STATE – New Jersey’s middle class continues to shrink since the beginning of the Great Recession, while the number of wealthy and very poor households increased, according to data released this week by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The state lost approximately 58,000 middle-class households between the most recent survey and one taken at the height of the recession. New Jersey’s shrinking middle class is just another component of a troubling economic picture that includes an 8.5 percent unemployment rate – 1.3 percentage points higher than the national 7.2 percent rate – and private sector job growth rates that are lower than hoped for by economic experts.
Since 2000, the number of households making more than $200,000 per year has increased by 112 percent. This income bracket, now including 281,515 households, increased 12 percent since the height of the recession.
The largest number of New Jersey households fall into the $100,000 to $149,999 income bracket – 541,521 – fell one percent. The next largest group – 522,836 households – fell into the $50,000 to $74,999 income bracket, which decreased by three percent.
The three lowest income brackets combined include 563,656 households, all making less than $25,000 per year, an increase of four percent.
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