Although our economy isn’t exactly stalled, the middle class is continuing to disappear and many Americans are still struggling to afford the basics.

Last week the United Way ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Project released a study which found that nearly 51 million households don’t “earn enough money to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, childcare, healthcare, transportation and a cell phone.”1 At 43% that’s almost HALF of all households in the US. (This figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE).


Essentially, this group of people makes less than what’s needed to survive in our modern economy and many of these struggling people are the nation’s childcare workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks. They work low-paying jobs and have little to no savings. In the US, 66% of jobs pay less than $20 an hour.

The largest shares of struggling families live in California, New Mexico, and Hawaii while North Dakota has the lowest at 32%.

“For instance, in Seattle’s King County, the annual household survival budget for a family of four (including one infant and one preschooler) in 2016 was nearly $85,000. This would require an hourly wage of $42.46. But in Washington State, only 14% of jobs pay more than $40 an hour.”2

Would you be willing to move somewhere else if the housing market was more affordable?

Sources and References

  1. CNN Monday, May 17, 2018.
  2. CNN Monday, May 17, 2018.