Working but Poor: How Are Families Faring Revised.Report as inadecuate

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This study used data from a cross sectional sample of families with children in New York City to describe the characteristics and well-being of working poor families and to compare them to nonworking poor and nonpoor families. Data were obtained through 20- to 30-minute telephone surveys conducted in 1997 as part of the New York Social Indicators Survey with a random sample of 2,224 households in New York City and the surrounding Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area. The findings indicated that while working poor families were doing somewhat better than nonworking poor families, they continued to experience substantial levels of material hardship. Working poor families were also much less likely than nonworking poor families to receive food, housing, or health insurance assistance from the government. As welfare reform transforms the "welfare poor" into the "working poor," families may find themselves only marginally better off in terms of financial security and material well-being. Based on findings, it was concluded that policies to raise the floor under earnings and to increase the availability of other assistance could provide critical support for families who go to work but do not earn enough to escape poverty. (Contains 30 references.) (KB)

Descriptors: Comparative Analysis, Employed Parents, Employment, Family Characteristics, Family Financial Resources, Family Income, Family (Sociological Unit), Health Insurance, Housing, Hunger, Poverty, Public Policy, Quality of Life, Social Indicators, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Reform, Well Being, Working Poor

Author: Meyers, Marcia K.; Lee, Judy M.


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