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Low Income Families

From Poverty to Prosperity: A National Strategy to Cut Poverty in Half
Center for American Progress Task Force on Poverty, Apr 07. 37 million Americans live in poverty, and the US has one of the highest poverty rates -- and the highest rate of child poverty -- among economically advanced nations. The proposal outlines a policy agenda to reduce U.S. poverty by 50 percent in the next decade. While the report does not specifically call for better support for maternal employment, it does recommend indexing the minimum wage to half the average hourly wage, increasing the Child Tax Credit, assuring child care assistance for low-income workers, greater public investment in early childhood education, improving access to affordable housing, and strengthening laws giving low-income workers the right to organize. Executive Summary, 8 pages in .pdf;
Full report, 40 pages in .pdf

Understanding Low-Wage Work in the United States
Heather Boushey, Shawn Fremstad, Rachel Gragg, and Margy Waller, The Mobility Agenda, Mar 07. Over 40 million jobs in the United States -- about 1 in 3 -- pay low wages and usually do not offer employment benefits like health insurance, retirement savings accounts, paid sick days or family leave. Moreover, these jobs tend to have inflexible or unpredictable scheduling requirements and provide little opportunity for career advancement. Full report,  24 pages in .pdf

Opportunity at Work: Improving Job Quality
Elizabeth Lower-Basch, CLASP, Sept 07. Rather than focusing exclusively on low-wage jobs, this policy report identifies a range of factors related to employment quality, including benefits, job security, opportunities for advancement, work schedule, paid family and sick leave, health and safety conditions, workplace fairness, and workers having a say in their day-to-day working conditions. Executive Summary, 2 pages in .pdf; Full Policy Paper, 24 pages in .pdf

Opportunity in America
Future of Children, Volume 16, Number 2, Fall 06. The report examines economic opportunity, income mobility and the intergenerational transfer of wealth and poverty in the United States. Although the new report deals only glancingly with the influence of labor market factors and redistributive social polices on high rates of social exclusion and income inequality in the U.S., the volume includes a selection of studies that assess cultural, health and educational characteristics of families which are thought to contribute to constraints on children's economic opportunities as adults, and offers recommendations on what the government might do to level the playing field for future generations. Index page with links to .pdf of full report and individual articles.

Workplace Flexibility for Lower Wage Workers
Corporate Voice for Working Families, Oct 06. The report summarizes findings of recent research and employer surveys on the characteristics of lower-wage workers and the benefits of implementing workplace flexibility for this rapidly growing sector of the U.S. labor force. Although lower-wage workers are less likely to have discretion over their work schedules and working time than professional and managerial workers, workplace flexibility has an even greater positive impact on job satisfaction, work-life spillover, mental health and employment security for lower-income employees than for higher earners. Full report, 44 pages, in .pdf

Getting Punched: The Job and Family Clock
It's Time for Flexible Work for Workers of All Wages

Jodie Levin-Epstein, Center for Law and Social Policy, Jul 06. The U.S. failure to address the realities of the family clock hurts businesses as well as working families, and that the nation's ability to retain its strength in the global market depends on its success in meeting the needs of the changing workforce. Levin-Epstein also reports that better support for working families may be more cost-effective than the general public tends to believe:
Full report, 32 pages in .pdf

Family Values at Work: It's About Time
9to5, MultiState Consortium, 2007. A report from a coalition of labor groups, public interest organizations, and community action and advocacy leaders calls for government action to assure minimum workplace standards meet the needs of the 21st century workforce. Full report, 44 pages in .pdf

Working Hard, Falling Short:
America’s Working Families and the Pursuit of Economic Security

Tom Waldron, Brandon Roberts, For the the Annie E. Casey Foundation (www.aecf.org). Oct 04. The study found that 25 million children live in low-income families; married parents head the majority (53 percent) of low-income families; 38 percent are headed by single parent women, and single parent men head the remaining 9 percent. 36 pages in PDF

