Wednesday, January 16, 2013

35 Statistics About The Working Poor In America That Will Blow Your Mind

Michael Snyder, Contributor
Activist Post

In America tonight, tens of millions of men and women will struggle to get to sleep because they are stressed out about not making enough money even though they are working as hard as they possibly can. They are called "the working poor", and their numbers are absolutely exploding.

As a recent Gallup poll showed, Americans are more concerned about the economy than they are about anything else. But why are Americans so stressed out about our economic situation if things are supposedly getting better?

Well, the truth is that unemployment is not actually going down, and the real unemployment numbers are actually much worse than what is officially being reported by the government. But unemployment is only part of the story.  Most American workers are still able to find jobs, but an increasing proportion of them are not able to make ends meet at the end of the month. Our economy continues to bleed good paying middle class jobs, and to a large degree those jobs are being replaced by low income jobs. Approximately one-fourth of all American workers make 10 dollars an hour or less at this point, and we see them all around us every day. They flip our burgers, they cut our hair and they take our money at the supermarket.  In many homes, both parents are working multiple jobs, and yet when a child gets sick or a car breaks down they find that they don't have enough money to pay the bill. Many of these families have gone into tremendous amounts of debt in order to try to stay afloat, but once you get caught in a cycle of debt it can be incredibly difficult to break out of that.

So what is the solution?

Well, the easy answer would be that we need the U.S. economy to start producing more good-paying jobs, but that is easier said than done.  Our big corporations continue to ship huge numbers of good paying manufacturing jobs out of the country, and millions of Americans have been forced to scramble to find whatever work is available.

Today, there are so many very talented American workers that are trapped in low-wage work.  According to the Working Poor Families Project,
about one-fourth of adults in low-income working families were employed in just eight occupations, as cashiers, cooks, health aids, janitors, maids, retail salespersons, waiters and waitresses, or drivers.
A lot of those people could do so much more for society, but they don't have the opportunity.

Sadly, the percentage of low-paying jobs in our economy continues to increase with each passing year, so this is a problem that is only going to get worse.  So don't look down on the working poor.  The good-paying job that you have right now could disappear at any time and you could end up joining their ranks very soon.

The following are 35 statistics about the working poor in America that will blow your mind...

#1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either "poor" or "low income".

#2 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either "poor" or "low income".

#3 Back in 2007, about 28 percent of all working families were considered to be among "the working poor".  Today, that number is up to 32 percent even though our politicians tell us that the economy is supposedly recovering.

#4 Back in 2007, 21 million U.S. children lived in "working poor" homes.  Today, that number is up to 23.5 million.

#5 In Arkansas, Mississippi and New Mexico, more than 40 percent all of working families are considered to be "low income".

#6 Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

#7 Half of all American workers earn $505 or less per week.

#8 At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

#9 Today, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low-wage work than any other major industrialized nation.

#10 Median household income in the United States has fallen for four consecutive years.

#11 Median household income for families with children dropped by a whopping $6,300 between 2001 and 2011.

#12 The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low-wage jobs.

#13 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low-income jobs.

#14 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

#15 There are now 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

#16 Low-income families spend about 8.6 percent of their incomes on gasoline.  Other families spend about 2.1 percent.

#17 In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#18 According to one survey, 77 percent of all Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.

#19 Millions of working poor families in America end up taking on debt in a desperate attempt to stay afloat, but before too long they find themselves in a debt trap that they can never escape.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, the average debt burden for U.S. households that earn $20,000 a year or less "more than doubled to $26,000 between 2001 and 2010".

#20 In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

#21 According to the Economic Policy Institute, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans households on average have 288 times the amount of wealth that the average middle class American family does.

#22 In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 percent combined.

#23 According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.

#24 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#25 Sadly, the bottom 60 percent of all Americans own just 2.3 percent of all the financial wealth in the United States.

#26 The average CEO now makes approximately 350 times as much as the average American worker makes.

#27 Corporate profits as a percentage of GDP are at an all-time high.  Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP are near an all-time low.

#28 Today, 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#29 The number of families in the United States living on 2 dollars a day or less more than doubled between 1996 and 2011.

#30 The number of Americans on food stamps has grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today.

#31 Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#32 More than one out of every four children in the United States is enrolled in the food stamp program.

#33 Incredibly, a higher percentage of children is living in poverty in America today than was the case back in 1975.

#34 If you can believe it, the federal government hands out money to 128 million Americans every single month.

#35 Federal spending on welfare has reached nearly a trillion dollars a year, and it is being projected that it will increase by another 80 percent over the next decade.

This article first appeared here at the Economic Collapse Blog.  Michael Snyder is a writer, speaker and activist who writes and edits his own blogs The American Dream and Economic Collapse Blog. Follow him on Twitter here.


