“The United Way has released a comprehensive report with data on Pacific Northwest households that earn more than the federal poverty level, but still struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing and child care.
The nonprofit organization refers to these households as ALICE, which stands for ‘asset limited, income constrained, employed.'”
“The project collected 2013 data for every county in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The number of struggling households was determined based on an area’s wages and cost of living.
Incomes for these residents were low enough that a single incident — such as a broken-down vehicle or lengthy illness — could trigger a household crisis.”
“The United Way reported that 13 percent of Washington households were living in poverty in 2013, while 19 percent qualified as struggling households, for a total of 32 percent of households below the ‘ALICE threshold.'”
“In Thurston County, 12 percent live below the poverty line and another 23 percent qualify as struggling.”
“Thurston County ranks near the bottom in the state for housing affordability, with an average monthly rent of $963 for a family of four.
The state government’s role as an economic anchor and employer may have kept the county’s poverty rates from going higher. However, the rising cost of real estate and income inequality are key reasons why 1 in 3 local households still struggle financially, said Paul Knox, CEO of the United Way of Thurston County,” quoting Andy Hobbs, The Olympian.
Click here for the United Way ALICE Report.