Almost Half a Million American Households Lack Indoor Plumbing

Almost Half a Million American Households Lack Indoor Plumbing

( – Other countries often call the average American’s struggles “first world problems.” This misconception stems from the idea that our concerns lack severity, especially in third-world countries, where citizens often lack access to safe and reliable drinking water. Yet, the Plumbing Poverty Project (PPP) says that up to 1.5 million Americans face the same fate every day.

Using information provided by the US Census Bureau, the PPP estimated that about 500,000 Americans lack access to indoor plumbing, including clean running water and flushable toilets.

The number of US citizens with sub-par plumbing in several of America’s largest cities swiftly grew after 2000. Two key Democratic havens, San Francisco and Portland, suffered the most notable losses in access. However, the PPP says this issue exists nationwide rather than belonging to any one state or region.

While cities such as New York and Los Angeles witnessed an upward trend in water security and plumbing access, PPP’s researchers believe this statistical error stems from the omission of a plumbing-related question by the Census Bureau in 2015. Thus, it doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of life in these areas.

Michigan State University’s Associate Professor Stephen Gasteyer, who studies water availability, says plumbing and water security issues have been on the rise for nearly 50 years. Public infrastructure funding cuts first instituted in 1977 made it significantly more difficult for communities to stay on top of maintenance needs.

While the US government’s latest spending bill does make $48.4 billion available for water programs across the country, it’s far from enough to fix the problem for good. Some Americans will continue to struggle without proper plumbing, and thus, access to clean drinking water. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, especially for people living in poverty.

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