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We Can Change Our Wicked Problems!

Community, Family and Poverty

For most of our existence, humans lived and thrived in close communities, one of our greatest strengths, creating adaptive advantages allowing us to survive.  In communities, tribes and villages, we learned to communicate and cooperate with each other, love and take care of each other, share with each other, work together and protect ourselves.  Together in community, we’re stronger and more able than alone.  We create, share and enjoy leisure together.  We work out problems and are fulfilled together.

It is in and through community living that human beings developed the collective abilities which have allowed us to evolve rapidly.  We needed language to communicate with each other in community, so we created and used language, which developed our brains and enabled knowledge, experience and idea sharing, coordination, cooperation, collaboration, and expressions of feelings, desires and visions. 

In communicating community, there are feedback loops between people that essentially create neural networks, brains bigger than any individual brain, which empower greater thinking and advancement.  The knowledge, experiences, plans and ideas of any community can survive the death of any individual, as long as they’ve been adequately shared, allowing them to build and grow over time.

In community, there is shared rearing of the young, providing them exposure to more experience and perspectives than outside community, providing them more love and attention than from parents alone, and freeing parents to live, contribute and grow without being constrained by always tending the young.  This enabled progress, with the young more likely to survive and thrive, and to accumulate the collective knowledge and wisdom of the community, not just that of their parents and own experiences.

In community, humanity developed coordinated division of labor, having different people do different things that, combined, achieve more than individuals could on their own.  In community, it’s possible to provide better care for the sick, so they’re more likely to survive.  A community has more capabilities and power than individuals alone and is therefore better able to endure external attacks and threats.  Coordinated communities are able to build things that would be physically impossible for an individual.

One of our great strengths as a species is our ability to live and work well together in close community.  We can attribute much of our success as a species to our community living experiences.

Today in the U.S., close caring community has largely broken down and disappeared for many of us.[1]  82% of people in North America lived in urban areas in 2018, the most urbanized region of the world.[2]  Most now live in cities, where many don’t know or care about even our closest neighbors.  Friends and family are often far away, or far enough to require traffic trauma to be with them.  We live in relative isolation, in closed box homes or apartments, stressed out from being responsible for everything in our lives, and friends and family are stressed out also, so it’s hard to get together.  We pay for services, outsourcing to institutions what was once part of community for free, creating more financial stress.  Community has been institutionalized, for profit, harming it as living organic environments we thrive in.

Work is away from home, requiring travel away from home, through places where nobody knows or cares about us.  Almost everything requires vehicle travel:  to stores, to entertainments, to be in nature, to friends or family, to school, to exercise, to children’s events, to social events, to the doctor or dentist.  Our human-made environments separate everything, so most of us can’t just be with a community of people we care about, or be in nature, or rear our children, or whatever, where we live.  We have to leave our boxes, and get in mobile boxes to get to other boxes, as cogs in others’ machines.

 

Travel is mostly alone in cars, isolated from those who know or care about us, or in or on the way to public transportation, where we don’t know or care about each other and largely hide from each other, laying low so we don’t get solicited, sold or have to engage in uncomfortable interactions with strangers.  We’re isolated, even when we’re out with people around us.  We endure time consuming isolation and travel stress to do most anything, because most things aren’t within walking distance, for most of us.

It’s exhausting to be a parent in typical fragmented isolation, because it’s relentless and demanding.  The children’s safety and well-being are the parents’ responsibility, all the time, except in school, or unless we pay someone who is not close to them to watch over them, which is expensive.  Day care for a toddler can cost as much as a mortgage on a home, on average costing more than in-state university tuition in the U.S.,[3] and everything is so expensive now, often both parents must work to pay the bills. 

Parents are frequently afraid for our children, about the very real dangers of automobiles killing them, about dangerous strangers doing them harm, about their health in polluted, unhealthy environments, and all the many things we are conditioned to fear through media and culture.  Parents spend many numbing hours driving children to and from school and their many activities most days, because they’re spread out, rather than concentrated in community.  It’s often a big deal to get kids together to play, because parents have to make that work with car rides across physical space and busy schedules.

