Are you done with high taxes, expensive housing, and whatever else in New Jersey? Moving from NJ to PA is a super popular choice! Whether you got your eye on an iconic city like Philadelphia or Pittsburgh, or a charming small town like Chesterbrook or Penn Wynne, the Keystone State offers a lot more bang for your buck. Before you trade the Garden State for affordable living, lovely neighborhoods, charming surroundings, gorgeous fall foliage, rich history, and even chocolate – it’s home to Hershey’s – take a look at this convenient guide for a seamless interstate relocation.

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What to Know About Moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania

Whether you’re looking for a change of scenery or a cheaper cost of living, relocating from New Jersey to Pennsylvania can be a breath of fresh air. To help you enjoy a bump-free interstate relocation, we’ve put together the following guide on significant points you need to know about moving to PA.

Taxes

Okay, so not exactly a super fun topic, but it’s good to know how much you’ll pay in your new state. The good news? You can anticipate a lower tax liability in Pennsylvania. When considering the overall tax burden by state, Pennsylvania comes in #25. This ranking derives from looking at three major tax categories as an average percentage of income: property tax (#25 at 2.86%), individual income tax (#17 at 2.51%), and total sales & excise tax (#32 at 3.16%). That’s a lot better than New Jersey, which currently has the seventh-highest tax burden in the United States.

Economy and Job Growth

According to economy rankings by US News, Pennsylvania has room for improvement. Coming in at #44 overall, the Mid-Atlantic state #35 in business environment, #43 in employment, and #32 in growth. New Jersey isn’t exactly stellar in this category either, but it fares better than PA at #31. At the beginning of 2020, Pennsylvania had an unemployment rate of 4.3% and an anticipated job growth of 25.3% over the next decade. New Jersey had almost the same figures, with an unemployment rate of 4.2% and a future job growth of 25% over the next ten years.

Weather and Climate

For the most part, Pennsylvania has a humid continental climate. It also sees influence from the humid subtropical climate coming from the south. These climates result in four distinct seasons with snowier winters than you’ll experience in the Garden State. The Keystone State sees a winter low of 19°F, a summer high of 83°F, 44 inches of rainfall, 38 inches of snow, and 179 sunny days. For comparison, New Jersey has a winter low of 22°F, summer high of 85°F, 48 inches of rain, 23 inches of snowfall, and 206 sunny days.

Geography

If you love nature, you’re in for a treat in Pennsylvania. Going from sea level to the east at the Atlantic to the high ridges of the Appalachian Mountains, the state is home to a broad diversity of gorgeous landscapes and scenic views. PA is found in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, surrounded by New York (north), New Jersey (east), Maryland (south), West Virginia (southeast), and Ohio (west). One can divide the state of Pennsylvania four regions: Atlantic Coast Plain (Philly area), The Piedmont (PA Dutch Country), Ridge & Valley (home of the capital city), and the Allegheny Plateau (rivers and forests).

Housing and Cost of Living

Want to buy a house? In Pennsylvania, it’s a lot easier to become a homeowner. Whether you’re sick of paying rent or a high mortgage, the Keystone State offers a significant reduction in cost versus ownership in New Jersey. PA currently has a median list price of only $210,000 (along with a median monthly rent price of $1,350). Though NJ isn’t exactly the most expensive state in America, in comparison, it’s much more costly than its neighbor to the west, with a median list price of $340,000 (and a median monthly rent price of $2,000). No doubt, homeownership is within grasp in PA!

Things to Do

So, wondering what there’s to do in Pennsylvania? Home to two of American’s most celebrated cities (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia), along with rich US history and stunning landscapes, the state holds many adventures and fun destinations. Nature enthusiast? PA has a wide variety of terrain that includes major mountains, forests, and waterways. Two popular spots are the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) and the Poconos. History buff? Visit Gettysburg National Military Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park. And if you’re into art, you should scope out the Andy Warhol Museum and Philadelphia Museum of Art. Love chocolate? Hershey’s Chocolate World is a delicious destination with fun rides and sweet treats!

Educational Opportunities

When it comes to overall education rankings, Pennsylvania comes in at #32. This ranking derives from two categories: higher education (the state ranks #50/50) and Pre-K–12 (#10). Yes, it’s currently ranked last in higher education, but it’s also Top 10 in the nation for pre-college education (so it’s an excellent place for raising a family). In contrast, New Jersey takes second place in the US, ranking #30 in higher education and #2 in Pre-K–12 education. Despite its low overall ranking in post-secondary education, Pennsylvania is nonetheless home to some of the most acclaimed colleges & universities: University of Pennsylvania (#6 in the US), Carnegie Mellon University (#25), Villanova University (#46), Lehigh University (#50), and the University of Pittsburgh (tied for #57 in the US).

