While officially four million more Americans – many of them children – found themselves in poverty from 2008 to 2009, the number is probably higher.
The official total number of Americans in poverty is now 44 million, reports The New York Times. That 1-in-7 Americans are poor number is based on the federally-determined poverty level. For a family of four, that would be an income of $22,050 or less a year.
Now, I know it’s possible to live on that much, but let’s look at the numbers. In my neighborhood, the annual rent runs about $1,800 a month, which totals $21,600 a year, leaving $37.50 a month for electricity, water, gas, transportation, insurance and food. Okay, so my mythical family can’t live in my part of town unless they have well-heeled relatives.
But what about more affordable neighborhoods in the Phoenix metro area? Here are some possibilities:
- $719 a month for a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment in Mesa
- $500 a month for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath split house in Apache Junction
- $359 a month for a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment in Mesa
- $500 a month for a 2 bed, 1 bath house in Tempe $495 a month for a 2 bed apartment in Phoenix
Some of these places are nicer than others. Still, it’s especially depressing that it would cost $500 a month to squeeze a family of four into a 1-bedroom Apache Junction house.