Low-income families face an enormous burden to achieve economic security since the deterioration of a guaranteed safety net. Health insurance coverage is uneven, affordable childcare falls short of demand, and wage earnings insufficiently support family needs. This analysis focuses on recent trends in family formation, the impact of policy changes on families of color and of immigrant status, and explores the daily challenges and coping strategies low-income families use to survive despite insufficient resources. Four key findings emerge from this body of knowledge: (1) Low-income families experience severe hardships when relying on cash assistance, work, or a combination of both; (2) Low-income families are resilient and resourceful; (3) Low-income families face significant barriers to using public and private services along with increasing earnings from work; and (4) The quality of life for families of color and immigrant families is directly affected by employment and service sector practices. Future research needs to focus on identifying the critical unmet needs of low-income families.
October 22, 2008