Economy still affects access to basic needs: Gallup

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 15, 2011 12:23 PM
Economy still affects access to basic needs: Gallup

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Americans' access to basic needs, ranging from food and shelter to clean water and healthcare, has not significantly improved since the height of the recession, according to a Gallup study released on Friday.

The Basic Access Index, a 13-item measure of Americans' access to basic necessities, was at 82.0 in June, only slightly better than the low point of 81.5 recorded in February and March of 2009.

In June 2008, before the recession, the score was 83.6.

"The continued lack of recovery in the Basic Access Index metrics overall in 2011 shows that Americans are still lagging behind prior years in terms of their access to the basic necessities that foster a healthy, productive life," Dan Witters, a Gallup writer, said on its website.

The index is based on around 29,000 interviews conducted each month from January 2008 until June 2011.

The score's most recent movement is mainly due to large decreases in the percentage of adult Americans who have health insurance coverage, have a personal doctor, visited a dentist in the last year, and have had enough money to buy food at all times in the last year.

There have also been small decreases in the percentage of Americans with enough money to provide adequate shelter.

Access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables have made a significant 2.6 percent gain since June 2008. However, the 91.1 percentage is down from June 2010 when that rate was 92.8.

(Reporting by Wendell Marsh; Editing by Jerry Norton)