Adults in Poverty
In 2020, getting just above the poverty line is like being neck deep in the ocean. Even at low tide, one rogue wave could equal disaster. And a minimum wage is not a life jacket. Thirty percent of adults are working to support themselves and their families and despite their best efforts, are falling behind.
We need to move the conversation and the population from minimum wage to living wage. That's why we're committed to clearing and creating pathways to a living wage.
The Working Poor
The “working poor” are people who spend 27 weeks or more in a year in the labor force either working or looking for work but whose incomes fall below the poverty level. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 9.5 million of people who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force were poor. That year, the working poor comprised 6.3 percent of all individuals in the labor force.
The majority of the people who live below the poverty level do not work, but this includes children, the elderly and the disabled poor. Among the poor between ages 18 and 64 who are not disabled or in school in 2014, 51.8 percent worked for part of the previous year. However, only 25.2 percent of these “able-bodied” poor worked more than 50 weeks.
In 2014, the working poor as a fraction of all people in the labor force for 27 weeks or more were:
- 11.7% Black, 11.7% Hispanic/Latino, 5.5% White, 4.3% Asian
- 7.2% women, 5.5% men
- 18.3% with less than a high school diploma
- 8.3% high school graduates with no college education
- 2% with a bachelor’s degree or higher