From the Star Ledger:
The income gap between New Jersey’s wealthiest residents and all other groups has widened significantly since the turn of the century, and grew worse after the recent Great Recession lifted, according to a new report.
Only the top 20 percent of households in the state has seen their average income increase since the recession ended in 2009, according to the study released today by Legal Services of New Jersey, an Edison-based organization that gives free legal help to low-income residents in civil cases.
And black and Hispanics in the Garden State have seen their median household income decline at a greater pace than white households after the recession faded, according to the report, which studies data from 2000 to 2013.
“This is unsettling, discouraging, and challenging most of all,” said Melville D. Miller Jr., Legal Services’ president. “It’s a national issue as well as a state issue, but New Jersey’s high cost of living makes it a sharper issue here.”
The numbers mirror a national trend. A report released this week by the Pew Research Center showed the wealth gap between the nation’s top 20 percent and the rest of the country is at its widest point in three decades.
But while experts say the U.S. has made strides recovering in the wake of the recession, New Jersey has witnessed a slower rebound than many other states.
Though it typically ranks as one of the wealthiest states in the nation, New Jersey saw its poverty level reach a 52-year high in 2011, according to a recent Legal Services study. Nearly a third of the state’s residents were considered poor in 2012, another study showed.