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New Jersey ranks as one of the best states for families to live comfortably on the average salary, study shows


New Jersey is not often thought of as an affordable place to live. It’s a high-tax, high-expense state. But a study by Forbes Advisor has some surprising findings — that New Jersey is one of the best states in the country for families to meet their basic needs on the average salary. Lauren Graves of Forbes Advisor emphasizes though that basic, means basic.

“Basic needs for this study just means the absolute necessities, food, housing, child care costs, taxes, that sort of thing,” she said. “It actually doesn’t include savings, emergency spending, leisure spending, anything like that, so it could still feel tough to make ends meet.”

The study found that while living expenses here were more than $90,000 a year for two adults and one child, the income of that two-earner household was almost $145,000 a year.

“With that high average income we found that most families are actually making about 60% more than they need to make to meet their basic needs,” she said.

Graves said some costs in New Jersey are pretty reasonable.

“It has some of the lowest medical expenses and actually low transportation costs too, so while it does rank very highly for a lot of expense categories it’s also on the low end for some of them,” she said.

Janice Kirkel is a lifelong award-winning journalist who has done everything from network newscasts to national and local sports reports to business newscasts to specialized reporting and editing in technical areas of business and finance such as bankruptcy, capital structure changes and reporting on the business of the investment business.