As part of our series on poverty in Riley County, I’m taking on a weeklong poverty challenge. Like the food stamp challenge where people live on average food stamp benefits for a week, I’ll be limited to a grocery allowance of $28.05, the average weekly amount received by a single person in Kansas.
However, living in poverty is more than just living on a budget. Two other factors had to be considered: lack of personal transportation and access to the Internet. About 24 percent of those living in poverty do not own a vehicle, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
About 91 percent of households earning at least $75,000 a year have access to high-speed Internet, according to the Pew Research Center. That number, however, drops to 52 percent among households earning $30,000 or less.
For the duration of the challenge, I will also go without my car and rely on walking and public transportation instead. I will not be able to use my home Internet service, which means I have to make use of the university’s Wi-Fi while on campus to access the web.
Throughout the week, I will maintain a video journal and write about the experience for our focus on poverty series running April 4-8. While no simulation can accurately portray the reality of poverty in Riley County, I hope to gain insight into some of the challenges faced by those live with it every day.