New Jersey’s Children

The Burke Foundation works to create a better state for New Jersey’s children, because opportunity should be equal across zip codes.

While New Jersey has shown positive progress in family policies, such as paid family leave laws and paid sick time that covers care for children, our state still harbors serious inequities in early childhood health and education. Clear disparities in development exist between children from different ethnicities and socioeconomic strata, and these disparities continue to carry negative consequences for both individual children and our communities.

babies were born in New Jersey in 2017

“Within the first year of giving birth, black women in New Jersey are five times more likely to die from maternity-related complications. Similarly, and even though New Jersey’s infant mortality rate is among the lowest, black babies are three times more likely to die in the first 365 days of their life than white babies. This is the widest racial disparity in the nation.

– Tammy Murphy, First Lady of New Jersey


New Jersey’s maternal mortality rate is nearly two times the national average, at 38.1 deaths per 100,000 live births, and has been increasing in recent years.


of babies in New Jersey are born with low birthweight – one of the highest rates in the country.


More than 100,000 infants and toddlers in New Jersey live in households with an income of less than 2x the federal poverty level.


children under age 3 are estimated to need child care because all parents in their household work, but there are only


slots available in licensed centers.

Children growing up in major cities, including Camden, Newark, and Trenton, face challenges across measures of economic security, health, and education. New Jersey has the second most segregated school district in the country, and ranks seventh worst for income inequality in the nation. These inequalities expose thousands of children to early adversity, and the scale of disadvantage is seen at both the state and municipal level.

The Burke Foundation invests in the most promising community-led interventions serving the needs of children from birth to five and their families in New Jersey.

The Foundation has focused its investments on Newark, Camden, and Trenton because of their geographic representation, strong local non-profit base, evidence of collaboration, and a real possibility for positive, measurable impact for families and children.

In partnership with these resilient communities, the Burke Foundation focuses on strengthening the systems of care that serve low-income families.

Hover over each city for more information.
Click on a city for more information.


  • 65% of the city’s children are considered low-income, and 36% live below the poverty line
  • 1 in every 2 children, or 56%, in Newark live in single parent households
  • There are just 143 licensed child care centers in Newark for about 230,000 kids between ages 0-5
  • The South Ward is characterized by high unemployment, low wages, and high poverty—especially among children
  • In Positive News:
    Births to teens have fallen 38% between 2013 and 2017


  • There are no OBs or delivery hospitals in the city, and just 63% of women in Mercer County access prenatal care in the first trimester
  • Infant mortality in Trenton is 6.6 per 1,000 live births, compared to the statewide average of 4.4 per 1,000 live births
  • Over 58% of Trenton residents feel that their community is not a good place to raise a family
  • Only 48% of high schoolers in Trenton will graduate
  • 15% of Trenton residents do not have a regular source of healthcare
  • In Positive News:
    The percentages of residents with a high school degree, some level of college work, and an Associate’s Degree or higher have increased since 2000


  • Infant mortality in Camden is 8.0 per 1,000 live births, compared to the statewide average of 4.4 per 1,000 live births
  • The infant mortality rate among African American and Hispanic women in Camden is 2x more than that of white women in the state
  • 28.6% of mothers in Camden do not receive early prenatal care
  • 17,844 children in Camden are growing up in poverty
  • 27% of family income is spent on licensed childcare for a family with one infant and one preschooler
  • For a household of four in poverty, spending 30% of their income on rent barely leaves enough to pay for food costs based on a “thrifty” USDA food plan
  • In Positive News:
    The number of households spending 30% or more on rent fell 10% between 2010 and 2014

We ARE brick city. 

We are like bricks themselves. We are strong. We are resilient. We are enduring.”

– Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Mayor of Newark

We are committed to advancing the most promising prenatal-to-five programs and policies to create and expand systems of support for New Jersey children and families.