Data shows drop in financial insecurity for Lubbock households, experts foresee future financial stress.
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - New data measuring the financial security of Lubbock households saw a decrease in financial struggles. However, with inflation on the rise, Lubbock citizens may see more financial stress in the future.
According to new data from Lubbock Area United Way and its research partner United for ALICE, there are fewer households in Lubbock County that are struggling financially. The data shows in 2018 nearly half of Lubbock County households were finically insecure. In 2021, this number dropped by 4%. During the pandemic, government relief and an increase in wages helped many. However, with inflation continuing to rise and benefits coming to a halt, Amanda McAfee with United Way says signs of greater financial stress may be on the horizon.
“The ALICE population is something we have been talking about since 2018, ALICE stands for asset limited, income constrained, and employed,” said McAfee.
A population that often gets overlooked is households that are considered above the federal poverty level but do not make enough to afford the basics. McAfee says that leaves Lubbock families making difficult decisions when it comes to paying the bills.
“Most of this group of people they can’t set money aside for emergencies, let alone retirement and college and things that are happening later in life,” McAfee says.
Which, in turn, can have a domino effect on the future of Lubbock’s workforce.
“That’s going to harm generations down the line, so, how can we make a shift that will help families be able to get savings, be able to be prepared for when the hard things happen,” said McAfee.
While Lubbock saw a slight decrease in households that are finically insecure following the pandemic, United Way is focusing on what is ahead.
“How can we make sure that we are helping the 44% of Lubbock households that are struggling right now and make sure that number is going down as our population goes up,” McAfee said.
McAfee says discussions on decreasing that 44% even more are already in the works.
“There is a side of the spectrum where we can address systems that are the cost of child care and housing there are some of those things that we can address on a systems level there are other things we can address on empowering people to move up that economic ladder and get some money back in that budget,” McAfee said.
You can view the data referenced at https://unitedforalice.org/state-overview/Texas.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 6:49 PM CDT