Fact Check: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's claim about the struggle of Americans with basic needs


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Congresswoman for NY, tweeted about marginal tax, she claimed the following:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter

It’s wild that some people are more scared of a marginal tax rate than the fact that 40% of Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need, like food or rent. Imagine if we focused positively, away from fear of the former toward solving the latter. https://t.co/91SoKmhGxx

Claim:

“40% of Americans struggle to pay for at least one basic need, like food or rent”

Fact Check: True

Ocasio-Cortez seems to be referring to the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey which found 39.4% of adults reported their family had trouble paying for basic needs such as food, health care, housing, or utilities in 2017 . Almost a quarter of the respondents had two or more hardships in the last year and 14% said they even had trouble providing for three basic needs after surveying nearly 7,600 adults last December.

Other independent sources also support this claim such as the United Way ALICE Project, which asserts that while the Federal Poverty Line relies on national averages, they take national county-level data to determine the earnings necessary to meet the costs of basic living needs in that county. Using this data the ALICE Project found that 43 percent of American households are below the “ALICE Threshold” and not able to pay for basic needs.

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