How do ordinary people live in America?
"American Dream" from Hollywood films, for which people are eager to leave for the States, is a myth? To answer this question, we need to analyze the standard of living in the US on the basis of statistical data.
The standard of living of Americans is high, despite the fact that the US is by no means the first in the list of the most favorable for living countries of the world. People in the United States are more satisfied with life than in the countries of the former USSR. Although many indigenous and visiting Americans say that the difference between 1990 and 2000 is visible to the naked eye.
Out of 312 million Americans (including 41 million migrants), 82% live in cities. Of these, half - in small settlements less than 50 thousand people. Due to advanced medicine and social support for pensioners, the average life expectancy was 79 years. The country is favorable for procreation: the population has grown not only due to inflow from outside, but also by natural means, by 10% over the last decade (for comparison: in Europe it grows old and decreases, in Russia there was an increase of not more than a percent).
To give birth to a child in the States is not scary either from the point of view of health or from the perspective of his future. What awaits a little American in the future?
At the age of 5, young Americans go to school. In the US there are no free kindergartens (only a few programs for the poor: "Early Head Start", "Head Start"), but the state school (full secondary) education can be obtained absolutely free of charge. Some parents choose private schools for children (often controlled by religious organizations, with separate education or in-depth study of subjects), their cost is from $ 3,000 per year. School education involves elementary, middle and senior classes, and usually at the end of the course, children concentrate on individual subjects, preparing for a college or university. There is no division into classes, each chooses for himself those lessons that he will attend.
Further training is paid. The cost of the college starts at $ 7,000 a year, the university - from $ 10,000 to $ 40,000 plus expenses for living, a campus, and internal fees (in Yale, for example, all this amounts to $ 55,000). This amount is comparable to the price of 2 new machines. It is not surprising that parents begin to prepare for the higher education of the child from his infancy, saving money.
For families with low income, grants are offered (not state, but university ones). Honors get a scholarship, the amount of which per year can be up to half the cost of training. Some take an educational loan.
Work and income.
University education or even a graduated college suggest a higher-paying and prestigious job. According to statistics, 68% of Americans work for 25 years, and the unemployment rate in 2015 did not exceed 9%.
The average salary of US residents is $ 57,000, net income after taxes is $ 41,000 per year (3,400 per month). The minimum wage taken at the federal level is $ 7.25 per hour, 14,000 per year clean (after deductions of taxes). So many receive fast food, maids, waiters and other low-skilled personnel.
Many Americans, while still students, earn extra money, receiving such hourly pay. They see this as a springboard to a future career and life. Among the students are also popular paid internships. Thus, many graduates of universities and colleges already have a job and a minimum of experience.
The most prestigious and highly paid professions are related to medicine, engineering, finance, IT and jurisprudence. The income of representatives of these specialties in managerial positions can be from 130 to 300 thousand dollars a year. The most "hot" vacancies are workers in the sphere of production and services, sellers, junior medical personnel. Their salary is lower or comparable to the national average.
US law protects workers. The employee of each company, even a migrant, is included in a single federal online system. The government tracks the payment of wages, benefits, benefits, vacations, etc. Trade unions are also fighting for workers' rights; at large and state-owned enterprises, they are as strong as the management or board of directors.
When paying taxes, people receive various benefits from the state. These include:
pension provision; benefits and benefits for the poor, the disabled and other vulnerable groups; unemployment benefits.
Treatment Americans, as a rule, pay for themselves. The company can provide full insurance for the employee or even members of his family, but the statistics are that 16% of the residents free medical care is not available, and 30% is not available in full.
Despite this, the US is the leader in terms of state spending on healthcare per year. A medical policy for a certain cost can be bought in many insurance companies.
Free medical care is provided to Americans through MedicCare and MedicAid programs. At the first, pensioners older than 65 years old are serviced, people with disabilities; the second - the poor. The drawback of these programs is that:
Not all the cost of treatment they cover, for the rest have to pay on their own; Not all hospitals accept Medicaid policies; to get help, it will take more than a month, a lot of papers and several trips to the Department of Health.
But under the program you can call an ambulance for free or get a place in the House for the elderly.