Struggling to Make Ends Meet: Low Wage Work in America
Hart Research Associates/Wirthlin Worldwide. Commissioned by Corporate Voices for Working Families (www.cvworkingfamilies.org). Sept 04. Results of a two-part survey of voters and low-income workers. Of voters surveyed, 68 percent felt the government is doing too little to support low-wage workers and their families (only 5 percent said the government is doing “too much”). 71 percent believe that improving conditions for low-wage workers will also benefit the rest of society. 79 percent of voters, and 85 percent of low-wage workers, feel low-wage working parents should get more help finding and paying for child care. Report, 16 pages in .pdf

Trends in Parents’ Economic Hardship
Sandi Nelson, The Urban Institute (www.urban.org). Mar 04. “In 2002, food hardship affected 51 percent of low-income parents. Housing hardship among single, low-income parents increased from 32 percent in 1997 to 35 percent in 2002.” Issue brief in HTML

Women paid low wages: Who they are and where they work
Marlene Kim, Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Monthly Labor Review, Sept 2000. “…Among all adult women who were paid low wages, 17 percent lived in poverty and 31 percent lived below 150 percent of the poverty level. 5 pages in PDF

Women’s Work Supports, Job Retention, and Job Mobility:
Child Care and Employer-Provided Health Insurance Help Women Stay on Jobs

Sunhwa Lee, PhD, Institute for Women’s Policy Research (www.iwpr.org). Nov 04. This issue brief suggests that greater access to employer-provided health insurance and affordable, reliable child care— especially for mothers with children under age six— would decrease the employment instability of low-income working women. Issue brief in PDF

Poverty and Family Budgets Issue Guide
The Economic Policy Institute (www.epi.org)
Fact sheets, reports, articles. Index in HTML

Getting Serious About Good Jobs
Joan Fitzgerald, The American Prospect, Oct 06. We need to link training, job structuring, and economic development. Full article.

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American Prospect Special Report: Ending Poverty in America
May 2007. Links to individual articles follow. Link to special report index

Making Poverty History
Mark Greenberg. There is no secret about what it takes to end poverty. We just have to get serious about doing it.

The Changing Face of Poverty in America
William E. Spriggs. Why are so many women, children, and racial and cultural minorities still poor?

Inequality, Race, and Remedy
Alan Jenkins. It would be hopeful to believe that race is no longer a factor in poverty and that we can be a color-blind society. But America still has a legacy to overcome -- and to achieve.

Don't Blame Immigrants For Poverty Wages
Marta Tienda. The remedy is wage protections, worker rights, and better education and training for both immigrants and native-born workers.

False Choices on Poverty
David Callahan. Why we must address both economics and values.

Using Carrots and Sticks
Ron Haskins and Isabel V. Sawhill. Welfare reform rewarded work and discouraged self-defeating behavior. What else needs to be done?

Faith, Charity, and Justice
Ernesto Cortés, Jr. There's a role for faith-based groups in battling poverty, but we need power along with glory.

Is Education the Cure for Poverty?
Jared Bernstein. Partly, but schools are just one factor among many.

Closing College Doors
Kati Haycock. How higher education sacrifices opportunity to privilege.

High-Quality Preschool as Antipoverty
Greg J. Duncan. A child's early years are a fertile time to eliminate the intergenerational cycle of disadvantage.

Wages and the Social Contract
Thomas Kochan. Needed: More worker bargaining power.

What Can Worker Training Do?
Joan Fitzgerald and Andrew Sum. Plenty, but career ladders need to lead to rewarding jobs.

Debt: The New Safety Net
Tamara Draut. Low-income families are saddled with very high-interest debt. They're not spendthrifts -- their earnings are inadequate to fulfill basic needs.

Creating an Opportunity Society
Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro. Asset-building strategies can broaden the American promise of ownership. But they can't succeed on the cheap, or by shifting even more risks to the poor.

Redeeming Public Remedy
Michael Lipsky and Dianne Stewart. It takes effective government to restore opportunity. After decades of government-bashing, we need to win back support for what we do in common.

Compassion and Coalition
Robert Kuttner. The paradox of helping the poor by helping all Americans.

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