By Andy Dunaway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Urban Institute based in Washington, D.C. recently issued a report that acknowledges the booming U.S. economy while pointing out that nearly 40% of Americans faced difficulty meeting at least one basic need for food, health care, housing or utilities in 2017. The study points out that the struggles extend beyond the poverty line and into the middle class.

The three most common hardships families reported in the study were:

1. Food insecurity: Defined by factors including cutting or skipping meals due to affordability, eating less because there was not enough money for food and not being able to afford balanced and healthy meals.

2. Forgoing medical care because of high cost: Unmet medical care includes: general doctor care, specialist care, prescriptions, skipping follow-up care, and not being able to afford dental care, mental health care and substance use treatment or counseling.

3. Problems paying for family medical bills: When families can't afford medical bills, they might charge them on credit cards and fall behind on their payments. Having a chronic condition increases the likelihood of this hardship.

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