Parents are often alone with stress and worry, unable to get support, because friends and family are scattered, stressed and busy.  Kids don’t have as much love and support, because they’re not around as many people who love them.  Parents, feeling guilty about not being with children enough, spoil them, with material gifts.  Children watch TV and other media, because they’re isolated from friends, family and community, bored, and because parents don’t have time to do something better with them.

Children are exposed to few experiences and perspectives, because they’re isolated and we are private.  They don’t know what people do as work, because they’re not exposed to it, don’t participate in work, because it’s done by professionals, who cannot have children around, because of the “liabilities”.  Parents outsource child-rearing to institutions, so we’re mostly removed from much of what’s going on. 

Church was once a big source of community for many, no matter what one thinks of the theology.  People in church communities knew people there, in various roles:  tradespeople, doctors, mechanics, teachers, lawyers and merchants.  Open to each other in church community, we could talk safely with each other about our situations and needs, and support each other.  Many have drifted from churches, for various reasons, lost real benefits of being parts of living church communities, and haven’t found and engaged in other living communities to replace them.  If trends continue, the percentage of the U.S. population that attends church in 2050 is estimated to be 12%, down another 40% from 1990’s 20%.[4]

Online communities have developed, with very diverse shared interests.  Society benefits from their technology enabled information, thought and idea sharing; connections; and organizations of efforts.  However, online relationships can never be as rich and rewarding as personal relationships in shared physical presence, no matter how much we wish they could.

 

Today, we suffer from community deficit disorders, missing love, connection, communication, sharing, support, and other benefits of community.  These disorders and losses cause problems in our lives.  Parents’ responsibilities are much harder outside community.  As a human being, using common sense, it feels intuitively wrong that we are typically not integral parts of close living communities, as families.

From 1948 to 2018, the total number of U.S. households grew 212%, from 41 to 128 million.  Rates of:

  • households living together as families decreased 25%, from 90% to 65%;

  • married couple households decreased 31%, from 79% to 48%;

  • families in households with unmarried female householders went up a third, from 9% to 12%;

  • families in households with unmarried male householders doubled, from 2.5% to 5%;

  • single male households increased 434%, 3% to 16%, and

  • single female households increased 157%, from 7% to 18%.[5] 

 

U.S. families are disintegrating.  We are increasingly living on our own, isolated from support of others.

Households are increasingly older, with the main householder age increasing 10% from 1960 to 2018, from median 47.3 to 52.1 years old.[6]   That tends to make us more conservative as a society? 

Birth rates are decreasing.  In 2017, there were 3.9 million births, which is a birthrate of 11.8 per 1,000, versus 4.2 million, 16.7 per 1,000, in 1990.[7] [8]  That is a decrease of 42% in the U.S. birthrate.

Family sizes are declining, with median number of children in each family with children decreasing 32%, from 3.3 to 2.5 from 1960 to 2018.[9]  We are increasingly not having any children, or having them late?  In 2018, 49 million (38% of) households had no children, an increase of 32% from 37 million in 2010, while numbers of households with 1, 2 or 3+ children remained roughly the same.[10] 

It changes us to live without children in our lives.  We are less engaged in community, magical, imaginative, conscientious, present, hopeful, happy, or caring about schools and school funding…?

6 in 1,000 were married in 2017, versus 10 in 1,000 in 1990, a decrease of 40%.[11]  It changes us to not be in committed marriage relationships - close, loving and living communities of at least two people? 

There were 83 million families in the U.S. in 2018,[12] with of an average of 3 members,[13]  In 2017, median U.S. family income was $76,000.  It was $86,000 for Whites, $93,000 for Asians (8% > whites) $54,000 for Hispanics (37% < whites), and $51,000 for blacks (41% < whites).[14]  These racial disparities create problems between people?  Still, that income sounds pretty good?  How many of us are poor?

