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United Way report: Paying for health care, other necessities difficult for many, even with multiple jobs


A new United Way report released this week found that even for Ohioans who work two or three jobs, it is still difficult to pay for health care and other basic necessities when you’re stuck working for low wages (Source: “Poverty remains a problem, even for those with multiple jobs, report finds,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 4, 2017).

In addition to the poorest households in Ohio, the Ohio United Way report examined those described by the acronym ALICE, which stands for "asset limited, income constrained, employed." That means families whose incomes are higher than the federal poverty level, but not high enough for a basic household budget.

While 14 percent of Ohio households lived at or below the federal poverty level in 2015, an additional 26 percent — or 1.2-million households — qualified as ALICE households. The federal poverty level is $11,770 for a single adult and $24,250 for a family of four.

In Ohio, 67 percent of all jobs — two out of three — pay less than $20 an hour. Of those, 75 percent pay between $10 and $15 an hour. And these jobs are expected to grow faster than higher-wage jobs over the next decade. Of the top 10 occupations by total numbers in Ohio in 2015, only one — nursing, at $29.46 an hour or $61,277 a year — paid more than $15 an hour.

The Ohio ALICE report showed what other studies have shown: It’s hard to pay for housing, food, transportation and health care when working in low-wage jobs.