Young adults most likely to be among the working poor

September 09, 1999

Younger workers are the most vulnerable to being poor. In 1997, workers under the age of 25 had poverty rates about twice the overall rate.

Poverty rate by age, persons in labor force for 27 weeks or more, 1997
[Chart data—TXT]

Among workers age 16 to 19 years, 11.6 percent lived below the poverty level in 1997. For workers age 20 to 24, the poverty rate was about the same: 11.5 percent. These rates were approximately twice the average of 5.7 percent for all workers.

Poverty rates of workers generally declined with age. The biggest drop was between the 20-to 24-year-olds and the 25-to 34-year-olds. Workers 65 and older had the lowest poverty rate of all, at 2.7 percent.

These data on poverty rates are from the Current Population Survey. The above figures are for individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force in 1997. Find out more in "A Profile of the Working Poor, 1997," BLS Report 936.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Young adults most likely to be among the working poor on the Internet at (visited September 27, 2016).


Recent editions of Spotlight on Statistics

  • A look at healthcare spending, employment, pay, benefits, and prices
    As one of the largest U.S. industries, healthcare is steadily growing to meet the needs of an increasing population with an increasing life expectancy. This Spotlight looks at how much people spend on healthcare, current and projected employment in the industry, employer-provided healthcare benefits, healthcare prices, and pay for workers in healthcare occupations.

  • Employment and Wages in Healthcare Occupations
    Healthcare occupations are a significant percentage of U.S. employment. Some of the largest and highest paying occupations are in healthcare. This Spotlight examines employment and wages for healthcare occupations.

  • Fifty years of looking at changes in peoples lives
    Longitudinal surveys help us understand long-term changes, such as how events that happened when a person was in high school affect labor market success as an adult.