Images from Overlooked and Undercounted 2012
|The map (Figure B) highlights that the cost of meeting basic needs also varies geographically in Pennsylvania. The 2012-2013 Self-Sufficiency Standard for one parent with one preschooler ranges from $25,697 to $53,410 annually.|
|While considerable percentages of Pennsylvania households in all racial/ethnic groups have income below the Self-Sufficiency Standard, people of color have the highest rates below the Standard (Figure F).|
|The combination of being a woman, having children, and solo parenting are associated with some of the highest rates of income inadequacy. At the same time, as we have seen above, rates of income inadequacy are quite high among some race/ethnic groups. When these factors, household type (including gender and children) and race/ethnicity, are combined, there is an even greater disparity between groups in rates of income adequacy. That is, within racial groups, household type differences remain, with single mother households consistently having the highest rates of income inadequacy. At the same time, among households of the same composition, racial and ethnic differences remain, with Latinos consistently having the highest rates of income inadequacy|
While the likelihood of experiencing inadequate income in Pennsylvania is concentrated among certain families by gender, race/ethnicity, education, and location, families with inadequate incomes are remarkably diverse.
Altogether, with work schedules not that much different between those above compared to those below the Standard, the difference in average hours worked is not significant either. Of householders who work, those above the Standard work about 18% more hours per year than those below the Standard (a median of 2,080 hours versus 1,760 hours per year).
However, wage rate differences between those above and below the Standard are substantially greater: overall, the average hourly wage rate of those above the Standard is more than twice that of householders below the Standard ($21.37 per hour versus $9.62 per hour). Because the wage differences by race and gender are larger for those above the Standard than for those below, this wage gap is somewhat less for people of color, women, and family households headed by women. But even within these groups, wages would have to be at least doubled in most cases to match the median wage of householders above the Standard.
This means that if householders with incomes below the Standard increased their work hours to the level of those with incomes above the Standard, working about 18% more hours, but at the same wage rate, the additional pay would only close about 21% of the earnings gap. If those with insufficient income were to earn the higher wage, however, with no change in hours worked, the additional pay would close 77% of the gap.
This data suggests that addressing income adequacy through employment solutions would have a greater impact if it were focused on increased earnings rather than increased hours.