A newly announced tenant at the American Dream mall at the Meadowlands will be ripped from the digital world. MUNCHIES, a youth-driven food and culture website, will take its words and videos about dining into another dimension when it launches a food hall at the retail and entertainment behemoth being built at the intersection of routes 3, 120 and the New Jersey Turnpike.
This isn't the food court of your mall rat days. At MUNCHIES, diners will be able to order a Beef Marrow Cheeseburger and Eggplant Tempura and wash it down with the Martinez cocktail, a precursor to the martini. The 38,000-square-foot space will include 18 vendors, demos from visiting chefs and other engaging events.
We asked John Martin, co-founder and publisher of MUNCHIES, to explain this new concept. Here's what he said:
Q. What is a food hall?
A. A food hall is a collection of [food and beverage] establishments grouped together in a specific location. There can also be more than food, there will be space for experiential components. It's the modernizing of the food court concept, and more high end that speaks to today's food-obsessed public.
Q. What types of vendors do you envision?A. I see vendors from all across the spectrum, everything from authentic BBQ to killer Mexican to perfect ice cream. It's important to have strong operators who can handle the volume of visitors that American Dream is going to have. And the selection will come heavily from the MUNCHIES family - chefs, restaurants, people we've worked with, or done content about will have an opportunity to be involved.
Q. Why did MUNCHIES want to make a physical location?A. We've always been big into taking MUNCHIES from a digital only brand into the physical realm - events, merchandise, books, meal kits, our Test Kitchen, it only made sense to use our brand to curate an amazing selection of vendors for the public.
Q. Why is American Dream the right place for it?A. Brooklyn would have been too obvious. And 40 million visitors annually is something every brand would want to get in front of - it's as big as it gets. It's an audacious project, and MUNCHIES has never shied away from doing the unexpected and thinking big. Also, there's an indoor ski hill and we're basically at the base of that.
Q. How frequently will there be cooking presentations and other entertainment at MUNCHIES?
A. We're building out the programming now, but definitely big tentpoles every month, with smaller activations daily and weekly pending the schedule and other activities at American Dream.
Q. Why will people be drawn to this?A. The adventure of tasting new foods, prepared by some of the freshest culinary talent on the planet will be sure to engage all sorts of audiences. MUNCHIES will be promoting heavily across all our channels, and American Dream has a robust marketing program sure to surprise and delight everyone who visits.
Art dealer David Killen says he found this abandoned Willem de Kooning painting - one of many - stored away in Ho-Ho-Kus.
When a N.J. elementary school teacher offered David Killen a chance to buy 200 paintings she had in storage, the Manhattan art dealer thought they'd make great filler items at his next auction.
"I thought it was a bunch of junk," Killen said Monday. "I saw good, bad and ugly. Overall, I thought it was garbage, but I'm always looking for filler." He offered $75 a painting - a total of $15,000.
When he loaded the boxes of artwork onto his truck, he began to realize he'd stumbled onto an unbelievable find that could fetch millions. "The more I looked at them, the more I realized - these are real de Koonigs," he said.
What's going on? Ask Alexa what's happening around New Jersey Willem de Kooning was a Dutch abstract expressionist artist who died in 1997. His paintings have sold worldwide for tens of millions. Two experts say the paintings Killen has are authentic. Originally, the 200 pieces of art were gathered in New York City, in a world-famous art restoration studio run by conservator Orrin Riley. When Riley died in 1986, his girlfriend Susanne Schnitzer took possession of the paintings and held onto them for years, according to Killen.
In 2009, Schnitzer was hit by a car and died. Her trusted friends - a group from New Jersey serving as executors that included the teacher - took the paintings, along with many other of Schnitzer's possessions and stored them in Ho-Ho-Kus.
Morristown Medical Center bested Hackensack University Hospital for the top spot in New Jersey, followed by Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, according to the report.
No New Jersey hospital earned a spot among the 20 named to the national "honor roll" for being the best of the best in numerous specialties. For the third consecutive year, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. claimed the top spot in America, followed by the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The list of the top 15 New Jersey hospitals includes a six-way tie for 10th place.
Here are New Jersey's top-performing hospitals as ranked by U.S. News & World Report:
10. (tie) Capital Health Regional Medical Center
The Trenton-based hospital earned high-performing status in the areas of nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, and for treating heart failure.
10. (tie) Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital SomersetPart of the RWJBarnabas Health chain, this hospital in Somerville was recognized for "high-performing" care in urology, as well as the treatment of heart failure and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).
