One in five households in the Garden State are making less money than they need to survive, according to a New Jersey Poverty Research Institute study released earlier this month.
What’s more scary than that simple statistic is that many of these households, 85 percent, consist of families with one or more working adults who are confronted with a world where their work simply does not bring in enough to deal with this state’s spiraling cost of living.
The study also, as expected, found that educational attainment correlated directly with households not making enough income to live on.
But the study went further and suggested that for those households suffering from income inadequacy providing increased educational opportunities was crucial, in addition to those opportunities being available at times built around a full-time work schedule.
The study found that a harmful arrangement for many of the “one in five” households was that education was required to move out of the inadequate income categories, but in New Jersey there are few such opportunities for working households to gain that education while continuing to work and put bread on the table.
The state also needs to provide more plentiful assistance for families with single parents, especially women of color, according to the study.
There are inadequate “safety nets” for that group, allowing many poor single mothers to exist here in one of the richest states in the country without many options for getting a better life.
Sounds like the Garden State has a long way to go in reducing the number of households here that deal with inadequate income, which hurts everyone, either directly or through depressed economic output and social problems.
New Jersey officials need to take heed, and continue the fight to bring opportunity and the American Dream to not just the few, but the many.