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December 22, 2014

At this time of year, most would agree, it is important to remember those among us who are less fortunate. A new study by the Legal Services of New Jersey shows that only the top 20 percent of earners in the state have increased their income since 2009, considered the end of the Great Recession.

All others have not participated in the financial recovery; in fact, they have seen their incomes drop since 2009. On average, the dip has been more than 5 percent.

This income disparity, according to the report, has been widening steadily. The decline has been disproportionately larger for African-Americans and Hispanics.

The report raises the possibility that this growing income inequality and its subsequent frustrations may have social consequences that are fueling demonstrations and unrest in the aftermath of shootings and police incidents in Ferguson, MO, and New York City.

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