from The Black Hills Pioneer
Federal poverty guidelines state that a family of three making less than $15,670 is living in poverty. (For an individual it is $9,310.) Hypothetically, a single mother with two children should be bringing in that base amount or more to lift her family out of poverty.
In Lawrence County that can be tough with wages averaging out between $5.15 and $8 an hour.
At $5.15 an hour gross pay that individual brings in $824 a month. On average 24 percent of that is taken out of taxes, leaving the actual take home pay at $629.12 per month. In a year, this individual will make $9,888 gross and $7,549.44 with taxes taken out.
At $6 an hour, the gross pay that individual brings in is $960 monthly and after taxes $732.96. In a year the total equals $8,795.52.
A bit higher at $8 an hour, an individual brings in $1,280 without taxes being taken out and $977.28 after taxes, making an average annual income at $11,727.36.
Rent in the Northern Hills averages out at $475 a month for a two-bedroom apartment. Utilities on average can cost $65 for electricity and $120 for gas according to local utility companies. Groceries for a family of three can cost up to $75 a week bringing the monthly total to $300. That leaves this hypothetical family with only $17.28 to live on for the rest of the month. This does not include a phone bill, auto insurance and gas, cable service and emergency purchases.
All of the calculations above show family incomes well below federal poverty standards, yet many of these income levels are considered representative of good jobs in Lawrence County.
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