New Study by ACPP: Alaskan Middle-Class in Trouble
State of Working Alaska 2009, a new report by the Alaska Center for Public Policy, reports data, trends and economic performance that can be taken in consideration by policymakers to address critical issues facing Alaskan families. Some of the findings the State of Working Alaska 2009 are:
- A basic family budget includes only the amounts a family needs to spend to feed, shelter, and clothe itself, and get to work and school. It includes no savings, no restaurant meals, no funds for emergencies. In Anchorage a basic budget for a family of four is approximately $53,000. It is higher in rural areas.
- In order to afford a basic Anchorage family budget for a two-member family (one parent, one child) with one earner, the parent needs to earn at least $18.28 per hour (2.5 times the minimum wage). Half of all workers in Alaska earn less than this.
- In order to afford a basic Anchorage family budget in a four-member family, (two parents, two children) in a single-earner household, an individual needs to earn at least $25.46 per hour (3.5 times the minimum wage). Approximately two-thirds of all workers in Alaska earn less than this.
- Alaska’s average real hourly wage (taking inflation into account) has been stagnant since 2002.
- Alaska’s real family income (taking inflation into account) has been stagnant since 2000.
Policy makers have a wide range of opportunities to strengthen the safety-net for Alaskan families who are trying to survive on less than a living wage. For example they can strengthen unemployment insurance, raise minimum wage, expand public transportation, reduce barriers to qualifying for Denali KidCare, require insurers to publicly justify premium hikes, and provide public support for the state-wide network of community health centers.