Paterson is a city that started off as a rich industrial town in the late 1800s, and then shifted to an impoverished community with high crime rates by the 1980s. The changes have been dramatic for this New Jersey City. In 1990 Paterson had nearly 50% of its population living below poverty level; today it’s just 17%. That said there are still underlying issues in the city which contribute to poor quality of life including:
– Lack of green space due to environmental destruction from industry prior to new zoning laws being implemented
– Blighted neighborhoods like Little Italy where abandoned or burnt down buildings are common sight
– High unemployment rates among residents (18%) while many work outside the state commuting into the city
– Lack of public transportation or reliable means to get around the town
– Low rates of high school graduation (only 56% graduate) which limits opportunities for higher education and future success.