is much higher than the national average. The city’s highest expense is housing, with an index value of 209.9. Other, more costly budget items include groceries, utilities, and transportation. On the other hand, healthcare will most likely be one of your cheaper expenses.
The median household income for Jersey City, NJ is $58,907. The Family Budget Calculator estimates that a family of four will need to earn about $94,533 annually to pay the predicted $7,878 a month needed for the following expenses: housing, food, childcare, transportation, healthcare, taxes, and other necessities. According to these numbers, both parents would need to work for the household to live comfortably.
Weather & Natural Disasters
Due to its location in the country’s northeast, Jersey City experiences all four seasons throughout the year. That includes some extreme temperatures on both ends of the spectrum, which may require a bit of an adjustment if you’re moving from a more mild climate.
Jersey City’s cold, snowy winters see an average annual snowfall of 26 inches, most of which falls in January. January and February are the two coldest months, with the average high and low being 42 and 27 degrees, respectively. Conversely, the city’s hottest months are July and August, with the summer high averaging 86 degrees and the summer low only dropping to around 68 degrees. In addition to being hot, Jersey City’s summers also are very humid. Annual rainfall totals 48 inches, and July is the wettest month.
The most common natural disasters to occur in and around Jersey City are severe snowstorms, flooding, extreme heat, tornadoes, and earthquakes. The city’s Office of Emergency Management works to inform and educate its residents regarding natural disasters and how to prepare for them.
Economy & Job Market
With an unemployment rate of 4.2%, Jersey City has a slightly higher rate than the national unemployment rate of 3.9%. While the job market has decreased by 0.5% in the last year, experts project that the job market will grow by 24% within the next decade, which is somewhat lower than the US projection of 33.5%.
The top industries in Jersey City include healthcare, technical services, finance, insurance, and retail. According to hudsonedc.org, major employers in the area include Arch Insurance Group Inc., Citco Fund Services Inc., Fidelity Investments, and Forest Laboratories Inc. If you’ll be looking for employment, Jersey City’s official website offers a list of current job opportunities as well as how to apply. Be sure to update your resume and polish up your interviewing skills before contacting potential employers.
Traffic & Transportation
One of the main complaints about Jersey City is the horrible traffic that commuters have to endure every day, especially during rush hour. Onerous commuting is mainly due to congestion that occurs on I-78, which runs north to south on the west side of the city before turning east into the Holland Tunnel toward Manhattan. Running east to west, US-9 is also a major thoroughfare that experiences heavy traffic.
However, the city’s many other transportation options make it easy to get to and from work stress-free. One of the most simple ways to get around is by walking. Not only is it better for the environment, but walkscore.com gives Jersey City a high walking score of 87 out of 100. Do you need to travel farther than just a couple of miles? Jersey City also has a high transit score of 71 and a bike score of 54. Public transportation options include the PATH, the Hudson Bergen Light Rail, and NJ Transit Buse,s while biking options include Citi Bike, a popular bike-share system.
What to Do
Known for its rich history, vibrant and diverse culture, and busy atmosphere, it’s no wonder that Jersey City is a place that never sleeps—there’s so much to see and do! From boutiques and museums to delicious eateries and tourist attractions, Jersey City is devoted to showcasing its impressive heterogeneity.
One of the city’s most popular attractions to visit – and a great place to take the kids – is the Liberty Science Center. Following a thrilling journey through the museum’s 80-foot dark path, enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat at The Grind Shop located on Communipaw Avenue. During the summer, you can take the kids to one of the city’s many public swimming pools. If you want some time away from the busy street life to enjoy nature and some history, then head down to Liberty State Park, which borders the Hudson River. While there, you can experience the Empty Sky Memorial and explore the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Are you looking to experience some of Jersey City’s exciting nightlife? Downtown has several bars, pubs, and taverns. Several shopping centers are also conveniently located downtown. Looking for a retro vibe? The Loew’s Jersey Theater is a movie theater from the 1920s that still shows films today.
School and Universities
Jersey City Public School District is the only school district in Jersey City. There are 40 schools within this district, which serves approximately 30,000 students. According to greatschools.org, the majority of the public schools in Jersey City rank average or above average. The highest-ranking school in the district is Dr Ronald Mc Nair Academy High School, with a score of 10/10. Other top schools include Cornelia F Bradford No 16 Elementary School (9/10), and Infinity Institute (9/10).
Are you or a family member pursuing a form of higher education? Within the city itself, Hudson County Community College is an affordable two-year option, while NJCU and Saint Peter’s University offer four-year degrees. If you cross the Hudson, you’ll find an endless array of options in New York City, including NYU, Columbia, Queens College, the College of Technology, and Julliard.