10. (tie) Penn Medicine Princeton Medical CenterThe rankings awarded "high-performing" status for hip and knee replacement surgery and treating heart failure at this Plainsboro hospital, which the University of Pennsylvania Health System acquired in January.
10. (tie) Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center
Located in Perth Amboy, Raritan Bay was recognized for its speciality care in diabetes/endocrinology and nephrology, and for its treatment of heart failure. Hackensack Meridian Health acquired the Raritan Bay hospitals in 2016.
10. (tie) St. Barnabas Medical CenterLocated in Livingston and one of the flagship hospitals of the RWJBarnabas chain, St. Barnabas excelled in the treatment of heart failure, colon cancer surgery and COPD, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
10. (tie) Hunterdon Medical CenterThe hospital was noted for its expertise in geriatric and nephrology (kidney) care and for the treatment of heart failure.
8. (tie) Overlook Medical CenterPart of the Atlantic Health System chain, this hospital in Summit was recognized for its neurology and neurosurgery department, and for its expertise in performing colon cancer surgery and treating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), and heart failure.
8. (tie) Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical CenterThis Red Bank hospital is a high performer in orthopedic care and ranks high in the treatment of heart failure and COPD, as well as performing hip replacement surgery.
6. (tie) Valley Hospital
Located in Ridgewood in competitive Bergen County, this hospital excelled in the treatment of heart failure, COPD, lung cancer, and for colon cancer and hip replacement surgeries.
6. (tie) Virtua Voorhees Hospital
Virtua in Voorhees excelled in five performance areas: treating heart failure and COPD, (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease,) performing colon cancer surgery and hip and knee replacement surgery.
5. AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center
This Atlantic City hospital is a high-performer in the areas of orthopedics, endocrinology, gastroenterology and GI surgery, and in treating COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart failure and performing hip and knee replacement surgeries.
4. Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center
Jersey Shore in Neptune racked up accolades in the specialties of gastroenterology and GI surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, urology, and for performing aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery and treating heart failure.
3. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
RWJBarnabas Health's other flagship hospital, located in New Brunswick, excels in six specialties: cancer, cardiology and cardiac surgery, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics and urology. It's also a high performer in treating heart failure and COPD, and for performing aortic valve surgery, heart bypass surgery, colon cancer surgery and lung cancer surgery.
It also ranked third in last year's report.
2. Hackensack University Medical CenterHackensack University Medical Center, the flagship hospital for the largest hospital system in the state, ranked 44th best in the nation in orthopedics. Within New Jersey, it claimed eight specialties in the "high-performing" category: cancer, endocrinology, geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, pulmonology and urology. In the treatment and surgical categories, Hackensack was a high performer in lung cancer surgery, hip and knee replacements, colon cancer surgery, COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart failure, and abdominal aortic aneurism repair. Hackensack was the top rated hospital last year.
1. Morristown Medical CenterMorristown Medical Center is home to the nation's 20th best cardiology and cardiac surgery department and 48th best gastroenterology and GI surgery, the rankings said. The flagship hospital for Atlantic Health System also ranked as a high performer in the state for geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and pulmonology. U.S. News and World Report gave high marks to Morristown's track record with lung cancer surgery, hip and knee replacement surgery, colon cancer surgery, heart bypass surgery, abdominal aortic aneurism repair, aortic valve surgery, and for treating heart failure.
Across all 16 specialties, Morristown Medical Center and Hackensack University Medical Center were among 152 hospitals that performed well enough to be nationally ranked, the report said. Morristown ranked 20th best in the nation for its cardiology department and 48th best for its gastroenterology departments.
Hackensack's orthopedics department ranked 44th best in the country.
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation is ranked as fourth best rehabilitation hospital in the nation, the report said. This is the 26th consecutive year that Kessler Institute has been nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report.
Stand-outs in the regionThe magazine also analyzed data by region and created a ranking by metro areas, such as in New York and Philadelphia.
How New Jersey fared in the NY Metro region:
4. Morristown Medical Center
5. Hackensack University Medical Center
6. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-New Brunswick
12. Jersey Shore University Medical Center
14. Valley Hospital
16 (tie) Riverview Medical Center; Overlook Hospital
20. (tie) Hunterdon Medical Center; St. Barnabas Medical Center; Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Somerset;
New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Columbia and Cornell was ranked first.
