A significant number of American families, especially those with children, live on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Here are some facts and statistics regarding low-income families in the United States:
Low-income family statistic #1:
Proportion of children living in low income families
More than 40% of American children are from low-income families, according to a 2009 report from the Child and Family Policy Center at New York University. (Szabo, 4-14-2010)
Homeless children in America
The National Center on Family Homelessness estimates that around 1.5 million children are homeless in the USA at some point each year.
Families surviving on less than $2 a day
The number of families surviving on $2 or less per person per day for at least a month in the USA has more than doubled in the past 15 years, from 636,000 in 1996 to 1.46 million today. Government programs help blunt this impact; when food stamps are included as income, the number drops to 800,000. (Bello, 2012)
Food insecure households
Seventeen percent of Americans, or more than 50 million people, live in food insecure households. (Miller, 2010) This means that at some point within the past year they have lacked the money necessary for regular meals.
Kids going to school hungry
According to one survey, two-thirds of 638 public school teachers in grades K-8 say they have students in their classes who regularly come to school hungry because they aren’t getting enough to eat at home, and 63% of teachers say the problem has gotten worse in the past year. Sixty-five percent of teachers say many of their kids rely on school meals as their primary source of nutrition, and 61% purchase food to keep in their classrooms for hungry children, spending an average of $25 a month out of their own pocket. (Hellmich, 2-23-2011)
Falling standard of living
The average American’s standard of living has fallen longer and more steeply over the past 3 years than it has at any time since the U.S. government began measuring it 5 decades ago. (Week, 11-4-2011)
Gambling on a future
On average, households that make less than $12,400 a year spend 5% of their income on lotteries. (Lehrer, 2011) Lotteries offer a glimmer of hope for desperate families, but they also receive criticism for essentially being a “tax on the poor.”