NJ Kids Count 2023 County Pocket Guide Highlights Well-Being of Children and Families in Garden State

Lana Lee | Advocates for Children of NJ | (609) 651-5855 (cell) | llee@acnj.org

Latest NJ Kids Count 2023 County Pocket Guide Highlights Well-Being of Children and Families in Garden State

Advocates for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ) released its latest data publication, NJ Kids Count 2023: The State of Our Counties, taking a deeper look at how children are faring across the Garden State and among its 21 counties. With the most recent one-year data available, the data book provides a snapshot of the well-being of families in the aftermath of COVID-19, the statewide shutdown, and pandemic-related policies. 

Download NJ Kids Count 2023 County Pocket Guide

“Though it will be a long time before we can determine the true effect the pandemic has had on the physical and mental health, educational opportunities, and overall stability of children, youth, and families, the data book can offer a baseline to start,” said Mary Coogan, president and CEO of Advocates for Children of New Jersey, which produces the report.

“We are calling on local groups interested in using the data to improve their communities to partner with us,” Coogan noted. “Through forums and public meetings, we want the data to empower residents, as well as spark conversations, connections, and collaboration to develop solutions for better outcomes for children and families. Anyone interested in co-hosting a community conversation around the data can contact my office by emailing advocates@acnj.org.”

In addition to data at the county level, data are also disaggregated by race, which show deep disparities remain: 

  • Statewide, 9.2% of births were preterm, but among Black newborns, that figure is 13.1%.
  • The infant mortality rate, the rate at which a baby dies before their first birthday, for Black, non-Hispanic babies is 9.2 per 1,000 births compared to white, non-Hispanic babies at 2.5 per 1,000 births.
  • Roughly 83% of white expecting mothers in New Jersey begin receiving prenatal care in their first trimester compared to 65% of Black expecting mothers.

Much of the data in the New Jersey Kids Count 2023 offers one-year data instead of five-year data trends due to the difficulty to compare pre- and post-pandemic data. Indicators include demographics, family economic security, child health, child protection, child care, education, and information regarding teens.

Numbers at a Glance

  • Bergen and Essex have the largest number of children in the state, each containing about 10% of the state’s children under 18 years of age.
  • Births to foreign-born mothers accounted for 50% or more of total births in Hudson, Middlesex, and Union counties.
  • In five counties, more than 40% of children speak a language other than English at home: Bergen (41%), Hudson (56%), Middlesex (46%), Passaic (48%), and Union (46%).
  • In 2021, the majority of births were in Ocean, Essex, and Bergen counties.

Family Economic Security

  • New Jersey’s median family income is nearly $112,000. Morris and Somerset have the greatest estimated median family income of roughly $165,000.
  • The state unemployment rate was 6.6 in 2021.
  • An estimated 175,830 children in New Jersey were food insecure in 2020.
  • In 2022, more than 19,000 children live in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), more commonly referred to as welfare. The program provides cash assistance to needy families through a federally funded block grant given to individual states. 

Child Health

  • In 2021, 40% of births were by first-time mothers in New Jersey. In Hudson, 51% of births were by first-time mothers.
  • NJ FamilyCare recipients under age 19 have increased for the state by 10% between 2018 and 2022. Ocean saw the largest increase of 25%.

Child Protection

  • As of 2022, 30,996 children in NJ were under Child Protection and Permanency (CP&P, formally DYFYS) supervision, which has been gradually decreasing over the past few years. Only 2,946 children were living in foster care. 

Child Care

  • In 2021, New Jersey had roughly 4,000 licensed child care centers, with the largest number of centers located in Essex (494) and Bergen (436).
  • The number of registered family child care providers, those who care for children in their own homes, is nearly 1,200, with the most providers located in Passaic (238), Essex ( 190), and Camden counties (135).


  • During the 21-22 school year, 50,077 3- and 4-year-olds were enrolled in fully state-funded public preschool.
  • In 2021, about 43% of the state population ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The counties where more than half of the population ages 25 and older had a bachelor’s degree or higher are Somerset (58%), Morris (57%), Hunterdon (54%), and Bergen (53%).


  • In 2021, only 2% of all births in NJ were to adolescents and teens ages 10-19. Cumberland had 6% of its total births to adolescents and teens.
  • Six percent of NJ teens, ages 16-19, are not working or in school according to 2017-2021 five-year American Community Survey (ACS) estimates. Cumberland is estimated to have 17% of its teens not working or in school.


ACNJ is the trusted, independent voice putting children’s needs first for more than 40 years.
We educate the public and policymakers and equip caregivers with the information they
need to be their child’s strongest ally. Our work results in better laws and policies, more
effective funding and stronger services for children and families. This means more children
are given the chance to grow up safe, healthy and educated

Advocates for Children of New Jersey | 35 Halsey Street Newark , New Jersey 07102

Questions? Email us at advocates@acnj.org or call us at  (973) 643-3876.

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