LETTING THE DATA SPEAK FOR ITSELF

household poplution

Age Distribution

NJ’s young adult (20-34 year old) population is underrepresented compared with national average, and the middle-age population is overrepresented. (This chart shows overall population, and while this age distribution is driven by the native-born more than the foreign-born population, both groups show disproportionately few 20-24 year olds compared with other states.)

Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017


This age distribution stands out compared with neighboring states, too. (Note: NJ has lowest share of 20-24 year olds but highest share of 35-44 year olds and lowest share of 65-74 year olds.)

Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017


household poplution

Income Distribution and Educational Attainment

New Jersey is a relatively high-income state compared with national averages: The NJ household income distribution is skewed toward the top; 38.6% of households have income above $100,000.

Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017


New Jersey has a highly educated population (college grad and above).

Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017


New Jersey’s immigrant/foreign-born population is also highly-educated compared with in other states. (Relative to the native-born population, immigrants are overrepresented in both extremes of the educational distribution–HS and graduate/professional.)

Source: US Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2017


household poplution

Higher Education Finances

NJ spends more on K-12 education and transportation, less on higher education and Medicaid (and public assistance), than other state governments.

Source: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), State Expenditure Report 2018.


Comparing school districts with household incomes around the median in each state, NJ state and local revenues per pupil are higher than in most other states.

Source: DEG calculations on data from EdBuild.org, Dividing Lines, 2013-2016.


NJ’s low 20-to-24-year-old population is largely explained by an out-migration of college-bound students that far exceeds in-migration of out-of-state students into NJ colleges.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2017


The picture is even starker when we look at migration in vs. out of NJ to 4-year colleges only.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2017


One factor that likely contributes to high net out-migration from NJ to out-of-state colleges is the relatively low average cost premium to attend out of state vs. in state.

Source: College Board (2019); “US average” is average difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition and fees charged by 4-year public institutions across all US states. Premium for each state shown is average difference between what it costs for a student in each state to go to a public college as an out-of-state student in the other comparison states vs. a public college in their own state of residence.


The overall cost to go to an in-state public college is high in NJ compared with other states.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2017


NJ public higher education institutions rely more on tuition and fees for revenues than do most other states.

Source: National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, 2017


household poplution

Employment by Industry

In New Jersey, manufacturing overall is only the sixth largest major industry by employment…

Source: BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages annual averages from 2017.


But looking within manufacturing, the chemical/pharmaceutical manufacturing sub-sector emerges as a stronghold industry in NJ.

Source: BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages annual averages from 2017.


household poplution

Business Dynamics/Job Creation

“Net job creation” = [job creation rate (from new and continuing establishments)] – [job destruction rate (from existing and continuing establishments)]. NJ seems to do worse than the national average in recession/job destruction and not as good as national average in recovery/job creation.

Source: US Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics, 1977-2016. (Note: 2016 is latest year of data available as of April 2019.)


Job creation from new businesses in NJ only recently surpassed national average but otherwise has lagged.

Source: US Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics (2000-2016)


And among continuing establishments, job creation in NJ has hovered right around the national average since 2000. Note, more (almost double the) jobs are created each year from continuing businesses than from new ones.

Source: US Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics (2000-2016)


A smaller share of job destruction is accounted for by establishment deaths/exits…

Source: US Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics (2000-2016)


…than to declining jobs in continuing establishments. Parallels the job creation story, with continuing businesses the far bigger (double) share of job destruction. (This story is true for NJ and nationwide.)

Source: US Census Bureau, Business Dynamics Statistics (2000-2016)


All charts were compiled and prepared by District Economics Group (DEG) from the source data cited in each chart.