Luke Shaefer and Kathryn Edin’s new book, $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, details the lives of Americans in extreme poverty.
In a recent op-ed for the Los Angeles Times, the authors estimate that the proportion of Americans living on no more than $2 per person, per day has increased 130 percent since 1996. Yet many low-income families aren’t accessing available cash benefits via federal programs.
“In many parts of the country, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families is all but nonexistent, with only a handful of people getting help,” said Shaefer.
Families profiled in the book instead relied on a variety of methods to secure cash income, from selling blood plasma to engaging in sex work.
$2.00 A Day has been covered widely by national press in recent weeks, including author interviews and citations published in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Vox, The Huffington Post, PBS News Hour, Marketplace, and The Washington Times, among others.
H. Luke Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the Ford School. His research focuses on the effectiveness of the United States social safety net in serving low-wage workers and economically disadvantaged families.
--Story by Afton Branche (MPP '17)