New Jersey’s Population is Actually Growing, Despite Data from Moving Van Companies

Bad data alert: When it comes to measuring New Jersey’s population, trust the Decennial Census, not a random moving van company.

Published on Feb 5, 2024 in Tax and Budget

Every year, surveys from moving van companies sound the alarm on people moving from New Jersey. But in reality, New Jersey keeps growing in population, workers, and income. While these companies excel at transporting household possessions, research isn’t exactly their forte.

What’s worse, these “studies” are used to fuel the false narrative that taxes cause wealthy people to leave the state. This leads to demands for tax cuts for the wealthy, which would cost the state billions of dollars in revenue and hurt essential public investments such as schools, environmental protections, and public transportation.

New Jersey Keeps Growing in Population

New Jersey’s population is rising, contrary to the conclusions of moving company surveys. Between 1970 and 2020, the state’s population increased by 30 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Decennial Census. With its consistent methodologies, comprehensive, inclusive approach, and official government oversight, the Decennial Census is the most reliable measure of population.

New Jersey's Population Grew 30% Since 1970 - Table detailing population growth from 7,168,164 in 1970, to 9,288,994 in 2020.

The Census data contrasts sharply with moving companies’ data conclusions about population changes. Their flawed methodologies only show the interstate movements of people who use one moving company – their company. A single moving business doesn’t encompass the wide range of movers available, and many people move without the use of professional movers or rental trucks. Additionally, consistent with the rest of the country, most New Jersey moves are in-state, not out-of-state.

New Jersey Keeps Adding Wealthy Residents, Not Losing Them

Wealthy people are not leaving the state in droves. Despite anecdotes suggesting otherwise, IRS statistics show that the number of New Jersey high-income households (and their total income) keeps increasing. Specifically, these households have increased by about 26 percent since 2016, according to the IRS Statistics of Income (SOI).

New Jersey's Millionaire Population Grew 26% Since 2016 - Table detailing millionaire population growth from 19,070 in 2016 to 23,950 in 2020.

The SOI IRS data shows that New Jersey continues to add taxpayers, income, and high-income residents. Even when high-earning individuals leave for other states, New Jersey’s booming economic engine generates more than enough wealth and high-income employment to make up for it.

Taxes are rarely the reason why people move, as evidenced by exhaustive research. Rather than resorting to drastic tax cuts for the wealthy that undermine critical infrastructure and services, policymakers should focus on making life more affordable for working families and improving and maintaining the amenities that make New Jersey a great place to live.