In the Philadelphia metro region:
10. Virtua Voorhees Hospital
Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian was number 1.
About the reportAlthough several report cards and consumer guides exist, U.S. News and World Report launched the model nearly 30 years ago. Hospitals compete for the coveted designation that they used in their advertising and promote with laminated plaques in their lobbies. The criteria include survival and readmission rates, patient experience and feedback, physician surveys, safety measures and quality of nursing care. The rankings favor high-volume hospitals. “For nearly three decades, U.S. News has strived to make hospital quality more transparent to healthcare consumers nationwide,” said Ben Harder, managing editor and chief of health analysis at U.S. News. “By providing the most comprehensive data available on nearly every hospital across the United States, we give patients, families and physicians information to support their search for the best care across a range of procedures, conditions and specialties.”
Read the report here.
Just because a college is less expensive doesn't mean it's a better investment. When you consider cost, financial aid, student debt and earnings after graduation, some of New Jersey's more expensive colleges are better deals than they seem, especially in the case of public universities.
By Adam Clark for Bergen Review Media
How the rankings were calculated Money magazine only included 727 colleges and universities on its list. To be considered, colleges had to have at least 500 students, have a graduation rate that was at or above average, not be in financial distress and have enough data to be analyzed. The colleges were ranked based on 26 factors, including the graduation rate, tuition rate and the average salary of graduates.
Acceptance rates run the gamut from one of the country's most exclusive universities to several colleges that take almost everyone who applies. Here are the Fall 2017 acceptance rates for the 26 four-year colleges with at least 1,000 applications, not including for-profit colleges.
William Paterson University
Acceptance rate: 92.4 percent
Note: William Paterson University called its acceptance rate for 2017 an anomaly. It received fewer applications in 2017 because it eliminated fee waivers that allowed prospective students to apply for free. The university has reinstated the fee waivers and expects its acceptance rate to return to usual, around 73 percent, spokeswoman Mary Beth Zeman said.
St. Peter's University
Acceptance rate: 91.3 percent
New Jersey City University
Acceptance rate: 91 percent
Acceptance rate: 88.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 81.5 percent
Acceptance rate: 79.4 percent
Acceptance rate: 73.9 percent
Seton Hall University
Acceptance rate: 73.2 percent
Acceptance rate: 67.2 percent
College of St. Elizabeth
Acceptance rate: 64.6 percent
Acceptance rate: 64.2 percent
Acceptance rate: 63.8 percent
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Metropolitan campus)
Acceptance rate: 87.6 percent
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Florham Park campus)
Acceptance rate: 83.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 82.2 percent
Montclair State University
Acceptance rate: 70.6 percent
Acceptance rate: 69.42 percent
Acceptance rate: 69.3 percent
Georgian Court University
Acceptance rate: 68.9 percent
Acceptance rate: 63.4 percent
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Acceptance rate: 61.4 percent 7,254
Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Acceptance rate: 57.8 percent
Acceptance rate: 57.36 percent
The College of New Jersey
Acceptance rate: 47.5 percent
Acceptance rate: 6.4 percent
Note: Centenary University is not included in the list because its applications and offers for Fall 2017 were not included in the state database. After the story was published, the university provided for the following information:
Acceptance rate: 87 percent
Each year, historic sites across the Garden State are lost, gone forever. Preservation New Jersey, the organization which advocates for historic preservation, on Tuesday morning in Trenton took another step in its ongoing effort stem the loss, announcing its 10 Most Endangered Places list.
Two North Jersey bakeries going on Food Network
Comedian Tom Papa's show "Baked" will feature Lyndhurst Pastry Shop and Taskin Bakery in Paterson in the final episode, "Home Sweet Home."
The show will focus on Turkish dough layered with butter and cheese and Portuguese puff pastries filled with cinnamon-spiked custard from Taskin Bakery, and Italian rum cake soaked with the spirit and layered with whipped cream from Lyndhurst Pastry Shop.
Safewise.com released a report ranking the nation's 100 "safest cities." Photo Credit: Provided
A new report from Safewise.com named several Bergen County towns were named among the 100 "safest cities" in America.
The report analyzed data from the FBI crime report, which found that the crime rate among northeastern states was approximately 30 percent less than the national average. On average, the areas on the list reported eight property crimes for every 1,000 people -- 67 percent less than the national property crime rate. Of the 15 New Jersey municipalities on the list, five are in Bergen County. Lewisboro, N.Y. comes in at No. 1 on the list, followed by Hazen, North Dakota and then Thetford Township, Michigan.
