Making Ends Meet… Or Not.
- From 2002 to 2010, wages for all earners were stagnant except for the top 5 percent; meanwhile food and gasoline prices have been rising.
- 314,832 working Pennsylvanians have income below the federal poverty line.
- 1.85 million (14.6%) Pennsylvanians are food insecure.
- 1 in 7 (13.9%) working Pennsylvanians are underemployed.
- A single parent working full‐time earning $10/hour would earn $20,000 annually. The average self‐sufficiency standard in the Food Bank’s service area for one parent with a pre‐school aged child and a school aged child is $43,647.
Employment Status of Households with Very Low Food Security
- One or more full-time: 33%
- Person with a disability: 29%
- Part-time: 13%
- Unemployed: 10%
- Not in labor force: 9%
- Retired: 6%
Myth: Individuals with low incomes do not work or do not work hard enough.
Fact: An average employee with a low income works 2,552 hours per year, roughly one and one‐quarter full‐time jobs.
Tough Choices for Working Families
A percentage of families are forced to make tough choices between food and basic necessities:
- Make choices between food and utilities: 66%
- Make choices between food and rent/mortgage: 61%
- Make choices between food and transportation: 56%
- Make choices between food and medical costs: 53%
Food Assistance Programs Reduce Food Insecurity and its Negative Impacts
- For a family of three with one person earning $10 an hour, SNAP (food stamps) benefits increase the family’s income by 10‐20%.
- The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure found the percentage of children in poverty increased by 16% when excluding SNAP benefits from total household income.
- The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is designed to meet short‐term emergency food needs of Americans with low incomes who might otherwise fall into poverty.
- Work support benefits such as Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC), child care assistance, and public health insurance also help reduce hunger and poverty among working individuals with low incomes.