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50 million American households can’t afford basic living expenses

As income stagnates, millions of Americans are struggling to make ends meet.

Some 50.8 million households or 43% of households can’t afford a basic monthly budget for housing, food, transportation, child care, health care and a monthly smartphone bill, according to an analysis of U.S. government data released this week by the United Way Alice Project, a nonprofit based in Cedar Knolls, N.J. that aims to highlight the number of people who live in poverty.

The project uses standardized measurements to calculate the “bare bones” household budget in each county in each state. It maintains that the federal poverty level — currently $25,100 for a family of four — doesn’t accurately illustrate the number of people living in poverty because it doesn’t take into account the dramatically different costs of living across the U.S.

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