Nickel and Dimed on (Not) Getting By in America

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Spotlighting Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America

Throughout the years, the ability to survive in the American economy without a college education has been diminishing. The employment opportunities now available to many Americans without college degrees are called “unskilled” jobs. These forms of employment are often unstable and offer low pay without much of a change for advancement within the company . Low income families are often constrained by many hurdles that do not allow them to raise themselves from below the poverty line . Many misconceptions come to light when talking about those American families below the poverty line, of those misconceptions are highlighted by statements such as that they do not work, work enough, or that they take advantage of public assistance that they do not need. In Nickel and Dimed on (Not) Getting by In America, Ehrenreich lives as a low wage worker and reveals the truth about the working poor.

The working poor are defined as people who are employed but have incomes that fall below the poverty line . The families classified as the “working poor”, make up about 72 percent of low income families . It is common misconception that those families who live in poverty so not work enough to provide for their families. Those more unfortunate people who work for low wages are often blamed for not being more conservative in their spending habits. It is also assumed that these people do not work long enough hours. These viewpoints are often false for many working poor families. This can be seen by the fact that the average low income family has a work effort of around twenty-five hundred hours or the equivalent of one and one-quarter forty hour a week jobs .

The employment often...

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Ehrenreich, Barbara. Nickel and Dimed: On (not) Getting by in America. New York: Picador, 2011. Print.

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US Census Bureau. "Poverty Facts | Poverty Rate." Poverty USA We Can End It. United States Conference Of Catholic Bishops, 2012. Web. 26 May 2014. .

"The Working Poor Families Project." The Working Poor Families Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 May 2014. .
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