Study: A third of Iowans don’t earn enough to pay for basic living

raise the wage iowaTo survive in Iowa, it takes an income of about twice the federal poverty rate.

That figure was among the findings of a new United Way report that explored why nearly one in three Iowans struggles to afford basic living expenses.

United Way officials hope the findings will draw attention to Iowans who are above the federal poverty line, yet remain unable to afford basic necessities such as food, rent and medicine.

“That means you’re one flat tire from a financial crisis, because … you’re spending everything you have to survive,” said Elisabeth Buck, chief community impact officer at United Way of Central Iowa. “And these are people in our community. They are not faceless people.”

The findings could add fuel to Polk County’s fiery debate over raising the minimum wage above the state and federal standard of $7.25 an hour.

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