From Food to Health Care, the Poor Pay More

The economics of poverty mean the poorest pay higher prices for everyday essentials
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2009 7:54 AM CDT
From Food to Health Care, the Poor Pay More
Working poor often don't have adequate transportation, so they shop for groceries at corner stores that charge higher prices and often sell less-healthy foods.   (AP Photo/Lisa Poole, file)

The economics of poverty are complicated, the Washington Post reports, but it boils down to this: “The poorer you are, the more things cost.” The poor spend more in time, money, hassle, and exhaustion than do the middle class or wealthy on everything from a loaf of bread to a bank loan. Lacking transportation, the poor often shop for groceries at corner stores where a gallon of milk can cost a dollar more. Hours that could be spent working are whiled away at the laundromat.

Lacking a bank account, many of the nation’s 37 million living below the poverty line depend on fee-heavy check-cashing services and “payday” loans that carry an effective annual percentage rate of more than 800%. With no credit and no down payment, the poor can’t make the important leap from renting to homeownership—unless, of course, they can secure a subprime loan.
(Read more poverty stories.)

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