There is no denying that Americans are faced with one of the most financially difficult times in recent memory. The economy continues to recover from a debt, credit and housing crisis and an unemployment rate that's hovering at 8 percent – though, in actuality it's higher, given that part-time employment and those who haven't registered for unemployment yet aren't included in that figure. However, according to a recent study by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, Hispanics may currently be the hardest hit due to the rise in energy expenses. According to the ACCCE, 62 perent of Hispanic households make less than $50,000 per year, and the rising energy costs are hampering those families more than the average American family. During 2001, energy expenses accounted for 12 percent of the yearly income of low-income families, which is currently considered a family that earns less than $50,000 per year. Today, those Hispanic households earning less than $50,000 per year will sacrifice 21 percent of their income to energy costs. "Hispanics are spending more of their family budget on energy costs, while at the same time the community is facing high unemployment and greater poverty levels," said Evan Tracey, senior vice president of the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. "For millions of Americans living on low and fixed incomes, surging energy prices mean less money for other necessities such as food, housing and health care. EPA continues to drive up energy prices, which are hurting Hispanics and all American families." Families across the United States depend on short term financing solutions to help them make necessary payments. If energy, gas, phone, cable and internet prices continue to rise as rapidly as they have in recent years, families won't be able to maintain a healthy way of life without short term solutions - unless of course, wages increase at a relatively similar rate. However, with the unemployment rate only slowly declining, that may not happen anytime soon. According to the ACCCE's study, the amount of people in poverty during 2010 was 15.1 percent, the most in more than 50 years. More than a quarter of those in poverty are Hispanic.