A number of residents in the Palm Beach and Broward counties are struggling to make ends meet, according to a recent report published by The United Way. It is estimated that around 40 percent of residents living in some of the area’s oldest neighborhoods are barely able to meet their most basic expenses.
This report comes from a study produced by the United Way called the ALICE report. ALICE stands for “Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.” It is a formula that takes federal, state and local income and expenses data and adds the percentage of households that are said to below the federal poverty guidelines. The result of this formula is the ALICE category, which includes households of working families who produce income but still do not have enough money coming in to meet their basic needs or save for the future. The ALICE rate is the number of families who fall into this category.
The ALICE report showed that six states, including Florida, New Jersey, California, Michigan, Connecticut and Indiana, struggle the most. In these states, up to half of the households surveyed are struggling so much that they have to make difficult decisions such as whether they pay their utility bills or buy groceries for the week.
Florida reports an ALICE rate of 45 percent. Specifically, in Palm Beach County, the ALICE rate is 41 percent while it is 47 percent in Broward County. It is reported that of the 64,229 households in Palm Beach county, 12 percent of them are below the poverty guidelines while 29 percent of them are employed but still not able to meet their most basic needs. In Broward county, of the 90,321 households reported, 14 percent of them are in poverty with 33 percent working but struggling to meet daily expenses.
What is considered to be poverty? It depends on the area of the country and the specific living expenses in each area. For example, in Palm Beach, a family of four needs to bring in $52,379 in income annually. In this area, the study reports that an average family of four spends $1,138 on housing costs, $1,146 on child care expenses, $655 in transportation costs, and $531 on food and groceries. These expenses are similar for the same sized family in Broward county, requiring them to earn an annual income of $52,712 to meet their basic daily living expenses.
However, the problem is most families in these areas do not bring in much more than this income. In many communities within both of these counties, households struggle even more. One area includes South Bay, which has an ALICE rate of 70 percent. Belle Glade has an ALICE rate of 68 percent and Rivera Beach comes in with a rate of 55 percent.
Even more concerning were the reports that in half of Broward county’s 32 communities, residents were not able to pay for necessary living expenses. Of all of these communities, the one that struggles the most is the Pembroke Park area, which reported at a 72 percent ALICE rate. Following Pembroke Park were Deerfield Beach, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, North Lauderdale and Pompano Beach.
The older neighborhoods with smaller homes and older appliances in the homes tend to be the areas that struggle the most. Many of these individuals are just on the edge of what the poverty guidelines dictate, which means they are just above the level of where they would be able to receive government assistance for expenses, which makes their situation that much more difficult.
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