More working families in poverty

The Washington PostJanuary 19, 2013 

Nearly a third of the nation’s working families earn salaries so low that they struggle to pay for their necessities, according to a new report.

The ranks of the so-called working poor have grown even as the nation has created new jobs for 27 consecutive months and is showing other signs of shaking off the worst effects of the recession.

“Although many people are returning to work, they are often taking jobs with lower wages and less job security, compared with the middle-class jobs they held before the downturn,” according to a report released last week by the Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative aimed at fostering state policies to help low-income working families.

With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70 percent of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011. But they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses.

Analyzing 2011 data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the report said that 32 percent of working families earned salaries that put them below double the poverty threshold. For a family of four, double the poverty threshold was $45,622. That percentage has crept up from 28 percent in 2007, the year the recession began.

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