New kids data shows reasons for ‘cautious optimism’
As the economy continues to fight back from the Great Recession, more Garden State families are making progress.
According to a new report from the Kids Count Data Center, fewer American kids are living with an unemployed parent.
Ceil Zalkind, Advocates for Children of New Jersey executive director, said New Jersey ranks in the top 10 nationally in this metric.
"We are below the national average at six percent," Zalkind said. "The national average is seven percent."
This positive news also comes on the heels of a recent dip in the child poverty rate, which is still higher than pre-recession levels, but dipped to 16 percent in 2014.
Zalkind said the economic climate is moving in the right direction with less unemployment and an increase of the median income, but she does offer a few words of caution.
"We can be cautiously optimistic that things are moving in the right direction, but we know that there are still issues that face low-income families in our state," Zalkind said.
Those issues include the "pipes of poverty" in many of New Jersey's cities and rural areas, the continued rising cost of living in the Garden State, and the vital need for quality, affordable child care with so many parents going back to work.
"While I still think is very positive, there are challenges in other areas that need to be improved at the same time."