116 The High Cost of Being Poor

A common tactic in the vegan movement is to talk about how affordable veganism is. But that doesn’t hold true for many people. To illustrate this point, the princesses tackle how expensive it is to have no money.

In This Episode

This week we cover several aspects of being poor, reviewing the realities around housing, food, banking, jobs, medical costs, bail.

To kick off this topic, we started with some important stats:

Federal Poverty Level (FPL)
A measure of income issued every year by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Federal poverty levels are used to determine your eligibility for certain programs and benefits, including savings on Marketplace health insurance, and Medicaid and CHIP coverage.

The 2017 federal poverty level (FPL) income numbers below are used to calculate eligibility for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). 2016 numbers are slightly lower, and are used to calculate savings on Marketplace insurance plans for 2017.

  • $12,060 for individuals
  • $16,240 for a family of 2
  • $20,420 for a family of 3
  • $24,600 for a family of 4
  • $28,780 for a family of 5
  • $32,960 for a family of 6
  • $37,140 for a family of 7
  • $41,320 for a family of 8

Children & Poverty
Children are the most likely to be poor – nearly one in five children live in poverty.

Households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children (17%), especially households with children headed by single women (30%) or single men (22%), Black non-Hispanic households (22%) and Hispanic households (19%).

Nearly 101 million Americans – just under one-third of the population – are trying to get by with
incomes this low (twice poverty level)

In 2015:
43.1 million people (13.5 percent) were in poverty. 42.2 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children.

Joke in the Middle

How do dinosaurs pay their bills?

Links and Information

News

Recommended Vegan Organizations that Help Food Insecure People

Resources Used in this Episode

4 comments

  • Thank you so so much for covering this. Poverty is literally criminal in this country and I am ashamed to be part of a society that socially, legally, punches down the most vulnerable among us. Sometimes, siblings living abroad do not believe me when I tell them that in Florida it is illegal to feed the poor. They cannot believe such cruelty does exist. I despair sometimes about human nature and our ability to surpass our current state of justice. It is hard to swallow that MLK’s “the arc of history bends toward justice” when I hear your personal stories and the reports on how we systematically fuck with people already on their knees.

    Regarding bail, this documentary from one of my favorite series (Faultlines) was excellent and may help with the next episode: http://video.aljazeera.com/channels/eng/videos/fault-lines—chasing-bail/3591784432001
    I think John Oliver borrows from that report quite a bit.

    • Thank you so much for the link, we’ll watch that as part of our research for the next episode.

      I feel your pain and frustration. I get enraged whenever I think about how we treat the poor – or the fact that we’ve created a system where “poor” is a thing you can be. Sometimes I feel hopeless, I wonder how we can fix a world like this.

      – Nichole

  • Y’all are right, childcare is crazy expensive. I do want to mention that the federal government does fund Early Head Start (ages 0-3) and Head Start (3-5 years) provide schooling for families under the US Poverty guidelines. This is a Monday-Friday program and has hours such as 6:30am-5:30pm (varies per location). The families pay $0 and whatever income they came with is used to keep them eligible for 2 years. It allows families to work without paying for child care until they’re old enough to go to Kinder. Children are provided 2 meals and a snack each day and the infants have all diapers and formula provided for (parents literally aren’t allowed to bring anything to the centers). For families above the poverty guidelines but still living in a stressful economic situation, CCA (Child Care Assistance) is available as well (differs per state) to offer subsidized child care. Although I have heard the CCA waitlist can be extensive. Just wanted to share some resources!

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