Newark is New Jersey’s most populous city. As its biggest city, it’s home to several amenities and attractions. If you’re planning to live here, you should know what that entails. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Newark?
Living in Newark means you get to enjoy its various qualities, such as ideal location, nice environment and beaches, low sales taxes, and access to opportunities. But you should also be aware of its cons. They include the high living cost, property tax, housing costs, traffic, and frequency of crime.
However, the cons don’t tell the whole story about this city. In this article, we look at what it means to live in Newark.
Pros of Living in Newark
Newark has certain qualities that make it very livable. They include:
1. Ideal Location
The location of Newark makes it an ideal city to live in. It’s incredibly close to several major cities. New York City and Philadelphia are quite close by. Other cities such as Boston, Montreal, Washington DC, Niagara Falls, Quebec City, and Toronto are only a few hours away by flight. Its proximity to New York City, which is about 30 minutes away, is significant.
This closeness means it’s possible to live in Newark and work in NYC, and it gives residents the chance to take advantage of the world’s financial capital. You’ll have access to the museums and theatres in New York City. If you’re a sports fan, the Yankees stadium is accessible from Newark.
2. Beautiful Environment and Access to Beaches
Newark residents get to enjoy the beautiful environment and landscape that this city offers. It’s the kind of place where you want to spend your time outdoors, either alone, with friends, or with family. The city is also dog friendly, with multiple dog parks and beaches within and close to it. So, whether you want to swim, surf, or just lounge by the coast, you can do it all here.
3. Low Sales Taxes
New Jersey might be known for its high-income taxes, but it comes to buying goods, you’re in luck. The sales tax in New Jersey is capped at 6.25% for the whole state. No city in the state charges any extra sales tax. Not only that, sales taxes don’t apply to basic expenses such as clothing, grocery, shoes, prescription drugs, etc. So, if you’re looking for a place where you won’t have to pay exorbitant taxes on everything you buy, consider living in Newark.
4. Access to Opportunities
Newark’s economy isn’t exactly robust. The unemployment rate is higher than the national average, and income is lower. As someone planning to move in, you’re right to have some concerns about finding a job in this beautiful city. However, despite the statistics, the city is quite busy economy-wide. It’s a major shipping, rail, and air center. It’s also home to several employers such as Panasonic Corporation, PSEG, and Prudential. Its proximity to NYC also means residents can take advantage of job opportunities in the city.
Cons of Living in Newark
Here are the disadvantages of living in Newark.
1. Excessive Property Tax Rate
New Jersey has the highest property tax rate in the country. So, if you’re living in Newark and own a property, you should be ready to pay a premium as taxes. The average Property tax rate is 2.42% in the state, and it’s even higher in Newark. The tax rate is 3.8% in Newark city, which means you’ll be paying a lot on your property. You can easily avoid this tax by not buying a property, of course.
2. Traffic Congestion
As the biggest city in the most densely populated state in the country, it’s not surprising that the city also has traffic problems. Living here means being ready for long commutes, spending more money on gas, etc. The average time for one way commute in Newark is almost 10 minutes higher than the national average.
However, the city has an efficient public transport system. For example, 26.3% of residents use public transport to get to work. In addition, WalkScore also rates the city 79 for walkability, 65 for transit, and 61 for bike scores. Thus, it is very walkable, has a good transport system, and is bikeable to an extent.
3. Prevalence of Violent Crime
Safety is a major concern when picking where you want to live. For some, it might even be a determining factor when moving to a city. Fortunately, Newark is relatively safe to live in. The crime rate is 9% below the national average, and property crime is also 22% lower. So while it might not be the safest city in the US, it’s safer than 16% of cities in the country.
However, violent crimes are more common here. The rate of violent crime is 63% higher than the national average. The chance of being a crime victim here is 1 in 45. Despite the heavy rate of violent crimes, there are several safe neighborhoods in the city, such as Howard Beach, Fresh Kills, Coney Island, Flatbush, etc. Also, crime rates have been reducing consistently over the years. So, you’re making the right decision if you move to Newark.
4. Expensive Place to Live
Newark is an expensive city to live in. The cost of living here is 19.5% above the national average, which is quite substantial. So, moving here might cost you more than you envisioned.
Almost Every basic expense here, including grocery, housing, utilities, transportation, and miscellaneous expenses, costs more than the national average. Only healthcare is cheaper here than nationally.
Even though the cost of living here is slightly below the New Jersey average, healthcare, transportation, and utilities cost more here than the state average.
5. Prices of Houses are High
Another issue residents of Newark also have to deal with is paying more than the national average for houses. The average cost of a house in Newark is $363,054. This is only the average, and you may still find homes for lesser prices in some parts of the city.
However, Rent in Newark is $1,289, which is lower than the national average. So, renting here might just be a better alternative than buying a house unless you’re planning to stay for a long time.
Newark is one of the oldest cities in the country and hosts the oldest airport. This city has a rich history and heritage of which continues to reflect till today. Therefore, it’s a lovely city to stay in. But you shouldn’t ignore its downsides too.