The lighter side of real estate

These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In New Jersey

Where in the garden state can retirees find “liberty and prosperity?” We’ve made a list of the best places to retire in New Jersey.

Laura Allan

112 articles, 1 comments

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New Jersey may get a bit of a bad rap from the rest of the nation, but here at the Movoto Real Estate blog, we think it’s a truly great state for all sorts folks, including people looking to retire. The question is, though, which places are best for present and future retirees? We decided to find out.

We compiled a list of what we believe are the best possible places to enjoy not working during your golden years, all culminating in a top 10. The very best places for retirees in New Jersey were lead by Ridgewood and include:

1. Village of Ridgewood
2. Borough of Tenafly
3. Borough of Westwood
4. Borough of Glen Rock
5. Borough of Haddonfield
6. Borough of Florham Park
7. Borough of Madison
8. Borough of Hasbrouck Heights
9. Borough of Princeton
10. Borough of Ridgefield

As far as how we got these results and what numbers we used, we’ll talk about that next. So take off your shoes, put your feet up, and let us do the work for you. After all, we’re not retired yet, you lucky ducks.

The Devil’s In The Details

For those who haven’t seen how we do our Big Deal Lists before, let’s go over how we got our results. As with past state-level retirement rankings, such as Pennsylvania and North Carolina, we started with a list of all places in the state with at least 10,000 people, which, in this case, was a total of 110. Next, we collected data for four different criteria from the U.S. Census (2010) and business listings. The four criteria we used were:

  • Cost of living (higher being better, since you’ve saved for it)
  • Crime rate (lower is better)
  • Amenities (libraries, physicians, arts & entertainment, restaurants, shopping, adult education)
  • Weather (average summer temperature and air quality score)

Once we had that data, we ranked the different places in each category from 1 to 110, with one being the best. We averaged those scores and used that average to get one Big Deal Score and find our No. 1. That place was Ridgewood, with some seriously impressive numbers. Now, let’s look at what makes this place, and the others on our top 10, the best places to kick back, relax, and spend a well-earned retirement.

1. Ridgewood

Ridgewood, NJ

Source: Flickr user birdphone

The village of Ridgewood came in at No. 1 on our list and offers some pretty great attractions for retirees. Music lovers will be treated to free concerts, frequent musical performances at churches, and, of course, festival performers during one of the village’s many celebrations. Those looking to eat something fancy can also find what they’re looking for at Village Green Restaurant, where you can order a five-course meal for yourself or split it with someone special.

Besides the great perks, Ridgewood offers a great life. The crime is fairly low, ranking No. 15 for that criterion, and the cost of living rank scores a very high No. 5 for that category. The 24,958 residents here present a warm, homey feeling but don’t scrimp on the things to do with a pleasant 14th place amenity ranking. If you’re looking to settle down without losing all the fun, this place might be right for you.

2. Tenafly

Tenafly, NJ

Source: Flickr user Doug Kerr

Coming in at a close second is Tenafly, which also offers some pretty stellar things to do. Earth Day is a big thing here and is celebrated in style at the Tenafly Nature Center, and for dinner you can hit AXIA Taverna. Don’t forget to finish it all off with a tasty baklava ice cream sandwich.

When it comes to the numbers, this borough looks pretty appealing as well. The cost of living here is ranked No. 3 overall, and the weather here places second for that criteria. A part of that is probably that the air quality is really fantastic here, so breathe deep in this little place, locals. The crime is decently low, with only 771 crimes per 100,000 people, so people who retire here can feel safe taking gentle walks around this peaceful spot.

3. Westwood

Westwood, NJ

Source: Flickr user Ryan Vaarsi

There’s plenty to see and do in little 10,908-strong Westwood, whose nickname is “The Hub of the Pascack Valley.” Retirees could pick up ice skating, shop at the Westwood Plaza, or take in a show at Westwood Cinema. Or they could just pick up a book to read at the local library and flip through its pages while lounging in the centrally-located park.

Bookworms who love to be outside are going to get along very well with this small borough, who has the 11th best weather on our list for that ranking. The crime was also very low and the borough ranked 10th in that area, so new and old residents alike have nothing to fear.

4. Glen Rock

Glen Rock, NJ

Source: Flickr user birdphone

Glen Rock showcases the safety that living in a small place can offer. This 11,601 person borough has the No. 4 ranking crime rate, with a mere 610 crimes per 100,000 people. It also has a great cost of living and ranks No. 12 for that category. Add in some comfy weather and you’ve got a pretty great place to settle down in.

