The income gap between New Jersey’s richest and poorest residents widened dramatically over the last two decades, according to a report that also shows the top 5 percent in the Garden State had the greatest percentage increase in income nationwide.
It states that average income of the wealthiest 5 percent of New Jersey residents skyrocketed 132 percent from 1980-82, when it was $115,939, to 2001-03, when it was $268,889.
For the top 20 percent of New Jersey residents, average income rose nearly 79 percent, from $85,802 in 1980-82 to $153,362 in 2000-03. In contrast, average income for the lowest 20 percent rose just 25 percent over that span, from $16,397 to $20,391; for the middle 20 percent, average income rose 42 percent, from $42,145 to $59,929.
New Jersey is among the top 10 states in the disparity between lowest- and highest-income groups.
New Jersey ranks No. 9 nationally in the size on the income gap separating the top and bottom 20 percent of residents.
In 1980-82, New Jersey’s top 20 percent made 5.4 times more, on average, than the bottom 20 percent. By 2000-03, that ratio had jumped to 7.5.
New York continues to have the highest income disparity between rich and poor of any state, according to a new study by two national economic policy groups.
The average income of the richest fifth of New York State families is 8.1 times the average income of the poorest fifth, according to the study, which drew from census data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, two liberal research groups based in Washington.
New Jersey was ninth in income disparity, with a difference of 7.5 times, and Connecticut was 23rd, with a gap of 6.9 times.
The average income of families in the top 20 percent in New York State was $130,431, compared with $16,076 for the bottom fifth, according to data in the report.
Added to that, an increase in investment income helped the rich get richer, the study said.
The Economic Policy Institute (epi.org/epinet.org) is currently not responsive. I’ll post a link to the full report as soon as I can access the site.