A decade after the recession, 40% of U.S. families still struggling

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"Four in 10 Americans sometimes face what economists call "material hardship," struggling to pay for basic needs..."

CBS News - May 13, 2019

  • 40 percent of U.S. families, including middle-class households, sometimes struggle to afford housing, utilities, food or health care, according to the Urban Institute.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 families said they had experienced difficulty paying for food or medical care. 

  • About 60 percent of low-income people surveyed by the nonpartisan think tank said they couldn't pay their bills at times.

Four in 10 Americans sometimes face what economists call "material hardship," struggling to pay for basic needs such as food and housing, according to a new study from the Urban Institute. Even middle-class families routinely struggle financially and are occasionally unable to pay their bills. 

The finding is striking given the U.S. has experienced a decade of economic growth in the decade since the recession ended. The unemployment rate is at its lowest in half a century, and the stock market has enjoyed a decade-long bull run. But for many Americans, incomes haven't kept up with the rising cost of necessities such as housing and health care, resulting in financial anxiety.

About 39 percent of Americans ages 18 to 65 experienced at least one type of material hardship last year, statistically unchanged from the 39.3 percent who suffered hardship in 2017, the nonpartisan think tank found. The study spans the first two years of the Trump administration, as well as the first year of the tax overhaul. Yet there was little progress easing the financial challenges experienced by U.S. adults last year, the Urban Institute said. ...
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