Since the onset of the Great Recession, the nation has been focused on a steady stream of mostly discouraging unemployment, poverty and housing foreclosure numbers. While this data is important, it tells us only about those suffering the most severe of financial crises. It does not help identify the millions within the United States who live above the poverty line and yet struggle to pay ever-increasing housing, food, health care and other expenses.
Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) has compared working-age adults' earnings and household incomes to The Basic Economic Security Tables (BEST) for the United States, a measure of the basic needs and assets workers and their households require for economic security. This report compares pre-tax incomes from 2007 through 2011 to BEST basic needs budgets for more than 400 family types,and finds that approximately 45% of Americans live on incomes that fail to provide basic economic security.
This report identifies who, specifically, within the United States is living below the BEST Indexes. It tells an important story about the contemporary value of work and the relationship between economic security and gender, race/ethnicity, family structure and education.