Bergen County municipalities on the list are:
Of course, average property tax bills are just one way to compare municipalities' property tax burdens. Unlike the tax rate, the average tax bills also factors in property values. But it gives you a good idea of what people are really paying.The average homeowners in all of these towns are paying well below the state average, $8,690.
Millville is new to the list in 2017 and the first of six Cumberland County communities to land spots. Homeowners there paid, on average, $4,185 in property taxes last year.
29. Shiloh Borough
This Cumberland County borough's average property tax bill, $4,174, lands it in the No. 29 spot for lowest in New Jersey.
28. Middle Township
Middle Township is the first of six Cape May locales to make the list. The township's average property tax bill in 2017 was $4,170
27. Berkeley Township Berkeley Township broke into the bottom 30 in 2017. Its average property tax bill increased by just $28 from 2016 to 2017, when it rang up at $4,149 for these Ocean County taxpayers.
26. Montague Township
Montague Township — one of two Sussex County municipalities to make the list each year — clocked in at $4,097.
25. Manchester Township
Residential property taxpayers in Manchester Township in Ocean County paid an average of $4,070.
24. Cape May Point
The average property tax bill in Cape May Point, Cape May County, was $4,035 last year.
23. Fairfield Township
Tax bills in Fairfield Township, Cumberland County, averaged $4,020.
22. Paulsboro Borough
Paulsboro is the only Gloucester County community to make the list, with an average real estate tax bill of $3,988.
21. Washington Township
Washington Township, Burlington County, moved up 8 spots from No. 29 in 2016 with the help of a $145 drop in the average tax bill, which now stands at $3,948.
20. Folsom Borough
This Atlantic County borough's residents paid an average of $3,909 in property taxes last year.
19. Lower Township
At $3,900, this Cape May County's average tax bill ranks 19th-lowest of New Jersey's 565 municipalities. It's just $9 lower than Folsom's tab.
18. Wrightstown Borough
Homeowners here in Wrightstown, in Burlington County, paid, on average, $3,799 last year. Their average bill fell $135 from 2016
17. North Wildwood
This Jersey Shore city in Cape May County had an average property tax bill of $3,778.
16. Pemberton Township
In Pemberton Township, Burlington County, the average real estate tax bill was $3,669 in 2017, a $42 increase over 2016.
Corbin is the second of two Atlantic County municipalities to land on this list. Homeowners there paid, on average, $3,613
Winfield is the only Union County municipality on our list. Its average tax bill was $3,530.
13. Pemberton Borough
Not to be confused with Pemberton Township, this borough in Burlington County had an average property tax bill of $3,384.
12. Downe Township
this Cumberland County township, the average real estate tax bill was $3,238, a $12 drop from 2016.
The average property tax bill in this Cumberland County city was $3,146.
This Salem County city moved all the way from the No. 17 spot in 2016 to No. 10 in 2017, thanks to a $611 reduction in the average property tax bill. In 2017, that bill was $3,126, compared with $3,737 in 2016.
New Jersey's capital has the ninth-lowest average property tax bills in New Jersey. It came in at 15th in 2016, but a more than $500 drop in the average tax bill — from $3,648 to $3,110 — gave it a boost.
8. Dennis Township
In Dennis Township, Cape May County, the average real estate tax bill was $2,932.
7. Commercial Township
In Commercial Township, Cumberland Township, the average residential property tax bill will set you back just $2,506.
6. Audubon Park Borough
The average property tax bill in this Camden County was just $2,396 in 2017, a $125 drop from 2016.
5. Lower Alloways Creek
The average property tax bill in Lower Alloways Creek, Salem County, was $2,086 last year, a $74 increase over 2016
Once again, Teterboro Borough is the only Bergen County community to make the list. Taxpayers there paid, on average, $1,972 in 2017. The next lowest bill in Bergen County can be found in East Rutherford, where the average bill was $6,568.
Teterboro's population is just 86, according to the American Community Survey's five-year estimates.
Woodbine, in Cape May County, sat in the No. 2 spot in 2016 but ranks No. 3 in our latest list. In 2016, the average homeowner paid $1,783. In 2017, that homeowner paid $1,892, or $109 more.
Nearly seventy cents of every dollar paid goes to schools.
Camden lost out on the top spot last year, despite just a $76 increase in the average tax bill, which is now $1,665.
