Myth Busters

1. The average annual Household Survival Budget (housing, child care, food, health care and transportation) for family of 4 in Iowa is:

a) $26,500

b) $30,160

c) $46,680

d) $56,772

 

Answer: D. The average annual household Survival Budget for a four-person family in Iowa is $56,772, more than double the Federal Poverty Level for the same family.

 

Source: United Way of Iowa ALICE Report: https://www.uwiowa.org/united-way-alice-report-iowa

2. In Iowa, what percentage of people don’t make enough money to cover their bills (the cost of living)? 

a) 15%

b) 26%

c) 37%

d) 48%

 

Answer: C. Over 450,000 Iowa households - 37% - struggle to afford basic household expenses.

 

Source: United Way of Iowa ALICE Report: https://www.uwiowa.org/united-way-alice-report-iowa

 

 

3. True or False: Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

 

Answer: True. Iowa's state minimum wage rate is $7.25 per hour, which is the same as the current Federal Minimum Wage rate.

 

Source: https://www.minimum-wage.org/iowa

 

 

4. True or False: Food insecurity is experienced by non-white and Hispanic people in Greater Des Moines at a disproportionately higher rate.

 

Answer: True. Black/African American residents make up 11% of the general population of Des Moines, but are 22% of Des Moines residents who visited a DMARC food pantry. Asian residents make up 6% of the general population of Des Moines, but are 10% of Des Moines residents who visited a DMARC food pantry. Hispanic residents make up 14% of the general population of Des Moines, but are 20% of Des Moines residents who visited a DMARC food pantry.

 

Source: Racial Disparities Among People Assisted by the DMARC Food Pantry Network 2020 Report https://www.dmarcunited.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Racial-Disparities-Among-People-Assisted-by-the-DMARC-Food-Pantry-Network.pdf

 

5. True or False:  A food bank is like a wholesaler for food pantries.

 

Answer: True. Food banks and food pantries work very closely together to fight hunger, but they fulfill different roles. A food bank is like a wholesaler; they bring in huge quantities of food to help stock many food pantries. A food pantry is a direct distribution program, where food insecure Iowans can receive free food to help sustain them.

Source: https://www.foodbankiowa.org/about-food-insecurity

 

6. True or False: Full time employment prevents homelessness.

 

Answer: False. The Housing Wage is an estimate of the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs, the accepted standard of affordability. The statewide housing wage for a 2-bedroom apartment is $15.97 per hour, and for the Des Moines metro it is $17.35 per hour. Most families at New Directions Shelter are employed, but wages are often too low to support cost of living.

 

Source: https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/iowa

 

7. True or False: A raise is always a good thing for families receiving childcare assistance.

 

Answer: False. This is called the childcare cliff effect. A raise in pay that moves the family above 145% of the federal poverty level ($37,990 for a family of four) means they no longer qualify for Child Care Assistance subsidies, which causes an immediate net loss of $4,540 per year. In 2020, 67% of the families at the Bidwell Child Development Center received tuition relief through Child Care Assistance subsidies.

 

Source: https://www.unitedwaydm.org/cliffeffect