This stubborn recession is taking its toll even on those living in New Jersey's wealthiest counties. Your neighbors might be suffering through this economy and hiding it from you. It's not to be deceptive. It's a matter of pride.

New statistics reveal that between 2007 and 2010 the number of Hunterdon County residents using food stamps has increased by more than 500%. The number of those doing the same in Somerset County has more than tripled. Hunterdon and Somerset are two of the most affluent counties not only in the state, but in the nation.

Governor Chris Christie was asked if he's been made aware of an uptick of residents in his predominantly well-off county of Morris applying for food stamps. He responds, "I haven't, but I know the statistics and you know I think most particularly in some of those affluent counties it's hidden even more because it's unexpected and because the people who are there try affirmatively to hide it."

The Governor says his administration is working to help everyone in need regardless of where they live. He was not taken aback by the number of those in well-to-do counties who are reaching out for help.

"I think at times it's really difficult to see in some of our most affluent areas around our state, but we know it's there," explains Christie. "We know it's there by the statistics. I'm unfortunately not surprised to hear it because we've been seeing that type of statistical evidence anecdotally over the last 22 months that I've been here (in office)."

The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families. Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans (nearly 1 in 2) have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.