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April 27, 2012

Nearly one-third of all New Jersey children -- 619,000 -- lived in low-income families in 2010, an increase of 14 percent since 2006. That was the finding of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which each year publishes a statewide picture of child wellbeing in many critical areas -- poverty, health, education, child protection, and juvenile justice. Each year, the advocates say they see different trends in different areas. But what seems most striking this year is evidence that more and more families struggle economically.

The report paints a picture of pervasive poverty. The new Kids Count data shows the percent of children living in a family where no parent had full-time employment increased to 27 percent. Hungry New Jersey households rose an alarming 56 percent since 2004-2006, coupled with a steep 76 percent jump in the number of children receiving food stamps.

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