Segments in this Video

State of the Poor in America (03:08)


In the wealthiest nation on Earth, America's poor do not have enough money for basic necessities. Thirty-seven million live below the poverty line. Twelve million of these are children.

Poverty: Causal Factors and Types (02:32)

Causes of poverty include low education levels, significant numbers of minority and racial groups, lack of job skills, one-parent homes, and low income. Drugs and crime only exacerbate the problems of poverty.

America's Working Poor (03:28)

For many people, a day's wages are not enough to meet basic needs or obtain health insurance. America's culture of individualism often clouds the issues of the working poor. Often people do not ask for assistance, and those more able do not wish to help.

Hard Work Does Not Equal Living Wages (02:46)

Most Americans do not accept the fact that people who work can still be living in poverty. A working mother does not have enough money for food after paying rent and utilities. Hard work is no longer an escape from poverty, yet that is America's belief.

Working Poor Need Food Banks (03:11)

In the Bay Area, 37% of people using food banks and pantries for daily food have full-time jobs.

United States Poverty Line (03:04)

Living below the poverty line means living below the national guidelines for what is considered the minimum income for families of different sizes. Experts believe the poverty line is only half of what it should be by today's standards.

Inaccurate Measures of Poverty Line (05:34)

America's poverty line does not take into account costs for living in different geographical areas or the change in standard of living in the US. Many people fall through the safety nets constructed by federal and state government agencies.

Poverty in the Suburbs (04:53)

Both suburbs and inner cities are affected by poverty as America's populations decentralize from inner cities to the suburbs. A factor contributing to suburban poverty is the immigration of new populations, who must often take low-wage service jobs.

Community Effects of Poverty (04:22)

One-third of all families who receive food and emergency services from Second Harvest are people who live in the suburbs and who live below the poverty line. Rising poverty affects schools, local transportation, and service delivery.

Public Services for Working Poor (02:51)

Since 1996, public services available for the working poor include childcare, health insurance, and earned income tax credits. Yet these services do not come close to solving the problems of poverty among the working poor.

Public Assistance Bureaucracy (02:33)

Childcare costs drain the financial resources of the working poor with 79% of those in poverty receive no help from the government. Most do not have health insurance, and many find it difficult to navigate public assistance bureaucracy.

Working Poor with No Public Assistance (02:57)

Many poor families fall through the cracks and do not qualify for any public assistance. Single adults as well as single parents often make "too much" money and therefore cannot apply for assistance.

Struggle of the Working Poor (01:46)

Many working poor are stressed because their income does not cover all the basic necessities when they do not qualify for assistance programs.

Rise of Middle Class Asset Poverty (03:47)

The stigma of being poor pushes many of America's middle class individuals and families to live on credit. People who live in asset poverty comprise 25% of America's population. This segment compares asset poverty and income poverty.

Middle-Class America's Indebtedness (03:24)

Lack of income means people do not "get by." Lack of assets means people do not get ahead. Middle-class workers work long hours, yet accumulate debt and do not have enough money to meet emergencies.

Financial Assistance for Higher Education (02:40)

Despite working two jobs, a father has to borrow money for his daughter's education. Assistance for middle-class families to send their children to college is not readily available. Parents must have a healthy credit rating to get college loans.

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The 51st State: America's Working Poor

Part of the Series : Poverty in America (6 Parts)
DVD Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



While poverty has traditionally been a problem only for the unemployed, a new demographic of Americans has emerged—the working poor. This program explores the disturbing realities that many people in low-wage jobs face every day—such as having to decide whether to pay the rent, buy groceries, or see a doctor. Viewers will learn how standards of living are often measured, how suburban areas have fostered a particular type of economic hardship, and how welfare-to-work programs have, at times, led to more resistant poverty. The film also draws connections between America’s immigration challenges and the swelling numbers of working poor. Original program title: I Am Working, Working, Working, Yet Poor: The Working Poor. A part of the series Poverty in America. (Original series title: The 51st State.) (57 minutes)

Length: 57 minutes

Item#: BVL38972

ISBN: 978-1-4213-8999-8

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.