For many, the American dream is a family living in at least basic economic security. While the federal poverty level for a family of four has been set for the past 45 years at $28,280, today’s actual survival budget based on current and local market prices is a sickeningly high $105,456. This egregious gap between expectations and reality represents an enormous need for systemic change in how we deal with poverty.
For most families of four, childcare is by far the most costly expense at $2,604. Housing and taxes are next at $1,623 and $1,550, respectively. On average, healthcare, transportation, and miscellaneous fees and costs can be about half that amount, but can also be exponentially higher depending on individual situations. Incidents outside our control, such as sudden illness or injury, can drive these costs through the roof, driving the family into bankruptcy or even homelessness.
This data, generated using “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed” (ALICE) calculations, better reflects the magnitude of need and vulnerability among our neighbors.The ALICE Survival and Stability Budget thresholds should become Loudoun County’s standard measure of financial insecurity and stability, according to the Community Foundation for Loudoun and Northern Fauquier Counties, a nonprofit organization in Leesburg that compiled a ground-breaking report, Profiles of Loudoun: The Numbers behind the Faces of Loudoun.
Download the full report at CommunityFoundationLF.org/Profiles. To learn more about the Community Foundation, visit CommunityFoundationLF.org.