5 Reasons Why Totowa NJ is a Good Place to Live 

5 Reasons Why Totowa NJ is a Good Place to Live 

By: Nicholas Sollitto


May 3, 2022

Totowa, NJ, is located in Passaic County in northeast New Jersey. The township lies approximately 27 miles west of the Hudson River, 16 miles north of Newark and 22 miles south of the New York border. This locale has made Totowa one of the fastest-growing suburbs in New Jersey and has propelled the township to new heights as a popular destination among young professionals working in the New Jersey-New York metropolitan area.  

Moving to Totowa sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well maybe, but before you pack up your belongings and search for apartments in the area, you will need to consider if Totowa is a good place to live for you. Keep reading to learn 5 reasons why we think Totowa is a good place to settle down and take a moment after reading to take part in our reader-driven poll. First, we will look at Totowa in a snapshot and explore the city’s cost of living and overall crime rating.   

Totowa in a Snapshot 

Population (2010) 10,804 
Population (2019) 10,792 
Area (sq. mi.) 4.08 
Land Area (sq. mi.) 4.00 
Water Area (sq. mi.) 0.08 
Elevation (ft.) 262 
Time Zone UTC-5:00 

*Data gathered from Census.gov 

Is Totowa an Affordable Place to Live?  

Overall, Totowa is a slightly expensive city to live in. As a whole, New Jersey’s cost of living is more expensive than the national average, and Totowa’s cost of living is slightly higher than the state’s average. When compared to the national average (100), New Jersey scores an average cost of living of 120.4 and Totowa scores 129.9.  

This higher-than-average cost of living is very apparent when comparing Totowa’s housing costs to the average housing cost around the nation. When compared to the national average (100), New Jersey scored an average housing cost of 142.4, while housing in Totowa was significantly more expensive at 165.6.  

The following table compares the median home cost in Totowa to the median home cost of several cities with similar populations: 

Totowa  NJ $494,700 
Mullins  SC $87,600 
Woodland  WA $488,000 
Nuevo CA $458,600 
Winsted CT $191,300 

*Data gathered from BestPlaces.net 

Is Totowa, NJ, a Safe Place to Live?  

According to Crimegrade.org, Totowa is more dangerous than 85% of cities in the United States. This percentage was calculated by comparing Totowa’s overall crime rate to the crime rate of other cities in the United States. Out of every 1,000 residents in Totowa, 51.58 become the victim of a crime every year. This crime rate earned Totowa an overall crime grade of a “D-”.  

Totowa’s overall crime grade is a composite of three subsequent scores for violent crime (D+), property crime (D+) and miscellaneous crime (F). The following table compares Totowa’s violent crime rate to the violent crime rate of several cities with similar populations.  

Totowa  NJ 388.30 
Mullins SC 677.00 
Woodland WA 177.70 
Nuevo CA 242.10 
Winsted CT 198.90 

The safest neighborhoods in Totowa are generally located in the northwest part of the city and include Mountain View, Packanack Lake and the western portions of Preakness. The most dangerous neighborhoods in Totowa are generally located in the northeast part of the city.  

5 Reasons Why Totowa is a Good Place to Live

Now that you are familiar with where Totowa is located and have learned about its cost of living and crime rating, it’s time to explore the city’s finest qualities. Here are our five favorite reasons why Totowa is a good place to live:  

1. Sparse Suburban Feel & Large-City Access  

Given Totowa’s proximity to Newark, New York City, and several other major cities, your first impression may be to write the area off as just another busy, metropolitan locale. In contrast, Totowa is generally referred to as “sparsely suburban.” Quaint neighborhoods, coffee shops and parks are all common in Totowa.  

In a lot of ways, Totowa offers its residents the best of both worlds. By living in the township, you will be able to simultaneously access several major cities (and the increased opportunities they present) and secure the suburban pace of life you crave. Not accounting for excessive traffic (well, more than is naturally expected in the area), you will be able to reach your job in Newark in less than a half-hour, commute to Manhattan in about 45 minutes, drive to Brooklyn in 60, or venture down to Trenton in less than 90 minutes.  

2. Quality Education & Ample Job Opportunities 

Totowa is also well known for its reputable public school systems and its proximity to an endless array of job opportunities.  

