More than 50 million households in the United States
dont earn enough to pay for basic expenses, including housing,
food, health care, transportation and a mobile phone, according to
a new study.
Combined, these 50.8 million households make up 43 percent of
Americas 119 million households, according to the data released by
the United Way ALICE Project.
This calculation includes the 16.1 million households in poverty
as well as another 34.7 million families called ALICE, which stands
for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.
The so-called ALICE households earn above the US governments
official poverty level, but less than what it takes to survive in
the modern economy, the study found.
Despite seemingly positive economic signs, the ALICE data shows
that financial hardship is still a pervasive problem, said
Stephanie Hoopes, the projects director.
This research dispels long-standing myths about financial
instability by showing that ALICE families exist in every community
and among all ages, races and ethnicities, Hoopes added.
The states of California, Hawaii and New Mexico have the largest
share of struggling families, at 49 percent each.
Many of these individuals work low-paying jobs and have little
savings the study noted. Some 66 percent of jobs in the US pay less
than $20 an hour.
The widespread problem is occurring even as Americas
unemployment rate in April was the lowest since 2000.
For too long, the magnitude of financial instability in this
country has been understated and obscured by misleading averages
and outdated poverty calculations, said John Franklin, CEO of
United Way of Northern New Jersey.
It is morally unacceptable and economically unsustainable for
our country to have so many hardworking families living paycheck to
paycheck. We are all paying a price when ALICE families cant pay
the bills, he said.