Officially, in 2017: 40 million (12%) of 323 million people in the U.S. lived in poverty, 2 million (10% of) Asians, 26 million (11% of) whites, 9 million (21% of) blacks, and 11 million (18% of) Hispanics.  8 million (10% of) us living in families, 13 million (28% of) us in households run by a single female, 2 million (13% of) us in households run by a single male, and 13 million (12% of) all children lived in poverty.[15] 

Those poverty rates are high, for the richest nation on Earth.  The U.S. is 3rd highest of 38 developed nations in overall poverty rates, 13th highest of 114 nations in poverty rates for children under age 18, and 9th highest of 39 nations in poverty of adults 65 years of age and older.  Iceland’s poverty is 5%.[16]  The U.S. withdrew from the U.N. Human Rights Council after it called out the U.S. poverty problem.[17]

To arrive at its official poverty figures, the U.S. Census took household income and compared it to the following nationwide poverty thresholds, set at three times the cost of a minimum food diet in 1963, and adjusted annually by overall national Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures.  Could you live on that?

This method doesn’t fairly count people in poverty, because it costs far more to live in 2019 than 3 times a minimum food diet, inadequately adjusted for price changes.  We need more than basic food to live, and our much bigger costs have increased far more rapidly than food.  The buying power of $1 in 1963 is equivalent to $8.21 in 2018, 721% higher, using the C.P.I. adjustments we apply to food and poverty.[18]  In 1963, a median priced home cost us $17,200.  End of 2018, a median priced home cost $322,800.[19]  That’s 1,777% higher.  In 1963, median rent was about $75.[20]  In 2018, it was $1,500,[21] 1,900% higher.  In 1963, our medical spending per person was $684.[22]  In 2018, it was $10,739.[23]  That’s 1,470% higher.  In 1963, median college tuition, fees, room and board were $1,248.  In 2018, when a college education is increasingly needed to provide adequate living, it was $24,000. [24]  That’s $1,823% higher. 

Living at or under official poverty levels is barely surviving.  It’s basic food and clothing, without housing, or housing without food and clothing.  It is an existence which would cause most of us to suffer greatly. 

Is it OK for Earth’s richest nation to not change its official poverty measure since 1963, an arbitrary definition set at 3 times a subsistence food diet, after 55 years of supposedly evolving civilization?  Should standards for our poor not be rising?  Working conscientiously, full-time in a job paying the legal U.S. minimum wage provides a U.S. citizen less than is needed to reach the U.S. poverty thresholds.  Officially, our government tells its employers it is OK to pay people these amounts, and they do.

Another deficiency of the U.S. official method of measuring poverty is that it does not take into account that it costs far more to live in and around cities, where many and increasing numbers of us actually live, than it does on average throughout the U.S.  It applies the same poverty thresholds in New York City that it does in the cheapest place to live in the country.  Responding to that and other criticisms with its official methodology, the Census has an unofficial alternate method of estimated poverty levels, which adjusts poverty rates for geographic costs of living, public support received and some other things. 

It has overall poverty in the U.S. at 14%, 2% higher than the official rate.  13% of males, 15% of females, 16% of children under 18, 27% of single female run households, 16% for single male run households, 24% for individuals living as roommates, 24% for all home renters, 18% of people living in main cities, 24% of us with disabilities, 12% of whites, 22% of blacks, 15% of Asians, 21% of Hispanics live in poverty.  Medical expenses were the largest contributor to increasing numbers of people in poverty.[25]

By county, U.S. poverty rates ranged from 57% in Ziebach County (SD) to 3% in Loudoun County (VA), and it has poverty rates of 14% in New York City, 17% in DC, 15% in Dallas, 13% in Denver, 17% in Miami, 15% in Atlanta, 15% in L.A., and 25% in Philadelphia.[26]

40% of our people in the U.S. would struggle to be able to pay for an unexpected $400 emergency, though we are the richest country on Earth, during very low unemployment and a booming economy.[27]

By this measure, 1 in 5 human beings in the capital city of the world’s richest nation lives in poverty. [28] 

If California were a country, its $2.7 trillion annual economy would rank 5th in the world, over the UK.[29]  With this measure, 1 in 5 there are in poverty, the highest poverty rate of any U.S. state.[30]  A million (3% of) K-12 students in the U.S. were homeless, 1 in 20 in California, in the 2013-14 school year.[31]

 

Knowing how many of us are in poverty is helpful to understand our challenges as humans and families, but poverty is an extreme stress threshold.  Having 3 times as much money as we need for a minimum food diet doesn’t begin to tell the story of how much money we need to have a safe place to live, food, adequate clothing, health insurance, transportation, education, and other basics necessities of life. 

