NJ Politics Digest: Are Millennials Actually Fleeing the State?

Young people are dealing with growing student debt.

Young people are dealing with growing student debt. Pixabay

A group that studied why so many millennials are leaving the state have a very New Jersey solution to the problem—spend more money to try to keep them here.

A new study by the advocacy group New Jersey Policy Perspectives found that while residents 18 to 39 are fleeing the state, it’s no greater than anytime in the last 14 years, according to a report by NJBiz.com. And it’s no different than the number of people their age leaving other high-tax states in the area, such as New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the study concludes.

“There’s no crisis here,” is how Cliff Zukin from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, put it, according to the NJBiz report.

However, a report by New Jersey Future last year found the number of millennials in New Jersey are down two percent in the state in a period when they were up seven percent nationally, according to NJ101.5.

And the study released Monday found that a larger percentage of millennials who stay in New Jersey aren’t living on their own—they are continuing to live with parents or relatives, a number that has been climbing for the past decade.

The report did find that millennials are having a tough time finding affordable housing and good-paying jobs, NJBiz reports. Some have attributed those conditions to the state’s high-taxes and numerous regulations that they say make living here expensive and stifle economic growth.
Young people are also dealing with growing student debt, as New Jersey’s spending on higher education has lagged.

New Jersey Policy Perspectives says the state should try to keep young residents here by providing more state aid to public universities, boosting the minimum wage to $15 an hour and finding ways to make housing more affordable.

While the group says that the number of millennials moving into the state equals that of those moving out, the Bloustein School has also found in the past that the state is leader in the U.S. for net outmigration, with more than a quarter million more people leaving the Garden State between 2010 and 2015 than moved in. That places New Jersey third, behind New York and Illinois.

An annual study conducted by United Van Lines found that in recent years New Jersey has consistently ranked at the top of the list of losses to outmigration. But that study found that 30 percent of those moving were doing so when they retired, with experts saying older residents are fleeing to escape high property taxes and housing costs and to find warmer weather.

Quote of the Day: “It’s a very high cost of living state. Cost of housing is very high. That’s who we are.” — Cliff Zukin, a professor at Rutgers University’s Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.

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NJ Politics Digest: Are Millennials Actually Fleeing the State?