Low Wage Workers

Low Wage Workers

Compiled by Gloria Tower


Topic Page Advisor:

Margaret Lombe, Ph.D.

A Sloan Network Fact Sheet on Low Wage Workers (2010)

The Sloan Work and Family Research Network has prepared Fact Sheets which provide statistical answers to some important questions about work-family and work/life issues.

Click here to download the Sloan Network Fact Sheet on low wage workers: https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/sites/workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/files/imported/pdfs/lowwage.pdf

Job Creation: Creating Work and Learning Opportunities for Low-Income Populations (2009)

CLASP. (2009). Creating work and learning opportunities for low-income populations. Retrieved from: http://www.clasp.org/resources_and_publications/publication?id=0676&list=publications

With country at alarmingly high unemployment rates, lack of skill can be a real issue for low-wage workers. This short brief offers some possible suggestions in order to improve working and employment conditions for low-wage workers.


Measuring Poverty in the United States (2009)

Fass, S. (2009). Measuring poverty in the United States. Retrieved from the National Center for Children in Poverty website: http://www.nccp.org/publications/pdf/text_825.pdf

This fact sheet discusses how the United States government measures poverty, problems with the current measures, and alternative ways to measure economic hardship.

Click on the link above to access the full-text fact sheet.

Roberts, B., & Povich, D. (2008) Still working hard, still falling short. Retrieved from http://www.workingpoorfamilies.org/still_working.html

“This report by the Working Poor Families Project provides new analysis of U.S. Census data and clearly highlights the major challenges facing America. Inside the report you'll find:

  • State-by-state rankings on low-income working families;
  • Myths and facts about low-income working families;
  • A look at specific states and how they’re faring, and
  • A call for stronger policies at the state and federal level.”

HHS Poverty Guidelines (2009)

“Programs using the guidelines (or percentage multiples of the guidelines--" for instance, 125 percent or 185 percent of the guidelines) in determining eligibility include Head Start, the Food Stamp Program, the National School Lunch Program, the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Note that in general, cash public assistance programs (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Security Income) do NOT use the poverty guidelines in determining eligibility.  The Earned Income Tax Credit program also does NOT use the poverty guidelines to determine eligibility.”

United States Department of Health & Human Services. (2009). 2009 HHS poverty guidelines. Retrieved from http://aspe.hhs.gov/POVERTY/09poverty.shtml

Well-Being of Children in Working Poor and Other Families: 1997 and 2004

“[Our] findings suggest that the increase in working poor families’ share of all poor families has not led to deteriorating child outcomes and indeed is more consistent with the reverse-- that increased work effort among low-income families is associated with better child outcomes.”

Growing Disparities in Life Expectancy (2008)

Gould, E. (2008). Growing disparities in life expectancy. Retrieved from http://www.epi.org/content.cfm/webfeatures_snapshots_20080716

This Economic Snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute includes a graph illustrating the growing disparities in life expectancy in the U.S. between the most well-off and the least well-off individuals.

For more information on the Economic Policy Institute: http://www.epi.org


Helping Poor and Working Families Build Financial Assets (2008)

Newman, N. (2008). Helping poor and working families build financial assets. Retrieved from http://www.progressivestates.org/content/880/helping-poor-and-working-families-build-financial-assets

This issue of the Progressive States Network’s Stateside Dispatch discusses how “some states are taking action to encourage the working poor to accumulate the financial assets that can help them escape poverty, and help their children afford college in later years.  These key steps have been removing asset limits from existing benefit programs, creating savings vehicles with real economic incentives that help the working poor, and initiating college savings programs that similarly benefit the poor as well as high-income families.”

For more information on the Progressive States Network: http://www.progressivestates.org/

Policy Briefing Series (PBS), 2007, Issue 12 - Opportunities for Policy Leadership on Supporting Low-Income Working Families

By Melissa Brown, MSW, Sandee Shulkin, MSW, Judi Casey, MSW

The Sloan Work and Family Research Network has created a series of publications called, the Policy Briefing Series.  These publications provide state legislators and their staff with answers to questions about specific work-family issues, such as, “How does afterschool care affect my constituents?” and “What can be done about telework?” This publication is mailed to legislators across the United States.

Download Issue 12 in this series, entitled "Supporting Low-Income Working Families": https://workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/sites/workfamily.sas.upenn.edu/files/imported/pdfs/policy_makers12.pdf.

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