The federal poverty rate in New Jersey was officially 10 percent in 2010 but a new report commissioned by the United Way of Northern New Jersey estimates that over one-third of state’s households are struggling to get by.
The report challenges the federal poverty measure and creates a higher threshold for what it takes to meet basic living expenses in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties. It uses the acronym ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed, to describe households who may be above the federal poverty measure but continue to struggle financially. Government data and other sources were used to determine the cost of essentials such as housing, food, childcare, and medical care. According to the report, it takes an average of $58,500 for a family of four to live in New Jersey. The federal poverty threshold for the same size family is just over $22,000 a year.
According to the report, seniors make up the largest portion of these households living above the federal poverty line but below what the report considers the threshold for surviving in the state. “Social Security has lowered the number of senior households in poverty, but does not enable self-sufficiency,” the report said. Read more in WNYC.