ALICE’s most recent report, the research that quantifies and describes the number of households in financial difficulty in several states of the Union, finds that in Pennsylvania 37% of households struggle to make ends meet.
This can be perceived according to the new report of the United Way, an organization that orders the data from ALICE (Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed.)
Traditional measures of poverty do not capture the magnitude of people who are struggling financially. United Way’s mission is to make the invisible visible by showing the true number of families with low incomes in the United States.
ALICE’s official report on Pennsylvania was released to the public during a press launch at Capitol Rotunda.
Among the most important data is the sum of the ranges of 13% that corresponds to families living below the Federal Poverty Level, who are permanently in economic hardship, with 24% additional Pennsylvania households that although they are above the poverty level, still have difficulty affording basic costs.
This means that 1 in 3 Pennsylvania households struggle to make ends meet, according to the United Way report.
The ALICE report is determined by taking into account monthly costs, such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, technology, and taxes, and comparing those expenses to what average household are making per year.
Looking at the data by county, the report found that Philadelphia has the highest number of ALICE households at 55%.
In Pennsylvania’s largest metropolis, half the homes are struggling for a dignified life.
Overall, the proportion represents almost two million families. Hundreds of thousands of them live below the federal poverty line, but more than a million live near that mark, approximately US$24,000 a year for a family of four.
Another United Way statistic helps to explain the reason: Nearly 60 percent of jobs in Pennsylvania pay less than $20 an hour.
“These families are one emergency away from desperate situations if they don’t have savings or other means to help deal with it,” said Kristen Rotz, president of the United Way of Pennsylvania, the latest local office to publish an ALICE report.
Chester and Montgomery counties got better results with 27% and 29%, respectively.
When researchers analyzed the data by city, York and Reading had the highest number of ALICE households (67%), Harrisburg followed with 63%. Wilkes-Barre and Allentown were just above Philadelphia with 58% and 55%.
Among households of seniors, 43% in Pennsylvania qualify as ALICE, while 10% of them live below the poverty line. Of those who are 25 and younger, 72% struggle to make ends meet, while 34% of those between the ages 25 – 44 qualify as ALICE.
While the Federal Poverty Level is a way to measure of how households can afford the average cost of living, the report states that it is “no longer a realistic measure of financial hardship in households across each county in the U.S.”.
The ALICE Report for Pennsylvania was compiled by a team of researchers who collaborated with a Research Advisory Committee. The report studied data provided by several U.S. departments, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as state, county, and municipal data.
Most of these low-income households are white, but black and Latino families are disproportionately likely to have a tough time coveringessentials-rent, housing, transportation, child care- because of several factors, including “greater likelihood of being underemployed, lower homeownership rates, lower income levels, and income disparities between racial and ethnic groups,” according to the report.
The report shows that 62% of Latino households have difficulty paying daily expenses. Latinos make up five percent of all Pennsylvania households.
The researchers found that 57% of black households struggle to make ends meet despise comprising only 10% of all Pennsylvania households.
Translated by: José Espinoza