Nearly 4 in 10 Hoosier households struggle financially 

click to enlarge A new United Way report says many working-class families struggle financially in Indiana, especially those headed by a single parent.  - SIERRA NEELY
  • A new United Way report says many working-class families struggle financially in Indiana, especially those headed by a single parent.
  • Sierra Neely
By Veronica Carter

United Way has released its ALICE report, which stands for "Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed" - an apt description of many Hoosiers.

According to the report, 36 percent of Indiana households in 2014 could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, health care and transportation. That means almost 1 million people either live in households below the federal poverty level or live above it but still struggle to afford necessities.


Maureen Noe, president and chief executive of the Indiana Association of United Ways, said the poverty numbers held steady since the last ALICE report two years ago, but working families haven't caught up with where they were before the recession.

"We didn't just go back to 2012," she said. "We went back to 2007 to see, truly, what is the picture? Because the assumption is we're all doing better since the recession. But the reality for a lot of our working families: They're not doing better."

In Indiana, the report said, more than 550,000 households live above the official poverty level, but below the ALICE threshold for the basic cost of living.

Nancy Vaughan, president of the United Way of Madison County, said this new report also takes an in-depth look at who is struggling the most.

"In our county, single female-headed households are 48 percent poverty," she said. "Male single-headed households are also much higher than married households."

The report found the cost of living increased in every county in Indiana from 2007 to 2014. It said nearly 70 percent of all jobs in the state pay less than $20 an hour, and low-wage jobs are expected to grow faster than high-wage jobs in the next decade.

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