Many Americans struggling to meet basic needs, including healthcare

An Urban Institute study found that many Americans can't afford such basics as food, healthcare, housing and utilities.

The study examined data from the Urban Institute's Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey of 7,588 adults, launched in December. Using that data, researchers came up with baseline projections for the number of nonelderly adults who experienced material hardship last year.

Four findings:

1. Nearly 40 percent of adults said they or their families struggled to meet at least one basic need for food, healthcare, housing, or utilities last year, despite an improved economy.

2. About 18 percent of adults said they did not receive medical care due to cost.

3. People with lower incomes were most likely to experience these struggles. However, material hardship was seen across income levels and affects families regardless of whether family members are employed.

4. Material hardship rates were higher for adults who are in fair or poor health or have multiple chronic conditions. Rates were also higher for young, female, black or Hispanic, and less educated adults. Additionally, adults living with children saw higher rates.

"Though the nation's largest safety-net programs have been found to mitigate hardship, these findings highlight gaps in the assistance they offer to meet basic needs. Policies being considered or enacted in 2018 could widen these gaps," the study's authors concluded.


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