Number of U.S. “Working Poor” Is on the Increase

Thursday, January 17, 2013
A man and his daughter get food assistance from Warren Family Mission in Ohio. (photo: Amy Sancetta, AP)


America’s working poor are continuing to grow in numbers, with tens of millions struggling to get by on low-wage jobs.


In 2011, the number of low-income working families increased to 10.4 million, up from 10.2 million a year earlier, according to the Working Poor Families Project. The nonprofit also estimated that 32% of all working families may not have enough money to meet basic needs.


In terms of total numbers, there are 47.5 million people living in working poor families. This number could reach 50 million within a few years, Brandon Roberts at the Working Poor Families Project wrote.


“More than a third of children living in families with a working adult (23.5 million) are being raised in low-income circumstances,” Roberts said.


He added: “These low-income families are disproportionately headed by minorities, with some of the largest increases in states such as Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois and California.”


The Project’s report is based on its analysis of the most recent U.S. Census American Community Survey.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

We Must Focus on the Working Poor (by Brandon Roberts, Reuters)

Low-Income Working Families: The Growing Economic Gap (by Brandon Roberts, Deborah Povich and Mark Mather, The Working Poor Families Project) (pdf)

Reading, Pennsylvania, Leads Nation’s Cities in Poverty Rate (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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