silver and goldA new study finds that it now costs approximately $60,000 a year for a family of four to survive in Philadelphia without government assistance, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.  This actual cost of living is almost three times as much as the federal poverty level:

The $60,000 figure reveals that there are many more people who are having trouble making it, said Carol Goertzel, president and chief executive of PathWays PA, a Delaware County advocacy group for which the standard was prepared.

Advocates say the Pennsylvania study demonstrates that years of stagnating wages and growing income inequality have taken a toll, making it harder for working people to survive.

“Everybody is feeling hard times right now because of the recession,” said Carey Morgan, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger. “We like to blame and judge certain people and say they’re poor” because of inner failings, Morgan said. “But in the past couple of years, we see it can happen to anybody. This study is a wake-up call.”

Unable to stretch their wages to cover basic necessities, families lack adequate income to meet the costs of food, housing, transportation, and health and child care, wrote sociologist Diana Pearce, who prepared the study. These families are “nevertheless not deemed poor by the official federal poverty measure,” she added.