Economic Stability

Our children, communities, and state are stronger  when all of Nebraska’s families are able to participate fully in the workforce and establish financial security. We must ensure that families are able to meet their children’s basic needs and save for the future. A robust system of supports should help families make ends meet as they work toward financial independence. Hardworking families should have a fair share in the success of our state’s economy. When families need assistance in meeting the basic needs of their children, public benefit programs should work efficiently and effectively to provide a safety net for temporary challenges. Parents should not have to choose between the job they need and the family they love. All families should have the opportunity to invest in their children’s future and be able to access community resources that are well-funded by fair tax policies.

Poverty

Nebraska poverty (2007-2016)

  • Percent of Children in Poverty
  • Percent of Families in Poverty
  • Percent of All Persons in Poverty

43.4%
of children living in single-mother households are in poverty.1

21.3%
of children living in single-father households are in poverty.1

8.2%
of children living in married-couple households are in poverty.1

19.1%
of children living with a grandparent, without a parent present are in poverty.2

1. U.S. Census, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B17006.
2. U.S. Census, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table S1001.
60,110 Nebraska children were living in poverty in 2018.
12,705 of which were in extreme poverty (<50% of the Federal Poverty Line).
3. U.S. Census Bureau, 2017 American Community Survey 5-year estimates, Table B17001B-I.
4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, HHS Poverty Guidelines for 2019

Making Ends Meet

Making ends meet

Nebraskans pride themselves on being hard-working people. In 2018, 77.1% of children in our state had all available parents in the workforce.1 Unfortunately, having high labor force participation doesn’t always translate into family economic stability.

The chart at right illustrates the gap between low-wage earnings and the amount needed to provide for a two-parent family with two children. It assumes that both parents work full-time (40 hours a week), year round (52 weeks per year). That means no vacation, no sick time, just work.

The federal poverty level doesn’t describe what it takes for working families to make ends meet. For that we turn to the Family Economic Self-Sufficiency Standard (FESS). The FESS uses average costs, like fair median rent and the average price of a basic menu of food, to calculate what a family needs to earn to meet its basic needs without any form of private or public assistance. It does not include luxuries like dining out or saving for the future.

Voices for Children publishes a tool that shows what the FESS is for every county and most family types. Check it out at familybottomline.com

1. U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey, Table B23008.
2. United States Department of Labor, “Minimum Wage Laws in the States – January 1, 2016,” http://www.dol.gov.
3. FESS was calculated using an average of 2010 figures for a two-adult, two-child family, adjusted for 2019 inflation. Data used to calculate information is courtesy of Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest.
5. Financial Services, Operations, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Housing & Homelessness

Homelessness

The Nebraska Homeless Assistance Program (NHAP) serves individuals who are homeless or near homeless. Not all homeless people receive services.

In 2018, HUD/NHAP served:

7,139

homeless individuals.

1,509

homeless children ages 18
and under.

2,516

homeless families with children.

17

unaccompanied homeless children.

2,587

individuals at risk of homelessness.

1,227

children at risk of homelessness.

1,974

families with children at risk of homelessness.

4

unaccompanied children at risk of homelessness.

Source: Nebraska Homeless Assistance Project, FY2018 combined CAPER Reports.

In 2016, Nebraska Public Housing had:2

  • 7,361 public housing units with 7,061 occupied.
  • 12,949 vouchers with 11,609 in use.
  • 4,789 units were 1 bedroom (non-family).

Housing of Nebraska children:

  • 42,000 children lived in crowded housing.3
  • 42,000 children lived in areas of concentrated poverty.3
  • 109,000 children lived in households with a high housing cost burden.3,4
  • 91,000 children were low-income with a high housing cost burden.3

Homeownership

Homeownership provides a sense of stability for children and communities.

67.9% of families with children owned their home in 2018.1

Homeownership

In 2018, Nebraska Public Housing had:2

12,758 vouchers

7,345 public housing units

4,776 units were one bedroom (non-family).

49,000 children (10%) lived in crowded housing with more than one person/room.3

36,000 children (10%) lived in areas of concentrated poverty.3

104,000 children (22%) lived in households with a high housing cost burden.3,4

88,000 children (51%) low-income households had a high housing cost burden.3,4

1. U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B25115.
2. Nebraska Office of Public Housing, HUD.
3. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Data Center.
4. Families with high housing cost burdens spend more than 30% of their pre-tax income on housing.
5. U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B25003B-I.

