Interactive Map: Living in the Same State, But in Different Worlds

While NJ ranks as second-richest state in nation, gap in household incomes is wide and deep

The vast differences in wealth in New Jersey become clear on a map showing household income.

Most of the richest residents are clumped together in Morris, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, and those counties have only a few towns where the median household income dips below $100,000, as measured by the most recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The rest of the state’s wealth is concentrated in northeastern Bergen County, southern Sussex and a “V” configuration of communities in Mercer and Monmouth counties.

On the other hand, the area around Newark and Elizabeth has the lowest incomes, and median household incomes in most of South Jersey fall below $80,000.

The last estimates from the American Community Survey, released on Tuesday, rank New Jersey as the second-wealthiest state, based on data for a five-year period from 2008-2012. The census uses 5-year estimates when providing data for small geographic areas, such as municipalities, in order to be more accurate. The median income in the state was $71,637, almost $1,400 less than Maryland, which ranked first.

The 2012 estimate is slightly higher than the 2011 estimate of $71,180, but when that is adjusted for inflation to 2012 levels, the 2011 is more than $1,000 higher. The 2011 data dates back to 2007 and so includes some pre-recession estimates. The recession officially started in December 2007 and, while it officially ended in mid-2009, New Jersey’s economy has still not fully recovered.

Still, more than a quarter of municipalities in the state had median household incomes of at least $100,000, with the highest in tiny Tavistock in Camden County, where the median of the three households was estimated at more than $250,000. In Rockleigh in Bergen County, with 63 households, the median income was estimated at $198,125.

At the same time, New Jersey has some areas of great poverty. The city of Camden is estimated to be the state’s poorest municipality, with a median income of just $26,705. The income in Penns Grove in Salem is just slightly higher, at $27,615.

Camden also has the largest proportion of the poorest households in the state: 22 percent have an income of less than $10,000. In 15 communities, there are no households that poor. Meanwhile, there are eight municipalities in which no household had more than $200,000 in income, and nine in which at least 40 percent of the households had at least $200,000 in income.

The ACS data also provides estimates for income by race and ethnicity. New Jersey’s Asians have the highest median income — $102,138. The median income is $80,565 for non-Hispanic white households, $49,401 for Hispanics and $47,714 for black households.

More statistics are available from the Census Bureau’s American the Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder

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