New Jersey is located in the northeastern part of the United States and just a stone’s throw from Lower Manhattan. The shoreline, dubbed The Jersey Shore, is home to fun resort towns such as Asbury Park and Cape May. You’ll find beautiful Victorian era buildings dotted along the streets. A graphic designer salary in New Jersey is an interesting mix between small town opportunities and big city commutes.
Trenton is the capital of New Jersey and the state has a population of around 9.3 million. Unlike some other states, New Jersey doesn’t have a lot of open space. It is quite densely populated for the land space it has.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in New Jersey?
The national average for graphic designer salary is $31,310 for the lowest 10% of earners. The top 10% make $98,260 per year. The range of what you can expect for a graphic designer salary in New Jersey falls in the middle.
To figure out what you can expect for wages in the state, we perused several job sites. We also consulted Salary.com for the overall ranges statewide. Graphic designers can expect to make between $52,000 and $83,000 per year in the Garden State. Of course, the amount varies depending on which city you are located in and your experience.
A quick hunt on Indeed for graphic designer jobs uncovered options in Newark, West Trenton and Edison. If you choose to locate in Newark, you’ll find opportunities there but can also commute into New York City fairly easily and take advantage of the higher wages and additional opportunities one of the largest cities in the world has to offer.
Average Cost of Living in New Jersey
Payscale estimates the cost of living in New Jersey is about 26% higher than the national average. Although the cost of living varies depending on which town you locate to, expect to pay more for housing, food and transportation than in places such as the Midwest.
Housing is where you’ll see the biggest increase in costs. Finding somewhere to live runs 74% more than the national average. Buying your own home may be the biggest stretch of all. Much like its neighbor across the Hudson, expect to pay a premium for less space.
Utilities, groceries and transportation are surprisingly only around 10% higher than other areas of the country. An average home price in New Jersey is $782,767 and rent runs around $2,380 per month for a small place.
One area where you’ll save money is on healthcare. In Jersey City, costs are around 2% lower than the national average. A veterinary visit, for example, runs around $64.88. The state is home to 113 hospitals, with 13 of them nationally ranked. That may be why there is access to excellent healthcare and expenses are lower.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in New Jersey–Newark?
The Puritans established Newark in 1666, making it one of the oldest cities in the nation. Around 307,220 people call the city home. It’s the largest city in New Jersey but also considered the second largest in the New York metro.
Residents enjoy the cherry blossoms in Branch Brook Park, visit the Newark Museum of Art and are proud of the Statue of Liberty. You’ll find trendy new restaurants, excellent public transportation and a quick 20-minute or so commute into New York City.
If Newark sounds like a place you might be interested in, you should start your job hunt locally. A quick search on Indeed pulls up 165 opportunities, including working for the New Jersey Performing Arts Center or companies such as TekCard Payments and The Metropolitan Opera.
The average base salary is around $29.22 per hour plus benefits. Keep in mind that the cost of housing will run a lot more than in other areas of the country so plan accordingly.
How Much Is a Graphic Designer Salary in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the Garden State. It’s located in Mercer County. 90,457 residents call Trenton home. Trenton features a low unemployment rate and is located centrally to New York City and Philadelphia, giving citizens ample opportunities for jobs to commute to or freelance work for many medium and small businesses.
The average salary drops a few dollars to $26.54 per hour. However, the cost of owning a home in this area is quite a bit less than in areas such as Newark and Jersey City. Realtor.com lists the median home price in Trenton at $219,000 with ranges on either side depending on budget. You’ll also gain more space and land than in the cities closest to New York.
Some of the more interesting sites in Trenton include the Old Barracks Museum, the state museum and state capital activities and buildings to explore. The city is home to families, so you’ll find little coffee shops and parks scattered about. If you don’t mind a slightly slower pace, Trenton is an excellent choice that is still close enough to visit New York or Philadelphia frequently.
Working in New York City and Living in New Jersey
One of the biggest advantages of some areas of New Jersey is being able to live in the Garden States and pay lower prices but work inside the big city. If you find a position that is hybrid and you only have to commute into town a few days a week, so much the better.
The average graphic designer salary in New York is $63,770 per year, making it one of the highest paying areas around. You can see the advantage of living in New Jersey and working in New York. Add experience or specializations and you’ll make even more. There also may be more job opportunities if you’re having trouble locating a position in New Jersey.
Graphic designers have an opportunity to increase their wages simply by living in one location and working in another. Remote work and freelance opportunities also might be the way to go if you are good at traveling into the city, meeting with potential clients and selling your services. You’ll be able to set your own schedule and you won’t have to write a graphic designer resume or spend time on interviews.
Should You Move to New Jersey?
There are both pros and cons to living in the Garden State. The best way to decide where you want to live and work as a graphic designer is by looking at the advantages and disadvantages of each place and choosing what’s best for you based on where your family lives and what types of activities you prefer.
- Close to New York City and opportunities
- Higher wages
- New restaurants and nightlife
- Low crime rates
- Unemployment is low
- Excellent healthcare
- Harsh winters and hot summers
- High property taxes
- Expensive housing
- Horrendous traffic
Only you can decide if the pros outweigh the cons of living in New Jersey. If you’re from the area or have family there, it may be much more attractive than other places. If you love the hustle and bustle of a big city but don’t want to be smack in Manhattan, it can also be an excellent alternative.
Embrace the Accent
People from New Jersey have a particular style of speech. They abbreviate the letter “R” until it almost isn’t heard. They’re passionate about their one sports team, love great food and are always willing to help a neighbor. If you think living and working in New Jersey might be the perfect move for your graphic designer career, you’ll find plenty of job opportunities in the area.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.