The Economic Policy Institute’s recent study, Hardships in America, found that approximately 14 million Americans in households with at least one wage-earner were unable to pay for their basic needs. The authors of Hardship in America explain that the federal “poverty threshold,” based on the cost of food, is inadequate now because “families now spend more of their income on housing, health care and transportation.”
50 percent of black and Hispanic families were unable to afford the “basic family budget,” compared with 20.3 percent of white families. Single-parent families, which are usually headed by women, also suffer heavily; 75.3 percent of single-parent families with two children, and 87.8% of single-parent families with 3 children, did not earn enough to pay for basic needs.
Hardships in America advocates living wage campaigns, pay equity legislation, universal child care and paid family leave as part of the solution to the growing poverty of working Americans.