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Feeling hard hit by the current economy? If you live in South Jersey, you are not alone.
According to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, South Jersey is the least affluent region in the Garden State. In terms of median income, Atlantic, Cumberland, Cape May, Ocean and Salem counties are among the bottom eight of the 21 counties in the state, along with northern counties Essex, Hudson and Passaic.
Statewide, the Census Bureau reports that the median New Jersey income is $68,981, yet none of the eight southern counties registered a median household income of more than $66,000. Atlantic and Cape May counties had median incomes of close to $55,000, and Cumberland County came in at $50,000. The closest to the state median was Ocean County, where median income was reported as $59,939.
But if you look a little deeper, it’s not all bad news. The median household income in 22 of the 67 townships in the region actually increased by 40 percent. Moreover, municipalities like Egg Harbor City and Ocean Township saw median income grow by 65 and 63 percent, respectively. Between 2000 and 2009, median household income in Egg Harbor City went from $32,956 to $54,367, and the city’s poverty rate dropped from 12 to 6 percent. The same period of time saw a jump in Ocean Township’s median household income, from $46,461 to $74,633.
In this holiday season, it’s good to know there’s a bright side to this picture.
Nick DiUlio is New Jersey Monthly’s South Jersey Bureau Chief. In addition to regularly contributing to the magazine, he has written for Slate.com, Miller McCune, Paste magazine, and numerous regional and lifestyle publications. He is also an adjunct teacher of magazine writing at Rowan University. Email Nick at firstname.lastname@example.org