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Nearly 1 in 3 Working Families in United States are Low-Income

During this Recession we have heard many stories and statistics about workers losing their jobs and being unable to find a new one. According to a new study released by the Working Poor Families Project, the Recession has also meant that workers who have kept or found new jobs are also struggling to make ends meet.

Below are some of the key findings from the study:
  • There were more than 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year. According to the Working Poor Families Project, a “low-income” family is one earning below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, or $43, 512 for a family of four.
  • Forty-five million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.
  • The share of working families earning less than double the official poverty threshold increased from 28 to 30 percent between 2007 and 2009.
  • Between 2007 and 2009, the share of working women with unemployed husbands more than doubled, to 5.4 percent.
  • The downturn has also been particularly difficult for workers with the least education. Unemployment for high school dropouts peaked at 15 percent during the downturn, compared with 4 percent among workers with at least a bachelor's degree.
Community colleges can be integral partners in the development of the skills workers need to move from low-income jobs to those that sustain their families, as shown in PathWays PA’s recent study, Pennsylvania’s Workforce: The Role of Community Colleges. At a time when access to good jobs and wages is more important than ever actions needs to be taken to ensure more students can afford and access community college education and the increased earnings potential it provides.


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