From the AP:
Most New Jersey families struggle to keep up with the state’s rising cost of living, according to a poll released today.
The Monmouth University/New Jersey Monthly Poll, found many of the state’s households require more than one income to keep afloat and fewer than half saved enough money to cover their expenses in an emergency.
Sixty percent said their family’s income is falling behind the cost of living, with only 30 percent saying they’re able to keep pace and just 6 percent reporting incomes increasing faster than the cost of living.
Poll officials noted how a national poll conducted by the Pew Research Center last fall found 40 percent of Americans felt they were falling behind, with 44 percent keeping pace and 12 percent getting ahead.
“The rising cost of living in New Jersey is a major problem for families at every income level,” said Patrick Murray, the Monmouth University Polling Institute director. “In fact, the large number of upper income families in the Garden State who feel they can’t make ends meet is something you just don’t see in the country as a whole.”
The poll found 72 percent of New Jersey households earning below $50,000 a year and 64 percent of those earning between $50,000 and $100,000 said their incomes cannot keep pace with the cost of living. So did 44 percent of those earning more than $100,000.
Most households earning more than $100,000 require a second income to reach that level, the survey found.
Overall, 46 percent of New Jersey households have two or more incomes, including 29 percent of those earning below $50,000 a year, 48 percent of those earning $50,000 to $100,000 and 72 percent of those earning more than $100,000.
Asked why they have more than one earner, two-thirds said they need money to meet monthly living expenses, a tally far surpassing other needs, such as putting money into savings, paying for education, paying for child care or obtaining health care coverage.
Only 11 percent said the extra income or job is to pay for luxuries and 8 percent reported career interest as the driving force behind having two income earners in their household.
Only 43 percent of New Jerseyans report that they have saved enough money to pay their household expenses for six months in case they lost their job. This finding is the same whether a household has multiple income earners or not.
The telephone poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute with 804 New Jersey adults April 12 to 16. It has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.