Municipal taxes account for almost 54 percent of the tax bill, while the county accounts for nearly 32 percent. The school district accounts for just 14.5 percent, as the Camden City School District is highly dependent on state aid.
A 30 percent drop in the average tax bill shot this Sussex County township from third-lowest in New Jersey in 2016 to lowest in 2017.
The average bill fell by $551, from $1,828 to $1,277.
Tiny Walpack has just 4 residents, according to the American Community Survey's 2016 5-year estimate.
Anthony Bourdain, who grew up in Leonia and died in June, is the subject of a forthcoming film from CNN. (Larry French | Getty Images)
As fans mourned Anthony Bourdain in June, CNN aired past episodes of his acclaimed food travel series, "Parts Unknown," and proceeded to air the last three episodes in the 11th season of the show.
But there is still more of Bourdain to come. First, the 12th season of "Parts Unknown" is set to air this fall. The episodes were not finished when Bourdain died, but the Los Angeles Times reports producers are using audio of Bourdain from the set to complete the work.
Now, CNN also says it is producing a documentary film about the continent-hopping chef who grew up in Leonia.
Vanity Fair reports the film will be screened at festivals and be released in theaters before airing on CNN. The report says the film, which could be out by 2019, is currently in pre-production, and that the project is a collaboration with Zero Point Zero, the production company responsible for "Parts Unknown."
"As well as we knew Tony, because he did reveal himself in the series, there was still a hunger to know more about him, and to honor his work and celebrate him," Amy Entelis, CNN's executive vice president for talent and content, told Vanity Fair. "The documentary format became one of the more obvious ways to go." Among the other films that CNN has produced is "RBG," the documentary about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which has been in theaters and will air on the network on Sept. 3.
Bourdain, who when 61 when he died by suicide in France on June 8, was born in New York but attended Englewood's Dwight-Englewood High School and spent his summers at the Jersey Shore. The writer, chef and ultimate foodie dedicated a 2015 episode of "Parts Unknown" to New Jersey and did the same 10 years prior with his Travel Channel series, "No Reservations."
By Peter Genovese for Bergen Review
After much deliberation we have the 10 finalists in our N.J.'s best hot dog joint showdown.
To recap, we started last month with a call for nominations. More than 100 places were nominated; all were put on ballots, separated onto North I, North II, Central and South Jersey/The Shore. The top six vote-getters in each region were 24 of our semifinalists; I picked the other 26, and visited all 50 semifinalists over three weeks. I alone picked the 10 finalists; no voting was involved in their selection.
Many legendary hot dog joints were left off the finalist list, and there were surprise newcomers. But as with all our previous N.J.'s best showdowns, this competition wasn't about popularity, ranking or reputation — it was about the hot dogs sampled at each place during the competition. You can vote starting now for the Readers' Choice winner; the poll is below. I will pick the overall winner.
Niche.com named several North Jersey schools on its list of best teachers.
Niche.com gives credit where credit is due: Teachers.
The website recently released its list of the schools with the best teachers in New Jersey, among them several in Bergen and Passaic counties.
** ALSO SEE: These North Jersey Schools Are Among Best In State **
The list of New Jersey high schools with the highest average SAT scores isn't what you would call geographically even.
There are plenty of specialized academies from North Jersey and local schools in the wealthy suburbs in Bergen and Morris counties. But there is almost no representation from South Jersey or the northwest corner of the state.
So, how do schools in those areas compare to the rest of the state?
Here's a list of the three highest scoring public high schools in every county for the Class of 2017, the latest available data.
Find your county below and compare the best schools to the state's average SAT score — a 1,103 out of 1,600.