U.S. poverty measures are high, but poverty is a level far below OK.  To be OK, people need housing, clothing, good food, technology access, transportation, childcare, healthcare, education and training, miscellaneous stuff, and adequate saving rates for retirement, owning a home and children’s education.  Far more people and far higher rates of people, children and families in the U.S. are not OK financially. 

[32]

Studies show that hard working people earning money need at least twice the poverty levels of income in low cost rural areas just to have basic needs met, without saving money for emergencies, retirement, children or education.  That’s at least double poverty income in rural areas, just to be breaking even.  

In 2017, living in the U.S. at up to twice official poverty thresholds were:  30% of all people, people 65+, people 18 to 65, males and females, and Whites; 24% of Asians, 44% of Hispanics, 45% of Blacks; 27% in families, 38% of children under 18 in families, 41% of children under 6 in families, 61% of families in households of unrelated people, and 43% of people living alone or with non-relatives.[33]  Owch.

But we don’t all live in rural areas.  Increasingly, we live in or near cities, where costs are much higher.

The federal poverty guidelines in 2016 were $10,180 for an individual and $21,964 for a family of four.  In New York City, for an individual in 2016, a basic apartment rent was $15,500 a year, so in poverty you could not afford to rent a place to live, and you would barely have enough money for taxes, a cellphone, transportation and basic food, if you were homeless. 

As a married couple with a preschooler and infant, basic rent in 2016 was $19,000 a year, so you would have enough money to rent a place, after taxes, but have almost nothing left for food, childcare, technology, transportation or anything else.  That feels bad.  It creates stress, anxiety, fear, anger, resentment and desperation.  That’s living in poverty.[34]

In New York City, it takes 3 times poverty threshold income to break even as a single person, and about 3.4 times poverty income for a family with 2 adults, 1 infant and 1 preschooler.[35]  Oh, and that doesn’t include saving money for emergencies, retirement, children’s education, or owning a home.  So, what’s needed to really be OK is even higher.

In 2018, government says there were officially only 10%, 87,000 people in poverty in San Francisco, CA.  San Francisco’s Housing Authority and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) defined “Low Income Limits” as $82,200 for an individual and $117,400 for a family of four in 2018.  Those measure what it really takes to be OK there, 4 to 7 times the U.S. poverty thresholds.[36] 

In 2017, San Francisco had 882 homeless people per 100,000 residents, 7,500 of 850,000 total residents, in a space 7 miles by 7 miles, 160 per square mile, 60% unsheltered, 31% chronically, 10% veterans.[37]  Look at them, living in doorways, begging, dirty, sick, unhappy, mentally ill.  That’s living in poverty.

48% of people in San Francisco earned more than $75,000 annually in 2016.[38]  So, some 40% of people earn enough to meet the $82,200 low income thresholds for housing, a measure of being OK financially?  A median priced home is $1.8 million, and median rent is $3,000 a month,[39] $4,650 for 2 bedrooms,[40] while the poverty level is $850 a month. Only 25% of people in the Bay Area can afford to buy a home.  It costs $8,000 a month to buy a San Francisco home, requiring earnings of $333,000 a year or more.[41]  Gas costs 40% more than average in the rest of the country, food 23% more, healthcare is 20% more.[42]  San Francisco is a showcase, name brand.  If its people are not OK, how about the rest of the country?

 

In 2017, 86% of U.S. families lived in metropolitan areas, 30% in principal cities, 56% in adjacent areas, and only 14% outside of metropolitan areas.  So, 86% of families need far more than rural twice poverty threshold incomes to be surviving OK, without saving anything. 

