New data shows that Bexar County residents working in some of the most common jobs are experiencing financial hardship at disproportionate rates compared to other jobs.
In 2021, of the 20 most common occupations in Texas, 65% of those paid less than $20 per hour. When broken down by job, the numbers are even more eye-opening. In Texas, these occupations earn less than the cost of living:
- 60% of all cooks
- 59% of all personal care aides
- 52% of all cashiers
- 52% of all waiters/waitresses
- 49% of all fast food or counter workers
- 43% of all stockers and order fillers
- 35% of all retail salespersons
- 34% of all customer service representatives
In addition to these jobs, the average wage for child care educators in the San Antonio – New Braunfels area is $11.35, with 75% of all local child care workers earning $13.75 per hour or less. This means that without additional income from others in their household or working second jobs, the vast majority of child care workers are experiencing financial hardship as well.
According to research, the lowest annual salary a single worker needs to get by in Texas is $50,497. This would be roughly equivalent to $24.28 per hour with 52 work weeks at 40 hours per week.
“We share this data with employers and legislators to inform policy and promote positive change, while ensuring safety and stability for those unable to meet their essential needs for survival,” said Stephanie Smith, Director of Strong Individuals and Families Impact Area for United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County. “We cannot hold these households responsible for the ecosystem that they cannot change.”
A large portion of the households experiencing financial hardship in San Antonio belong to a subset of workers called ALICE, which stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. People experiencing ALICE have two or three jobs yet still do not earn wages that exceed the basics in San Antonio, including housing, child care, food, transportation, health care and more. Compounding this issue is the fact that many ALICE households do not qualify for most public benefits programs and are unable to afford basic necessities.
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County advocates for policies that improve the financial standing of individuals and families.
Anyone experiencing financial hardship in Bexar County is encouraged to call United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline to discover resources that can provide relief or support, like services that can help people increase their earning potential or continue their education. 2-1-1 is free, open 24/7/365, anonymous and available in Spanish.