The New American Community Survey is in and …

… it isn’t good. ┬áThis is a good news/bad news Census report. The good news is that the rate of poverty didn’t get any worse; the bad news is that it didn’t get any better.

There’s a nice outline of the Survey’s results, published by the Economic Progress Institute here:

The data shows that the burden of poverty fall more heavily on some than on others. That shouldn’t surprise anyone but what should bother us is how unequal the distribution of the burden is. These results reflect a continuing systemic exclusion of some but not others in the job market.

What should concern all of us is the continued decline of the median income in Rhode Island from pre-recession levels. If anyone is wondering why, if the are employed, they are struggling to make ends meet, Our incomes are stagnant while the cost of living continues to rise. For a family of four (2 adults and 2 older kids) it costs $50,000/year to make ends meet (and that’s based on what could be argued is a low “housing” number provided by HUD). The income required to meet even this minimal standard of living is just under $25.00/hour.

While the data shows that some are affected more by the declining economy, we need keep in mind that it does adversely affect most of us one way or another.

In this political season, where candidates will knock on doors and invade our homes via radio and TV, all telling us that they’re going to “fix” the Rhode Island economy, it is useful to know just what the Rhode Island economy looks like and why too many of us are feeling the economic squeeze, if not truly drowning in a sea of lost opportunities.

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