Sun Editorial: Even with the taxes, a new study ranks NJ as fourth-best state to live

The study ranked NJ 48th in affordability, but gave the state much higher ranks in economy, education and health, quality of life and safety.

People sometimes make fun of New Jersey. Sometimes, they have a good reason. But, as a new study confirms, overall, it’s a pretty great place to live.

In fact, it’s the fourth-best place to live in the nation.

Finance site WalletHub recently released its 2019 Best States to Live In list. New Jersey ranked No. 4, just behind Massachusetts, Minnesota and New Hampshire. For all of the negative publicity the state receives, we’ll take No. 4 and be happy with it.

WalletHub looked at 51 factors when compiling its list, and combined them into five general categories: affordability, economy, education and health, quality of life and safety.

New Jersey performed well in all of them except one. You pretty much can guess which one.

The state ranked 48th in affordability, which considered everything from housing costs to, yes, property taxes, cost of living and household income. Indeed, it is expensive to live here.

However, New Jersey did extremely well in the other four categories.

The state was third in economy, which looked at the unemployment rate, debt, the wealth gap, entrepreneurial opportunities, bankruptcy rates and food insecurity.

The state finished fourth in education and health. Areas such as public school quality, the share of people over 25 with high school diplomas and the number of obese adults were factors here.

Quality of life saw the state at No. 7, with hours worked per week, commute time, bicycle friendliness, road quality and the number of beaches and theaters considered. We’re guessing road quality wasn’t weighted heavily here.

Finally, the state was No. 1 in safety, which looked at violent and property crime rates, traffic-related fatalities and the number of law enforcement employees per capita.

So, let’s get those property taxes lower. Then we’ll be in the mix for the overall No. 1 position.