By Tom Bergeron, NJBIZ
So maybe it was an inexact survey, but we have to give the folks at Movoto Real Estate a tip of the cap. When the national company turned to New Jersey to see which town was the best, they added some uniquely Jersey requirements – including making the total number of pizza places, bagel shops and diners one of the judged categories.
Movoto started with the 50 biggest municipalities, then ranked them on the following criteria, most of which you would expect:
- Cost of living (percent above or below state average)
- Crime (percent above or below state average)
- Education (high school degree attainment rate compared to state average)
- Median Income (city's average compared to state average)
- Home value (percent above or below state average)
- Amenities per person (pizza places, bagel shops, and diners / person)
- Amenities total (total pizza places, bagel shops, and diners)
"We chose pizza places, bagel shops, and diners as three amenities that clearly represent New Jersey," the company said in a release. "From there, we decided to break this category up into both amenities per person and the total number of amenities per city, because while we recognize that it's great to have a range of choices for each person, we didn't want to dock cities points just because they have larger populations."
Here's the Top 10:
10. North Bergen
8. West Orange
7. Toms River
5. North Brunswick
4. East Brunswick
1. Fair Lawn
Here's why small town Fair Lawn came up big.
"This is one of the smaller towns on our list, with just over 32,000 residents, but that, by no means, hurt its score — in fact, when it came to amenities per person, the smaller population gave it a boost,"the company said. "With 16 pizza places, three diners, and six bagel shops, Fair Lawn has plenty of options for everyone (but let's be honest, you really don't need much more than John's Pizza when it comes to pies – a nice nod to a local merchant.)"
Of course, the Bergen County town is more than just food.
"Fair Lawn also scored well in safety, with a crime rate 60 percent lower than the state's average," the company said. "And just to add to the idyllic-feeling of this city, there are also a number of historic places, like the Cadmus-Folly House, dotted throughout. It's no wonder this city ranked No. 1 on our list."
See the rest of the list at the Movoto website.