$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer

By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer

A revelatory account of poverty in the United States so deep that we, as a rustic, don’t imagine it exists

Jessica Compton’s kinfolk of 4 might haven't any money source of revenue except she donated plasma two times per week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago usually don't have any nutrition yet spoiled milk on weekends. 


After twenty years of tremendous study on American poverty, Kathryn Edin spotted anything she hadn’t obvious because the mid-1990s — families surviving on nearly no source of revenue. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, a professional on calculating earning of the negative, to find that the variety of American households dwelling on $2.00 in step with individual, consistent with day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American families, together with approximately three million children. 


Where do those households dwell? How did they get so desperately terrible? Edin has “turned sociology the wrong way up” (Mother Jones) along with her procurement of wealthy — and fair — interviews. Through the book’s many compelling profiles, relocating and startling solutions emerge. 


The authors light up a troubling pattern: a low-wage hard work industry that more and more fails to bring a dwelling salary, and a transforming into yet hidden landscape of survival techniques between America’s severe poor. More than a robust exposé, $2.00 an afternoon delivers new proof and new rules to our nationwide debate on source of revenue inequality. 




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Extra info for $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America

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Johnson City thrives due to its “eds and meds”—education and health care—plus the ongoing strength of manufacturing in nearby Kingsport. Elderly migrants from the North are attracted by its very low cost of living. Yet economic need is readily apparent in the city’s trailer parks, cheap apartments, and government housing developments. Even farther south, the Mississippi Delta has long been among America’s poorest places, dubbed “the most southern place on earth” by the historian James C. Cobb, due to the fact that its cultural and economic history is so characteristic of the region.

With the SIPP, it was fairly easy to estimate how many American families with children were reporting cash incomes below this very low threshold in any given month. Like any good social scientist, Shaefer tried hard to prove Edin’s observations wrong. He wouldn’t just focus on family income (as our official poverty measure does). Instead, any cash coming to anyone in the household—related or not—would be included. He would include any government benefits that came in the form of cash. He’d add private pensions.

Thus, as Modonna’s earnings fell from $17,500 to nothing, the annual cash and food stamps she could claim from the government also fell, from $5,700 to $4,400. Welfare pre-1996 style might have provided a lifeline for Modonna as she frantically searched for another job. A welfare check might have kept her and her daughter in their little studio apartment, where they could keep their things, sleep in their own beds, take showers, and prepare meals. It might have made looking for a job easier—paying for a bus pass or a new outfit or hairdo that could help her compete with the many others applying for the same job.

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