Black, Hispanic New Jerseyans Hit Harder by Inflation
Monday, Nov 13, 2023

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – All New Jerseyans are feeling the burn of inflation, but some groups are struggling more than others. A report by the Rutgers Center for Women and Work, supported by the New Jersey State Policy Lab, finds that Black and Hispanic New Jerseyans face a “strikingly consistent disadvantage” in their ability to absorb price increases.

“This report points to the need for a strong social safety net in New Jersey, especially for vulnerable households,” said Yana Rodgers, economist and faculty director of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work. “Non-white households take a harder hit because they have lower average incomes to shield them from inflation, and because they spend relatively more on the products and services with the highest price increases.”

Rutgers researchers Jocelyn Fisher and Yana Rodgers analyzed federal data on employment, earnings, and spending in the New York-Newark-Jersey City and Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan areas. They found that approximately 65% of New Jerseyans struggled to pay for basic household expenses, and approximately 39% experienced food insecurity, in 2021 and 2022—even as inflation levels slowed.

The “starkest findings” during the two-year study period concern demographic differences:

  • All New Jerseyans experienced the impact of inflation, but Black and Hispanic households faced a greater financial burden than white households;
  • Black men and Hispanic women had lower employment rates than white men and white women, respectively;
  • Black and Hispanic New Jerseyans had lower average earnings than white New Jerseyans;
  • Non-white households used more of the products and services that increased the most in price;
  • Black and Hispanic New Jerseyans were more likely to have difficulty paying for household expenses and more likely to have food insufficiency;
  • Men-headed households were more affected by inflation than women-headed households, but their higher average incomes helped them to cope more easily; and
  • Women, in general, faced a higher overall burden than men due to lower employment, lower average earnings, and more difficulty paying for expenses.

“Examining the ways inflation has impacted all of us, and which groups have been hit hardest, is a necessary first step,” said Elizabeth Cooner, executive director of the New Jersey State Policy Lab. “Developing policies to address these inequities and support all New Jerseyans is critical.”

Press Contact

Steve Flamisch
Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
848.252.9011 (cell)

About the Report

Who Experienced the Greatest Financial Burden from Inflation in New Jersey? An Examination of Spending, Earnings, and Employment is co-authored by Jocelyn Fischer and Yana Rodgers of the Rutgers Center for Women and Work. The New Jersey State Policy Lab supported and published the report. The Policy Lab is funded by the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE), and the contents of this report do not necessarily represent the policy or endorsement of OSHE or the State of New Jersey.

About Us

The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) is the world’s leading source of expertise on managing and representing workers, designing effective organizations, and building strong employment relationships.

SMLR’s Center for Women and Work (CWW) engages in research, education, and programming that promotes economic and social equity for women workers, their families, and communities.

The New Jersey State Policy Lab (NJSPL) conducts rigorous, evidence-based research that considers equity, efficiency, and efficacy of public policies and programs in holistic and innovative ways.