Low Income Families

Study: 39 million Americans in working poor families

A report says one in every five US jobs pays less than a poverty-level wage for a family of four. As a result, nearly 39 million Americans, including 20 million children, are members of "low-income working families." That is, families that barely have enough money to cover basic needs like housing, groceries and child care.

The study was published by the nonpartisan Working Poor Families Project. The report says federal and state lawmakers should put more money into adult education and job training programs, increase the minimum wage and expand subsidized child care for low-income parents.

Doing so, says the study, would create more skilled workers who will make more money and, in turn, increase the tax base. The report is based on Census Bureau data from 2002 and is to be officially released tomorrow.