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New Jersey's poverty rate may lead to more bankruptcy filings

Newly released census data indicates that 998,549 people in New Jersey are living at or below the poverty rate last year.  The 11.4 percent poverty rate makes the state one of three that experienced an increase.  This could mean more people will file for bankruptcy.

Even as the economy improves for the rest of the country, people in New Jersey are struggling.  Between Hurricane Sandy and a rise in foreclosures, there are concerns that the numbers from the new census are actually an underestimate.  It is surmised that even as the unemployment level in New Jersey decreases, even newly employed people are still living at poverty level.  

The good news is that the state's percentage is still lower than the 15.8 percent national average.  However, the percentage here in Essex County is higher than the average for the nation, at 17.8 percent.  The percentages vary widely from county to county.

A researcher at Rutgers University believes the data needs further analysis to truly reflect the extent of the issue here in New Jersey.  Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are left trying to make ends meet.  Many people may not even be able to do that.

If that is the case, a petition for bankruptcy protection may be a helpful alternative.  Doing so could provide some relief from the stresses that come with not being able to pay bills, including the seemingly never-ending efforts of creditors and debt collectors.  When a bankruptcy proceeding is completed, most filers achieve a fresh financial start. The discharge of financial obligations that typically comes with a bankruptcy filing could provide the means needed to finally get ahead.

Source: nj.com, "Nearly 1 million people now live in poverty in N.J., Census says", Carla Astudillo, Sept. 18, 2014

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