Essay about Who are the Working Poor

Essay about Who are the Working Poor

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In class, we’ve talked a great deal about all of the aspects that underline the concept of poverty. From reading about it in our book, researching online, and grabbing a personal text, I was highly intrigued with the components that make up “the working poor,” it’s actual definition, and so much more.
Before getting into the statistics, a simple definition of “the working poor” is that it is a group of people who spend about twenty-seven weeks or more in a year either working or looking for work, but their incomes fall below the level of poverty (USDAVIS, 2013). With this definition, it is understandable as well as difficult to take in because there are a lot of people that face this, and there are others that are even less fortunate than this. From class notes, in 2010, 2.6 million full-time workers were in poverty. Those workers did dirty work for low pay, no benefits, and there was very little governmental assistance.
From the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, the working poor were 7% of the total work force, 13.3% of the overall group were Blacks, 12.9% Hispanics, 6.1% Whites, and 5.6% were Asians. With gender, 8% of them were women, and 6.2% were men. 20.1% had less than a High School diploma, 9.2% for High School graduates, 4.6% with an Associate’s degree, and 2.4% with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Through demographic research, it is found to be that out of the group, most of the individuals were most likely young; ages 16-19 (11.3%), ages 20-24 (14%) and ages over 65 (1.7%). 14.4% of the working poor population was part-time workers, and 4.2% were full-time. So in 2011, 4.4 million people who usually worked full-time were working poor. Of these, 84% experienced unemployment (39%), involuntary part-time empl...


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...oor, but the debate on if “work works” or “work doesn’t work,” inspires me. Even though you are the working poor, “working works” because you are making some type of living and can purchase some items. There are bad days and the good ones. Leary Brock, a former addict and apart of the working poor population states, “There’s a lot of talent that’s been layered over with years of maybe drug abuse or alcohol abuse or physical abuse, no telling what. But the layers have begun to peel off, and…oh, looks like a little diamond under there” (Shipler, pp. 254).
At the end of the day, you just have to take note of your strengths and weaknesses, hope for more, and achieve greatness. Some how, people do find their own source(s) of happiness, but you just have to keep telling yourself, “I can make changes. Or I can make excuses. But I can’t make both” (Shipler, pp. 265).

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