Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Working Poor in America: Still Falling Behind

The Working Poor Families Project releases a new report on the state of the working poor in America.

It includes an update on their state by state ranking of low income families. This year, New Hampshire fared the best with only 15% of the state's families being working poor. Maryland and Connecticut tied for second.

On the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico was last with 41%. Mississippi was next to last.

You can download and view the entire report here.

Here is more from the project, as stated in their press release.

“Still Working Hard, Still Falling Short,” a follow-up to the 2004 report “Working Hard, Falling Short,” found that an additional 350,000 working families were low-income in 2006 compared to 2002. The report also found increasing income inequality, with a widening gap between the share of income the highest-earning families receive and that earned by the least affluent. This increase in income disparity and in the number of low-income working families came during a period of economic expansion, suggesting that those numbers will continue to grow during this economic downturn.

“Understandably, all eyes today are focused on the financial and economic crisis affecting America’s working families,” said Brandon Roberts, report author. “But the stark reality is that America’s working families have been in economic crisis long before this year.”

“Low-income working families pay a higher percentage of their income for housing than other working families and are far less likely to have health insurance,” according to the report. “At the same time, low-income working families work hard. Adults in low-income working families worked an average of 2,552 hours per year in 2006, the equivalent of almost one and a quarter full-time workers per family.”

Inadequate education plays a major role in preventing low-income workers from climbing the economic ladder, the report found. While almost half of all job openings require more than a high school education, 88 million adult workers are not prepared for these positions. According to the report, federal and state resources for adult education or skills development programs meet only about one-tenth of the need.
Additional report findings include:

* In 13 states, 33 percent or more of working families are low-income, while in Mississippi and New Mexico, more than 40 percent of working families are low-income.

* In 2006, California and Texas had more that a million low-income working families, while Florida and New York each had more than half a million.

* In 13 states, 50 percent or more of minority working families are low-income.

* Nationally, more than one in five jobs – 22 percent – pays wages that fall below the federal poverty threshold. In eight states, more than a third of all jobs are in poverty-wage occupations.

1 comment:

Jamel said...

This kindof contradicts the republican mantra that hard work and personal responibility will get you ahead in this counrty.

Forget about getting ahead, these figures prove that there are many people out there working very hard but only to survive.

I am afraid that none this will ever change unless we change the current system of capitalism and its philosophy of greed.