LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston was one of only two Essex County municipalities to be named among the Top 20 best places to live in New Jersey, according to New Jersey Monthly’s newly published list of the Garden State’s Top 100 Towns.

The online magazine, which publishes the Hot 100 Towns chart every other year, listed Livingston and Millburn at No. 20 and No. 13, respectively. In 2017, Livingston jumped from No. 71 in the 2015 ranking to No. 20. The full ranking accompanied by each municipality’s statistics will be revealed on Aug. 28.

“I’m very interested to see what deductions they gave us,” said Livingston Mayor Shawn Klein, who did not believe the data was completely accurate in the previous ranking. “All of these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt. I think that anyone who lives in Livingston would tell you that there’s no better town in New Jersey.”

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New Jersey Monthly determines the top towns by compiling research in five categories, including home values, property taxes, crime rate, school performance and a lifestyle factor.

According to the methodology, the 513 towns included were ranked based on the following indicators: average residential tax bill; change in average property tax bill; effective property tax rate; median home-sales price; change in median home-sales price over the last two years; total crime rate combined with a score for violent-crime rate; student proficiency on state-mandated standardized tests for students in grades 4, 8 and 11; and a lifestyle factor that considers the number of acute-care hospitals and live performing-arts theaters within 10 miles of the municipality’s main zip code, number of full-service restaurants within two miles of the municipality’s main zip code, and average commute time for those working away from home.

"Residential real estate is booming in New Jersey," said New Jersey Monthly editor Ken Schlager. "Our chart is a popular tool that helps potential homebuyers understand which towns are the most desirable."

The chart is based on factors a homebuyer would consider, including home prices, real estate taxes, school results, crime rates, and access to essentials and amenities such as hospitals, theaters and restaurants. 

Here is the complete list of this year’s Top 20:

  1. Ho-Ho-Kus (Bergen County)
  2. Chatham Township (Morris)
  3. Glen Rock (Bergen)
  4. Rumson (Monmouth)
  5. Bernards (Somerset)
  6. Berkeley Heights (Union)
  7. Montvale (Bergen)
  8. New Providence (Union)
  9. Denville (Morris)
  10. Chatham Borough (Morris)
  11. Oradell (Bergen)
  12. Mountainside (Union)
  13. Millburn (Essex)
  14. Cranbury (Middlesex)
  15. Chester Township (Morris)
  16. River Edge (Bergen)
  17. Long Hill (Morris)
  18. Cresskill (Bergen)
  19. Mountain Lakes (Morris)
  20. Livingston (Essex)

The 100 Top Towns chart is part of the “Best Places to Live” cover story in the September issue of New Jersey Monthly, available on newsstands on Aug. 29. A complete ranking of 513 New Jersey municipalities will be available starting Aug. 28 at njmonthly.com/top-towns.