Best counties to raise a family in New Jersey

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June 3, 2021
Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

Best counties to raise a family in New Jersey

Known in other parts of the world as shires, provinces, or territories, the United States’ counties (also known in certain states as boroughs or parishes) date back to the 1600s, when settlers first came to find freedom from British rule. Today, those counties remain, with the 50 states divided into several, each with its own unique makeup.

For people looking to find a home to raise a family in, choosing a county is an important decision. Most families place affordable homes, safe neighborhoods, a quality school system, and family-friendly activities at the top of their wishlists.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to raise a family in New Jersey using data from Niche. Niche ranks counties based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, healthcare, recreation and weather.

The list features counties that boast some of the top schools and fun, family-friendly activities for every season. Keep reading to explore the best counties to raise a family. Maybe you’ll find one that suits your brood.

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Smallbones // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Salem County

- Population: 62,990
- Median home value: $184,600 (71% own)
- Median rent: $1,019 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $66,842
- Top public schools: Mannington Township School (B+), Mary S. Shoemaker School (B+), Woodstown High School (B+)
- Top private schools: Salem County Christian Academy (B+)
- Top places to live: Woodstown (B+), Pilesgrove Township (B+), Mannington Township (B)
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#19. Ocean County

- Population: 596,415
- Median home value: $279,000 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,428 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $70,909
- Top public schools: OCVTS - Marine Academy of Technology & Environmental Science (MATES) (A+), Bay Head Elementary School (A), Island Heights Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Donovan Catholic High School (A-), Calvary Academy (A-), Ocean County Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Bay Head (A), Point Pleasant Beach (A), Beach Haven (A-)
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Jorge Moro // Shutterstock

#18. Cape May County

- Population: 93,086
- Median home value: $300,500 (78% own)
- Median rent: $1,169 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $67,074
- Top public schools: Avalon Elementary School (A-), Ocean City High School (A-), West Cape May Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: Cape Christian Academy (B), Cape Trinity Catholic School (unavailable), Bishop McHugh Regional Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Ocean City (A-), Cape May (A-), Avalon (A-)
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Sridhar // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Passaic County

- Population: 503,637
- Median home value: $342,600 (53% own)
- Median rent: $1,293 (47% rent)
- Median household income: $69,688
- Top public schools: Classical Academy Charter School of Clifton (A+), Wayne Hills High School (A), Little Falls School No. 3 (A)
- Top private schools: Pioneer Academy (A+), Noble Leadership Academy (A+), Hawthorne Christian Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Wayne Township (A), Pompton Lakes (A-), Ringwood (A-)
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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#16. Essex County

- Population: 795,404
- Median home value: $386,000 (44% own)
- Median rent: $1,178 (56% rent)
- Median household income: $61,510
- Top public schools: Millburn Senior High School (A+), Livingston Senior High School (A+), Glenwood Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Newark Academy (A+), Montclair Kimberley Academy (A+), Seton Hall Preparatory School (A+)
- Top places to live: Upper Montclair (A+), Short Hills (A+), Livingston Township (A+)
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Warren County

- Population: 105,862
- Median home value: $264,200 (72% own)
- Median rent: $1,132 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $81,307
- Top public schools: Stewartsville Middle School (A-), Liberty Elementary School (A-), Third Street Elementary School (A-)
- Top private schools: Blair Academy (A+), Sts. Philip & James School (unavailable), Busy Bees Learning Center (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Vienna (B), Phillipsburg (B), Panther Valley (B)
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Famartin // Wikimedia Commons

#14. Sussex County

- Population: 141,483
- Median home value: $267,500 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,314 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $94,520
- Top public schools: Sparta Alpine School (A), Helen Morgan School (A), Green Hills School (A)
- Top private schools: Pope John XXIII Regional High School (A), Veritas Christian Academy (B), Reverand George A. Brown School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Lake Mohawk (A-), Stanhope (B+), Fredon Township (B)
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Bob Jagendorf // Wikicommons

#13. Atlantic County

- Population: 266,105
- Median home value: $217,900 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,120 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $62,110
- Top public schools: Mainland Regional High School (A), Eugene A. Tighe Middle School (A), Egg Harbor Township High School (A)
- Top private schools: St. Augustine Preparatory School (A), Holy Spirit High School (A-), Atlantic Christian School (A-)
- Top places to live: Linwood (A), Egg Harbor Township (B+), Northfield (B+)
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#12. Hudson County

- Population: 670,046
- Median home value: $378,000 (32% own)
- Median rent: $1,391 (68% rent)
- Median household income: $71,189
- Top public schools: Dr. Ronald E. McNair Academic High School (A+), High Tech High School (A+), Soaring Heights (A)
- Top private schools: The Hudson School (A+), Saint Peter's Prep (A+), St. Dominic Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Hoboken (A+), Waterfront (A+), Secaucus (A+)
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Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Gloucester County

