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CityLab
Economy

Why Are Millennials Leaving New Jersey?

Jersey’s supply of compact, mixed-use neighborhoods is limited, and Millennials are noticing.
People arrive at Hoboken Terminal to commute to New York City.
People arrive at Hoboken Terminal to commute to New York City.Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

For 69-year-old Jeff Whipple, Bergen County, New Jersey, was about as good a place to grow up as anywhere. “Suburban New Jersey in the ‘50s, in a working-class town—it was like Leave It to Beaver,” he said. “I lived on a block where there were probably 50 other kids. I had four brothers, I married a girl from my hometown … That’s just the way things were in those days.”

Whipple left New Jersey for college, but returned soon after. He estimates that 20 percent of his high-school friends still live within a 20-mile radius of Bogota, the small town in Bergen County where they grew up. But most of those friends’ kids have moved away: “They couldn’t afford it. That’s not a scientific survey, but it’s the scuttlebutt. It’s in the air.”