ERIC Number: ED346227
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-May-11
Reference Count: N/A
New Census Report Shows Dramatic Rise since 1979 in Workers with Low Earnings.
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC.
An analysis was done of recently released 1990 Census data on wage levels for full-time workers. The analysis found that the proportion of full-time, year-round workers who are paid low wages jumped between 1979 and 1990. In 1979, 12.1 percent of full-time, year-round workers were paid low wages, but 18 percent were paid low wages in 1990. Low wages were defined as too little to raise a family of four to the poverty line. The Census data examined earnings for 7 years between 1964 and 1990. The figures show that the increase in low-wage earning workers reflects a sharp reversal of previous economic trends. Although the proportion of female workers earning low wages is higher than the proportion of men, the proportion of workers with low earning climbed most sharply among men. The proportion of workers paid low wages rose sharply among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanic Americans alike. The shift toward low-paid employment hit young workers the hardest, with proportions essentially doubling from 1979 to 1990. In addition, the statistics indicate that the low-wage workforce defies stereotypes, with the vast majority of low earners not young minorities who dropped out of school. The analysis suggests that the increase in low earning reflects long-term problems with the economy. Statistical data are provided in two graphs and one table. (JB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC.