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The fastest growing segment of the uninsured population is the working poor or those individuals or families earning 200% or less of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). Studies conducted by The Kaiser Family Foundation indicate that over 60% of the uninsured are non-elderly full-time workers. They typically earn low wages and work in service industries, agricultural enterprises, and small businesses that do not offer health insurance to their employees. Those small businesses that are able to offer insurance coverage often require premium cost sharing, making coverage unaffordable for low income individuals.

The FPL is one measure used to calculate the number of people living in poverty. The Living Wage (or Family Wage) is another measure. The Living Wage is defined as the minimum income that is needed to purchase basic necessities without assistance from public programs. The Living Wage is always higher than the FPL. Even those who have an income above the FPL might still be unable to afford basic necessities for themselves or their families, such as medical insurance and health care. The Federal government places the poverty level for a family of 4 at approximately $21,200. By contrast, the Living Wage needed for a family of 4 in King County (assuming 2 children and 2 adult wage earners) would be $71,374.

According to the 2008 Census, over 50% of the households in south King County earn less than $49,999 per year, and about 30% of the households in south King County earn less than $35,000 per year. Both the Highline and Tukwila school districts (both part of our target area) had over 55% of children receiving Free and Reduced lunch.