Report

The High Price of Being Poor in Kentucky

Dr. Terry I. Brooks and Matt Fellowes

Kentucky’s working families frequently pay a premium for everyday necessities. Lower-income workers in Kentucky are more likely to pay double-digit interest rates for auto loans; more likely to pay hundreds of dollars more for car insurance; and more likely to pay a higher sticker price for their car compared to their higher income counterparts.

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Additionally, lower-income workers are twice as likely to have purchased a high-cost mortgage compared to their higher income neighbors and are more likely to use alternative financial service providers, costing untold extra dollars for basic financial transactions and the purchase of home goods.

However, new innovative and practical initiatives are being implemented and improving the prices of key necessities for lower-income families around the country. Public and private leaders in Kentucky can follow suit and also reduce these higher costs of living, and do so in ways that defy the substantial budgetary, economic, and partisan pressures that limit so many efforts to grow the middle class. Through a combination of initiatives that bring down business costs, curb unscrupulous behavior, and boost consumer knowledge, public and private leaders can bring down these prices, creating up to thousands of dollars in extra family spending power.