It’s a truism that’s repeated so often it can lose some of its impact: New Jersey is an expensive state to live in — make that very expensive. The latest stats from the United Way’s ALICE research, which tracks people who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a sobering reminder. The bare minimum budget for a family of four (two adults, one infant, one preschooler) in the Garden State was $88,224 in 2018. In the same year, the cost of survival for a single adult was $30,240 and $33,552 for a senior. The ALICE report places those numbers in stark context: The median hourly wage for freight and stock laborers, the most common occupation in New Jersey, was $12.93, or $25,860 a year.
Kiran Handa Gaudioso, CEO of United Way of Northern New Jersey, said, “These already fragile ALICE households are now facing an even deeper financial hole due to the state of emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic,” adding that “37 percent of New Jersey households cannot afford the basics for survival.”