March 29, 2023

NEWARK – Today, 55 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited Newark to promote the Poor People’s Campaign, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice released The Two New Jerseys By the Numbers, a brief containing several points of data that demonstrate the vast financial disparities between New Jersey’s Black, Latina/o and white residents.

“Whether we are talking about wealth, homeownership, income or poverty, the disparities between Black and Latina/o New Jerseyans and their white neighbors remain alarmingly vast, some of the worst in the country,” said Laura Sullivan, Director of the Economic Justice Program at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. “These disparities are not an accident or a result of individual behavior. They are a result of persistent and daunting policy obstacles that have compounded over generations to hold back a large percentage of New Jersey’s residents of color. These obstacles must be met with equally forceful policy solutions, including those the Institute advocates for every day.”

The brief, presented in compelling graphic design, includes the following data points, some of which are newly released: 

Median Household Net Wealth 

Black: $17,700

Latina/o: $26,100

White: $322,500

Median Individual Net Wealth 

Black: $4,900

Latina/o: $2,300

White/Non-Hispanic: $103,500

Median Household Income (newly released data) 

Black: $61,000

Latina/o: $63,600

White: $100,600

Poverty Rate (newly released data) 

Black: 16.5%

Latina/o: 18.2%

White: 6.5%

Lack of Bank Account 

Black: 22%

Latina/o: 21%

White: 9%

Homeownership (newly released data) 

Black: 41.7%

Latina/o: 40.1%

White: 77%

Possessing Retirement Savings 

Black: 37.7%

Latina/o: 26.2%

White: 56.1%

Individuals with Student Loan Debt 

Black: 25.3%

Latina/o: 15.6%

White: 16%

“For families to be able to build wealth, they must have access to its key building blocks, such as homeownership opportunities, stable incomes and retirement security,” added Sullivan. “But access is not enough. Policy must equalize the playing field so that race, ethnicity and zip code do not determine the financial benefits of household assets. New Jersey is one of the wealthiest and most diverse states in the country, but our disparities are shameful. We must do better to Make the Two New Jerseys One.”

Data sources and other information can be found in the brief.