As far as things to do, Glen Rock is all about its organizations. Whether you’re into preserving history, rock gardening, are a veteran, or an avid square dancer, this borough has got a place for you and events for you to join in. (Yes, there’s a big rock there, too, if you want to visit it.)

5. Haddonfield

Haddonfield, NJ

Source: Flickr user iirraa

The Borough of Haddonfield is a fantastic place for dinosaurs. Wait, no, we’re not calling retirees dinosaurs! We simply wanted to mention that the first Hadrosaur skeleton, and the first nearly full dinosaur skeleton in the United States, were found in this little spot. Today, the small borough is a thriving home to dinosaur statues and memorabilia, as well as other historical sites and attractions.

The shopping in these parts isn’t half-bad either. The retiree amenities here rank 10th overall for that criterion, and include Sweet T’s Bakeshop where you simply have to try a blueberry velvet cupcake. The weather here is simply grand as well, and ranks at No. 6 on our list for that category, so the 11,593 locals can enjoy the numerous parks and events with ease.

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6. Florham Park

Florham Park, NJ

Source: Flickr user Russell Sprague

Florham park picks up our No. 6 spot when it comes to great locations for retirees. There’s a municipal pool, monthly borough meetings so that residents can be involved in local politics, and even a park garden club where those with a green thumb can really shine. Being one of the 11,696 people who live here means that you’re a part of a community, not just another face in the crowd.

While safety might generally come in numbers, it certainly comes in the small-town atmosphere of this place. The crime rank here is a strong 14th on our list, at only 767 crimes per 100,000 people. On top of that, the cost of living here ranks very highly at No. 6, which means this is a high-quality place to live. There may not be as many amenities as places like Westwood, but you can bet some of the local cuisine will knock your socks off.

7. Madison

Madison, NJ

Source: Flickr user Bryant Simons

Things are looking pretty rosy in this 15,845 population borough, nicknamed “The Rose City.” The crime rate is very low at only 667 crimes per 100,000 people, and the cost of living is a very proud No. 9 on our list for that ranking. There are a fair amount of amenities, including the Zion Hair Salon, where retirees can try all sorts of new do’s and dyes.

For folks itching to get up and go, there’s an international airport only 17 miles away, so anytime that wanderlust strikes, you’re only a quick plane ride from adventure. If you want culture in your own backyard, that’s no problem either, considering that the borough is home to the only Shakespeare theater company in New Jersey.

8. Hasbrouck Heights

Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Source: Flickr user New Jersey State Library

Seated at No. 8 on list is the borough of Hasbrouck Heights. The 11,842 inhabitants of this small place are lucky enough to enjoy a low crime rate that ranks eighth on our list for that category, which means safety and tranquility all year round. Some of that tranquility stems from the fantastic weather they have, which comes in at No. 17 for that ranking. There may be fewer amenities here than some places, but Hasbrouck Heights still manages a respectable 52nd on our list for that criteria and is a fun place to live.

Bargain hunters will love this little borough, considering that it is home to quite a few amenities for its size, and also has a town-wide garage sale in June, which includes a bake sale and book sale from the local public library.

9. Princeton

Princeton, NJ

Source: Flickr user Simon

Most people probably know this little place for its college more than its other perks. Be assured, though, that this little borough is more than just Princeton University. For an only 12,307 person place, this borough is the No. 5 spot on our list for amenities. Plenty of physicians, tons of shopping, and some top-notch restaurants make this a fun place to eat, play, and live. Don’t believe us? Grab a bite at the Blue Point Grill and you can be the judge.

The cost of living isn’t anything to scoff at either, and ranks No. 10 on our list for that criterion. The weather is decent and comes in at 10th as well, which means this place will be comfy for students and retirees alike.

10. Ridgefield

Ridgefield, NJ

Source: Flickr user Scott Heiferman

We started with Ridgewood, and now we’ll fittingly end with Ridgefield. The 11,032 folks who reside here enjoy a very low crime rate of 714 crimes per 100,00 people and a very decent cost of living. There are meat markets and numerous other eclectic places to get unique ingredients for shopping among this borough’s 55th ranked amenities.

The community center here offers a place for all locals to find activities, socializing, and fun throughout the year. Plus, if you’re looking to have just a little you-time or be with your loved one, there are plenty of cozy restaurants to eat at, such as Tutto A Modo Mio, and parks to stroll through.

