Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — The economy may be chugging along, but many Americans are still struggling to afford a basic middle class life.

Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That’s 43% of households in the United States.  

The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what’s needed “to survive in the modern economy.”

“Despite seemingly positive economic signs, the ALICE data shows that financial hardship is still a pervasive problem,” said Stephanie Hoopes, the project’s director.

California, New Mexico and Hawaii have the largest share of struggling families, at 49% each. North Dakota has the lowest at 32%.

Many of these folks are the nation’s child care workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks, who work low-paying jobs and have little savings, the study noted. Some 66% of jobs in the US pay less than $20 an hour.

The study also drilled down to the county level.

For instance, in Seattle’s King County, the annual household survival budget for a family of four (including one infant and one preschooler) in 2016 was nearly $85,000. This would require an hourly wage of $42.46. But in Washington State, only 14% of jobs pay more than $40 an hour.

Seattle’s City Council just passed a controversial tax on big businesses to help alleviate the city’s growing homelessness and affordable housing problems.

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5 thoughts on “Almost half of US families can’t afford basics like rent and food

  1. How much does a cell phone cost these days? Like $250 a month or more? That is ridiculous. Cellphones are not a necessity unless someone is ‘on the road’ for their job and needs to call customers, home office, whatever. Even then, they can use a cheap phone, not an expensive Smartphone. Cellphones are for homeless people who have no place to set up Internet. Even then they can use an Ipad and borrow off friends’ or customers’ Internet.

    Cellphones are stupidphones IMO. Good way to ruin your health, and sanity, in addition to the ridiculous expense.

    Transportation? Does that mean a $30,000 brand new car? I used to get really nice shiny cars back in Maryland, well-maintained, for between $1500 and $2000. The Ford SUV I bought 10 years ago is still shiny and runs great and my daughter uses it as her car. Drives the heck out of it. The style doesn’t change, so nobody knows it’s an old car.

    Child care? If people have children they should be working out of the home. Paying somebody else to watch your own kids so you can ‘go to work’ is beyond stupid. Or get a night job so your husband can babysit, or vice versa. Nobody said that we are all ‘entitled’ to a day job with childcare, a new car, or a cellphone.

    These kind of stats are meaningless.

    1. Your right,

      But- American Nationals deserve better, Our leaders don’t go without shit, why are we?

      We should never had to sacrifice sqwat. Goddamn tired of letting this shit go. I mean a cop getting a $104,000 pension? So were sacrificing so these POS can live like royalty?

      Let’s not forget, their also getting social security, that’s another 2500 a month

  2. The arithmetic behind “globalization” demands that your standard of living be reduced to that of an impoverished Chink sloshing through a muddy rice paddy for his dinner.

    That’s the future our politicians have planned for you, regardless of what they say about creating jobs, or “stimulating our economy” by shoveling more billions to the billionaires.

    Keep believing what you’re told and you’ll be eating rice & grasshoppers for dinner, too.

  3. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I tell people straight to their face that if they believe there has been any recovery over the last decade, they are a lost fool that is destined to die in poverty.

  4. “Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care,…

    Okay, the first two are necessities, but the next two are one of the biggest (and BOGUS) drains on Americans’ resources. The ‘health care’ INDUSTRY is just that… a BUSINESS. It keeps people alive, but sick, so they can slowly poison them with Big Pharma concoctions. There’s no mammon in cures, hence they’re still ‘searching’ for a cancer cure (discovered in 1952).

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