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Living with the Future in Mind
Goals and Indicators for New Jersey's Quality of Life
First Annual Update to the Sustainable State Project Report 2000
EQUITY
GOAL: A more equitable distribution of the positive and negative products of civilization among New Jerseyans, from north to south, urban and rural, men and women, and among all classes and races. This includes fair access to healthy environments, good health care, quality education, governmental decision- making, economic opportunity, and natural and cultural amenities. 
The idea of social justice is a high ideal, one on which our nation was founded: all men are created equal. Today we tend to think of equity in relation to discrimination, but equity is not an issue limited to those who are disadvantaged. A community functions best when all its members are included in the economic or social structure. We all share in the economic, political, and social costs of inequity through such manifestations as homelessness and crime. Inequity is also evident in New Jersey's unequal infant mortality rates. Inequity means that those of us who are female or from minority backgrounds earn lower wages. Anecdotal evidence suggests that noisy and polluting facilities may be more likely to be located in poor and minority neighborhoods.

What we know

Little change in equal pay

Legislators increasingly reflecting population

Disparities in infant mortality show little recent change

What we don't know

Data have historically been and in some cases continue to be limited for ethnic groups outside of the overly simplified "black-white" breakdown. New Jersey is much more diverse than this, and measuring equity is more complex than traditional racial comparisons show.

We do not yet know the full extent of recent and historical data on inequality in education, access to health care,and responsiveness of government, and the usefulness of this information for describing equity in New Jersey.

We do not know the fairness or full effects of our actions today on the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

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Copyright © State of New Jersey, 1996-2006
Department of Environmental Protection
P. O. Box 402
Trenton, NJ 08625-0402

Last Modified: April 25, 2007

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