Working Hard, Falling Short

December 1, 2004

More than one in four American working families -- 9.2 million families raising 20 million children -- earn wages so low that they have difficulty surviving financially, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation's Working Poor Families Project. Economic changes have cut the share of good-paying jobs with benefits available to low-skilled workers and widened the earnings gap between low- and high-wage workers. Some states are offering more need-based college aid or providing basic supports like child care assistance and health coverage. But are not, and some advocates warn that the federal commitment to programs that promote financial self-sufficiency - like the Earned Income Tax Credit - is inadequate.