Ten percent of New Jersey residents — about 882,000 people — are living in poverty, according to a snapshot of the problem released Wednesday by the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey.

Another 2 million residents are considered near-poor.

The good news is that the rate hasn't worsened since 2016, and the state ranks 45th for the percentage of people in poverty. Nationally, the rate of poverty in 2017 was 13.4 percent.

But New Jersey's high cost of living puts extra weight on those struggling financially.

The group's report, based on Census data released in September, finds large numbers of low-income households that devoted so much money to rent that they had little left over for other expenses.

"Sixty-two percent of households earning less than $20,000 paid more than half of their income on rent last year," said Renee Koubiadis, APN Executive Director.

The same is true for roughly 58 percent of households earning up to $35,000, the report states.

How poor are NJ cities?

The number and percentage of residents below the federal poverty line — ranked by percentage.

Data from 2017 American Community Survey 1-year Estimates

MunicipalityBelow povertyPercentage
Union City14,50020.7%
East Orange11,28817.7%
Jersey City38,75114.5%
Hamilton (Mercer)9,10210.3%
Toms River6,3016.9%
Franklin (Somerset)4,4836.8%
Cherry Hill4,5856.5%
Gloucester Township1,9873.1%
Old Bridge1,9112.9%

Using federal standards, a family of four is considered "in poverty" if they bring in less than $25,094 per year. An individual (one-person family) would have to earn more than $12,488 to be above the poverty line.

More than 387,000 New Jerseyans lived in "deep poverty" in 2017, meaning their earnings didn't even add up to half the poverty line, the report said.

In more than 60 percent of New Jersey's poor families, at least one person had a job at some point during 2017.

The snapshot found that children in New Jersey are more likely to live in property than any other age group. In 2017, nearly 14 percent of Garden State children lived in poverty, compared to 18.4 percent nationally. The rate of poverty was even greater among African American and Latino children.

The report noted federal and state programs help lift people out of poverty. Proposals on the federal level to cut or limit programs such as Medicaid, SNAP and housing assistance, Koubiadis said, would be detrimental to efforts made in reducing poverty.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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