Working poor

One in four working families with children is considered low-income, and one in five jobs cannot keep a family of four above poverty, a new study shows.

Four in 10 African-American working families are low-income, twice the rate for white families, says the study, conducted by the Working Poor Families Project.

The report also finds low-income workers are three times more likely to lack a high school degree than workers who make more, and that state and federal education and training programs do not adequately prepare workers for higher-paying jobs.

There is a disparity in how states approach the problem, the report says, with some actively pursuing policies that benefit low-income working families, while others do not and fall behind as a result.

To improve the plight of the working poor, the report recommends federal and state governments invest more in worker education and training, increase income, benefits and support for low-income workers, regularly assess the status of the working poor, and raise the discussion of the issue to the national level.

The report, “Working Hard, Falling Short,” was funded by the Annie E. Casey, Ford and Rockefeller foundations.

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