Infographic: Metro Families Find Themselves “Stuck in the Middle”
December 28, 2010 § Leave a comment
For the federal government, calculating poverty is as simple as using the cost of food at a guideline and applying that measure equally across the country. In metro areas like Austin, families working in low-wage jobs don’t make enough to live given the local cost of living. Many more expenses – from housing to transportation to health care – factor into the costs of daily life. Often these families may not be considered poor enough to qualify for safety net programs like SNAP or WIC, but still struggle to make ends meet. When it’s time to make tough choices, the food budget often suffers.
Counties with metro areas are also at a greater disadvantage in receiving federal funds for social assistance programs such as community development block grants. A 2006 study by the United States Department of Agriculture found that when they adjusted for the cost of living for metro areas, the rate of poverty is higher in metro areas, and the prevalence of poverty in non-metro areas is 12 percent lower than in metro areas. However, adjusting poverty according to the cost of living could have negative effects in funding for non-metro social safety nets, where there is historically a larger concentration of older adults – many of whom live on fixed incomes.
Choose a family size and learn how the cost of living compares to the federal poverty level. You can then help families “stuck in the middle” between poverty and a living income by going shopping in our “virtual grocery store.”
Drag the food items to the shopping cart and click the donate button to donate the cost of groceries to help Central Texas families at risk of hunger. It’s a fun, interactive way to help families “stuck in the middle,” and to learn about the tough choices our Austin-Round Rock neighbors make every day.
Let us know what you think.