According to Bestplaces.net, Jersey City’s violent crime rate of 26.3% is slightly higher than the national average of 22.7%, while the city’s property crime rate is 27.1% and is slightly lower than the US average of 35.4%. Despite these unalarming statistics, Jersey City is still considered to have a higher crime rate than the surrounding cities of Kearny, Hoboken, and Bayonne.
Setting up new utilities is a time-consuming process. For your convenience, we’ve gathered Jersey City service providers’ contact information in hopes of saving you some time. Be sure to set up your accounts well before your move!
- Gas and electric services: Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) is one of Jersey City’s leading providers of natural gas and electric services. To start service, visit their website.
- Water service: The Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority provides water to over 250,000 Jersey City residents. You can contact them at (201) 432-1150.
- Trash pickup/recycling service: The city’s Division of Sanitation offers a wide variety of trash removal and recycling options, including refuse and recycling collection, curbside pickup, and dumpster rentals. For more information, call (201) 547-4400.
- Internet/cable service: There are several options available for internet and cable providers, but a few of the most popular choices include: Xfinity, Verizon, Dish, and Earthlink.
Best Neighborhoods in Jersey City, NJ
To help in your search for a neighborhood that best meets what you’re looking for, we’ve provided a list of the eight best neighborhoods in Jersey City, NJ.
Downtown is trendy, lively, and busy. This neighborhood is the perfect location for college students, young professionals, or young families looking to experience city life. With such a large population, there are very few homes for sale. The majority of Downtown residents are renters, and the rental market is competitive. Home types vary between high rise condos, vintage brick apartment complexes, and single-family homes.
Downtown is bordered on the west side by I-78 and Marin Blvd on the east. I-78 offers a convenient, but often crowded, route to New York City.
If you’re looking for something to do in the historic Downtown district, your options are nearly endless. You can visit the Jersey City Museum or spend the day shopping at the Newport Centre. At night, the neighborhood transforms into a vibrant nightlife, as residents and tourists alike make their way to Newark Avenue, to enjoy delicious food and craft beer at one of its several restaurants and bars.
- Population: 82,430
- Home Price: $753,900
- Rent Price: $2,500
- Schools: Cornelia F Bradford No 16 Elementary School (rating: above average), Number 4 Middle School (rating: below average), Dr. Ronald McNair Academy High School (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Rutgers Business School, NJCU School of Business, University of Phoenix
Located along the Hudson River, the Waterfront is ranked the #3 ‘Best Neighborhood in Jersey City’ by areavibes.com. This neighborhood is a great option for families with children because of its low crime rate. It’s also a good choice for young entrepreneurs because of the many employment options. Most residents live in apartments or condos where they can experience striking views of the Jersey City waterfront backdropped by the New York City skyline.
A popular attraction is the Colgate Clock, a historic landmark dating back to 1924. While the Waterfront itself doesn’t offer much else by way of entertainment, the western side of the Waterfront borders bustling Downtown. Only a few minutes’ walk away is Christopher Columbus Drive, a major thoroughfare through Downtown.
- Population: 36,475
- Home Price: $952,200
- Rent Price: $3,000
- Schools: Rafael De J Cordero No. 37 Elementary School (rating: below average), Woodrow Wilson School (rating: above average), Dr. Ronald McNair Academy High (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Rutgers Business School, NJCU School of Business, University of Phoenix
Located on the northern end of Jersey City and approximately 13 minutes north of Downtown, the Heights borders US-9, US-139, and Paterson Plank Road. This neighborhood offers a unique combination of old and new with Victorian and Edwardian homes alongside recently-constructed condos.
Because of its strong Cuban and Puerto Rican influence, the neighborhood boasts several restaurants offering savory, spicy Caribbean-inspired cuisine. Several cafes and restaurants offer a hip and trendy atmosphere, such as The Fox & Crow Pub and Parlour, where you can enjoy an ice-cold craft beer while listening to some live music. While this neighborhood doesn’t offer much else in terms of entertainment, there are four nature parks scattered throughout the area, including Riverview-Fish Park, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the New York City skyline.
- Population: 57,050
- Home Price: $558,900
- Rent Price: $1,600
- Schools: Nicolas Copernicus No 25 Elementary School (rating: below average), Woodrow Wilson School (rating: above average), Dr. Ronald McNair Academy High School (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Seton Hall University, Plenum Institute, Eastern International College
Just south of the Heights is Journal Square, one of the oldest and most historic neighborhoods in Jersey City. It’s a charming, somewhat-antiquated neighborhood when compared to the more trendy, modern districts that surround it. Home to Hudson County Community College, this neighborhood attracts many college students. Journal Square is outlined by I-78, US-139, and Vroom Street, and is eight minutes northwest of Downtown.
