Paterson, NJ Releases Results of Basic Income Test Program
view of Paterson, New Jersey

Paterson, NJ Releases Results of Basic Income Test Program

After completing a basic income pilot program in 2022, Paterson, New Jersey has released some of the initiative’s findings.

About the program and results:

From June 2021 through June 2022, the City of Paterson gave 110 residents monthly payments of $400 with no strings attached. To qualify, individuals needed to make less than $30,000 per year while families with incomes under $88,000 could also qualify. Meanwhile, while the program was running, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania helped the city set up a control group and collect data from the pilot.

First, it was discovered that those participating in the program saw increased financial stability. While those in the control group saw their ability to cover a $400 emergency decline sharply during the one-year test, those receiving the basic income managed to maintain their ability to cover these expenses. Additionally, 15% saved more than $500 by the time the program ended.

Many who participated in the program also saw shifts in their employment, including several turning to gig work, self-employment, as well as part-time work coupled with caregiving responsibilities. At the beginning of the program, the average income among participants was $16,604. This increased to $24,810 six months after the end of the pilot program. At the same time, the control group’s average income landed at $19,078 (from $17,761 when the test period began).

Beyond financial matters, the pilot program also proved to have an impact on mental health. Recipients reported a significant decrease in stress levels, which continued six months after the program’s conclusion.

In October 2023, Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegn expanded the pilot program, selecting an additional 200 participants who will receive $400 a month for 12 months. This expansion is funded by the American Rescue Plan.

What they’re saying:

Commenting on the results of the study, Sayegn stated, “The guaranteed income program is not only about putting money in people’s pockets, it is also about restoring dignity. This pilot demonstrated the power of relatively small, no strings attached payments. Our goal is to seek more private and federal dollars to support a possible expansion of the program.”

Additionally, one program participant named Dante shared how the pilot impacted him, noting, “I have never been able to build credit at all. But now since I have the sort of steady income and I know it’s going to be coming in, I took some of the money out. I put it in a bank account, and I opened up one of those credit cards that they use like with your own money. And I’ve been able to, you know, finally have credit. And it’s going well. I have—you know, my credit is like at 712.”

My thoughts:

I’ve gone on record as a fan of the universal basic income concept. And, for the record, I was born about 20 minutes away from Paterson. So, clearly, I found this particular story to be of interest.

With that said, there are some aspects of these results that seem a little too obvious to be considered a win. For example, it makes sense that those whom you’re giving $400 a month to could be better equipped to cover a $400 expense. At the same time, though, other findings are indeed fascinating, such as the shift in employment seen among program participants and the fact that the mean income rose even six months after payments ended.

Overall, I think it’s great to see more cities trying basic income, but I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before a larger and truly universal basic income program comes to fruition.

Author

Kyle Burbank

Head Writer ~ Fioney
Kyle is the head writer for Fioney. He is a personal finance nerd, constantly looking for new apps and services to test and incorporate into his own financial game plan. In addition to his role at Fioney, he's written for other publications including Born2Invest, Lifehack, and Laughing Place, as well as his own site Money@30. He also creates personal finance and travel-related videos for Fioney's YouTube channel, which has garnered more than 2 million views. Currently, Kyle resides in Springfield, Missouri with his wife of 10 years. Together, they enjoy traveling (including visiting Disney Parks around the world), dining, and playing with their dog Rigby.

Other Articles by Kyle Burbank

Chase Marriott Bonvoy Card

Chase Updates Marriott Bonvoy Bold Co-Branded Credit Card

Chase and Marriott Bonvoy have revealed updates to one of their co-branded offerings — alongside a best-ever welcome bonus for the card. About the updated card: The no-annual-fee Marriott Bonvoy Bold credit card has received a fresh update. First, the card will gain a variety of new rewards categories. Bonvoy Bold cardholders can now earn 2x points at grocery stores, 2x on rideshare services, 2x on select food delivery, 2x...
Repair Scrabble tiles with a model home and tools

Lessons From a First-Time Home Buyer: A Warning on "Interest-Free" Home Repair Financing

The unfortunate fact about being a homeowner is that, at some point, you're going to have to pay to repair/replace some expensive items in your house. And while you should try to be as prepared for that as possible, in reality, there are times when an unexpected repair may mean needing to request financing. That way, you can pay off the purchase over time rather than shelling it all out...
"Image displaying the CNBC and Statista logos, featuring a globe highlighting financial data and statistics."

CNBC Names Top 250 FinTech Companies for 2024

The popular financial network CNBC has released its latest list highlighting the top 250 FinTech companies in the world. About the list: To compile this list, CNBC partnered with Statista. Although the companies were nominated by themselves via an application — which included sharing 2023 revenues, year-on-year sales growth rate, and total employee count — Statista conducted analysis on each and considered their key performance indicators (KPIs). Specifically, overarching KPIs...
The "Email" field is empty, you must enter some text to proceed.The text you entered in the "Email" field appears to be invalid, please edit it and try again
Get the Latest News Delivered to Your Inbox

A Guide to Building Credit and Increasing Your Credit Scores

When it comes to credit, there’s some good news. The average credit score in the United States has been steadily rising in recent years, coming in at 715 in 2023. That may be because, today, consumers not only have more ways to access their credit reports and scores than ever before but also because there are an increasing number of options that Americans have for building credit in the first...

2024 SoFi Checking and Savings Review

Ever since I started taking an interest in the FinTech sector, one company whose name I’ve seen pop up over and over again is SoFi. Lately it seems as though that theme has been sent into overdrive as the company has not only become a household name thanks to its stadium naming rights deal but also because of the company’s continued product expansions. The most interesting development in my mind...
Brim logo

Brim Financial Raises $85 Million as It Eyes Global Expansion

Toronto-based FinTech infrastructure startup Brim Financial has announced a new funding round. About the round: Brim has revealed an $85 million round. The Series C was led by EDC Investments while new investor Vistara Growth and returning investors White Owl Group, Epic Ventures, and Zions Bank also participated. To date, the company has now raised $110 million including a Series B in 2021. According to Brim, the latest funding will...
Chase Freedom Flex card

Chase Reveals Q2 2024 Freedom 5%(+) Bonus Categories

Chase has announced its bonus category picks for the second quarter of 2024 — including some interesting twists. About the categories: As April approaches, Chase has revealed what categories Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn bonuses on. From April 1st through June 30th, customers can earn 5% (or more) in three categories: Amazon.com, Hotels, and Restaurants. Similar to how Chase embraced a "New Year, New Me" theme last quarter,...
Rent Day

Bilt Announces Home Collection Deal for May 2024 Rent Day

For May's Rent Day, Bilt is offering a deal that will allow members to decrease their rent bill while also adding to their home decor. About the Home Collection offer: Bilt has crafted a unique Rent Day offer for May 2024. Through the 1st, when Bilt members redeem their points toward rent payments, they'll receive the same number of points to be used toward Bilt Home Collection items. To take...