Economic Recovery Not Stemming Income Inequality in NJ

Gap in Earnings Continues to Widen

Economic Recovery Not Stemming Income Inequality in NJA new study reveals that the income gap between the rich and poor in New Jersey has widened even further, with major social consequences finds latest study on income inequality released last month by the Poverty Research Institute of Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ.)

The spread between the haves and the have-nots in the Garden State is getting steadily bigger and shows no sign of abating. It signals that deep-seeded frustrations of those at the bottom of the income ladder — in New Jersey mostly blacks and Hispanics — when weighed against the relatively few numbers of people at the top — mostly Whites and some Asians — results in a “perceived and experienced sense of unfairness.”

The study:

  • Paints a grim picture of the swath of income inequality in New Jersey and documents the trend of the rich getting richer and the poor even poorer has “worsened markedly” since the beginning of the century, and
  • Reports that despite the economic recovery, the inequality gap in New Jersey actually has become even greater in the four years since the official end of the recession.

“There are no hard and fast studies conclusively pinpointing either benefits or disadvantages of continued income inequality, but there is little disagreement that wide scale inequality poses some threat to economic stability and growth, and significant negative consequences for individuals at the human level, especially regarding their quality of life.”

Said LSNJ President Melville D. Miller Jr.

Key findings of the 40-page study include:

  • The gap between the top 20% of households and all other income groups has widened since the recession’s end,
  • The two bottom household quintiles have seen a continuous decline in average and median income since 2009,
  • Only the top quintile gained income since the end of the recession,
  • The difference between the top and bottom rungs last year was larger than at any time since 2000, and
  • Since the recession, racial and ethnic disparities in income inequality have been increasing, with Blacks and Hispanics affected the most in comparison to white and Asian households.

“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% and the rest of the country is at its widest point in three decades.”

According to NJ.com’s coverage of the study’s release.

Click here to view the full study.

Click here for LSNJ’s press release.

Click here for news coverage of the study’s findings.