Part of the problem with all of these analyses is that they attempt to measure everybody using non-local standards, while people live with local costs.  However, in an attempt to come up with a very round number to make some kind of analysis, a family living in a metropolitan area in the U.S. seems to need at least $100,000 in annual income to be OK, without saving anything. 

62% of U.S. families in metropolitan areas do not earn that much, and they are stressed because of that, though the U.S. government officially says only 12% are in poverty, 14% using the alternate method.

[43]

The distribution of income for U.S. individuals and families is not normal.  It does not form a bell curve.  On average, there’s enough income for everyone to be OK.  The mean of $105,000 in income for families in metro areas exceeds the $100,000 threshold needed to be OK.  However, median income is $75,000.  That is because some people and families earn far more than average, and most earn less than average.

1980 to 2015, income for the top 0.01% grew 322%, while income for the bottom 90% grew 0.03%.[44]  The top 10% get about as much total income as the bottom 90%.[45]  For most of us working in the U.S., wages are at about the same level as in 1970, adjusted for inflation,[46]  while major expenses, including housing purchase and rent, healthcare and higher education, have increased much faster than inflation.  With a hot economy and stock market, huge tax cut and unemployment at 4%, 14% of U.S. workers didn’t get even $1 in wage increases in 2018.[47]  Too few get too much, and too many get too little.

The richest 1% in the U.S. own more wealth than the bottom 90%,[48] about 40% of all U.S. wealth.[49]  The richest 10th of the richest 1% own more wealth than the bottom 90%, except for accrued social security benefits.[50]  The 400 richest people have more wealth than half the population combined.[51]

 

The richest 1% own half of all stocks, bonds and mutual funds;[52] and the top 5% owns two-thirds.[53]  The poorest 90% own 25%, the upper 10% own 75%, and the top 1% own 36% of U.S. wealth.[54]  

Minimum wage in the U.S. has not increased since 2009, from $7.25 per hour, less for tipped workers.[55]  In 2017, 1.8 million U.S. workers were paid at or below minimum wage.[56]  Is that OK?  Why?

This income and wealth inequality is unfair, and it creates many hardships for most people in the U.S.

78% of people in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, and 70% are in debt.[57]  Half have less than $500 saved for emergencies.  More than three quarters of U.S. workers say we struggle to make ends meet, fearful of any hiccup that may cause our financial house of cards to fail and leave us homeless. 

The median net worth for someone age 35-44 is $14,000, for ages 55-64, it’s $45,000.  Average U.S. household savings is $34,000, but the median is just $5,000.  That big skew is because of extreme U.S. income and wealth inequality.  The rich have so much more than most of people.  29% of households 55+ have no retirement savings or pension.[58]  Half of people in the U.S. can’t afford the basics of life.[59]

No matter whether these numbers are exactly right or not, by orders of magnitude they demonstrate that income unfairness in the U.S. is a huge problem, and wealth distributions are enormously unequal.  Both are unsustainable, will likely lead to collapse or revolution, and are causing great suffering today.

These stresses harm individual human beings, families, children and living communities.  It creates stress and hardships.  It makes us work too much, and takes time away from marriages, families and children.  It creates shame, resentment, envy, anger, embarrassment and other negative feelings and emotions. 

It does not make sense to structure and manage society this way.  Living, healthy families, relationships, children and communities are essential to well-being and human evolution.  It does not make sense to have more than half the population struggling for financial survival in the wealthiest nation on Earth.  We’re destroying the nation’s real wealth, so some can have big wealth on paper.  Stop!  Let’s change!

Let’s stop trying to exist and survive, while isolated and on our own!  Come together as communities, work together to meet needs, support each other, share, care and create fulfillment through love and real relationships!  Stop spending so much money on so very many things that are not truly necessary!  Stop supporting with time, effort and money things which contribute to income and wealth inequality!  Make time for personal relationships, children and communities!  Buy local!  Boycott big businesses!

