Some people argue that the poor are poor because they lack a work ethic. But hard work doesn’t mean American families can pay the bills. Nearly a third of the country’s 32.6 million working families, or 10.6 million, were low-income in 2013, or had incomes that fell below 200 percent of the poverty line, according to a new report from The Working Poor Families Project.
And race plays a huge role. Working families headed by people of color are twice as likely to wind up in poverty anyway as compared with white families. The report finds that nearly half, or 47 percent, of working families headed by racial or ethnic minorities are poor or low income, compared to just 23 percent of white families. Breaking it down further, 55 percent of working Latino and nearly half of African-American and Native American families who work are low income, but less than a quarter of white families are.
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
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That is, the American Dream is now easier to attain for people who live outside of America than those who live in it. Or, another way to put it is that economic mobility has been stunted in the U.S. As far back as 2004 the progressive think tank The Century Foundation argued that "recent evidence shows that there is much less mobility in the United States than most people assume," and that "rags to rags and riches to riches are now the norm in this country to a greater degree than in many other developed nations."
It goes on to say: "Our current education system, anti-discrimination laws, and other public policy tools that aim to give the children of poor parents a fair shot at a high income are not getting the job done. We may all believe in the American Dream, but we have a lot of work to do if we are to make that dream a reality."
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