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October 1989, Vol. 112, No. 10
A profile of the working poor
Bruce W. Klein and Philip L. Rones
Policymakers and researchers have been interested for a long time in the link between the labor market problems of workers and the economic status of their families. When workers are either unemployed or limited to part-time work, or when they have to work at very low wages, their personal finances suffer. But the impact on their families varies. In many cases, it may not be severe. At the extreme, however, several million families live below the official poverty level, even when some of their members are active in the work force. This situation is most common when only one family member works and earns low wages.
This article focuses on persons who are labor force participants but live in poor families. The labor market experiences and family circumstances of these persons are contrasted with those of persons in the work force who are not poor. Some general findings are as follows:
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