Move out of expensive, busy, polluted metropolitan areas and back into small towns and rural areas, making them work again as communities!  Create and support close, supportive and loving community!  Work on making them work!  Be present in them and engage and participate!  Share and care!

Children are naturally pure and present and will teach us as we teach them.  Make and take time to be with children, even if they are not your own!  Value families!  Support schools, education and day care!

Help poor people!  Push back on systems, people and organizations creating these unhealthy realities!  Don’t just go along with what is not working for you or your loved ones, or most people in the U.S.!  Support labor unions, the people who brought us the weekend, 40-hour workweek and vacations! 

Write letters to government representatives and news organizations, even if you think it doesn’t help, so at least you have the personal integrity of speaking out!  Share information on this problem with others!  Insist on fair wages, and stand up for yourself and others!  Feed hungry people!  We can change!

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Endnotes

 

[1] “How The Collapse Of American Community Has Fed Donald Trump” John Daniel Davidson, September 19, 2016, The Federalist, http://thefederalist.com/2016/09/19/collapse-american-community-fed-donald-trump/

[2] “Report: Two-Thirds of World’s Population Will Live in Cities by 2050: A new report by the United Nations predicts 2.5 billion more people will live in urban areas by 2050.”, Alexa Lardieri, U.S. News and World Report, May 17, 2018, https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-05-17/report-two-thirds-of-worlds-population-will-live-in-cities-by-2050

[3] “U.S. Parents Are Sweating And Hustling To Pay For Child Care”, Maureen Pao, October 22, 2016, NPR, http://www.npr.org/2016/10/22/498590650/u-s-parents-are-sweating-and-hustling-to-pay-for-child-care

[4] “7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church Attendance in America”, Church Leaders Outreach Magazine, April 10, 2018, https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/139575-7-startling-facts-an-up-close-look-at-church-attendance-in-america.html/5

[5] “Historical Households Tables”, “Table HH-1. Households by Type: 1940 to Present”, U.S. Census Bureau, November 2018, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/families/time-series/households/hh1.xls

[6] “Historical Households Tables”, “Table HH-2. Households by Race and Hispanic Origin of the Householder: 1970 to Present”, U.S. Census Bureau, November 2018, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/families/time-series/households/hh2.xls

[7] “Number of births in the United States from 1990 to 2017 (in millions)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/195908/number-of-births-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

[8] “Birth rate in the United States from 1990 to 2017 (per 1,000 of population)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/195943/birth-rate-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

[9] “Historical Households Tables”, “Table HH-4. Households by Size: 1960 to Present”, U.S. Census Bureau, November 2018, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/families/time-series/households/hh4.xls

[10] “Number of families in the United States by number of children under 18 living in the household from 2000 to 2018 (in 1,000s)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/183790/number-of-families-in-the-us-by-number-of-children/

[11] “Marriage rate in the United States from 1990 to 2017 (per 1,000 of population)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/195951/marriage-rate-in-the-united-states-since-1990/

[12] “Number of families in the U.S. 1960-2018”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/183659/number-of-families-in-the-us/

[13] “Average number of people per family in the United States from 1960 to 2018”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/183657/average-size-of-a-family-in-the-us/

[14] “Median annual family income in the United States in 2017, by ethnic group (in U.S. dollars)”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/236771/median-family-income-in-the-us-by-ethnic-group/

[15] “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017: Current Population Reports”, Kayla Fontenot, Jessica Semega, and Melissa Kollar, U.S. Census Bureau, Issued September 2018, https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.pdf

[16] “Poverty rate”, OECD, Accessed March 27, 2019, https://data.oecd.org/inequality/poverty-rate.htm

[17] “Nikki Haley Has New Beef With the UN—This Time Over Poverty in the U.S.”, By Natasha Bach, Fortune, June 22, 2018, http://fortune.com/2018/06/22/nikki-haley-un-report-us-poverty/

[18] “CPI Inflation Calculator”, https://www.in2013dollars.com/1963-dollars-in-2018?amount=1

[19] “Median and Average Sales Prices of New Homes Sold in the United States”, U.S. Census, https://www.in2013dollars.com/1963-dollars-in-2018?amount=1