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Anonymous said...

This is the result of decades of bipartisan auctioning off the American people. The GOP was in charge of outsourcing. During the Reagan years they told workers to 'compete'. The Dems were in charge of hating native born America. They 'outsourced' culture transforming national identity into dedicated hostility to us and hospitality to the rest.

The latest example of bipartisan nationicide was the fiscal cliff negotiations. In the end the working poor saw their taxes raised while the lobbying rich got more tax exemptions. The worst of both worlds for any ordinary stiff trying to survive.

Healthcare 'reform' is another disaster that will hit this year. Those in non-group pools are seeing premiums raised double digits according to the NYT, or triple digits per the WSJ. Anyway you call it, the approximately 50 million working poor without insurance are not going to be helped, as even the government expects 30 million to remain uninsured. Why, when subsidies are to be made available will so many remain uninsured? Probably because if you don't make enough money you'll be directed to Medicaid, and Medicaid won't help anyone who has anything. So native born Americans will pay the fine, be penalized and be called deadbeats while being the most discriminated against group ever.

Anonymous said...

Anon, like your comment with one caveat -- at the rate at which the hospitals and staff are "accidentally" killing us, or over medicating us, the uninsured Americans may be better off by resorting to traditional home remedies in most cases. I think the fine is small, and is even waived based on income. At worst, the fine is a small portion of what they would pay for an insurance policy that denies any and all claims as a standard (more often the case now than ever). In the end, we eventually die, and the debt we are then unable to repay disappears ... which is logical since its just fiat currency :)

Dave Mowers said...

All done to support a class hierarchy for an aristocratic control of the descendants of those great men, the founding fathers, who wanted equality of life for all not a nation run just for the rich. The traitors who wrecked the economy and got bailed out by the taxpayer; the working poor. If our military killed that 8,274 richest Americans 40% of all stocks and 35% of all property would be owned by the Treasury effectively eliminating the entire national debt.

Barbara Lee's Art said... and for a solution.

Technology will continue to take jobs and they are not coming back ever.

Time for a new economic system and social system.

Hide Behind said...

We are seeing a deliberate make over of just not the economy but a social ordering to fit that economy.
All nations have a finite capacity of resources with which to keep its social ordering stable and all societys have the greater part of their populace,some 60 %, have to be deliberately held at if not poverty life sustaining ability so that the most productive and innovative portion can find and manage whatever resources are available to avoid a complete destruction of its civilized base.As the author pointed out a very small percentage holds all but sround 2% of all wealth and wealth making ability, and if one goes from there they actually can pay for all of the nations needs.
At present it is the nations political and financial needsnot the populaces expectations that are what is important.
HOW do you rebuild the lower 60 % of social ordering inro accepting life long employment at only one occupation that gives them security from want and needand no chance to break from that mold.
You cannot have an open job market in a controled economy you plan from grade school entrance to whatever levels your top 40% NEEDED WORK FORCE REQUIRES.
Cutthe lies of a middle class as being somehow plundered by the top 10-15% wealthy for they already are the ones who are paid far more than they contribute to national wealth already.
THEY ARE THE administrators of the real economy not the owners although they gain partial ownership because they are the onlygrouping that has an expendable income on the luxury goofs with the highest prpfit margins.
All the electronic enhancements are or would be a wasye for the lower 60% who do not need more brain power for menial labor but only in a few menial capacitys such as military or brute muscle power..
That is world we are building.

LadyRavenhaire said...

I'm familiar with these figures & all seem correct. However, I have a question where does the trillion dollar welfare costs come from? Are you just counting the incredibly small number of people on welfare that are generally working for their welfare check at below minimum wage? or those collecting foodstamps, Medicaid, unemployment, etc?

Anonymous said...

While blaming Republicans seems to be the order of the day, remember that of the last 50 or more years, Democrats controlled Congress. The majority of decisions were not from Republicans, but from Rino's & Democrats. In the end, all politicians today are in it for their own self agrandizement & profit. How many members of Congress entered as average citizens w/ average wealth & after a few terms became sudden millionaires? Most of them is the answer.

Anonymous said...

The U.S. is in a double dip, double digit inflationary recession that is progressing into a full blown depression.

Alaska and Hawaii has been effected by inflation or currency devaluation the most because of higher oil prices which translates into higher shipping rates that is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher prices at the retail level.

In a recent trip to the lower 48, I passed through Reno, Nevada and compared food prices in the super market and groceries were half as much. The rule of thumb in Alaska in the past were 1/3 higher. If something cost $2.00 dollars outside it was $3.00 here. Now if something cost $2.00 outside, it is $4.00 here.

I have noticed that everytime I go to home depot or lowe's to buy building materials prices are going up every 3 months. Most people don't notice that the prices are going up at a faster rate because they have their heads stuck in the sand like an osterage.

