Why Are People From New Jersey So Much Happier Than New Yorkers?
A recent survey of the happiest states in the country puts New Jersey at the top. So why are New Yorkers so miserable in comparison?
Wallethub compiled statistics from every state about health, emotional wellbeing, work satisfaction, community involvement and other factors to determine exactly how happy residents are across the United States from Alabama to Wyoming.
The results show that here in the northeast, New Jersy is on the top of the list. Ranking 4th out of the entire country, people from New Jersey are downright happy. Just across the border, however, New Yorkers did not fare as well. The Empire State ranked 17th on the list. While still in the top half of the country, it's far below New Jersey.
So, why is New Jersey so happy?
As someone who grew up in New Jersey and now lives in New York, I'm in a unique situation to perhaps be able to explain things. First of all, New Jersey doesn't give a f---. I know New Yorkers have a reputation for yelling "fugget about it" and rolling their eyes at you, but deep down, people from New York really do care about what other people think about them. People from New Jersey honestly couldn't care less about you or anything you've got going on. I suspect this detachment may be just one of the keys to why New Jersey is so happy.
That's not to say that people from the Garden State don't care about others. Family is and friends are everything to people from New Jersey. Sunday dinner is a huge deal where I grew up. No matter how busy you are or what you have going on, you're going to find yourself at grandma's house on Sunday for pasta and gravy.
This brings us to the food. New Jersey has some of the best food in the country -- hands down. Much is said about New York Pizza, but let's be honest. That's New York CITY pizza. While we're lucky to have some decent pizza places in the Hudson Valley, travel just a little further north and you'll find yourself in a pizza wasteland. Try ordering a slice in Binghampton and tell me just how happy you feel.
And it's not just the pizza. Almost every food you can think of is made to perfection in New Jersey. Sub sandwiches, cheesesteaks, hot dogs... look up any food category online and you'll find one of the highest-ranking versions in the country coming from New Jersey. And where else can you find a better taylor ham and egg sandwich? If that's not happiness I don't know what is.
While food is all well and good, New Yorkers still may be boggled how a state with such terrible driving conditions can be happy. Anyone who's driven on the Garden State Parkway knows how miserable it can be trying to get from place to place. Surely, driving those roads every day must affect their happiness, right? The truth is, drivers in New Jersey love the Parkway. People joke that New Jerseyans identify themselves by their exit number, and that's absolutely true. While it might get congested at times, the Parkway is a magical portal to towns and villages that you'd otherwise never be able to visit as frequently. Here in the Hudson Valley, having a friend who lives on the other end of the county is a hassle. In New Jersey, you just jump on the Parkway and in minutes you'll find yourself in another town. In High School, I had friends all over the northern part of the state, and we would get together all the time as if we lived in the same neighborhood.
And, of course, having the Garden State Parkway also means that no one is ever far from the beach. The Jersey Shore offers residents 130 miles of shoreline. While New York has some pretty nice lakes, it's just not the same as the shore. Everyone in New Jersey is near the beach. And that means they're never far away from vacation. While New Yorkers have to plan a trip to the ocean, our neighbors in New Jersey can just decide on a nice day to drive to the beach. Honestly, it's no wonder why they're so happy.
For a state that's always the butt of the joke, New Jersey actually has a lot going for it. From Springsteen and Bon Jovi to being the real home of New York's professional sports teams, to not having to get out of the car to pump gas, the list goes on and on. And with the legalization of marijuana just on the horizon, New Jersey is only going to keep getting happier.
But all of this doesn't mean that we should feel bad living in New York. In fact, the same survey that ranks The Garden State as one of the happiest places to live also shows the Empire State as having the lowest cases of depression and the 6th best state for emotional and physical well being. Plus, we're just a short ride from the magical state of New Jersey, so that's got to make you happy, right?