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Report: 1 out of 4 IL Working Families “Low-Income”

October 15, 2008

Springfield, IL - Workin' hard for too little money? You're not alone. A new report finds one out of four working families with children in Illinois is classified as low-income, even when the parents work full-time. Furthermore, the number of working poor was on the rise even before the current economic downturn. Brandon Roberts, author of the report, says 42 million adults and children nationwide are in low-income working families.

"This is a very large number. It comprises far more working families than typically is acknowledged by either the government or the public at-large."

Between 2002 and 2006, Roberts says, the number of working poor families grew substantially. At the same time, people on the upper end of the income scale saw big salary gains.

"During that four-year period, which many considered to be one of robust economic growth, both the number and the percentage of low-income working families in this country increased."

Critics of the report say most of those families are headed by single parents. Roberts disagrees, stating that more than half are headed by married couples.

The report recommends job skills training and education to help people work their way up the wage ladder. It also encourages states to focus on developing good-paying jobs.

The full report is available online at www.workingpoorfamilies.org.

Deborah Smith/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - IL