For the poor, several programs have been developed:
SSI is designed for those who work, but receives little and does not have a large property; WIC, FOOD STAMPS - food program, food stamps for the poor. Buy on them you can almost anything, even to delicacies; FOODPANTRY is implemented by local churches - it's free hot lunches and dinners.
Unemployment benefits are reserved only for those who can and are willing to work, that is, to go to interviews, get settled, etc. In the Labor Centers they help to get a profession, to adapt in a new collective. The amount of benefits depends on the experience of the American.
The federal program "HUD" is designed for those who rent an apartment. By law, housing and utility expenses should not exceed 30% of family income. If spending is more, their cost is paid by the state. Of course, expensive apartments can not be removed: in the US they build special complexes for settling the poor. Conditions there are not very different from ordinary houses: a family of single mother and child relies on a 2-bedroom apartment with all amenities.
All these programs allow many people in the United States to live peacefully, working at a minimum rate and half on ensuring the state.
Expenses: what do Americans spend?
Living in America is not an expensive pleasure. Every year its inhabitants spend money:
on taxes, federal, regional and local; for car insurance, medical insurance, etc .; for housing; for loan servicing; for food, clothes, gym, etc.
A US citizen pays 3 types of taxes at a time. At the state level, a progressive taxation system has been adopted. Thus, the income tax is up to 18%. At the state level, payments are progressive or fixed, ranging from 0 (in Texas, Alaska and 6 states) to 13%. Another tax is deducted to the city (county) treasury.
In addition, a mandatory pension tax (4.2%) and medical insurance (1.4 to 3%) are deducted from wages.
In addition, there is a tax on real estate (up to 2% of the cost of housing in different regions), selling (from each product sold in the state, part of its price goes to the budget, which the American "pays" at the checkout) and car insurance.
All taxes are paid either independently (by April 15 everyone must file a declaration), or through the employer's accounting department.
The cost of housing, utilities should not be more than 30% of income (by law). Everything that is over is paid by the state. However, it will not be possible to "poke" the allowance: the Government allocates special apartments for the poor. On average, in America for each account for 1.6 rooms.
Housing can be removed (from $ 600 to $ 3000 depending on the region, class, etc.) or buy. One-story house in Texas for 6 rooms and 2 bathrooms will cost about 300 thousand dollars. Often the cost of housing is paid on credit. Acquisition of a cottage for 30 years at 3.4% per annum will not be an unbearable burden for the family. Mortgage is available even to immigrants with a green card.
In general, US residents take a lot on credit or have plastic cards with a limit. At the same time with each new purchase, the debt is refinanced: having several open loans, an American actually pays for them with one common monthly check.
Food and clothing people like to buy at selling prices in stores or markets. On average, a family with one child spends $ 600-700 per month on food. The price of healthy natural food, without soy fillers (always sold in a separate store location) will be more expensive.
So is it worth going to America for a better life?
Several financial and mortgage crises, a shortage of jobs, the war in Afghanistan led to the fact that the middle class in America is steadily declining. In 2015, 49% of families had income comparable to the subsistence minimum, 29% belonged to the lower class. This minimum for a family with one child was $ 4.7 thousand per month.
At the same time, the income of wealthy Americans in the past 40 years has grown by 47%, and the poor - only by 28%. In the United States, as elsewhere, rich people become richer, and the poor - poorer. The gap between the two layers of society is colossal: the profits of the representatives of the upper class are eight times greater than the lower.
But in America there is that which is the same for any of its inhabitants. For example, state protection and general security (the work of police, firefighters, rescuers, etc.). Anyone can call a law and order representative about the noise of neighbors and expect that they will help him. Active social and public patrols. Although amidst a general hysteria after September 11, Americans note that they live in a country of "police authoritarianism."
The United States provides opportunities and prospects, but also requires much in return. Representations from Hollywood movies about how America lives, do not correspond to reality. Not every citizen is able to achieve a decent life for himself and his family. Therefore, those wishing to go there in pursuit of easy money and boundless freedom should carefully consider everything and try very hard.
How do ordinary people live in America?