A new report suggests nearly one out of five households in Iowa do not have enough income to meet basic expenses. The Iowa Policy Project report titled “The Cost of Living in Iowa” was authored by Lily French.

 “Families in Iowa, despite their work efforts, are not keeping up with the rising essential living costs in our state and in our communities,” French says.

French evaluated households that were headed by an adult under the age of 65. Of those so-called “working families,” French says 23 percent had an annual income below what was necessary to meet basic needs. Households headed by a single-parent were in far worse shape, as 74 percent of families headed by a single parent who is working lacked the income to pay for food, housing, transportation and other basic living expenses.

“The results, frankly, are quite staggereing when you realize that this many Iowans are working day in and day out but unable to meet their basic needs,” French says. “It’s clear that something must be done in order to ensure that Iowans are able to both live and work in our communities.”

The group says their “frugal living” calculation shows federal poverty guidelines are “outdated” and should be raised. The federal poverty guildeines determine which families and individuals are eliglble for government assistance for food, health care and even child care.

AUDIO of French speaking by phone with reporters this morning.