Hunger

1 in 9 Nebraska households don’t know where their next meal is coming from.1

Food insecure households in Nebraska (2009-2018)1

Approximately 88,350 households in Nebraska were food-insecure in 2018, a decrease from 102,462 in 2017. This means that someone in the household has disrupted their eating patterns or reduced their intake of food because there was not enough food in the house to eat.

17.4% of Nebraska children experienced food insecurity (2017).2

63.0% of food insecure children are likely eligible for federal nutrition assistance (2017).2

1. National and State Program Data, Food Research & Action Center, USDA, Household Food Security in the United States in 2018.
2. Feeding America, Map the Meal Gap 2017.

SNAP & WIC

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in the United States. It provides nutrition assistance to low-income individuals and families through benefits that can be used to purchase food at grocery stores, farmers markets, and other places where groceries are sold.

In Nebraska in 2016, SNAP moved about 8,600 households above the poverty line.

Characteristics of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2016, USDA, Food Nutrition Services, The Office of  Policy Support, Tables B.12, B.13

Average number of children enrolled in SNAP (June 2009-2018)

Source: Financial Services, Operations, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—known as WIC—aims to improve the health of low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children up to age five who are at nutritional risk. The program provides nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals to health care.

Source: Nebraska WIC Program.
$63.49
Average monthly cost per participant in 2018.
Source: Financial Services, Operations, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Custody

Marriage and divorce

In 2016:

11,543 couples were married and
5,698 were divorced.

5,113 children
experienced their parents divorcing.

1,157 children
were put under their mother’s custody.

205 children
were put under their father’s custody.

1,330 children
were put under both parent’s custody.

48 children
were given a different arrangement.

Source: Vital Statistics, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Informal kinship care:

Children are considered to be in informal kinship care if they are not living with a parent or foster parent and are not living independently.

12,000 (2.4%)1
children were living in kinship care (2018)

10,386 (2%)2
were living with a grandparent who was their primary caregiver in 2018.

1. Annie E. Casey Foundation, Kids Count Data Center.
2. U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B10002.

Child support (2018)

Custodial parents who do not receive child support payments they are owed by non-custodial parents may seek assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services. Assistance is provided by Child Support Enforcement (CSE).

  • 105,009 cases received CSE assistance, this is 70.6% of child support cases in Nebraska.
  • 97,745 were non-ADC cases.*
  • 7,264 were ADC cases.*
  • $215,373,387 Amount of child support collected through CSE.
  • 18,615 cases received services through CSE, but payments were not being made.
  • 2,639 cases receiving public benefits who are eligible for and are receiving child support payments.
  • 1,791 cases received public benefits who are eligible for child support, phentermineonlineguide.net being paid.
  • 4,013 child support cases where non-custodial parent is incarcerated.
  • $117.04 mean monthly child support payment per child.
Source: Nebraska Department of Revenue.
* If the custodial parent is receiving ADC, the state is entitled to collect child support from the non-custodial parent as reimbursement.

Employment & Income

In 2018,

77.1%
of children under 18 had all available parents in the workforce.

In 2018,

73.4%
of children under 6 had all available parents in the workforce.

Source: U.S. Census, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B23008. 

Nebraska unemployment and underemployment rate (2009-2018)

  • Unemployment
  • Underemployment
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States, Annual Averages, U-3, U-6.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2016 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B19126.

9,000 workers in Nebraska earned minimum wage or below in 2018.1

19.4% of Nebraska workers were working in a low-wage job, meaning the median annual pay is below the poverty line for a family of four.2

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Characteristics of Minimum wage workers, 2018.
2. Assets and Opportunity Nebraska State Data, 2018.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates, Table B19113B-I.

17.8%
of Nebraskans experience asset poverty.2

Asset poverty: A household is considered to be in asset poverty if they do not have sufficient net worth at the Federal Poverty Line to subsist without income for three months.

Transportation & Taxes

Family tax credits (2018)

124,107 families claimed $297,048,169 in federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

123,972 families claimed $29,182,788 in state Earned Income Tax Credit.

231,343 families claimed $564,526,389 in federal Child Tax Credit.

53,399 families claimed $29,523,273 in federal Child and Dependent Care Credit.

54,666 families claimed $10,473,547 in state Child and Dependent Care Credit.

108,250 families claimed $206,099,833 in Additional Child Tax Credit.

Source: Nebraska Department of Revenue.

Source: ITEP, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems, Nebraska, 2018.

38,819 (5.1%) households had no vehicle available in 2018.

35,591 (3.6%) workers used transportation other than a personal automobile or carpool to get to work in 2018.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau 2018 American Community Survey 1-year estimates Tables B08201, C08141.