The big news: One invisible group elected officials do not talk about is middle-income families. Many have been forced to relocate away from expensive communities in search of more affordable housing, thereby lengthening their commutes to work. If you sprinkle in rising inflation, inflated gasoline prices, increasing healthcare costs, and political neglect, you have a recipe for the financial collapse of middle-income families.
The Data: A recent Legacy Health Endowment survey of middle-income Merced and Stanislaus County residents found that nearly all (96%) are concerned about inflation and the rising cost of living (the intensity of concern is unprecedented, with some 70% saying they are very concerned), and more than 80% of people are stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed by inflation and the rising cost of living. A like number admit they have had difficulty paying even their basic household expenses.
Inflation and the soaring cost of living in Central California are emblematic of other rural communities across America.
The survey shows the growing impact of inflation and spiraling prices for everyday necessities such as food, shelter, gas, and prescription medicine on families, many of whom routinely are forced to choose between paying rent, putting food on the table or being able to afford medications.