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Lac Courte Oreilles College Community Library

Making ends meet: how single mothers survive welfare and low-wage work

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Publisher:
Russell Sage Foundation,
Pub. Date:
[1997]
Language:
English
Description
Welfare mothers are popularly viewed as passively dependent on their checks and averse to work. Reformers across the political spectrum advocate moving these women off the welfare rolls and into the labor force as the solution to their problems. Making Ends Meet offers dramatic evidence toward a different conclusion: In the present labor market, unskilled single mothers who hold jobs are frequently worse off than those on welfare, and neither welfare nor low-wage employment alone will support a family at subsistence levels. Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein interviewed nearly four hundred welfare and low-income single mothers from cities in Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, and South Carolina over a six year period. They learned the reality of these mothers' struggles to provide for their families: where their money comes from, what they spend it on, how they cope with their children's needs, and what hardships they suffer. Edin and Lein's careful budgetary analyses reveal that even a full range of welfare benefits—AFDC payments, food stamps, Medicaid, and housing subsidies—typically meet only three-fifths of a family's needs, and that funds for adequate food, clothing and other necessities are often lacking. Leaving welfare for work offers little hope for improvement, and in many cases threatens even greater hardship. Jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled women provide meager salaries, irregular or uncertain hours, frequent layoffs, and no promise of advancement. Mothers who work not only assume extra child care, medical, and transportation expenses but are also deprived of many of the housing and educational subsidies available to those on welfare. Regardless of whether they are on welfare or employed, virtually all these single mothers need to supplement their income with menial, off-the-books work and intermittent contributions from family, live-in boyfriends, their children's fathers, and local charities. In doing so, they pay a heavy price. Welfare mothers must work covertly to avoid losing benefits, while working mothers are forced to sacrifice even more time with their children. Making Ends Meet demonstrates compellingly why the choice between welfare and work is more complex and risky than is commonly recognized by politicians, the media, or the public. Almost all the welfare-reliant women interviewed by Edin and Lein made repeated efforts to leave welfare for work, only to be forced to return when they lost their jobs, a child became ill, or they could not cover their bills with their wages. Mothers who managed more stable employment usually benefited from a variety of mitigating circumstances such as having a relative willing to watch their children for free, regular child support payments, or very low housing, medical, or commuting costs. With first hand accounts and detailed financial data, Making Ends Meet tells the real story of the challenges, hardships, and survival strategies of America's poorest families. If this country's efforts to improve the self-sufficiency of female-headed families is to succeed, reformers will need to move beyond the myths of welfare dependency and deal with the hard realities of an unrewarding American labor market, the lack of affordable health insurance and child care for single mothers who work, and the true cost of subsistence living. Making Ends Meet is a realistic look at a world that so many would change and so few understand.
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ISBN:
9780871542342
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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID1c88f2fb-5153-6c77-db6e-ac84e2ad3619
Grouping Titlemaking ends meet how single mothers survive welfare and low wage work
Grouping Authorkathryn edin
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2021-10-14 09:59:33AM
Last Indexed2021-12-06 05:01:29AM
Novelist Primary ISBNnone

Solr Details

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accelerated_reader_reading_level0
auth_author2Lein, Laura.
authorEdin, Kathryn, 1962-
author2-roleLein, Laura.
author_displayEdin, Kathryn
available_at_lcocollegeLCO College Library
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display_description
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id1c88f2fb-5153-6c77-db6e-ac84e2ad3619
isbn9780871542342
item_details
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ils:.b1010429x.i24393873Lac Courte Oreilles Adult Nonfiction306.85 EDI1falsefalseAvailableMay 26, 2013lcanf
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last_indexed2021-12-06T11:01:29.384Z
lexile_score-1
literary_formNon Fiction
literary_form_fullNon Fiction
local_callnumber_lcocollege306.85 EDI
owning_library_lcocollegeLCO College Library
owning_location_lcocollegeLCO College Library
primary_isbn9780871542342
publishDate1997
publisherRussell Sage Foundation,
record_details
Bib IdFormatFormat CategoryEditionLanguagePublisherPublication DatePhysical DescriptionAbridged
ils:.b1010429xBookBooksEnglishRussell Sage Foundation, [1997]xxxi, 305 pages ; 24 cm
recordtypegrouped_work
scoping_details_lcocollege
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b1010429x.i24393873On ShelfAvailablefalsetruetruefalsefalsetrue9999
subject_facetLow income groups
Maternal and infant welfare -- United States
Minimum wage -- United States
Single mothers -- Employment -- United States
Single mothers -- United States -- Social conditions
Welfare recipients -- Employment -- United States
title_displayMaking ends meet : how single mothers survive welfare and low-wage work
title_fullMaking ends meet : how single mothers survive welfare and low-wage work / Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein
title_shortMaking ends meet
title_subhow single mothers survive welfare and low-wage work
topic_facetEmployment
Low income groups
Maternal and infant welfare
Minimum wage
Single mothers
Social conditions
Welfare recipients