navigation bar
new jersey department of environmental protection  


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

Indicator 1

Additional  Economic Vitality Indicators

2 - Unemployment cyclical

3 - Productivity increasing

4 - Poverty cyclical

5 - Gross State Product (GSP) increasing

6 - Energy efficiency increasing


Average annual disposable income per capita among New Jerseyans (personal income remaining after taxes): Increasing

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 about

Most 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.

We often spend part of our income to remedy social and environmental 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.


New 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.


Our 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.


Sometimes 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.


Rising 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.

Knowledge Gaps

We 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

bottom footer


department: njdep home | about dep | index by topic | programs/units | dep online
statewide: njhome | citizen | business | government | services A to Z | departments | search

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

Last Modified: April 25, 2007

nj home citizen business government services a to z departments dep home njdep homeabout depindex by topicprograms and unitsdep online contact dep privacy notice legal statement accessibility statement nj home