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November 30, 2011

Poverty has become not just a serious problem in New Jersey -- it's now widespread, according to U.S. Census figures just released. As a whole, 13.1 percent of children between the ages of 5-17 are living in poverty, as opposed to 10.1 percent in pre-recessionary 2007. (Nationally, the percentage is now 19.8 percent.) But a look at the school population by district reveals that 58 school systems have more than 20 percent of their school-age population living in poverty, as opposed to 27 districts four years ago.

The school district with the highest rate of child poverty is Wildwood City, at 45.9 percent (up from 33.1 percent since 2007.) It is followed closely by Lakewood, with a child poverty rate of 40 percent. Camden has 39 percent. Newark, although it is one of 16 districts with more than 30 percent of its children in poverty, has a poverty rate of 32.5 percent. That's less than Passaic (37.2 percent) Seaside Heights (35 percent), Salem (33.7 percent), and Trenton (33.3 percent), among others.

For a visual look at how New Jersey's districts stack up, check out the Census Bureau's visual mapping tool.

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