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Alaska Center for Public Policy Announces New Study: Finds Alaska Middle Class in Trouble

State of Working Alaska 2009, a new report by the Alaska Center for Public Policy, reports data, trends and economic performance that indicate trouble for the Alaskan middle class. This information should be taken in consideration by policymakers to address critical issues facing Alaskan families. Some of the findings in State of Working Alaska 2009 are:

* A basic family budget includes only the amounts a family needs to spend to feed, shelter, and clothe itself, and get to work and school. It includes no savings, no restaurant meals, no funds for emergencies. In Anchorage a basic budget for a family of four is approximately $53,000. It is higher in rural areas.

* In order to afford a basic Anchorage family budget for a two-member family (one parent, one child) with one earner, the parent needs to earn at least $18.28 per hour (2.5 times the minimum wage). Half of all workers in Alaska earn less than this.

* In order to afford a basic Anchorage family budget in a four-member family, (two parents, two children) in a single-earner household, an individual needs to earn at least $25.46 per hour (3.5 times the minimum wage). Approximately two-thirds of all workers in Alaska earn less than this.

* Alaska's average real hourly wage (taking inflation into account) has been stagnant since 2002.

* Alaska's real family income (taking inflation into account) has been stagnant since 2000.

Policy makers have a wide range of opportunities to strengthen the safety-net for Alaskan families who are trying to survive on less than a living wage. For example they can strengthen unemployment insurance, raise minimum wage, expand public transportation, reduce barriers to qualifying for Denali KidCare, require insurers to publicly justify premium hikes, and provide public support for the state-wide network of community health centers.

State of Working Alaska 2009 is available online from the Alaska Center from Public Policy Web site at www.acpp.info.

About Alaska Center for Public Policy
ACPP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, progressive think tank established in Alaska in 2004. The organization advances public policies that benefit low- and medium-income Alaskan families. The organization was founded by Lawrence D.Weiss PhD, retired Research professor in Public Health from the University of Alaska.

Posted Sept. 9, 2009

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