No one likes when must-have goods and services go up in price. But some groups in New Jersey are feeling the burn of inflation much more than others.

A report out of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work finds all New Jerseyans experienced the impact of inflation over the pandemic, but Black and Hispanic residents experienced a "strikingly consistent disadvantage" in trying to stay above water financially.

The report, which received support from the New Jersey State Policy Lab, looked at inflation in two ways: the groups consuming more of the goods and services that rose the most in price, as well as the ability of residents to absorb those price increases.

Researchers examined several product categories and found that three rose in price far more than any others: transportation, housing, and food and beverage.

Non-white households used more of the products and services that increased the most in price, according to the report.

"But the double whammy is that they also earn less," said Yana Rodgers, faculty director of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work.

In turn, Rodgers said, Black and Hispanic New Jersey residents were more likely to struggle with taking on the price increases.

"Households living at the margins — the inflation is going to hit them harder, especially if their income or wages are not keeping up in real terms with the inflation," Rodgers said.

Looking specifically at gender, the researchers found that men were more likely to rely on the goods and services rising in price, but women were ultimately more burdened by inflation because of lower earnings and lower levels of unemployment.

According to the report, approximately 65% of New Jerseyans struggled to afford basic household expenses in 2021 and 2022. Close to 40% experienced food insecurity.

"Examining the ways inflation has impacted all of us, and which groups have been hit hardest, is a necessary first step," said Elizabeth Cooner, executive director of the New Jersey State Policy Lab. "Developing policies to address these inequities and support all New Jerseyans is critical."

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