[20] "Median Gross Rents: Unadjusted", U.S. Census, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial/tables/time-series/coh-grossrents/grossrents-unadj.txt

[21] "U.S. Median Rent Hits a New High at $1,500 a Month, but Rent Growth Slows Heading Into Fall", PRNewswire, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-median-rent-hits-a-new-high-at-1-500-a-month-but-rent-growth-slows-heading-into-fall-300720740.html

[22] "Trends In Medical Spending By Age, 1963–2000",Ellen Meara, Chapin White, and David M. Cutler, July/August 2004, https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.23.4.176

[23] "Americans shelled out $10,739 per person on health care last year, but growth in spending slows”, Berkeley Lovelace Jr., CNBC, December 6, 2018, https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/06/americans-shelled-out-10739-per-person-on-healthcare-last-year.html

[24] "Table 330.10. Average undergraduate tuition and fees and room and board rates charged for full-time students in degree-granting postsecondary institutions, by level and control of institution: Selected years, 1963-64 through 2016-17", National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d17/tables/dt17_330.10.asp

[25] “The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2017”, Liana Fox, U.S. Census Bureau, September 2018, https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-265.pdf  

[26] “Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE), 2017”, U.S. Census Bureau, https://www.census.gov/data-tools/demo/saipe/saipe.html?s_appName=saipe&map_yearSelector=2017&map_geoSelector=aa_c&menu=grid_proxy

[27] “Almost 40% of Americans Would Struggle to Cover a $400 Emergency”, Matthew Boesler, Bloomberg, May 23, 2019, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-23/almost-40-of-americans-would-struggle-to-cover-a-400-emergency

[28] “Table A-5. Number and Percentage of People in Poverty by State Using 3-Year Average Over: 2015, 2016 and 2017”, The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2017, Liana Fox, U.S. Census Bureau, Report Number P60-265, September 12, 2018, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/demo/tables/p60/265/table5.xls

[29] “California's Economy Is Now Bigger Than All of the U.K.”, Lisa Marie Segarra, Fortune, May 5, 2018, http://fortune.com/2018/05/05/california-fifth-biggest-economy-passes-united-kingdom/

[30] “TRUE: California has the nation’s highest poverty rate, when factoring in cost-of-living”, Chris Nichols, Politifact, Friday, January 20, 2017, https://www.politifact.com/california/statements/2017/jan/20/chad-mayes/true-california-has-nations-highest-poverty-rate-w/

[31] “Number of homeless students in U.S. has doubled since before the recession”, Lyndsey Layton and Emma Brown, September 14, 2015, The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/number-of-us-homeless-students-has-doubled-since-before-the-recession/2015/09/14/0c1fadb6-58c2-11e5-8bb1-b488d231bba2_story.html?utm_term=.5cf3cb8ab658

[32] State Reports, United for ALICE, United Way, https://www.unitedforalice.org/all-reports

[33] “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017”, Report Number P60-263, Jessica Semega, Kayla Fontenot and Melissa Kollar, U.S. Census Bureau, September 2018, https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/cps/tables/time-series/historical-poverty-thresholds/thresh17.xls

[34] “ALICE:  A Study of Financial Hardship in New York, 2018”, United Way, file:///C:/Users/James'/Downloads/18UW_ALICE_Report_NY_Refresh_Lowres_9.6.18.pdf

[35] State Reports, United for ALICE, United Way, https://www.unitedforalice.org/all-reports

[36] “City Performance Scorecards: Poverty in San Francisco”, City and County of San Francisco, https://sfgov.org/scorecards/safety-net/poverty-san-francisco

[37] “City Performance Scorecards:  Homelessness Benchmarking:, City and County of San Francisco, https://sfgov.org/scorecards/benchmarking/homelessness

[38] “City Performance Scorecards:  Demographics Benchmarking:, City and County of San Francisco, https://sfgov.org/scorecards/benchmarking/demographics

[39] “San Francisco Is So Expensive, You Can Make Six Figures and Still Be ‘Low Income’”, Karen Zraick, The New York Times, June 30, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/30/us/bay-area-housing-market.html

