By JAMES DAWSONPublished Mar 03, 2019 08:51:07It’s a simple question.
What is the cost of living in the United States?
The short answer is: it depends.
The median U.S. household income for 2018 was $56,838, according to a report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in March.
That’s the third-lowest median income in 20 years.
The median income was $53,849 in 2015, according the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
And yet, Americans still pay more for their basic needs than they did just a decade ago, the report found.
That’s because, while the cost for basic necessities like food, shelter and health care have declined over the past decade, it has risen for many other basic necessities.
In fact, a majority of Americans, 59 percent, have had to pay more than $100 a month for food and rent in the past year, according a report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released last week.
But the median household income is just $46,829 a year, which is less than half the median income of $63,095 for a family of four.
The report also found that while the average household’s monthly cost of food and clothing rose from $9.83 to $14.64 between 2006 and 2020, the median family income rose from about $38,000 to about $61,000, the same report found, making a big difference in food costs.
The average monthly cost for housing rose from just $6,800 in 2018 to $11,400 in 2019, the Consumer Finance Bureau found.
And the median cost for health care has risen in the same period, from about 15 percent of the average annual income in 2018 and about 15.5 percent in 2019.
The Consumer Financial Protect Bureau estimates that about one-third of the families who make the median annual income would be eligible for federal subsidies for subsidized medical care and prescription drugs if they have student loans that are lower than the federal government’s.
The rest of the households would have to pay a penalty, depending on their family size.
But that is an outlier.
The report found that, even though the average cost of a family home rose from almost $100,000 in 2016 to about the median home price in 2018, the average family income in 2019 was about $54,500, compared to about 20 percent of all households.
The bottom line is that the cost to households is much higher than it was a decade or more ago.
And as our country continues to struggle with the costs of health care, we should be asking ourselves how can we make our families healthier?