10.29.2009 Policy Points

Family Economic Hardships

Using data compiled from an innovative survey program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analyzed the cross-cutting economic challenges faced by poor and near-poor families. Reports the Center:

1.6 million poor households with children (more than one in three such households) experienced hunger in the four months preceding the survey, lived in severely crowded housing, or had their phone or utilities shut off in the previous 12 months. These households contained about 4 million poor children.
Counting near-poor families (below twice the federal poverty line), nearly 8 million low-income children lived in households that experienced hunger or severely crowded conditions or that had their phone or utilities shut off.
Half of poor families face multiple hardships each year: 52 percent faced two or more of 14 distinct hardships examined by HHS relating to basic needs and safe, adequate housing. Thirty-seven percent faced three or more distinct hardships. Only 7 percent of non-poor families with incomes above twice the poverty line faced three or more distinct hardships.

1.6 million poor households with children (more than one in three such households) experienced hunger in the four months preceding the survey, lived in severely crowded housing, or had their phone or utilities shut off in the previous 12 months. These households contained about 4 million poor children.

Counting near-poor families (below twice the federal poverty line), nearly 8 million low-income children lived in households that experienced hunger or severely crowded conditions or that had their phone or utilities shut off.

Half of poor families face multiple hardships each year: 52 percent faced two or more of 14 distinct hardships examined by HHS relating to basic needs and safe, adequate housing. Thirty-seven percent faced three or more distinct hardships. Only 7 percent of non-poor families with incomes above twice the poverty line faced three or more distinct hardships.

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