[40] ” What is the True Cost of Living in San Francisco?”, Nick Wallace, SmartAsset, August 20, 2018, https://smartasset.com/mortgage/what-is-the-cost-of-living-in-san-francisco

[41] “Housing Affordability in the SF Bay Area”, June 2018, https://www.bayareamarketreports.com/trend/bay-area-housing-affordability

[42] ” What is the True Cost of Living in San Francisco?”, Nick Wallace, SmartAsset, August 20, 2018, https://smartasset.com/mortgage/what-is-the-cost-of-living-in-san-francisco

[43] “U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2018 Annual Social and Economic Supplement:  FINC-01. Selected Characteristics of Families by Total Money Income in: 2017”, https://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/cps-finc/finc-01.html

[44] “11 Charts That Show Income Inequality Isn’t Getting Better Anytime Soon:  It’s no secret: More and more wealth is trickling up”, Dave Gilson, Edwin Rios, December 22, 2016, Mother Jones, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/america-income-inequality-wealth-net-worth-charts/

[45] “11 Charts That Show Income Inequality Isn’t Getting Better Anytime Soon:  It’s no secret: More and more wealth is trickling up”, Dave Gilson, Edwin Rios, December 22, 2016, Mother Jones, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/12/america-income-inequality-wealth-net-worth-charts/

[46] “Wall Street Bolshevism, Part 3”, Timothy Noah, October 4, 2011, New Republic, https://newrepublic.com/article/95821/wall-street-bolshevism-part-3

[47] “The surprisingly high number of Americans getting absolutely no raises”, Evan Horowitz, The Washington Post, November 30, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/11/30/surprisingly-high-number-americans-getting-absolutely-no-raises/?utm_term=.b703c4fef99e

[48] “An Idiot’s Guide to Inequality, Nicholas Kristof, July 23, 2014, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/24/opinion/nicholas-kristof-idiots-guide-to-inequality-piketty-capital.html

[49] “Record inequality: The top 1% controls 38.6% of America's wealth”, Matt Egan, September 27, 2017, CNN Money, http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/27/news/economy/inequality-record-top-1-percent-wealth/index.html

[50] “Bernie Sanders, in Madison, claims top 0.1% of Americans have almost as much wealth as bottom 90%”, Tom Kertscher, July 29th, 2015, Politifact Wisconsin, http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2015/jul/29/bernie-s/bernie-sanders-madison-claims-top-01-americans-hav/

[51] “Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined”, Tom Kertscher, March 10, 2011, Politifact, http://www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2011/mar/10/michael-moore/michael-moore-says-400-americans-have-more-wealth-/

[52] “Wealth Inequality in the United States”, Inequality.org, https://inequality.org/facts/wealth-inequality/

[53] “Perspectives on Inequality and Opportunity from the Survey of Consumer Finances", Janet Yellen, at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, October 17, 2014, https://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/speech/yellen20141017a.htm

[54] “Wealth distribution in the United States in 2016”, Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/203961/wealth-distribution-for-the-us/

[55] “The Case Against Tipping in America: The data is overwhelming: Tipping encourages racism, sexism, harassment, and exploitation”, Vince Dixon, Eater, Accessed March 13, 2019, https://www.eater.com/a/case-against-tipping

[56] “Characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2017”, Reort 1072, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2018, https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2017/home.htm

[57] “The government shutdown spotlights a bigger issue: 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck”, Emmie Martin, CNBC, January 9, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/09/shutdown-highlights-that-4-in-5-us-workers-live-paycheck-to-paycheck.html

[58] “Compare your finances to financial statistics for the average American household to see how you stack up”, Debt.com Education Center:  Personal Finance Statistics, https://www.debt.com/edu/personal-finance-statistics/

[59] “Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now. What The?: America’s Collapsing Because it’s the World’s First Poor Rich Country”, Umair Haque, Eudaimonia, May 31, 2019, https://eand.co/half-of-americans-are-effectively-poor-now-what-the-c944c518db6a

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