Number of Children Living in Poverty Climbs Sharply in NJ, Rising in all but 3 Counties
The number of children living in poverty continues to rise in New Jersey, as measured by the newest edition of the Kids Count report for the state, which is being released today by Advocates for Children of New Jersey.
Almost one-third of all New Jersey children — 646,000 — were considered low-income, which is defined as living in a family with an income at twice the federal poverty limit, in 2012, the latest New Jersey Kids Count shows.
That’s a big increase from 2008, when some 310,000 children, or 15 percent of all New Jersey children, were living at the poverty level, with almost half of those considered very poor, in families with incomes of less than half the poverty limit. That year, the poverty level for a family of four was $23,050.
“While the rankings shift every year, we see certain trends across many counties, including increasing child poverty, fewer child care options for working parents and high housing costs,” said Cecilia Zalkind, ACNJ’s executive director. “These statistics should be used to inform local, county and state leaders, as well as community organizations, in their efforts to improve the well-being of all New Jersey children.”
The report shows that child poverty continued to rise from 2008 to 2012 in all but three counties — Morris, Salem and Warren. Warren and Salem saw substantial declines, at 46 and 22 percent, respectively, while Morris had a modest 1-percent decrease. In the other counties, increases in the number of children living in families earning too little to meet their children’s needs ranged from a low of 8 percent in Monmouth County to a high of 246 percent in Somerset County.
Statewide, the number of children living in poverty jumped 22 percent during this time. (O’Dea/NJSpotlight)