Any economic system that is based on fiat currency progresses into hyper-inflation and destroys the purchasing power of the nation's medium of exchange.

Without major reforms to the entire political, economic, international trade and balance of payments, banking and the monetary system the U.S. is headed for a monetary and economic collapse. A monetary callapse is where the financial base of the economic system falls apart. An economic callapse is where the very foundations of production and employment come to a grinding hault.

Under the agenda of the Elite Globalist Banking CABAL of the NWO all that will be left is kings and debt surf slaves.

Anonymous said...


Fact check please 1 trillion per year for "welfare" This must include social security which is not welfare it is taxpayer funded retirement. Even with that I think you are way off. According to to GAO 52% of ALL Federal spending in 2012 was related to defense/homeland security. Better recheck your numbers.

Anonymous said...

click on the link for more details on the $1T welfare. Spoiler alert: it doesn't include Social Insecurity.

Anonymous said...

Republicans always supported the war on working Americans, and always defended their precious corporate donors. ALWAYS.

Dirty Democrats often betrayed their base, talking nice about workers rights, but voting with Republicans to screw the regular hard working American everyman.

Republicans stab you in the heart, Democrats stab you in the back.

The trillion dollar welfare breakdown (from that link) is $927 billion.
It includes $459 billion for Medical care, but lets be honest and call that CORPORATE WELFARE going to big pharma and corporate medicine.
It includes Food Aid for $109 billion, and again lets call that CORPORATE WELFARE as most of that goes to big corporate food giants.
It includes 'other' for over $100 billion, much of which goes to banks to administer smart cards and other CORPORATE WELFARE scam to get government money meant to go to people.

That link says $182 billion for cash welfare payments, which would be the real figure for people getting money from the government.

Nothing like the insanely right wing Heritage Institute fudging numbers to blame poor people while they AVOID any mention of corporate welfare bums. One might think AP would break it down rather than using this dodgy sensationalist headline........

Hide Behind said...

Hard to dig out true US funding and remember spending. Numbers or even employees hired on black projects are not available.
TRY getting the last 4 years of cost for just the military retirees and disabled figures, 12 years ago the cost was over120 billiON.
military expenditures are spread out through multiple programs.
Nasa spent hundreds of million
s more on launching military satelites and other projects while most non molitary were private or foreign paid.
DOD and DOE spend nillions on military.
State Departmrnt. Has a military wing of special operating groups that are on seperate ledgers from regular military.
Tjere are no low income jobs even for lowest menial labor anywhere in military scientific industrial structures.
We have men in military geyting $14,400. Tax free additionsl wages who live in high cost of living areas. And in parts of washingtob state that puts their income higher than 60 % of populace as a whole.
And the populace pays all tax on that including Soc. Sec that is paid extra by gov for those in military.
Talk of poverty on the fn street not from viewpoint of mid/mid to upper midclass perspectives.
Whole world different looking up than pretending to be concerned about poor while looking down.

Hide Behind said...

One of easiest entry level and many mid management levels for employment far higher than most entry level college degreed positions is with Department of Homeland Security and they are hiring bigtime in aabout 50 different vocations.
This is part of the new security state economic makeover.
One where ifyou are luckyright now to get inside of and later your child be chosen to be trained to enter then you and they wil be more than just economicly secure.

Anonymous said...

"Sadly, the percentage of low-paying jobs in our economy continues to increase with each passing year, so this is a problem that is only going to get worse." Skuttle-butt around here is, the main employers will early buy out those full timers close to retirement, then replace them with part time jobs so they don't have to pay insurance or a fine. Thanks to ObamaCare for destroying descent jobs. When these low-paying jobs aren't enough for a family to live, they will go to the public aid system for supplement, but...this is the Obama plan. Render the people penniless so they have to rely on the gov't to survive. Makes it easier to heard these desperate people into the FEMA camps, "for your own good". Now...WHO is manufacturing an economic crisis?????

Anonymous said...

I think it is all about the rent going up every year, property taxes,greedy land lords. I am disabled, paying for a room 600 plus.I want to live by myself,have my privacy, my own furniture and things I love to surround me, not with strangers because I can't afford the high rents. If no one had to pay to live on this planet(rent,mortages) I would have enough to live on comfortably.We have priced up out of this planet To the Moon Alice. WE can't afford to live here anymore. It has to collapse, or we will continue to drown like rats.

Tracy Sunn-Stott said...

I appreciate your shedding light on the dire conditions facing all of America today -- especially those the working class and poor, who usually get short shrift when pundits rage about the financial state of the nation and the unfair burdens placed on the middle class.
Yet, virulent, stealth austerity measures continue to extract blood from a stone, and we are all suffering as we are being led to the precipice.

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