Report measures material hardships among working adults

material hardship

As of May, 660,000 Nevadans were on Medicaid, most of them mothers and children, or the aged, blind and disabled.

In 2016, a monthly average of 440,000 Nevadans in 140,000 households received Supplemental Nutritional Assistance — food stamps. Roughly 70 percent of those households were families with nonelderly residents in which typically at least one person worked.

Even with an improving economy, a large number of nonelderly adults and their families struggle to meet basic needs, according to a report released by the Urban Institute Tuesday. And efforts by federal and state policymakers to curtail food stamps, Medicaid and other safety net programs will only exacerbate the material hardships facing working families, the report warns.

Quoting Urban Institute’s findings:

  • “…nearly 40 percent of adults reported that they or their families had trouble meeting at least one basic need for food, health care, housing, or utilities in 2017.”
  • “Although these difficulties were most prevalent among adults with lower incomes, material hardship extends across the income distribution and affects families with and without workers.”
  • “Adults are more likely to report material hardship if they are in fair or poor health or have multiple chronic conditions, but rates of hardship are also elevated for adults who are young, female, black or Hispanic, less educated, and living with children.”
  • “Adults who report one type of hardship during the year often report other types as well. Among adults reporting at least one hardship, 60.2 percent report two or more hardships, and 34.7 percent report three or more hardships.”

material hardship“As policymakers consider changes in access to safety net programs, they run the risk of increasing rates of material hardship, which could have detrimental short- and long-term impacts on children and adults,” the report concludes.

The report’s findings echo those of an Economic Policy Institute study released last month, which warned that stiffening work requirements for food stamps and Medicaid would hurt families and the economy.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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