Where This Garden Doesn’t Bloom

Where there are roses, there are also some thorns, and New Jersey does have quite a few of those. Bridgeton sits at the bottom of our list with the lowest scoring cost of living, high crime rate, and few amenities. Millville follows shortly after with an even worse crime ranking and some of the worst weather on our list in that ranking. Plainfield is plain and simple not a good place for retirees, and lands the 109th spot on our overall list.

While there are more great places and more poor places for retirees, Ridgewood is decisively the best. It’s safe, homey, and there’s lots to do there, which makes it perfect for those who are looking to kick back and relax or stay active and fun. Think we missed a hidden gem in New Jersey? Feel free to let us know what you think.

Movoto Real Estate’s Best Places to Retire in New Jersey

City Population Rank Cost of Living Rank Crime Rank Retiree Amenities Rank Weather Rank Big Deal Score
Ridgewood 24,958 1 5 15 14 17 12.75
Tenafly 14,488 2 3 15 37 2 14.25
Westwood 10,908 3 26 10 11 17 16
Glen Rock 11,601 4 12 4 53 17 21.5
Haddonfield 11,593 5 24 54 10 6 23.5
Florham Park 11,696 6 6 14 29 46 23.75
Madison 15,845 7 9 7 35 46 24.25
Hasbrouck Heights 11,842 8 28 8 52 17 26.25
Princeton 12,307 9 10 82 5 10 26.75
Ridgefield 11,032 10 20 11 33 55 29.75
Hillsdale 10,219 11 20 1 82 17 30
Rutherford 18,061 12 30 41 36 17 31
Englewood 27,147 13 33 35 6 51 31.25
Ramsey 14,473 14 15 29 19 65 32
Edgewater 11,513 15 11 47 21 51 32.5
Summit 21,457 16 4 31 12 84 32.75
Palisades Park 19,622 17 17 25 42 51 33.75
Dumont 17,479 18 44 3 87 2 34
Hoboken 50,005 19 2 57 24 55 34.5
Paramus 26,342 19 12 106 3 17 34.5
Bergenfield 26,764 21 52 6 79 2 34.75
Fair Lawn 32,457 22 33 31 59 17 35
Fort Lee 35,345 23 40 21 32 51 36
Westfield 30,316 23 8 26 26 84 36
River Edge 11,340 23 24 20 83 17 36
Ocean City 11,701 26 23 104 4 17 37
New Milford 16,341 27 33 13 101 2 37.25
Hackensack 43,010 28 56 62 18 17 38.25
Oakland 12,754 28 20 12 56 65 38.25
Franklin Lakes 10,590 30 1 17 71 65 38.5
Hammonton 14,791 31 92 36 15 17 40
West New York 49,708 32 16 42 50 55 40.75
Cliffside Park 23,594 33 31 18 60 55 41
Morristown 18,411 34 40 80 2 46 42
Clifton 84,136 35 56 59 40 17 43
Kinnelon 10,248 36 7 9 93 65 43.5
Metuchen 13,574 37 33 40 22 84 44.75
Lodi 24,136 38 40 48 76 17 45.25
New Providence 12,171 39 14 19 67 84 46
Ringwood 12,228 40 26 2 95 65 47
Secaucus 16,264 40 31 86 16 55 47
Elmwood Park 19,403 42 40 58 75 17 47.5
Union City 66,455 43 17 64 55 55 47.75
Wallington 11,335 44 52 45 80 17 48.5
Highland Park 13,982 45 44 39 28 84 48.75
Guttenberg 11,176 46 17 28 99 55 49.75
Pompton Lakes 11,097 47 56 34 45 65 50
Fairview 13,835 48 33 46 69 55 50.75
Hawthorne 18,791 49 33 43 63 65 51
South Plainfield 23,385 50 44 50 27 84 51.25

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posted on: April 16, 2014
32,744 views, 3 comments


  1. Rob

    This is just silly. Why would higher cost of living be better for tried people? Because they saved for it is a ridiculous answer. I grew up in Ridgewood and most people I knew got out of there as soon as the kids got out of college, lest they be stuck paying the crazy property taxes.

  2. Ken

    This is silly; looks like high cost and lots of traffic were among the top discriminators. Retiring to a place where everyone else is working, and therefore not around during the day (leaving me to be alone in the neighborhood) has zero appeal to retirees. Neither does paying those high school taxes (did that for years).

    Oh wait… Maybe this was intended to be satirical……

  3. Robert Lazowsky

    I saw a nationwide survey which placed Newark in the top 10 cities in the country to retire. They reasoned good public transportation, walkability, programs for seniors etc. but in a statewide list Newark did not even make the top 50.


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