How Much Is Enough?

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Workers wages and salaries grew 2.4 percent over the past 12 months. That's down from 2.6-percent growth half a year ago. Which not only means there has not been a lot of growth, but that what we have had is slowing.

On top of that, total compensation, which includes things like salaries plus health benefits and bonuses, has not been growing at a comparable rate.

As the wage growth slows, other costs of living like housing, food and transportation continues to rise at a much higher rate--putting more pressure on peoples’ pockets.

Wilson Sayre

According to the federal government, "enough" is a simple, five-figure amount: $23,850. That's the poverty line. It marks a distinction between who is poor and who is not, who doesn’t have enough money to make ends meet and who does.

But over the past month, I've asked you to tell me what you think it really takes to live in South Florida. Your answers averaged about $47,600 a year -- almost exactly twice the federal poverty level.

Library of Congress

The U.S. House of Representative voted Wednesday to approve a new farm bill after a two-year standoff. It cuts $8 billion over the next decade from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, but the brunt of those cuts won’t be felt in South Florida.

The food stamp program accounts for almost 80 percent of the current farm bill. With pressure to reduce spending, it was inevitable that the program would be scaled back.

Wilson Sayre

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one in seven South Floridians can't afford the food they need to stay healthy.

Wilson Sayre

On the surface, taking public transportation in South Florida is unquestionably cheaper than driving.

But there are hidden costs associated with a commute, stemming from the amount of time behind a wheel or sitting on a bus, and the value of your time in both financial and immaterial terms.

I wanted to find out: At what point is it more valuable to drive than to take public transportation?

Wilson Sayre

Foreign investors have been gobbling up properties all over South Florida, often paying with cash. And banks are less willing to take a risk with families who need financing in lieu of cash.

This affects the percentage of income South Floridians spend on housing, because when it's harder to purchase a house, more people rent. And when more people are renting, rent prices go up.

For six years now, home-seeker Lionel Lightbourne has been looking for a home with his wife and the seven kids they have between them, aged 15 to 28.

Creative Commons via Flickr

This Jan. 8 marks the 50th anniversary of former President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty, which left a checkered legacy after 1960s policies to combat growing poverty. We thought this marked an appropriate time to take stock of how local communities are doing.

Credit Creative Commons via Flickr user Low Jianwei

Siguiendo la discusión nacional de salarios mínimos y la ayuda que el gobierno provee al respecto, el equipo de WLRN-Miami Herald News quiere saber cuánto le cuesta vivir en el sur de la Florida.

Nadie está libre de pagar por gastos básicos como la comida, ropa, renta y costos de utilidades. Algunos no tienen problema cubriendo esos gastos, mientras que otros luchan para llegar al fin de mes.

Queremos saber qué piensan al respecto para nuestro proyecto llamado "¿Cuánto Dinero Necesita?".

Creative Commons via Flickr user Low Jianwei

Following national discussion about minimum wages, livable wages, and government assistance, WLRN-Miami Herald News wants to explore just what it takes to live in South Florida.

No one is exempt from paying for things: food, clothing, rent, bills -- the list goes on. Some of us can easily afford life's expenses, while others struggle to make ends meet.

We want to explore your views on these topics through a series called "How Much Is Enough?"