Why Morristown and Not Morris County?

Morris County Cost of Living Series

The data used for NJ currently are these three urban areas:  Bergen-Essex, Newark and Middlesex.  When MCEDC decided to participate in the Cost of Living Index (COLI), we considered whether to put in Morris County or Morristown.  We couldn’t do both.

The choice was made for us by The Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER.)  Morris County is a mix of urban, suburban and rural.  Morristown is urban, even with its parks and open spaces.  Also, Morristown also fits within the requirement as having primarily “professional and managerial households in the top income quintile nationally.”

We checked about adding Dover.  It is too close to Morristown.  Vineland was invited to be a counterpoint to Morristown.  C2ER is interested in the comparison.  It might well help with NJ’s reputation as an expensive place to live.

The Question

The Answer – You can’t address important questions without data

Note that C2ER’s Index does not include taxes – largely because it is prohibitively expensive to determine effective (as opposed to claimed) tax rates on residential property. Three C2ER committees over the past 25 years have recommended that the Index remain a measure of after-taxes differences in living costs.

C2ER has hired a private contractor to collect primary data on Bergen-Essex, Newark and Middlesex data.  Current calculations are based on Census data.

Why bend Greater Morristown towards Florham Park and not Mendham?

If it were just food, then including the shopping plaza on E. Main St. in Mendham would be a good option.  Kings is there.  A Pharmacy is there.  But then you have to start shopping for optometrists, general practitioners, dentists, tennis balls, yoga studios, clothing, appliance repair, vet services, fried chicken.  Extending out to Florham Park allows us to capture a greater swath of businesses along Rt 10.  That should future-proof us.

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C2ER’s Cost of Living Index measures regional differences in the cost of consumer goods and services, excluding taxes and non-consumer expenditures, for professional and managerial households in the top income quintile nationally.