by Amanda Hinton
Health care is a hot-button topic for people across the country and New Jersey is no exception. The importance of access to health care cannot be understated and many New Jersey residents feel the effects of being unable to receive high-quality health care services. The New Jersey State Policy Lab teamed up with the Eagleton Institute to conduct a survey across the state to gauge the opinions of New Jersey residents. The survey was conducted among adult New Jerseyans 18 and older throughout June and July 2022.
Overall, the survey found that when asked to rate their ability to access high-quality health care, most residents reported they had good to excellent access. In fact, 35 percent of New Jersey residents reported their ability was good and 22 percent reported it was excellent. In comparison, 23 percent of New Jerseyans reported they had a fair ability to access high-quality health care while only 18 percent responded they had poor access. These results seem very promising for New Jersey; however, when we take a closer look at the demographics of the respondents, it paints a very different picture.
When we take a deeper dive and analyze the survey, we can see the inequities that persist for New Jersey residents when accessing health care services. The survey revealed inequities due to race, age, and income that prevented residents from receiving the care they needed. Black and Hispanic residents reported they had poorer ability to access high-quality health care compared to their White counterparts. In New Jersey, 26 percent of Black residents reported poor access while only 12 percent of White residents reported poor access to services. The same pattern appears for Hispanic residents with 26 percent responding they had poor access. These results paint a clear picture that New Jersey residents of color face more difficulties in accessing high-quality health care.
Additionally, the survey findings demonstrate that younger adults reported worse access to care compared to older adults in New Jersey. Results showed that 24 percent of adults aged 18 – 34 reported they were more likely to have poor access to health services. When we compare this to older adults, remarkably only 6 percent of adults ages 65 and up reported their access was poor. These findings highlight the access disparity young adults face in New Jersey.
Lastly, the survey showed that respondents who had lower incomes were more likely to report poor ability to access high-quality health care compared to respondents with higher incomes. In New Jersey, 26 percent of residents making $50,000 or less reported poor access while only 8 percent of residents with incomes of $150,000 and up reported poor access. This survey’s findings clearly demonstrate accessibility issues for low-income populations and how they continue to struggle to receive health care services compared to wealthier New Jersey residents.
The results from this survey show the inequities that still exist within the health care system in New Jersey that residents continue to experience. Policymakers in New Jersey need to recognize these disparities and address the gaps to improve access to high-quality health care for our most vulnerable residents.
 This survey was conducted by phone and text-to-web in English and Spanish from June 14 to July 5, 2022 with a scientifically selected random sample of 1,976 New Jersey adults, 18 or older. Data were weighted to be representative of the residential adult population in New Jersey. The sampling margin of error is +/-2.8 percent. The full questionnaire can be accessed at eagletonpoll.rutgers.edu.