Living in New Jersey is more expensive than it is on average across the U.S. as a whole. According to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, goods and services in the state cost 15.2% more than they do on average nationwide. Compared with all other states, New Jersey has the fourth highest overall cost of living.
In general, living in dense, urban metro areas is more expensive than living in more rural areas -- however this is not always the case. New Jersey is home to four metropolitan areas. The most expensive in the state is the Trenton metro area, where the cost of goods and services is 8.6% higher than the national average and 6.6% lower than the statewide average.
New Jersey Housing Costs
Housing is one of the largest components of cost of living. In New Jersey, the typical home is worth $327,900, $123,000 more than the national median home value of $204,900. Across the state, the median price of a home built in 1939 or earlier is $316,700, while the median value of a home built in 2014 or later is $519,400.
The typical renter in New Jersey spends $1,295 a month on housing, $272 more than the $1,023 national median monthly rent. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom in the state is $1,098, while the typical rent for a unit with five or more bedrooms is $1,920.
Across the state, 36.1% of occupied homes are rented, slightly less than the 36.2% national average and the 13th highest renter rate of any state.
New Jersey Transportation Costs
Transportation can also be a significant component of cost of living. In New Jersey, 79.4% of commuters drive to work, compared to 85.5% of commuters nationwide. On average, the typical motorist in the state drives 8,720 miles a year. Taking into account average fuel economy and the average cost of gas -- regular fuel cost an average of $2.23 a gallon in New Jersey in mid-2020 -- the average motorist in the state can expect to spend $803 on gas alone in one year.
Other transportation costs, like car insurance premiums, can vary by state. In New Jersey, the average car insurance premium is $1,468, less than the $1,517 national average, according to data from Insure.com. And according to data from the EPI, the average single adult in the state spends $8,941 a year on transportation.
New Jersey Health Care Costs
Out-of-pocket costs and insurance premiums for health care -- assuming at least a basic level of health insurance coverage -- are in line with the national average in New Jersey. Average health care costs for a single adult in the state total $4,273 per year, compared to the national average of $4,266. For a family of four, average annual health care costs total $13,319 -- $369 more than the comparable national average of $12,950.
New Jersey Food Costs
Food is another every day expense that has a significant impact on the overall cost of living in an area. Data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that the cost of food varies from state to state.
In New Jersey, a single adult spends an average of $3,433 on food annually, and a family of four spends $9,914 on average. For context, the nationwide average annual food expenditure is $3,240 for a single adult and $9,354 for a family of four. These estimates are calculated for a nutritionally adequate diet of food purchased at a grocery store for at home preparation.
New Jersey Child Care Costs
For families, child care adds thousands of dollars to overall annual spending. The average annual cost of child care for a 4 year old child in New Jersey is $10,635, well above the national average of $8,903. Similarly, it costs an average of $18,864 to care for a 4 year old child and an 8 year old child per year in New Jersey compared to the national average of $15,853.
New Jersey Taxes
Few expenses vary as much from state to state as taxes. Accounting for state and federal income taxes, as well as Social Security contributions and Medicare payroll, the average adult working in New Jersey pays $6,840 annually in taxes -- just above the national average of $6,542.
Excluding federal taxes and incorporating state and local taxes such as property and sales taxes -- the state and local tax burden in New Jersey is greater than the average across the U.S. as a whole. Per capita state tax collections in New Jersey come out to $3,970 per year, compared to the $3,151 average across all states.
Cost of Living by County or County Equivalent
Just as cost of living varies from state to state, it also varies from place to place within states. In New Jersey, Hunterdon County, home to the borough of Flemington, has the highest overall cost of living for a family of four at $111,459 per year, well above the statewide average of $97,621 per year.
Meanwhile, Camden County is the least expensive place in New Jersey. The average annual cost of living for a family of four in the area is just $87,509, $10,112 less than it is across the state as a whole. Camden is the most populous community in Camden County.
Note that monetary figures are rounded to the nearest dollar and calculated differences may not always add up perfectly to the nearest dollar.
Read More About Cost of Living
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