Economic Snapshot | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

Hungry in America

A weekly presentation of downloadable charts and short analyses designed to graphically illustrate important economic issues. Updated every Wednesday.

Snapshot for August 8, 2001.

Hungry in America
In the U.S., even families with incomes well above the official federal poverty line suffer various kinds of hardships. A critical hardship is one in which a family is not able to meet a basic need necessary for survival. These kinds of hardships include missing meals, not getting necessary medical care, or having to double-up with friends or family because of an inability to pay rent. Serious hardships, on the other hand, indicate that a family is unable to meet a day-to-day basic need. Serious hardships include worrying about having enough food to eat, not having health insurance, using the emergency as usual source of medical care, inability to make housing payments (rent, mortgage or utilities), having the telephone disconnected, or having inadequate child care arrangements.

Of all the hardships faced by families with incomes as high as 200% of the official poverty line, food insufficiency is the most common hardship. Eighteen percent of families below twice the poverty line missed meals because they didn’t have enough money to buy food. Over 40% worried about having enough food. One-quarter didn’t have enough money to pay their rent, mortgage or utility bills.

Food insecurity is the most common hardship among those under 200% of poverty

To learn more about the hardships endured by American families, read EPI’s Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families, or check the online family budgets calculator to determine the income needed to cover basic needs for various family types in your geographic area.

This week’s Snapshot by EPI Economist Heather Boushey.

Check out the archive for past Economic Snapshots.

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