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Lecture 6

GOVT 2225 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Earned Income Tax Credit, Working Poor

Course Code
GOVT 2225
Anna Haskins

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The Underclass
Some combination of people
oLiving in persistent poverty
oHabitually unemployed
oNon-mainstream (non-middle class) cultural behaviors and moral values
Don’t value: marriage, education
Value: childbearing out of wedlock, violence & drug-use
oSpatially segregated. Neighborhoods that are geographically segregated
oUrban Blacks or minorities
The usage of “underclass” can be a derogatory term that are defined by negative
cultural stereotype
It might also be good to label people as “the underclass” because then we can better
address their needs
oJencks suggests that we need need to address the problems that plague the
underclass individually instead of lumping them together
Fragile Families
Often single-parent families
oProduct of divorce or children born out of wedlock
oTypically fatherless families
oUnwed birth rates rising
Vulnerable to falling into/staying in poverty
Could be part of the underclass or working poor
Not all single-parent families are “fragile”
Cancian and Reed 2009
Trends and changes in family structure
oLess marriage (also people are getting married older), more divorce
oMore cohabitation
oSmaller family size (# of children)
oLess marital fertility, more non-marital fertility (wedlock)
Fragile families are working families
Increasing percentage of dual earning couples; significantly decreasing percentage of
male breadwinning couples
What does it mean to be “working poor”?
Those who spent 27 weeks in the labor force but whose incomes still fell below the
federal poverty line
Characteristics and composition
oLow-wage, low-skill labor force
oLow education
oPart-time or temporary workers
oWomen and race/ethnic minorities, head of family
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