Early last week, the United Way released a staggering report about the condition of the average American family. In it, it was revealed that 51 million households in the United States, about 43%, still can’t afford to take care of their basic needs.
These basic needs include food, health insurance, rent, transportation, and a cell phone.
The same study declares that 16.1 million households in the U.S. are living below the poverty line and 34.7 million who are considered limited income families, making less than what is required to pay the bills.
Several states have it worse than others. California, Hawaii, and New Mexico, for example, have half of their populations struggling to make ends meet. It’s difficult to imagine.
66% of workers make less than $20/hour, which means the large majority of people have very little, if anything, in their savings. If something bad were to happen, most Americans don’t even have access to $400 if they needed it.
If we break it down to the country level, then we start to see the discrepancy. Many counties in the U.S. are simply too expensive to live in. Not too long ago, a map of the country came out showing how much you had to make in each state just to cover the basics. A lot of the states were between $50,000-$80,000!
To make it in Seattle’s King County, you’d have to make over $40/hour to live there. If you weren’t bringing home $85,000 per year, you were living in poverty.
The homeless problem is so bad in Seattle, the city council just implemented a controversial tax on companies like Amazon to help get the homeless off the streets. Life is so expensive in San Francisco that the homeless line the streets for miles. There are literally apps that show you were to avoid human feces on the sidewalk due to the homeless situation in their city.
The economy is getting better and jobless numbers are going down, but it’s not enough. It doesn’t matter much if someone has a job if they aren’t making the money they need to even feed themselves.
There’s a reason why debt has reached all-time highs. People are borrowing more than ever just to catch up, but can’t afford to pay it back.