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The Consequences of Insufficient Household Income

This new Consequences of Insufficient Household Income report provides a deeper level of understanding of the choices that ALICE and poverty-level families across the country make when they do not have enough income or assistance to afford basic necessities, and the consequences of those choices.

• Older cars that may

• Older cars that may need repairs make driving less safe and increase pollution for all, as does deferring car maintenance. This problem worsened during the Great Recession, which depressed car sales. As a result, cars on the road are older on average, and older cars emit higher levels of harmful emissions (Bishop & Stedman, 2014). • Vehicles without insurance increase costs for all motorists. In 2012, the most recent year for which statistics are available, uninsured motorist claims totaled $2.6 billion, a 75 percent increase from the previous decade. Those costs, largely borne by insurance companies, are passed on to insured drivers in the form of higher premiums. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage adds roughly 8 percent to an average auto premium for the rest of the community (McQueen, 2008; Wiltz, February 20, 2015). • Lack of reliable transportation can exacerbate an emergency. When there is an emergency, such as a child being sick or injured, if an ALICE household does not have reliable transportation, their options are poor – forgo treatment and risk the child’s health, rely on friends or neighbors for transportation, or resort to public specialty transit services or even an ambulance, increasing costs for all taxpayers. Providing non-emergency transportation for health care treatment for those without reliable transportation is also expensive, especially in rural areas (Myers, 2015; Hughes-Cromwick & Wallace, 2006). FUTURE TRENDS: TRANSPORTATION FOR ALICE For ALICE households across the country, housing and transportation are tightly linked, and that linkage can have a significant impact on the household budget. People who live in neighborhoods with convenient access to jobs, services, transit, and amenities have lower transportation costs than those who don’t (Center for Neighborhood Technology, 2003-2016). Commuting long distances will only increase in the coming years as lack of affordable housing persists and pushes people away from employment centers. Jobs and transportation are also linked. The rising trend of nonstandard and part-time schedules can complicate transportation for ALICE and poverty-level workers, who may be relying on friends or family for rides or using public transportation. Irregular work schedules can make it difficult to get to work on time, or transportation can become cost-prohibitive on less than a full-time work schedule (Vogtman & Tucker, 2017). Aging transportation contributes to additional costs for ALICE families. Given the size and age of the transportation infrastructure and the growing population in many U.S. states, it will be expensive for states to meet the increasing demand for transportation improvements. Tight state budgets make it difficult to maintain public transportation service and low fares. And without investment in roads and bridges, costs will increase for ALICE auto commuters in terms of both time spent in transit and wear and tear on their vehicles (American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), 2013; National Economic Council and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, July 2014). 58 UNITED WAY ALICE REPORT – THE CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT HOUSEHOLD INCOME

UNITED WAY ALICE REPORT – THE CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT HOUSEHOLD INCOME 59

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