Off-Grid Living Guide to New Jersey (5 Tips You Should Know)

New Jersey is situated between two big cities, New York and Philadelphia. The population is currently approximately 8 million, and is the second state from which people are moving out. When you consider New Jersey’s geographical location, proximity to states with high taxes, and high population density, it doesn’t take long to realize that living off the grid in New Jersey is not ideal.

living off the grid in new jersey
New Jersey sits right next to New York City (the furthest from off the grid living)

General Statistics for Living Off The Grid in New Jersey

Although living off the grid in New Jersey is legal, it is not a good state for it because taxes are high, living costs are high, and land and housing prices are roughly 40% higher than the national average. New Jersey also has a significant pollution and infrastructure problem, which, while municipal authorities have begun to address these issues in recent years, will take a long time for things to improve.

In certain regions, the environment is magnificent, but the closer you approach the cities, the more clear the state’s issues become. Newark has a population of 280k, Jersey City has a population of 270k, Paterson has a population of 150k, Elizabeth has a population of 130k, and Edison has a population of roughly 100k. If you’ve ever visited New Jersey, you’ve probably observed that the infrastructure is in disarray, with bridges that appear to be on the verge of collapsing at any moment (okay, maybe not that bad, but you get the point). 

Although there are several spots for living off the grid in New Jersey, I cannot advocate for it owing to the high taxes and cost of living. If you visit the rural areas, you will note that they are very similar to those in surrounding states. In certain cases, they are even very suitable for living off the grid.

You should always visit a state for at least a couple of weeks before opting to acquire a home for off the grid life. I know you’ve undoubtedly heard a lot of people complain about pollution, but you’ll only notice it if you drive through some of the places during the summer, and I challenge you to keep your windows down as much as possible. Check out my recent article on Off The Grid Living in Nevada, if you’re interested in desert living.

What’s the Climate in New Jersey? 

New Jersey features two distinct climates: a humid subtropical climate in the south and a humid continental climate in the north. This basically means that the summers are hot, and the winters are chilly and humid across the state, albeit the northern section of the state has a cooler climate than the southern part throughout the winter. The average temperature in the summer is around 82°F, and in the winter, it is around 34°F.

Temperatures as low as 0°F or even below are not uncommon in the northern section of the state during the winter, and there is a significant change in temperature during the winter. The coldest portions of the state, on average, are in the northeast, close to the ocean. 

What are the Best Crops to Grow in New Jersey?

When it comes to living off the grid in New Jersey, the majority of the components are fruits and veggies, which is actually a wonderful thing. When compared to other types of crops, vegetables have a very short growing time. Although the bulk of the crops grown in New Jersey is fruits and vegetables, agricultural crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat are also grown in some places. Overall, living off the grid in New Jersey has lots of alternatives for a self-sustaining existence when it comes to cultivating crops. 

What’s Freshwater Availability Like in New Jersey?

New Jersey has no difficulty providing water to its citizens due to its geographical location. There are lots of above- and below-groundwater resources, while some of the groundwater is contaminated with hard metals and toxic compounds due to the state’s high pollution rate. You can also lawfully collect rainwater, although due to the high pollution in the state, I recommend taking caution. 

What Kind of Wildlife Does New Jersey Have? 

The largest mammal in the area is the white-tailed deer, while there are lots of lesser creatures such as rabbits, raccoons, and skunks. If you enjoy fishing, you can find plenty of opportunities in New Jersey, both freshwater and saltwater. Brown trout, arctic char, smallmouth bass, bluefish, bonito, and mackerel are all available. Freshwater and saltwater fishing, as well as hunting, will require separate licenses.

How to Generate Off The Grid Power in New Jersey?

Solar power: New Jersey receives plenty of sunlight both in the winter and the summer. Solar power generation is more efficient in the southern section of the state since the winter days are longer. In addition to the 30% federal tax credit, the state of New Jersey also gives local incentives of around 30%. The actual incentive depends on when you installed the solar power system; if you installed the system a few years ago, the incentive would be substantially lower, around 20%.

Wind power: New Jersey is a fantastic site to generate power with wind turbines because of its proximity to the ocean. Although there are no municipal wind incentives or rebates, you can still qualify for the federal tax credit.

Does New Jersey Have Any Living Off Grid Laws? 

Living off the grid in New Jersey is permitted, yet installing an off the grid solar power system that isn’t connected to the electrical grid would cost more than getting electric. Harvesting rainwater is also permissible in the state because there is sufficient rain throughout the year. If you have children, you can also homeschool them. The methods and regulations will vary by county, so check your local homeschool laws first.

What’s Road Access in New Jersey Like? 

Although road access is adequate in some locations, the great majority of the state’s infrastructure is in poor condition. Local officials have acknowledged these concerns in recent years and are striving to resolve them. So the roads may be repaired in the future, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

What’s the Price of Land in New Jersey? 

The cost of land in New Jersey is relatively high, but this is typical of the country’s northeastern shore. Despite the fact that land is rather pricey, you can still find cheaper land in the state’s western and northwestern regions. Few people are currently migrating to New Jersey, so prices will have to decline sooner or later.

What’s the Property Tax in New Jersey? 

The property tax in New Jersey is exceptionally high; it is currently 2.44 percent, compared to 1.08 percent nationally, which is more than double. Middlesex County has the lowest property tax in the state, at 2.35 percent. I would invest this money in something rather than throwing it away; there are lots of regions with lower rates that are perfectly suited to living off the grid.

What’s the Cost of Living Off The Grid in New Jersey? 

New Jersey’s cost of living is also rather expensive; in general, you will pay roughly 20% extra for everything in this state. The most notable difference is that housing is 42 percent more expensive than the rest of the country. Transportation follows housing, which is 27 percent more expensive. If you choose to live a semi-off-grid lifestyle, you will pay from 5% to 9% more for groceries and utilities.

Interested in another state in the northeast? Check out my guide to article on Off Grid Living in Massachusetts.

What’s the Job Market Like in New Jersey? 

New Jersey’s unemployment rate is around 5.2 percent, which is significantly higher than the national average of 3.9 percent. Pharmaceuticals are the most important industry in New Jersey, followed by manufacturing, transportation, and information technology. New Jersey also has a major agricultural economy, which makes it relatively easy to obtain work. The minimum wage in this state is $13, which is more than the national average of $7.25.

What’s the Crime Rate in New Jersey? 

New Jersey’s crime rate is lower than the national average. Currently the state has two crimes per 1000 people, compared to 4 crimes per 1000 people nationally. The western region of the state has the lowest crime rates. The closer you travel to New York, the higher the crime rate becomes.

Is New Jersey Affected by Natural Disasters? 

Natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and even floods have struck New Jersey. Natural disasters aren’t common in New Jersey; thus, it’s regarded as a rather safe state in general. The issue is that even a minor storm can cause traffic congestion, owing to the poor status of the local roadways.

Can You Live Off The Grid in New Jersey? 

I cannot advocate moving to New Jersey to live off the grid to anyone; there are just too many disadvantages, and benefits are almost non-existent. I could understand if you wanted to live in New Jersey if you had spent your entire life there. However, moving here to live off grid will be expensive, which negates the purpose of off grid life in the first place.

living off the grid in new jersey
The sprawling suburbia that makes up the majority of New Jersey

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