NOTE: The issue area papers are in the process of being updated. Please check back soon for the revised "Call to Invest".
A Call to Invest in the People of New Jersey
Reports released in September 2011 by the US Census indicate that the number of people living on incomes at or below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is the highest it has been since the mid 1990s, and that the number of people in New Jersey who are counted as living in poverty has grown steadily.
But this information only tells part of the story. Numerous studies indicate that the average cost of living in New Jersey is approaching $60,000 for a family of three. This level of income is almost three times what the Federal government uses to determine the poverty level.
Three out of four people employed in New Jersey earn less than $65,000. 50% earn salaries of $40,000 or less. The result is that a growing number of New Jerseyans have incomes that are too low to meet the most basic costs of housing, nutrition, health care, and other necessities. Households considered “middle class” just a few years ago are now facing the same struggles as those once considered poor. No matter what the “official” definition of poverty may be, when it becomes impossible to meet everyday expenses, then people are, in reality, living in poverty.