Do you want to know?
Just last week, the U.S. received the most positive feedback on average household income since 2007. According to the census data, the median income rose by more than 5% in 2015, with family household’s making approximately $72,165 and non-family households around $33,805.
That rise in income, the first in 9 years, helped to curb poverty rates with a 1.2 percent decrease from 2014-2015 and could mean a continual decrease, so long as income continues to improve.
But is it accurate?
As we learned from the economic crash in 1929, the early 80’s recession, Black Monday, and the Great Recession, no matter how constant finances may “seem”, poverty can come knocking at any time and destroy whatever you have built. This devastating reality makes the recent wave of good income news the perfect time to address our individual poverty risk, and thanks to Thomas Hirschl we can.
A sociology professor at Cornell University, Hirschl understands the nebulous nature of financial security, and developed the “Poverty Risk Calculator” as a result.
This calculator uses research on poverty and income from decades of longitudinal studies to produce a final report.
With the calculator, and bits of personal information about your socio-economic present in hand, you will be able to predict your personal chances of ending up impoverished in the years ahead.
How it works…
The general risk of living in poverty hasn’t changed much since 1970, teetering between 11% and 15%. An individual’s actual risk, however, can vary widely. Hirschl explains, with race as the most powerful predictor of economic hardship, there are many other contributing factors.
For example, the poverty risk for a white male, between the ages of 20-24 who has a college education, is a low 20%. Alternatively, if you’re a non-white male with the same education, your risk of poverty over the same period of time is a stunning 45%.
According to Hirschl and his studies, some 39% of Americans between 25 and 60, will deal with one or more years of life below poverty level. He also added, “People are ill prepared for this kind of thing,” and we’d have to agree. How many people are waiting patiently with open arms to be poverty stricken?
Why this calculator is kind of a huge deal
Aside from the fact that financial security is never promised, job security isn’t either. “Even though people might have a job right now their long term outlook is not security, it’s insecurity,” says Thomas Hirschl, brilliant creator of the “Risk Calculator”.
“There’s a group of people who are feeling very secure, they’re creative people they have jobs they love. And there are other people who are not doing well – they lost their job in the factory or they have a roofing business they used to make $100,000 now they’re making $30,000.”
This calculator aims to help the people who may find themselves in similar unexpected situations whether they are in a creative position, or working in a warehouse.
I’m personally going to wait it out one more week before I try the calculator, that way I can mentally prepare for the results. But if you are braver than I, and would like to use the calculator, you can find it here. Let us know what you think in the comments below!