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NJPRI Research Reports

PRI Research Reports

Poverty Research Institute (PRI) publishes a variety of reports addressing various aspects of poverty.


Income Inequality in New Jersey: The Growing Divide and its Consequences

This report continues the Poverty Research Institute’s analysis of examining income inequality in New Jersey. It extends the analysis to 2013, enabling an assessment of the extent to which income inequality in New Jersey has changed four years after the conclusion of the recession. It shows that income inequality has continued to rise in New Jersey since the end of the recession. While the top twenty percent of households have increased their income share in the post-recessionary period as well as recouping some of the income lost during the recession, the income share of the bottom eighty percent has decreased. As a result, in 2013 the gap between the top fifth of all households and the remaining four-fifths was at its largest since the end of the recession in 2009.

Poverty Benchmarks 2014: Assessing New Jersey’s Progress in Combating Poverty

Poverty Benchmarks 2014, the new report from LSNJ’s Poverty Research Institute, offers a grim picture of the continuing depth of poverty and the broad ramifications of wide-scale unemployment and the changing nature of the labor market in the Garden State. The study raises the possibility that unusually high poverty the last several years—the highest rates of increase in decades—may well be on the verge of becoming a fixture of life in the Garden State.

What is Poverty? Measuring Deprivation in New Jersey

Poverty estimates based upon the federal poverty level grossly understate the extent of poverty in New Jersey. Using a more realistic indicator that incorporates real cost of living data, this report reveals a much larger group than previously reported or acknowledged is experiencing serious income shortages and deprivation in New Jersey.

The Real Cost of Living in New Jersey: What It Takes to Meet Basic Needs and Avoid Deprivation

An updated report in the Real Cost of Living series provides a detailed analysis of the cost of living in New Jersey for working families based on the true cost of basic household expenses including housing, child care, health care, food and transportation. Data is provided both at the state level and for each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.

Income Inequality in New Jersey: The Growing Divide and Its Consequences

This report, the first in a planned new annual series of inequality audits, focuses on the challenge of income inequality, which increased in New Jersey and nationally over the last decade. We provide available data concerning the increase in income inequality from 2000 to 2009, showing how the income gap between the highest and lowest fifths (“quintiles”) of the state’s population has widened. Especially in a very high-cost state like New Jersey, income inequality and the increase of income and wealth in the highest fifth of households can be a major factor in driving the cost of living still higher, putting essentials further beyond the reach of those with lower incomes.

"I Want to Make It On My Own": A Qualitative Assessment of How New Jersey’s Welfare and Workforce Development Programs Can Better Perform their Core Mission of Moving People from Welfare to Sustainable Work

The Poverty Research Institute undertook this qualitative research study to determine - through 125 in-depth interviews of welfare recipients, caseworkers and county-based senior staff in welfare agencies and One-Stops - how the Work First New Jersey mission of moving welfare recipients toward work and economic self-sufficiency might be better achieved.

Food, Clothing, Health, or a Home? The Terrible Choices and Deprivations – and Great Courage – of New Jerseyans Who Live in Poverty

This comprehensive social science study details the immense challenges faced by people living in true poverty (generally below 200 percent of the federal poverty level), and contrasts their situation with those having slightly higher incomes. More than 80 people were interviewed in-depth for this report.

Unequal Access to Justice: Many Legal Needs, Too Little Legal Assistance

People of lower income must deal with a broad array of laws and legal processes that directly impact their daily lives and often determine their very ability to survive. The Unequal Access to Justice: Many Legal Needs, Too Little Legal Assistance study, which builds on LSNJ’s earlier (1985 & 2002) research on legal needs, asks whether New Jersey adults with lower incomes are obtaining the legal assistance they need while facing civil legal problems. Results from the study’s survey of 2,846 adults, which also included a comparison with people of higher incomes, find that they are not. The study documents the legal assistance gap facing people of lower income in New Jersey, outlines principal policy implications for closing the civil legal assistance and justice gap, and points to areas where further research is needed.

Eye on the Budget 2009: How New Jersey State Expenditures Relate To Basic Human Needs

The purpose of this report is to provide a resource guide for understanding the decisions and priorities represented by the State’s multiple, and sometimes confusing, budget documents. State decision-makers, advocates and the general public can use this report as a kind of lens — to evaluate in a focused way the extent to which New Jersey is using available resources to meet basic needs, particularly the needs of low-income and other vulnerable residents. As in prior years, the report discusses the extent and nature of the basic human needs of people in New Jersey, and connects that with information about State programs that respond to these needs. This year, the report then highlights selected key programs for a more in-depth analysis of funding trends and needed actions.

Eye on the Budget 2009 Summary: How New Jersey State Expenditures Relate To Basic Human Need

This report is the initial Summary report from the sixth edition of the annual Eye on the Budget series. The summary provides an overview of the current state budget crisis and makes specific recommendations for addressing the existing revenue shortfall, implementing smart government changes to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of urgently needed programs, and prioritizing urgent expenditure needs.

Not Enough To Live On: Characteristics of Households Below the Real Cost of Living in New Jersey, 2008

This report discusses the demographic and socio-economic characteristics of New Jersey residents with inadequate incomes according to research on the Real Cost of Living (RCL) in New Jersey. The report builds on the RCL report series that was inaugurated in 1999 and most recently updated in 2008, and uses the alternative measure of income sufficiency calculated in these reports to analyze the characteristics of three different groups — those with incomes below the federal poverty level, those with incomes above the federal poverty levels but below the RCL and those with incomes above the RCL. This analysis provides a more accurate estimate of households whose incomes fall short of self-sufficiency and how they compare to other, more economically-stable groups. Factors such as employment, demographic characteristics, educational attainment and geographic distribution of income inadequacy across the state are examined to provide insight into patterns income insufficiency in the state and policy choices that will help improve the economic situation of households that lack essential financial resources. The report’s unit of analysis is households rather than individuals, and the Study Population is restricted to households with working-age adults that have no work-inhibiting disability.

Supporting New Jersey's Workers: The Importance and Adequacy of the State Minimum Wage, 2008

This report evaluates the adequacy minimum wage in New Jersey and discusses a number of factors that must be considered in assessing its adequacy. This includes an analysis of cost of living in New Jersey, changes in the components of cost of living, comparison of New Jersey to other states with respect to the above, analysis of purchasing power of minimum wage over time and comparison of minimum wage to other benchmarks of income like the Federal Poverty Threshold and Lower Living Standard Income Level. The report recommends an immediate increase in minimum wage in New Jersey, instituting automatic annual increases based on New Jersey regional Consumer Price Index and continued oversight of the New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Advisory Commission.

For earlier PRI reports, visit the NJPRI Research Reports Archive



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Copyright information
Legal Services of New Jersey makes these publications available for use by low-income people and their advocates who provide not-for-profit legal help for low-income people. All of our publications are copyrighted. Permission is granted for personal use only. They may not be sold or used commercially by others.
These publications provide general information about the law. They do not provide specific advice about a particular legal problem that you may have, and they are not a substitute for seeing a lawyer at times when you may need one. If in doubt as to whether you need a lawyer, talk to one.