With deep historical roots, Journal Square has many significant landmarks that you should check out, including the neighborhood’s Jackie Robinson statue. This district is also home to the historic Stanley Theater and to the Landmark Loew’s Theatre, which was built in the 1920s. If you want to take a break from history to experience some unique art, visit the Mana Contemporary. Journal Square also offers a large variety of dining options, from classic American diner fare to Indian street food.
- Population: 34,120
- Home Price: $476,800
- Rent Price: $1,900
- Schools: Number 23 Elementary School (rating: below average), Jersey City Golden Door Charter School (rating: average), Liberty High School (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Hudson County Community College, Saint Peter’s University, Eastern International College
Greenville is found near the center of Jersey City, wedged between Newark Bay and I-78. It’s one of Jersey City’s larger neighborhoods, as well as one of the more affordable. Most residents tend to be young families and working singles who desire a community that offers a comfortable, suburban feel. Many homes are in the Anglo-Italianate or French Second Empire Style.
There are several parks in Greenville, including Bayside Park, which is an ideal place to walk your dog. On rainy days, you can visit Duda Penteado, a one-of-a-kind sculpture museum, or you can take the kids to the Jersey City Public Library before stopping for a sweet treat at Baskin-Robbins.
- Population: 43,670
- Home Price: $354,200
- Rent Price: $1,900
- Schools: Infinity Institute (rating: above average), Ezra L Nolan No 40 Middle School (rating: below average), Dr. Ronald McNair Academy High (rating: above average)
- Colleges: New Jersey City University
With a high livability score of 78, Liberty Park ranks as the #1 ‘Best Neighborhood in Jersey City.’ Boasting plenty of amenities, a low crime rate, major employment opportunities, and great schools, Liberty Park is a near-perfect place to raise a family, to pursue a career path, or to retire.
Sitting on the western shore of the Hudson River, Liberty Park gazes on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; as home to both the gorgeous Liberty State Park and the Liberty National Golf Course, this neighborhood offers a variety of recreational activities that you can enjoy with your family or with a group of friends. The Liberty Science Center also offers a fun and interactive educational experience. If you’re looking to visit Downtown, it’s only a five-minute drive north.
- Population: 13,370
- Home Price: $416,000
- Rent Price: $2,100
- Schools: Number 22 Elementary School (rating: below average), Number 4 Middle School (rating: below average), James J Ferris High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: New Jersey City University, Rutgers Business School
As the neighborhood sandwiched between the Heights and Hackensack River Waterfront, the West Side sits on the eastern shore of the Hackensack River and is divided down the middle by US-440. Most residents rent a housing unit within a multi-family home or an apartment building. Downtown is 10 minutes east of West Side.
Though Skywalk Golf Course and Lincoln Park sit towards the northern end of the district, West Side Avenue is the main attraction of West Side and is home to several shops and places to eat. There are also several churches located on this lively street, including Harvest City Bible Church and the Pentecostal Church of God.
- Population: 37,055
- Home Price: $373,900
- Rent Price: $1,700
- Schools: Dr. Charles P Defuccio No. 39 Elementary School (rating: below average), Learning Community Charter School (rating: average), Liberty High School (rating: above average)
- Colleges: Saint Peter’s University, Hudson County Community College, Eastern International College
Hackensack River Waterfront
Hackensack River Waterfront is located just south of West Side and derives its name from the Hackensack River, which borders the neighborhood’s western side. Also, more affordable than many of Jersey City’s neighborhoods, Hackensack River Waterfront is less populated, so it’s quieter and offers a warm, friendly suburban atmosphere where most residents own their homes. Niche.com rates Hackensack River Waterfront as the #4 ‘Best Neighborhood to Live in Jersey City.’
Apart from the stunning views of the Hackensack River, this community offers the Hudson Mall and several other convenient shopping options. Once you’ve had your fill of shopping, you can head over to Carmine’s Italian Deli for a mouth-watering sub or perhaps a pasta dish. Want to check out Downtown? Even though the two neighborhoods sit on opposite ends of Jersey City, it only takes 15 minutes via I-78 to get from Hackensack River Waterfront to the heart of Downtown.
- Population: 8,360
- Home Price: $339,300
- Rent Price: $2,300
- Schools: James F Murray No 38 Elementary School (rating: average), The Academy I Middle School (rating: above average), Henry Snyder High School (rating: below average)
- Colleges: New Jersey City University
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