Minorities and Seniors Hit Hardest by Energy Cost Burdens

Posted by ACCCE at 12:04 pm, January 22, 2013

A new study that we released today shows that America’s working class and those on fixed and lower incomes are suffering from increases in energy costs the most. The study finds that more than half of U.S. households will spend an average 20 percent of their family budget on energy, nearly double what they spent 13 years ago.

ACCCE president and CEO Mike Duncan had this to say about the release of today’s study, “While  American  families  fight  to  secure  their  economic  footing, new EPA regulations  are  adding to their burden with higher electricity and  energy costs.  A typical American family is spending almost twice as much for energy today. For many families, high energy costs are now competing with other basic necessities such as food and health care.”

The  annual assessment, “Energy Cost Impacts on American Families,” uses data from the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze energy cost increases since 2001  for U.S. households.  Energy costs include transportation, home heating  and cooling, and electricity.

Some of the findings include:

Energy costs are growing and eating up a disproportionate  share  of low and  fixed-­income families’ budgets.  Nearly one-­third of U.S. households had annual incomes less than $30,000 in 2011.  Energy costs in 2013 are projected to consume an average of 27% of their family budgets.

Minority families are burdened by higher energy costs. Due to income disparities, disproportionate numbers of Black and Hispanic families are more vulnerable to energy price increases than other families.

Lower- and fixed-income senior households are among those most vulnerable to energy price increases. In 2011, the median pre-tax income of senior households was approximately $33,000.  Fixed-income seniors are a growing segment of the U.S. population and are among the most vulnerable to energy cost increases due to their relatively low household incomes and their dependency on fixed incomes.


One Response to “Minorities and Seniors Hit Hardest by Energy Cost Burdens”

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