Despite having one of the most popular governors in decades and dozens of African-American politicos in key positions across the state, thousands of New Jersey residents are fleeing the state for less expensive and congested places to live, according to a study released by a leading national moving carrier.

United Van Lines released its 36th annual customer migration study, which accurately tracks the number of moves people make from one state to another. New Jersey ranks as the No. 1 state that people are moving away from. New York ranks No. 4.

The states of North Carolina, South Carolina and Oregon rank at the top of the list of states people are relocating to. According to the study of the more than 6,300 total moves in New Jersey, more than 60 percent were outbound. Several of New Jersey’s largest cities have African-American mayors, including Newark, Paterson and Atlantic City.

In a statement to the media shortly after the study was released, an economist and professor at UCLA said, “New Jersey has been suffering from de-industrialization for some time now as manufacturing moved from the Northeast to the South and West.” Additionally, with its close ties to New York, the economist added that exorbitant housing taxes and higher than average living costs may be forcing residents to relocate.

Gov. Chris Christie dismissed the study and has maintained that the Garden State is one of the best places to live and start a business. “I’m going to make New Jersey more affordable for residents by lowering property taxes and other economic reforms,” he said.

To view the complete United Van Lines study, visit