1. Mainland Regional High School
Total Score: 1,125
2. Hammonton High School
Total score: 1,117
3. Egg Harbor Township High School
Total score: 1,103
1. Bergen County Academies
Total score: 1,470
2. Bergen County Technical High School - Teterboro
Total score: 1,334
3. Tenafly High School
Total score: 1,325
1. Moorestown High School
Total score: 1,202
2. Shawnee High School
Total score: 1,171
3. Lenape High School
Total score: 1,166
1. Haddonfield Memorial High School
Total score: 1,262
2. Cherry Hill High School East
Total score: 1,211
3. Eastern Regional High School
Total score: 1,178
Cape May County
1. Ocean City High School
Total score: 1,142
2. Middle Township High School
Total score: 1,117
3. Cape May County Technical High School
Total score: 1,086
Cumberland County1. Millville Senior High School
Total score: 1,052
2. Cumberland Regional High School
Total score: 1,039
3. Vineland Senior High School
Total score: 1,016
1. Millburn High School
Total score: 1,326
2. Livingston High School
Total score: 1,240
3. Glen Ridge High School
Total score: 1,199
1. Gloucester County Institute Of Technology
Total score: 1,157
2. Clearview Regional High School
Total score: 1,137
3. Gateway Regional High School
Total score: 1,128
1. Dr. Ronald McNair High School
Total score: 1,308
2. High Tech High School
Total score: 1,192
3. Infinity Institute
Total score: 1,165
1. North Hunterdon High School
Total score: 1,232
2. Hunterdon Central Regional High School
Total score: 1,202
3. Voorhees High School
Total score: 1,199
1. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School North
Total score: 1,327
2. Princeton High School
Total score: 1,324
3. West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South
Total score: 1,309
New Jersey is packed with al fresco restaurants, with lakes, ocean, woods, gardens, city streets or skylines providing the backdrop. Grab a table at one of these spots, our list of the state's best al fresco restaurants, where the view is as good as - maybe better - than the food.
Leafy, affluent Morris displaced equally prosperous and rural Hunterdon as the healthiest county in New Jersey, according to interviews and data measuring personal habits, educational and financial achievement and access to medical care.
Hardscrabble and sparsely populated Cumberland County ranked at the bottom, as it has in previous reports. This is the ninth report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The goal is for government, business and community leaders to use the information to advocate for positive changes, such as adding clinic programs for uninsured or under-insured people or building a park or recreation center. "No one should have less of an opportunity to be a healthy because of where they live," Marjorie Paloma, the foundation's program director said during a morning press conference announcing the latest report at the Statehouse in Trenton. Analysts created the rankings by collecting the most recent data on 35 factors that measure quality of life and "quantity" of life — the percent of the population that lives to 75 and older.
From last to first, here is a quick snapshot of each county's health profile.
21. Cumberland County
Largely rural and economically disadvantaged Cumberland County has ranked at the bottom of the health county report card since it began nine years ago.
Household income is a driving factor behind a lot of health outcomes, and once again, Cumberland reported the lowest median household income at $49,110, according to Census data. New Jersey's median household income was $76,126. The child poverty rate is 25 percent, compared to New Jersey's 15 percent rate. It's even higher among black children (30 percent) and Hispanic children (36 percent). In the plus column, the percent of uninsured citizens declined, and the percentage of people with diabetes who are monitored is up. High school graduation rates improved, too.
20. Salem County
Salem slid from 19th last year, but has always hovered toward or at the bottom.
Blame the county's 21 percent child poverty rate, compared to New Jersey's 15 percent. And 34 percent of Salem County residents are obese compared to 26 percent statewide.
Salem bests the state in some areas, however. Only 8 percent of its residents lack health coverage, compared to 10 percent statewide. Salem's violent crime rate is lower, too.
19. Camden County
Down from 18th healthiest in 2017, Camden County suffers because it has slightly higher child poverty and unemployment rate than the rest of New Jersey, and more of its citizens are obese. But drunken-driving deaths are down and its high school graduation rate is up.
18. Essex County
Essex County improved its rank from 20th last year, as hospitals reduced the number of avoidable admissions and increased the number of people monitored for diabetes. But the child poverty rate is 21 percent compared to the state's 15 percent, and obesity is rising.
17. Atlantic County
Atlantic County stayed the same from last year — near the bottom of the rankings largely because of economic instability. Unemployment in 2016 was 7.4 percent compared to 5 percent statewide; child poverty was at 23 percent compared to 15 percent in New Jersey. But there are reasons for optimism. Premature deaths are on the decline. So are preventable hospital admissions. And high school graduation rates are up.
16. Cape May County
This sparsely populated seaside county maintained its rank from last year. Economic troubles offset the gains in clinical care. Unemployment and child poverty rates in 2016, 9.8 percent and 19 percent, respectively, far exceeded the statewide average. Obesity also rose. But Cape May made progress, with fewer people getting admitted to the hospital, and more people screened for diabetes and breast cancer.
15. Gloucester County
Slipping from 14th healthiest last year, Gloucester saw its child poverty and unemployment rates rise slightly. Nearly one-third of its population is obese. But violent crime is way below the state average and the high school graduation rate is at 92 percent, besting the state's 90 percent rate.
