Economic Snapshot | Budget, Taxes, and Public Investment

Not making ends meet

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

Snapshot for August 1, 2001.

Not making ends meet
One in three working families with young children cannot afford to meet their basic needs. This is two-and-a-half times as many families as fall below the official poverty line. Families are able to meet their basic needs when they have income above their basic family budget. these family budgets are calculated by determining how much income families need to afford a safe and decent standard of living. These include the local cost of housing, health insurance and health care, licensed child care, transportation, food, taxes, and other necessities, based on the composition of the family and where they live.

Share of working families* earning below family budgets and below the official poverty threshold, 1998-2000

Families headed by single mothers, young workers, minority workers, workers with less than a high-school education, and families where no one worked full time are all more likely to struggle to make ends meet. However, large majorities of families who are not typically thought of as the most needy — two-parent families, white families, families with a worker with a high school education or more, families with at least one full-time worker, and workers aged 30 and over — also struggle to get by.

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 basic needs income needed for various family types in your area.

This week’s Snapshot by EPI Economist Heather Boushey.

Check out the archive for past Economic Snapshots.