Low-Income Working Families: Growing Poverty and Growing Economic Gap

Nearly one third of all working families—32 percent—may not have enough money to meet basic needs

Working Poor Project
January 2013

While the U.S. economy has shown some signs of recovery—the U.S. unemployment rate has dipped below 8 percent from 10 percent three years ago—the economic outlook for many working families is bleak. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of low-income working families in the United States increased to 10.4 million in 2011, up from 10.2 million a year earlier.

This means that nearly one third of all working families—32 percent—may not have enough money to meet basic needs. At the same time, inequality among working families is increasing, as higher-income families receive a larger share of income relative to families at the bottom of the income distribution.

Working Poor 2005-2011

Key Findings 

 The number of low-income working families in the United States increased to 10.4 million in 2011, up from 10.2 million in 2010.

 The total number of people in low-income working families now stands at 47.5 million.

 In 2011, there were 23.5 million children in low-income working families.

 There are 10 states, spread across the U.S., where the share of low-income working families increased by 5 percentage points or more between 2007 and 2011.

 The richest 20 percent of working families took home nearly half (48 percent) of all income, while those in the bottom 20 percent received less than 5 percent of the economic pie.

Working Poor state by state map 2007-2011

Read the Brief (PDF)

Share This

1 comment

  1. Pingback: Access to Health Care, Basic Necessities a Matter of Life or Debt » Clearing the FOG Radio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *