UNION CITY, New Jersey–A study released this week found the number of children in New Jersey living in extreme poverty rose 32% between 2008 and 2012, while almost one third of children in the state are “low-income.” New Jersey’s economy, the least viable in the nation, has begun impacting the lives of the state’s children.
The study, by Advocates for Children of New Jersey, classifies children by their household incomes, finding that the Christie era, from 2010 to today, has been devastating for the state’s children. Aside from the 32% increase in children living in extreme poverty, 65% more children in the state were receiving food stamps in 2013 than were in 2009. One third of the state’s children, 646,000, are considered “low-income,” which the study defines as “living in a family with an income at twice the federal poverty limit.” In 2008, only 310,000 children suffered under these conditions.
Only three counties – the relatively rural Warren and Salem Counties and suburban Morris County – saw decreases in poverty. Child poverty in Warren county dropped an astounding 46%, while 22% more of the state’s children elsewhere entered that classification.
New Jersey’s economic woes under the Christie administration have caused the state major losses in revenue and credit status. New Jersey has had its credit outlook lowered by Moody’s, its credit rating lowered by Standard & Poor’s, and reached record levels of debt in 2013. The state appears not only to have suffered the effects of the 2008 economic downturn more intensely than other states, it has appeared not to recover as quickly. Had the state recovered at the rate of neighboring states like Pennsylvania or New York, it would have received an extra $3.3 billion in revenue. One study last year classified New Jersey as the “least economically solvent state” in the nation.
These statistics are starting to finally hit home for the residents of New Jersey, who pay the highest property taxes in the nation. New Jersey not only has a vital child poverty problem on its hands but boasts the highest number of unemployed veterans in America. Residents continue to expect the economy to pick up in the state, but Governor Chris Christie’s revenue predictions have failed to reflect the economic reality of the state for months, even after initiatives such as the legalization of online gambling.
Read the full report from Advocates for Children of New Jersey here.