How Much it Costs to be Poor

4299779303_fd83aa7fac_zBeing poor may actually be more expensive than you think.

Low-income Americans are spending far more than they earn, forcing many to dip into savings, lean on family or go into debt.

Those in the bottom 30% of the income scale make an average of $14,000 a year, including the value of many government benefits like food stamps or disability payments. But they spend more than $25,000, or 182%, of their annual income mostly on basic needs like housing, food and transportation, according to a CNNMoney analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

“People are either making impossible choices or turning to high-cost credit or going into debt to meet basic needs,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the left leaning Center for American Progress.

Find out more about the cost of being poor at CNN Money.

Photo courtesy of: Ed Yourdon