Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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Vaccine Doses: 14,153,497
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,696,883
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Here’s a stark example of how policy choices have real-world implications for working families: Child poverty rose by a whopping 41 percent in January after the expanded federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) expired at the end of last year. In real numbers, this equates to 3.7 million more children living in poverty now than at the end of December. Making matters worse, the expiration of the CTC is worsening racial inequities, as Black and Latinx/Hispanic experienced the largest percentage-point increases in poverty. Now it’s up to federal lawmakers to extend the expanded CTC — and for states to establish their own versions of the tax credit (more on that next week). [The Washington Post / Jeff Stein]
Now for some good news: Thousands more residents are receiving pandemic relief thanks to the new, streamlined application for the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund! On Thursday, the state Department of Human Services announced that they have received more than 20,000 applications for relief, more than enough to exhaust the initial $40 million in funding. Even better, the Murphy administration has committed to providing relief to anyone who applies before the end of February. Now that the program is working as intended, the state “should sustain this momentum until no one is left behind in New Jersey’s pandemic recovery,” NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez said in a statement. [NJ Monitor / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
New Jersey’s teacher pipeline is in trouble, with more teachers retiring and fewer students studying to become teachers. According to NJ Spotlight News, more than 4,000 teachers retired last year — a 10 percent increase over last year. So why don’t more students want to become teachers? According to NJPP’s Mark Weber, the answers are simple. “The pay isn’t enough, the benefits have eroded, the job has more pressure attached to it, and people aren’t feeling supported.” [NJ Spotlight News / Ambreen Ali]
Nearly 400 police officers faced major discipline in New Jersey last year — for drunk driving, domestic violence, sexual assault, racist social media posts, and more — according to a new report by the state Attorney General. Of those disciplined, approximately three-quarters were not fired and instead received suspensions, demotions, or other punishment. While this data is a step in the right direction for transparency, New Jersey can and should do more to promote transparency and accountability in policing. [NJ Monitor / Dana DiFilippo, Nikita Biryukov, and Sophie Nieto-Munoz]
Last week, NJPP’s Marleina Ubel highlighted how police officers in New Jersey make more than double what social and community workers make, even though these occupations all contribute to public safety and help address the root causes of crime. In 2019, the average police officer made nearly $129,000 compared to $58,000 for community and social service workers. Click the link to read more! [NJPP / Marleina Ubel]
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