14. Mercer County
Mercer County slipped two notches from last year's report to 14th healthiest county. Obesity and sexually transmitted diseases rose and mammography screenings declined. But Mercer still showed progress. Fewer people died before their 75th birthday and more people are being monitored for diabetes.
13. Passaic County
Passaic County was one of three counties that improved by two rungs in this year's rankings.
Deaths related to intentional injuries (like suicide and homicide) and unintentional injuries (poisoning and traffic accidents) are lower than the state average. Passaic residents also enjoy shorter commutes. Its premature death rate is in line with the state average, too. Still, there are far fewer dentists, primary care doctors and mental health professionals than the population needs.
12. Hudson County
This urban county is home to wide income disparities. It shows in the data.
Unemployment in 2016 was 4.7 percent here, below the statewide 5 percent. But 23 percent of its children lived in poverty compared to 15 percent in the rest of the state.
The rate of uninsured people was 15 percent, a drop from previous years, yet it remains higher than the state at 10 percent.
Violent crime is down, but remains higher than the state average.
11. Warren County
Warren County fell from 9th healthiest last year.
More people in Warren County smoke, drink to excess, and weigh too much than the rest of New Jersey. People in this rural county also have less exposure to air pollution, and are less likely to be admitted to the hospital unnecessarily.
10. Ocean County
Ocean County is 10th healthiest, the same as in last year's report.
Child poverty and unemployment rose, but violent crime dropped. Ocean County performed better in air pollution tests compared to the rest of the Garden State.
9. Burlington County
Up from 11th place last year, Burlington County is measurably healthier based on medical data.
The percent of uninsured people declined to 6 percent, better than New Jersey at 10 percent. Mammograms and diabetes screenings rose. There were far more mental health providers than the state average.
8. Union County
The eighth-healthiest county in New Jersey, Union residents lived longer, were more likely to report being physically active, and spent fewer days in the hospital than people statewide.
7. Monmouth County
Monmouth County maintained its 7th-place standing from last year. Access to medical care likely played a big role. Here, primary care doctors, dentists and mental health providers are plentiful. The number of people who have had breast cancer screenings and undergo diabetes monitoring is at or higher than the statewide average. Obesity is rising, although still below the 26 percent statewide average, at 23 percent.
6. Middlesex County
Middlesex County maintained its 6th-place ranking from previous surveys. But that belies the progress it made: high school graduation rates rose, as did the percentage of people who were screened for diabetes and breast cancer. The premature death rate was lower than the state average, too.
5. Sussex County
Sussex County maintained its fifth-best position this year because it scored well on the socio-economic indicators and responses to questions about residents quality of life.
Only 12 percent of county residents surveyed described their health as either fair or poor, compared to 17 percent statewide. High school graduation rates, an indicator of economic stability, reached 93 percent in the 2014-15 school year compared to 90 percent statewide. The number of children raised in single-parent households and the unemployment rate was markedly lower than the state average.
4. Bergen County
Bergen County is the fourth-healthiest county in part because of its low crime rate, its high school graduation rate and its far better than average access to dentists, primary care doctors and mental health professionals.
3. Somerset County
Somerset County residents embrace healthy habits. Only 11 percent smoke compared to 14 percent statewide, and only 17 percent reported no leisure-time activity or exercise. Obesity rates rose somewhat since the last report but at 22 percent, then remain below the 26 percent statewide average. Residents of this affluent county are more likely to have attended at least some college, have wider access to an array of medical professionals, and regularly undergo breast cancer screenings and monitoring for diabetes.
2. Hunterdon County
Usually the perennial top dog, Hunterdon with its rolling hills, farms and large homes, saw a slight rise in child poverty, obesity and sexually-transmitted diseases since the 2017 report. Yet Hunterdon's standings were still far better than the state average in all of these measures.
Hunterdon reported the highest median income in 2016, at $113,684, according to recently released Census data. Nobody has a higher high school graduation rate than Hunterdon, at 96 percent.
The number of alcohol-related driving deaths were nearly half of the state average, a decline from last year's report.
1. Morris County
Morris County outperformed the rest of the state in a variety of categories: from high school graduation rates, to lower levels of premature death, to a reduction in the number of preventable hospital admissions. Morris is also one of affluent New Jersey's wealthiest counties, and wealth translates into good health. Only 6 percent of its residents were uninsured and 3.9 percent were unemployed.
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.