$2.00 A Day

$2.00 A Day

Living on Almost Nothing in America

Book - 2015
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"After two decades of...research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn't seen since the mid-1990s -- households surviving on virtually no income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children....The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low-wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America's extreme poor."--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015
ISBN: 9780544303188
Characteristics: xxiv, 210 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Shaefer, H. Luke


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May 01, 2018

“In early 2011, 1.5 million households with roughly 3 million children were surviving on cash incomes of no more than $2 per person, per day in any given month. That’s about one out of every twenty-five families with children in America. What’s more, not only were these figures astoundingly high, but the phenomenon of $2-a-day poverty among households with children had been on the rise since the nation’s landmark welfare reform legislation was passed in1996-and at a distressingly fast pace. As of 2011, the number of families in $2-a-day poverty had more than doubled in just a decade and a half” (xvii).

Since the 1990s, Professor Kathryn Edin has been researching poverty in America, but was struck at how much worse off families were in 2010 than they had been while she was canvassing fifteen years before. What had changed? She teamed up with Luke Shaefer, a researcher at the National Poverty Center and leading expert on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) and was shocked to find her observations of worsening conditions proven correct with the surveys and statistics to back them up. After close collaboration their findings have been recorded in this slim but powerful tome, challenging readers to re-assess everything they thought they knew about welfare and the hidden poor in America.

Enid and Shaefer take the reader back to welfare’s inception and then painstakingly pin-point the moment its drawn-out death gurgles began. Featuring intimate portraits of the working poor, the authors draw back the proverbial curtain, exposing new evidence to feed the national debate on income inequality. While the subject matter isn’t light by any means, the book is well edited and presented in a way to make it easy to understand. Nearly twenty pages of footnotes and citations are included, perfect for those who enjoy fact-checking or exploring further research.

Aug 11, 2017

Somewhat political, of course, but not as bad as I expected. I don't agree with a lot of the author's opinions, but the facts are helpful in evaluating this problem.

Apr 30, 2017

Edin's book will likely be overshadowed by Matthew Desmond's incredibly compelling EVICTED, but in reality, the two books make a striking pair, one looking at the housing side of the equation, and $2.00 A DAY looking at the question of extreme poverty. It seems unbelievable that anyone can survive in our country with so little cash, but Edin highlights the incredible ingenuity of the people living on so little, and traces the path of government assistance to its current place, where it costs more to give fewer people the help they need. A must read.

Hans A Granheim
Apr 07, 2017

If you want a social welfare system to work effectively, you're got to have the staffing to track and follow up on people receiving public assistance. This is especially true in the Medicare and Medicaid systems, which are flooded with criminally fraudulent scams and over-billing. Sadly, funding these necessary case workers and investigators is way down the list of priorities in most state and federal budgets.

Mar 27, 2017

How about getting a job so you make your own income, gain pride and self-respect, and are not living off the govt and taxpayers' teet?
Many folks here in Canada also live off welfare or disability; many truly need the helping hand, but many also scam the system.
It's funny how many of these folks are dirt poor, but have big TVs, smartphones, cars, and other little luxury items, are obese, buy the wrong foods, stuff the ER rooms, and just expect someone else to pay their way.

NFreaderNWPL Mar 04, 2017

A compassionate and insightful analysis of what having no money does to people, based on shadowing families in different cities in their day-to-day lives. This is a brisk, bracing read and deserves to be as widely read as Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed.

Feb 01, 2016

Edin has done research on poverty in America for almost 20 years. Her latest research shows a new demographic -- households that survive on almost no cash income. Chapter 1, Welfare is Dead, explores the history of government welfare from the 1960s through today. As the system changed from cash payments to earned income tax credits and SNAP debit cards, more and more households sunk to a new level of poverty -- no cash income. Through in-depth case histories, Edin explores the effect of this phenomenon on children and families. Her subjects range from 5th generation poverty in Mississippi to surviving on a low-wage job to losing a thriving business during the 2008 "Great Recession". Through this chilling work on income inequality in America, Edin shows her subjects as real people who work very hard to survive on almost nothing.


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