United States: After Stockton, Newark mayor announces the intention to test UBI

Ras Baraka (in Wikipedia)

Ras Baraka, present-day mayor of Newark, has announced the intention of rolling out a universal basic income (UBI) pilot program in the city. Newark, a city just outside Manhattan island, is plagued by poverty (around one third of its population lives under the poverty line), and that is the prime motivation for going through with the pilot.

Baraka has said that “We believe in universal basic income, especially in a time where studies have shown that families that have a crisis of just $400 a month may experience a setback that may be difficult, even impossible to recover from”. No specifics were put forward on how or when this pilot is going to be executed, but the idea is to test what happens when people are given an income, regardless of their employment status. Those specifics will be studied by his administration staff, as part of the pilot’s planning.

If Newark goes ahead with this UBI pilot program, it will be the second city in USA to carry on an experiment with unconditional cash stipends, after Stockton, California. The Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) had been planning the experiment for about 18 months, before it started in February 2019. Under the SEED pilot, 130 adults will receive 500 $/month, unconditionally, for 18 months, while monitored for spending and saving habits, their quality of life and financial stability.

More information at:

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, “Will ‘basic income’ become the California norm? Stockton starts $500 no-strings payments”, The Sacramento Bee, February 15th 2019

Sara Bizarro, “UNITED STATES: Stockton, California plans a Basic Income Demonstration”, Basic Income News, November 21th 2017

Jack Crowe, “Newark to Test Universal-Basic-Income Program”, Basic Income Today, March 18th 2019

About Andre Coelho

André Coelho has written 365 articles.

Activist. Engineer. Musician. For the more beautiful world our hearts know it's possible.

The views expressed in this Op-Ed piece are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the view of Basic Income News or BIEN. BIEN and Basic Income News do not endorse any particular policy, but Basic Income News welcomes discussion from all points of view in its Op-Ed section.


  • Gerdur

    The world might make some sense after all, great news that Basic Income is becoming known to the general public and the pilot results will be followed and measured. Basic human rights, enabling societies to thrive consists of Basic Income and Basic Education – Together they are the necessary BASE on which to build one´s future.

  • Bernard Kirkham

    Perhaps I should be happy about any tentative thoughts and experiments around UBI. But what is the experiment supposed to reveal? Even if the recipients spent the money on getting drunk or spaced out it would prove nothing other than their deep despair. Do the poor have to prove that they are deserving in the view of the well-off before the case for a fairer and more just distribution of wealth is accepted? The restorative effects of a decent standing of living and greater equality will only bear fruit fully over a long period. Even then, humanity will not turn into a community of saints, thank the lord!

  • CJB

    Basic income will be an absolute necessity as current and future technologies replace us in the workplace. Currently, my own employment is at stake due to emerging technologies and the convenience they offer. Therefore, I am receptive about the Basic Income concept and implementation of.

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