According to a new report, 28 percent of Monmouth County residents struggle to afford basic necessities, despite having working adults in the home. Seven percent of county residents earn more than the official U.S. poverty level but less than the basic cost of living.
Across the state, The United Way reports that one in three New Jersey households are hard-pressed to pay for "housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation."
United Way recently released the results of the ALICE project, a report five years in the making, to document the number, location and experiences of New Jersey families who are employed, yet "who live each day one crisis away from falling into poverty." The ALICE project is an acronym for, "Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed."
According to the study, between 21 and 30 percent of Aberdeen Township residents fall into the ALICE threshold. In Matawan, between 31 and 40 percent fit the description.
The families studied make more than the official poverty level, but "way less than an individual or family needs to sustain a reasonably healthy standard of living."
The average cost of basic necessities in Monmouth County, including housing, child care, food, health care, and transportation, totals $53,400 for a family of two adults, an infant and a toddler. That number is more than double the US poverty rate of $22,113.
Monmouth County has one of the smallest number of households below the "ALICE threshold" in the state, ranking number 8 of the 21 counties in the state.
"I love living in New Jersey. When one drives around the state it is hard not to notice the beautiful tree-lined streets, lovely homes, nice cars, and great shopping," wrote John B. Franklin, CEO, United Way of Northern New Jersey, in a prepared statement. "These are all signs of the affluence that surrounds us, but if you look a little closer, scratch the surface and get a deeper glance, you will find ALICE."