Study finds racial and ethnic disparities in ‘Cost of Living in Iowa’ report
Public policy research nonprofit Common Good Iowa has released its eighth edition of the “Cost of Living in Iowa” report, which highlights the challenges Iowans face in “getting by.” and live independently.
He found that pay is insufficient for nearly one in seven households in Iowa, and even more so for single-parent households, the vast majority of which are headed by women.
The report said it “illustrates that working full time does not guarantee Iowa workers can meet even a basic budget for basic needs.” He pointed out that in order for Iowans to stick to a basic budget, they must earn far more than the state minimum wage of $7.25 an hour and sometimes even above the median wage of $19.19 per hour.
Iowans of color have been excluded from the economic prosperity generated by their contribution to our state’s economy.
Natalie Veldhouse, co-author “Cost of Living in Iowa” 2022
One of the main things the report found was racial and ethnic disparities in the ability of Iowans to “cope” well.
“It is extremely important to note the historical and current political choices that really shape these racial disparities that we see in Iowa’s economic security. And we know that Iowans of color have been excluded from the economic prosperity generated by their contribution to our state’s economy,” said Natalie Veldhouse, one of the report’s authors.
The report found that one in three households headed by Black Iowans and one in four households headed by Latino Iowans had incomes below self-sufficiency. That compares to one in seven white working households.
Veldhouse explained that this is partly due to longstanding discrimination in areas such as housing, education and unemployment.
She also noted that black workers are overrepresented in lower-paying occupations that are less likely to offer health care and other benefits. The support systems currently in place to help Iowans in these areas, she added, “are extremely helpful in bridging this gap.”
Des Moines was the city with the highest proportion of families considered below self-sufficiency at 21.2%.
Anne Discher, executive director of Common Good Iowa, said she has a long list of policy recommendations to address these discrepancies.
“The reason for that is simply that the scale of the challenges is so great. The fact that we have so many people who can’t even build a base, working full time, isn’t it–it s It’s a full-time worker at home who can’t make ends meet — really is a function of our highly unequal economic system.
Discher and the organization said that to address disparities in the cost of living, the state should focus on reducing costs, providing more support systems or increasing wages.
They noted that the research was conducted before this year’s rise in inflation.