Culture, Diversity, and Demographics

When it comes to diversity ranking, the state of Pennsylvania runs in the middle of the pack at #29. This is based on six types of diversity: socioeconomic (#24), cultural (#32), economic (#47), household (#32), religious (#10), and political (#13). New Jersey, on the other hand, is one of the most diverse states and currently sits at #4. Next, we have race & ethnic demographics. Pennsylvania has the following composition: 76% White, 10% Black, 8% Hispanic & Latino, 4% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American. New Jersey is more diverse: 55% White, 21% Hispanic & Latino, 13% Black, 10% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American.

Transportation and Traffic

There’s room for improvement when it comes to transportation in Pennsylvania. When looking at overall transportation rankings, the Keystone State sits at a dismal #48 (with West Virginia and Rhode Island rounding out the bottom of the list). This ranking depends on four categories: commute time (#39), public transit usage (#12), road quality (#41), and bridge quality (#46). Let’s now take a look at commute times. Currently sitting at #14 for the slowest commutes, Pennsylvania has an average commute time of 27.1 minutes. New Jersey lands at #3 in most time-consuming commutes in America, with an average commute time of 32.1 minutes.

Crime Rates

Curious about crime in Pennsylvania? You’ll be happy to hear that the state is below the national average in violent crime (with an index of 19.1 vs. the US average of 22.7) and property crime (26.2 vs. the US average of 35.4). Now, to be fair, New Jersey as a state is low in crime as well, with a violent crime index of 15.3 and a property crime index of 25. Now, let’s compare major cities. Philadelphia has a violent crime index of 50.8 and a property crime index of 46.6, while Jersey City has a violent crime index of 26.3 and a property crime index of 27.1.

Food

Dubbed the Diner Capital of the World, New Jersey has its claim to fame when it comes to some iconic food: hoagies, Italian hot dogs, rippers, pork roll, tomato pie, saltwater taffy, and so on. But Pennsylvania is no slouch. From Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, there’s a wide assortment of delicious dishes and treats. Famous picks include Snyder’s pretzels, Old Forge-style pizza, scrapple, pierogi, birch beer, Tastykakes, and of course, Philly cheesesteak. Oh, and the chocolate. If you’re a chocolate lover, Pennsylvania is the place to be as it’s the home of Hershey’s chocolate.

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Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania

Still looking for the perfect place to call home? Check out our list of the top communities in the Keystone State:

Philadelphia

If you’re looking for a big city with a small-town vibe, then Philadelphia is the place for you. The City of Brotherly Love has something to offer everyone – from a fantastic music scene to die-hard sports teams, great breweries, and of course, cheesesteaks. Learn more about moving to Philadelphia here.

Pittsburgh

In the past, Pittsburgh was known for its blue-collar roots and a strong connection to the steel industry, earning the city its enduring “Steel City” nickname. But modern Pittsburgh is reinventing itself for the new millennium. Check out our moving to Pittsburgh guide

Mount Lebanon

Arguably the best suburb of Pittsburgh – it is consistently voted as one of the Top 10 places to live in Pennsylvania – Mount Lebanon checks a lot of boxes. Learn more about living in Mount Lebanon.

Bethel Park

Situated about seven miles southwest of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, this welcoming suburb offers a plethora of reasons to make it your home base. Bethel Park is a quiet, close-knit community that’s an inviting place to raise a family.

Hershey

Hershey, also known as ‘Chocolatetown, USA,’ definitely earns its reputation as the sweetest place on earth. Located in South Central Pennsylvania (14 miles east of the state capital of Harrisburg), the community has earned itself the honors of being both the Chocolate Capital of America and one of the Top 3 places to live in Pennsylvania.

State College

Home to Penn State, this Central PA college town located in Centre County has a friendly and lively vibe. When school’s in session, the median age of residents is 22, so it’s an excellent place for the young (or the young at heart). Find out more about living here.

Bethlehem

Extremely welcoming and tight-knit, Bethlehem is one of the oldest cities in the United States. Known for being especially enchanting during the fall foliage season, this beautiful valley town is nestled in Lehigh Valley in Northampton and Lehigh counties.

Chesterbrook

With a population of less than 5,000, Chesterbrook is a planned community great for dog owners and lovers of green spaces. This Philadelphia suburb was named the #1 place to live in PA by Niche thanks to its safety, highly rated school system, and family-friendly vibes.


Cost of Moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania

On average, it costs about $2000-$2500 to move from NJ to PA. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 233 miles across state lines. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best New Jersey to Pennsylvania movers now!

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Devin Barroga

Ever been bitten by the wanderlust bug? It's a powerful force, one which has captivated Devin for his entire life.... Read More