Residents of New Jersey have plenty to be happy about. We have beautiful beaches, stunning state parks, fantastic fall foliage, and so much more! There are also certain things that New Jerseyans are less happy about, like traffic and taxes. Still, we’re among the happier half of the nation -- though just barely. According to a 2013 well-being survey by Gallup-Healthways, New Jersey is the 23rd happiest state in the country. Some areas of our state seem to know the secret to happiness, however. The National Bureau of Economic Research determined that Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties were among the top 10 happiest metropolitan areas in the USA.
All of this information got me wondering … Specifically, which cities and towns are the happiest in New Jersey?
Though it can be difficult to measure happiness, I’ve done my best, using data from Zippia and CreditDonkey, who both recently did studies on the subject. Factors used to determine “happiness” in an area include employment and divorce rates, percentage of residents with bachelor’s degrees, commute time, cost of living, home ownership, crime rates, income, restaurants per capita and number of sunny days. That’s a lot of information to consider, hopefully providing an accurate picture. Still, some of the results surprised me. Here are the happiest places in New Jersey, in no particular order.
1. Hamilton Square
Mr. Matté /Wikipedia Commons
Hamilton Square, New Jersey.
This wealthier community in Hamilton Township is home to the gorgeous Grounds for Sculpture. Maybe its beauty helps make residents happier! The town is also well educated with a low crime rate. It neighbors Trenton, which ranked much lower in overall happiness, but does provide numerous attractions for history buffs.
2. White Meadow Lake
Rock nj/Wikipedia Commons
White Meadow Lake, New Jersey.
An unincorporated community in Rockaway Township, White Meadow Lake has both a low unemployment rate and high median income.
The Woodbury Friends' Meetinghouse.
Woodbury, located in Gloucester County, was the first city in the nation to mandate recycling. The average commute time is low, coming in at under 25 minutes.
Split Rock, Succasunna, New Jersey.
Succasunna is a lovely community in Roxbury Township with about 10,000 residents. The cost of living is a bit higher than average, but so is the median income. Succasunna is the site of the world's first electronic switching public telephone exchange.
Downtown Vineland, New Jersey in Cumberland County.
Located in Cumberland County, Vineland is where Welch's Grape Juice got its start. Residents enjoy a higher median income combined with a lower cost of housing. The divorce rate is also low, at under 10 percent.
Oradell Station in Oradell, New Jersey.
Wealthy and well-educated, this Bergen County town is one of the safest in the state. Perhaps the Little Firehouse Theater helps to entertain residents and keeps them happier.
Erie-Lackawanna Railroad and Ferry Terminal, Hoboken.
With plenty of entertainment options, great parks, numerous restaurants and gorgeous New York City views, it's no wonder why residents are happy. John Jacob Astor, William Vanderbilt and Henry Ward Beecher have all called Hoboken home.
Trolley Park in Secaucus, New Jersey.
This safer town, northwest of Hoboken, has a low divorce rate at around 8 percent. The median household income is higher and they've got some great pizza joints, an added bonus.