Contact Us
Make My Homepage

More NJ Kids In Poverty, New Report Shows [AUDIO]

The picture of poverty in New Jersey is increasing, with more families struggling economically, earning too little to meet basic needs.

Flickr User Tillwe

In 2010, nearly one in three New Jersey children lived in families that earn too little to meet their basic needs, representing a 14% increase since 2006.

During roughly the same time, New Jersey households without enough food rose an alarming 56 percent, coupled with a steep 76% jump in the number of children receiving food stamps.

These findings come from the just released New Jersey Kids Count 2012, which each year tracks trends in child well-being in critical areas – poverty, health, education, child protection and juvenile justice.

“What seems most striking this year is the persistent and pervasive evidence that more and more families struggle economically,” said Cecilia Zalkind, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which produces the Kids Count reports.

“These are families from our cities, our suburbs and our rural areas,” Zalkind added. “They are young adults who can’t find a job. They are U.S.born children living in immigrant families. And, increasingly, they are parents who have always worked but cannot find a full- time job with benefits.”

“For many of these families, the struggle back to solid financial ground will likely be long and painful,” Zalkind said. “This poverty infects all the areas of child well-being documented in this report.”

This growing poverty was seen in other areas:

The number of children eligible for free school meals rose 26%.

Sixteen percent of all young adults, ages 18 through 24, lived in poverty, up 33% since 2006.

The percentage of immigrant children living in poor families increased 23% since 2006. A family of four earning $22,050 in 2010 was considered poor by federal standards.

Nearly half – 45 %- of immigrant single mother householders with children under age 5 had incomes below the federal poverty level.

Last week, ACNJ released its annual review of the state budget and how it affects children.

“We have called on the Governor, Legislature and other state officials to invest in child care, preschool, school breakfast and tax credits for the working poor,” Zalkind said. “These investments pay off by giving children a solid start at early learning, which forms the foundation for school success, while helping struggling families meet their children’s basic needs.”

“We must remember that behind every number are real children, real families and real lives that hang in the balance,” Zalkind said. “If our state is in the midst of a comeback – and we all hope that it is, then surely children must be at the beginning of the line to benefit from this renewed economic prosperity.”

The full report is available online.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Best of NJ101.5

Recommended For You

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for New Jersey Insiders quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive New Jersey Insiders contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.