For single parents in Kentucky, finding a job that pays enough to provide for your family is difficult. If you’re a single mother with two children living in Kentucky, only one in every three new jobs being created will provide you with enough income to sustain your family.

During a news conference at Spaulding University, Lopa Mehrota, interim director of the nonprofit organization, Women4Women stated that economic data they compiled showed that most new jobs fall far short of delivering the kind of wages that Kentucky single parents to survive.

“We have a long way to go in making sure Kentucky families can support themselves,” she said at the news conference.

The average Louisville single parent with two children needs to earn $23.60 per hour, or $49,836 annually, to make ends meet and still save up to $200 per month toward retirement, college education and home ownership. Those figures are from the “Basic Economic Security Tables,” compiled on a county-by-county basis throughout Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Louisville female heads of household with two children earn a median wage of around $25,000 annually, according to data from the U.S. Census.

Kentucky was one of five state analyzed in depth alongside a national set of income tables produced by Wider Opportunities for Women, a national nonprofit, in partnership with Women4Women.

The goal of making the report available to the public and policy makers is to highlight the difference between economic security and living just above the poverty level. For example, the federal poverty level for a family of three, in Kentucky is $18,130.

The poverty level guidelines describe what it takes to “barely survive on the desperate margins of society,” Mehrotra said at the press conference. As a policy tool, she added, “they do not capture what it costs to live.”

“The American dream of working hard to support your family is being rewritten by the growth of low-paying industries and rising expenses,” Joan Kuriansky, WOW’s executive director, said in a news release.

A Federal Reserve Bank official welcomed the study, calling the new income estimates “a wake-up call.”

“Job growth is not the total answer here,” Maria Hampton, vice president at the Louisville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, said at the press conference. “This is the type of information that people need to make decisions about what they need to earn to cover basic expenses…. for a sound future.”


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