1.35 million in N.J. living in poverty, new Census report finds

 Many of New Jersey's poorest resident live in Camden, where housing costs are lower. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

Many of New Jersey's poorest resident live in Camden, where housing costs are lower. (Alan Tu/WHYY)

A new Census Bureau report shows the poverty rate in New Jersey is much higher than the official measure.

When factoring in all income and costs, including child care and work expenses, the Census Bureau concludes about 1.35 million Garden State residents are living in poverty. That’s far above the 900,000 officially reported number.

The new report found that rates are higher than previously thought in 13 states, including 6,000 more in poverty in Delaware. And it determined lower rates in Pennsylvania, which has 56,000 fewer residents living in poverty, and 27 other states.

The higher number in New Jersey is due to the state’s high cost of living, said Ray Castro with New Jersey Policy Perspective.

“It’s mainly housing … in New Jersey, for example, 25 percent of all renters pay more than half of their income on rent. So that a huge factor,” he said. “We’re second highest in the foreclosure rate in the country. Child-care costs are also very high in our state.”

The federal Affordable Care Act will enable poor people to get insurance and reduce their out-of-pocket health care costs, Castro said. Recent voter approval of a minimum wage increase that takes effect in January is another positive step that could help lower the poverty rate, he said.

 

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