New Jersey's poverty level hit a 52-year-high in 2011 despite the economic recovery on the national level.
In a report released Sunday, Legal Services of New Jersey said 24.7 percent of New Jersey residents — at total of 2.1 million— was termed poor in 2011, The Star-Ledger reports.
The number is almost 1 percent higher than in 2010 and 3.8 percent above levels from before the Great Recession began.
"This is not just a one-year or five-year or 10-year variation," Melville D. Miller Jr., the president of LSNJ, told the Star-Ledger. "This is the worst that it’s been since the 1960 Census."
The numbers may go higher, the Star-Ledger noted, as 2012 Census figures are released in the coming weeks reflecting the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the country, but that also means its cost of living is higher, making the state poverty rate twice that of the nation overall.
State Sen. Barbara Buono, who is trying to unseat incumbent Gov. Chris Christie as the Democratic nominee for that office later this year blamed the numbers as a "damning commentary on (Christie's) failed conservative economic philosophy that protects millionaires from paying their fair share at the expense of everyone else."
Christie campaign spokesman Kevin Roberts replied that Buono and her allies in the Legislature had failed working families "by walking away from Governor Christie’s compromise proposal to raise the minimum wage and increase the earned income tax credit. No amount of distortions or revisionist history can paper over her hypocrisy and failure."
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