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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.

Transportation. Most

Transportation. Most jobs require commuting by car, yet public transportation is far cheaper. The reliability and safety of cars, roads, and the public transportation infrastructure matter to ALICE families; delays or breakdowns add to overall expenses, decrease productivity, and increase exposure to risk. Health care. Good health is a fundamental underpinning to all activities. The research is clear that access to health insurance improves health outcomes, and coverage rates are at an all-time high in the U.S. with the ACA and the expansion of Medicaid. But there are still millions without insurance and even more who are underinsured – who can’t afford their deductibles or find doctors who accept their insurance. There is also an ongoing doctor shortage, particularly in primary care and in rural areas. Taxes. As a mechanism to increase equality, state tax policies vary across the country. But in all states, low-income households on average still pay a higher rate of taxes than households in the highest income quintile. Earned income and child tax credits provide important relief to working families, though primarily those with children under the age of 18. Because conditions vary across counties and states, the solutions to the challenges that ALICE and poverty-level families face will vary as well. Stakeholders – family, friends, nonprofits, businesses, and the government – will need to work together with innovation and vision, and be willing to change the structure of the local and national economy and even the fabric of their communities. Ultimately, if ALICE households are able to become financially stable, state economies across the country will be stronger and communities more vibrant – improving life not just for ALICE, but for everyone. The strategies and the interconnected consequences detailed in this report can be a jumping-off point to create new and better ideas that can help working families move toward this goal. 84 UNITED WAY ALICE REPORT – THE CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT HOUSEHOLD INCOME

UNITED WAY ALICE REPORT – THE CONSEQUENCES OF INSUFFICIENT HOUSEHOLD INCOME 85

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