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Working Poor Families Project Releases New Data

The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) has recently provided updated data on the conditions of working families in the U.S. a whole, the fifty states, District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

These data are the quantitative data generated for WPFP by the Population Reference Bureau from American Community Survey (ACS) 2009 and the Current Population Survey (CPS) 2010.

The data give a comprehensive picture of the economic and demographic realities of Pennsylvania’s working poor families. Working poor families often earn too much to qualify for significant government benefits, but often they do not earn enough to make ends meet. The data below are a snapshot of the challenges faced by Pennsylvania’s working poor families and highlight the areas where these families are particularly vulnerable.

The following data are for Pennsylvania:

• 69.5% of families who earn less than 200% of the federal poverty line (FPL) are working families (334,650 families <200% that are working/ 481,730 total families <200%)

• 25.7% of working families earn less than 200% FPL (334,650 families <200%/1,303,240 total working families), with 7% of working families earning less than 100% of FPL (94,455 working families <100% FPL/ 1,303,240 total working families)

• 30% of children in Pennsylvania have families who earn less than 200% FPL (728,060 children/ 2,420,390 total children in PA)

• 56% of working families who earn less than 200% FPL spend more than 33% of their household income on housing.

• 26% of families who earn less than 200% FPL have at least one parent without health insurance (*this data was collected before the cancellation of adultBasic in March, 2011, which greatly affected workers who earned too much to qualify for Medicaid but did not have employer-based health insurance, in other words, the people most likely to make up this data point)

• Pennsylvania ranks 49th out of all states for the percentage of adults with only a High School diploma or equivalent, with 35% of people ages 18-64 not receiving any post-secondary education

• However, Pennsylvania ranks in the top ten nationally for percentage of people ages18-24 who are enrolled in post-secondary education institutions (undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools) at 45% enrollment

• 26% of workers ages 18 and over in Pennsylvania work in low-wage jobs, with Pennsylvania’s state adjusted low-wage at $11.05 per hour (national low-wage adjusted for state cost of living)

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