- Population: 291,165
- Median home value: $219,700 (80% own)
- Median rent: $1,225 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $87,283
- Top public schools: Logan Township Elementary School (A), Gloucester County Institute of Technology (A), Wenonah Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Our Lady of Mercy Academy (A), Gloucester County Christian School (B), St. Margaret Regional School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Beckett (A), Turnersville (A-), Wenonah (A-)
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#10. Camden County

- Population: 506,738
- Median home value: $197,800 (67% own)
- Median rent: $1,079 (33% rent)
- Median household income: $70,451
- Top public schools: Haddonfield Memorial High School (A+), Cherry Hill High School East (A), Central Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Bishop Eustace Preparatory School (A), Gloucester Catholic Junior Senior High School (A), Camden Catholic High School (A-)
- Top places to live: Springdale (A+), Greentree (A+), Haddonfield (A+)
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Apc106 // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Burlington County

- Population: 445,702
- Median home value: $251,200 (75% own)
- Median rent: $1,346 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $87,416
- Top public schools: Moorestown High School (A+), South Valley Elementary School (A), William Allen Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Moorestown Friends School (A+), Doane Academy (A+), Life Center Academy (A-)
- Top places to live: Moorestown Township (A+), Ramblewood (A), Medford Township (A)
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#8. Union County

- Population: 554,033
- Median home value: $367,200 (59% own)
- Median rent: $1,290 (41% rent)
- Median household income: $80,198
- Top public schools: Union County Magnet High School (A+), Academy for Information Technology (A+), Academy for Allied Health Science (A+)
- Top private schools: Kent Place School (A+), Oratory Preparatory School (A+), Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child - Upper School (A+)
- Top places to live: New Providence (A+), Summit (A+), Westfield (A+)
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LittleGun // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Monmouth County

- Population: 621,659
- Median home value: $421,900 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,399 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $99,733
- Top public schools: High Technology High School (A+), Biotechnology High School (A+), Marine Academy of Science & Technology (A+)
- Top private schools: Ranney School (A+), Christian Brothers Academy (A+), Trinity Hall (A)
- Top places to live: Little Silver (A+), Fair Haven (A+), Holmdel Township (A)
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Jared Kofsky/PlaceNJ.com // Wikimedia Commons

#6. Hunterdon County

- Population: 124,823
- Median home value: $415,100 (83% own)
- Median rent: $1,446 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $115,379
- Top public schools: Hunterdon Central Regional High School District (A), East Amwell Township (A), North Hunterdon High School (A)
- Top private schools: Immaculate Conception School (A), Crossroads Christian Academy (unavailable), Foundations Preschool (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Raritan Township (A), Clinton (A), Readington Township (A)
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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#5. Mercer County

- Population: 367,922
- Median home value: $291,100 (63% own)
- Median rent: $1,266 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $81,057
- Top public schools: Princeton High School (A+), West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South (A+), West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North (A+)
- Top private schools: The Lawrenceville School (A+), Peddie School (A+), Princeton International School of Math and Science (A+)
- Top places to live: Princeton Junction (A+), Princeton (A+), Robbinsville (A+)
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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#4. Middlesex County

- Population: 825,920
- Median home value: $344,100 (64% own)
- Median rent: $1,469 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $89,533
- Top public schools: Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics, & Engineering Technologies (A+), South Brunswick High School (A+), J.P. Stevens High School (A+)
- Top private schools: The Wardlaw + Hartridge School (A+), The Wilberforce School (A+), Noor-Ul-Iman School (A+)
- Top places to live: Princeton Meadows (A+), Monmouth Junction (A+), Plainsboro Center (A+)
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Mihai_Andritoiu // Shutterstock

#3. Morris County

- Population: 493,379
- Median home value: $456,200 (74% own)
- Median rent: $1,534 (26% rent)
- Median household income: $115,527
- Top public schools: The Academy for Mathematics, Science & Engineering (A+), West Morris Mendham High School (A+), Morris County School of Technology (A+)
- Top private schools: Delbarton School (A+), Morristown-Beard School (A+), Villa Walsh Academy (A+)
- Top places to live: Mountain Lakes (A+), Chatham Township (A+), Chatham (A+)
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#2. Bergen County

- Population: 930,390
- Median home value: $469,500 (65% own)
- Median rent: $1,506 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $101,144
- Top public schools: Bergen County Academies (A+), Bergen County Technical High School - Teterboro (A+), Tenafly High School (A+)
- Top private schools: Dwight-Englewood School (A+), Bergen Catholic High School (A+), Academy of the Holy Angels (A+)
- Top places to live: Ridgewood (A+), Ho-Ho-Kus (A+), Glen Rock (A+)
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Zeete // Wikimedia Commons

#1. Somerset County

- Population: 329,838
- Median home value: $430,700 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,594 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $113,611
- Top public schools: Montgomery High School (A+), Ridge High School (A+), Bridgewater-Raritan High School (A+)
- Top private schools: The Pingry School (A+), Rutgers Preparatory School (A+), Gill St. Bernard's School (A+)
- Top places to live: Bradley Gardens (A+), Bernards Township (A+), Bernardsville (A+)

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