Passaic Valley Regional is one of the highest-rated high schools in the area. Memorial School (PK, K-2) and Washington Park School (3rd – 8th) are two other well-rated schools in Totowa. Notable colleges and universities in the nearby area include Montclair State University, Caldwell University, St. Paul’s College and St. Peters University.  

For a complete breakdown of the various public schools in Totowa, reference the table below:  

Passaic Valley Regional 9th – 12th  
Memorial School  B- PK, K-2 
Washington Park School C+ 3rd – 8th  
School of Culinary Arts Hospitality & Tourism C- 9th – 12th  
Alternative High School – 6th – 12th   
S.T.A.R.S. Academy –  9th – 12th   

*Data from Niche.com 

Most Totowa residents commute outside of the city for work. Neighboring cities such as New York City, Newark and Trenton present diverse and hearty job markets. Most of the job opportunities located within the city limits of Totowa are in banking, retail and food services.  

3. Cultural Diversity 

Totowa is a very diverse city. The city’s total population of 10,792 residents (2019) is predominately white at 72.2%. The next largest racial group in Totowa’s population is Hispanic at 15.8%. According to bestneighborhood.org, Totowa is more diverse than most other U.S. cities. The city received a diversity score of 89 out of 100 from the publication.  

The table below shows a complete breakdown of Totowa’s racial distribution:  

White 72.2% 
Hispanic 15.8% 
Black  6.1% 
Asian  3.5% 
Native American 0.0% 
Other 2.3% 

*Data gathered from BestNeighborhood.org 

4. Proximity to Outdoor Recreation Sites  

Not only is Totowa located close to the Great Falls of the Passaic River, but the town also lies in proximity to several other outdoor recreation sites. The township itself supports several local parks including Morris Canal, Pennington Park and Stefan Tatarenko Memorial Park. In addition, the Garret Mountain Reservation, Rifle Camp Park and Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park are all located near Totowa.  

If you are looking to hike a trail less traveled, you can check out this guide from the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference or travel directly to Back Beach Park, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Highlands Preserve or Ringwood State Park, all located near Totowa in Passaic County.  

5. Endless Things to do 

In addition to being a hotspot for local parks and outdoor recreation sites, Totowa is also full of several other things to do, see and experience. In fact, there are an abundance of museums, restaurants and nightlife spots located in and around Totowa.  

The most popular museums in Totowa are Lambert Castle, the Hamilton House Museum, the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center, and The Paterson Museum. According to Tripadvisor.com, Spiga and Roberts Scratch Kitchen are the two best restaurants in Totowa.  

Bonus: A Bagel Lover’s Paradise 

The stability of a city’s economy, its educational opportunities, and population diversity are all more important characteristics to consider when deciding where to live. However, you shouldn’t discount the difference good food can make. And in New Jersey, this means, bagels and lots of them. Whether you are already a bagel lover or simply interested in tasting what all the toasted hype is about, you are in luck! 

In 2017, LendEDU compiled rankings for the Best New Jersey Towns for bagels. Using a unique scoring system based from the number of bagel shops in a target area divided by the area’s population, LendEDU developed their Bagel Density Index.  

According to LendEDU’s overall rankings, Totowa had one of the best scores in New Jersey and is the seventh-best bagel city in the state.  

What are the pros of living in Totowa, NJ? 

The perks of living in Totowa, NJ, include the city’s “sparse-suburban” feel, proximity to major job markets, educational opportunities and overall population diversity. In addition, there are also several outdoor recreation sites, museums, parks and restaurants in and around Totowa. 

What are the cons of living in Totowa, NJ? 

The cons of living in Totowa, NJ, include the city’s higher- than -average cost of living and the area’s poor crime rating. The city’s cost of living is 29.9% higher than the national average and 20.4% higher than the average cost of living in New Jersey.  

Tell us what you think of Totowa in the comments below. Whether you live here or are thinking of moving, you can find secure, premium storage units in Totowa at Store Space.

Featured Image credit: Pvjoeb joe b — Own Personal Work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12237569

writer nicholas sollitto and his sweater

Nicholas Sollitto is a contributor to Store Space who also enjoys rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, reading Vonnegut, and hiking.


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