Over half of all low-income children in the United States have a parent who works full time, year-round. But they work in low-wage jobs that typically offer few benefits (such as health insurance, paid sick leave, and retirement plans), little stability, and few opportunities for advancement.
Shifts in the economy have made it virtually impossible for workers without a college degree to command a living wage. “Work support” benefits—for example, earned income tax credits and child care subsidies—can help families close the gap between low earnings and basic expenses.
Research shows that a single parent with two children typically needs to earn $16.50 an hour full-time—or about $34,000 a year—to provide for the family’s basic needs. Yet the highest state minimum wage is $9.19 an hour, and the federal minimum wage is only $7.25.
The Florida Minimum Wage
How Much Can It Really Buy, and How High Should It Be?
Brief, August 2016
Protecting the Safety Net in Tough Times
Lessons from the States
Report, April 2012
The Costs of Cutting Health Care
An Analysis of Recent Changes to New Jersey FamilyCare
Report, November 2011
Making Work Pay in Montana
Brief, June 2011
When Work Supports Don’t Support Work
A Case for Parental Health Coverage in Mississippi
Brief, May 2011
Healthy Kids and Strong Working Families
Improving Economic Security for North Dakota Families with Children
Brief, April 2011