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New Jersey’s Poverty Rate Goes Up [AUDIO]


A couple of months back, the U.S. Census Bureau reported there were 900,000 New Jersey residents living in poverty.

Spencer Platt, Getty Images

That figure has now been revised to 1.35 million.

“The new data is distressing, but not surprising,” said the Executive Director of the Housing and Community Development of New Jersey, Staci Berger. “It is very unfortunate that our state economy is not doing better, we’ve really suffered a huge loss after Hurricane Sandy.”

One reason why poverty is such a pervasive problem in New Jersey, Berger said, is because our housing costs are very expensive.

“We continue to rank at the top of the most expensive rental markets in the country. Last year, we were number four in all states in the nation,” she explained. “What we have is a market problem, we do not have enough homes that people can afford in our marketplace, and that supply problem pushes up the price dramatically.”

Berger also pointed out the higher numbers reflect the fact that people don’t necessarily report themselves at the level that they’re struggling at.

“Also, a lot of folks are struggling to make ends meet and are not taking advantage of the help that is available to them,” Berger said.

She stressed that we know New Jerseyans want to go to work, they want to live in safe communities, but there are simply not enough homes that people can afford.

“And we don’t have enough jobs people can afford to raise their family on,” she said.

Some advocate groups say an estimated 2.7 million Garden State residents are living in poverty.

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