Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families

Jared Bernstein, Heather Boushey, Chauna Brocht, and Bethany Gundersen. Hardships in America: The Real Story of Working Families. 2001.

This report estimates the number of families who are not making ends meet. We examine the cost of living in every U.S. community and determine basic family budgets for various family types in each one. In all, over 400 separate basic family budgets for six family types are generated. We then count the number of working families in each state whose incomes fall below these basic budgets. Next we examine the hardships these families experience. Finally, we explore how the U.S. can create a social safety net that recognizes that work is not always enough to help families meet their basic needs.