Since 2008 the New Jersey Foundation for Aging (NJFA) has been working on the NJ Elder Index. With the first official release in 2009 the Elder Index tells us what it cost a person over 65 to live in NJ. And not just statewide average, but a cost of living index for all 21 counties. The Index incorporates the costs for housing, food, transportation and healthcare.
Subsequent reports in 2012 and 2014 have been done and include not only the cost of living index, but also a demographic study to give us a profile of which seniors are living below the index in all 21 counties.
This has given us an understanding of the plight of seniors in NJ. For instance we know that 30% of NJ‚Äôs elders rely solely on Social Security for their income and that 43% of seniors in a one or two person household live below the index. We also now know that from 2009 to 2014 a single elder renter‚Äôs cost rose 13.5%, meaning her cost of living went from $25,941 to $29,436- an almost $4,000 increase! Yet, that renter likely did not see a rise in income.
The NJ Elder Index is a valuable tool for helping seniors. Service providers and policy makers can use the data to plan for serving NJ‚Äôs seniors, older adults, boomers and their families can use it to plan for retirement. It also helps community agencies and government to measure how public supports are helping seniors. To that end, NJFA would like you to know that Fact Sheets are available on our website for all 21 counties. This includes the cost of living data and the demographic study.
You can find this information at http://www.njfoundationforaging.org/policy-reports/