Recession's Consequence: Rise of the 'Working Poor'
One-third of working families near poverty
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2013 10:37 AM CST

(Newser) – The good news: More people went back to work in the US in 2011. The bad news: Many of them took lower-paying jobs, leading to an increase in the number of working poor families that year, a new analysis shows. In 2011, there were 200,000 more working poor families—those struggling with poverty even though the parents are employed—than in 2010, according to the Working Poor Project's report. All in all, almost one-third of working families struggle near the poverty rate and may not be able to meet basic needs. That's an increase from 28% in 2007 and 31% in 2010.

Parents in these families most likely took service industry jobs—maids, restaurant servers, cashiers, janitors, cooks—that offer fewer hours, lower pay, fewer benefits, and less job security. A co-author of the report said the results were somewhat surprising, considering Census officials said last year that the poverty rate in the US had stabilized, Reuters reports. But what economic improvement we are seeing affects people in the US disproportionately, he explains. The top 20% of Americans got 48% of all income, while the bottom 20% got less than 5%. About 10.4 million US families, or 47.5 million people, now live near the poverty rate.

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Showing 3 of 79 comments
Jan 16, 2013 7:24 PM CST
Anyone surprised by this report isn't paying attention to what's going on, or is deliberately ignoring it.
Jan 16, 2013 5:35 AM CST
This is the result of shipping jobs overseas and busting unions. Republicans are looting the middle class, attempting to shut down all social programs and hand over the country to the corporate elite. It's obvious that they don't want democracy to work.
Jan 15, 2013 2:55 PM CST
The "poverty" level for the United States is an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air by politicians to justify spending more money on certain programs. The "poverty" level is currently just under $24,000 / year for a (hypothetical) family of four. That hypothetical family in the real world has enough money for at least one car, several HD TV's, one or more computers, one or more smart phones, etc. How can that be? Because anyone below the "poverty" line is eligible for numerous government programs such as reduced or free medical care, housing assistance, food assistance, etc. One other thing people below the "poverty" line get is "free" money in the form of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is nothing less than the confiscation of money from other taxpayers to give to the "poor" just for being alive. As a result of these and other "benefits" we have created the uniquely ironic situation where the "poor" are materially better off than people who earn up to tens of thousands of dollars more each year and who have no incentive to try to earn more. Actually, this situation isn't really ironic, especially since unintended consequences are a hallmark of Liberal programs. Here's a homework assignment: Add up the real world dollar amounts that the "poor" receive and then come back and tell us how they are considered "poor".