When the index equals 1, one person has all the income; when the
index equals 0, income is shared equally by everyone.
Things to think
of us want money to keep our families healthy and safe,
buy a nice home, and enjoy quality recreation. However, if we
work too much, we will not have time to enjoy these things.
spend part of our income to remedy social and
problems, such as when we purchase household security systems,
car alarms, and filtered water. Similarly, a portion of our
taxes is spent for prisons and pollution cleanup.
Jersey has the second-highest per capita income in the nation.
The amount of money earned by the average New Jerseyan has risen
impressively for many years, even at a time when people in many
other places struggle to get by. However, our rise in per capita
income has not eliminated all of our economic problems. The
gap between the richest and poorest of us remains significant
in New Jersey, as it does nationally.
economy is only really strong in the long term if it is sustainable
- that is, if it combines high incomes with a diminishing gap
between the richest and poorest of us, and clean and environmentally
sound production processes and products we want to buy.
what we call economic growth is really the conversion of our
natural wealth, such as woodlands, into cash. This is not a
net creation of wealth if it consumes non-renewable resources
or consumes renewable resources faster than they can replace
themselves. We may wind up missing the resources that we deplete,
especially in the long term.
incomes are a resource. We can use this money to invest in our
homes, our communities, and our children’s education. However,
rising income can also signify the loss of free time as we work
harder. This can mean th at we have less of ourselves to invest.
Additionally, income is not rising equally for all New Jerseyans.
do not have a consistently collected measure of income inequality.
Also, to provide a true picture of the rewards that we get from
our income, we must weigh income against such factors as the
cost of living, how much free time remains after our work is
done, and job satisfaction.
Data Sources: US Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis,
US Bureau of the Census, and NJ Department of Labor