U.S. Families Are Falling Behind

Housing a Disproportionate Expense
Wage Growth Lag Behind Expenses

U.S. Families Are Falling BehindThe Pew Charitable Trust has issued a report, “The Precarious State of Family Balance Sheets” that explores income, expenditures, and wealth among American families.

The report finds that the poorest families are spending the highest percentage of their income on housing, earning growth was almost stagnant over the past 15 years while expenses rise at a higher percentage rate and the poorest workers live day to day without a large financial safety net.

Highlights include:

  • 80% of household spending falls into six categories, with housing being the largest,
  • Not only is it the largest, but also the amount of spending on housing is the inverse of income with households in the top 1/5 bracket of income spending 31% on housing while those in the bottom 1/5 spent 40% on housing.
  • The total growth of earnings for the typical U.S. worker grew just 2% between 1999-2009.
  • Since 1984, the average growth of household expenses has risen 6% (after adjusting for inflation).
  • Workers at the bottom of the income ladder have just 9 days of readily available savings to use as a safety net in time of crisis.

Click here for the full report.