"Two academics chronicle the new face of the poor in America, post welfare reform. Edin, a sociologist at Hopkins, and Shaefer, at the School of Social Work at Michigan, look at eight families in four regions of the United States, Chicago, Cleveland, the Mississippi Delta and the Appalachian Foothills of Tennessee, with stories that will remind readers of Nickel and Dimed. The good news is that in a world where there are work incentives and term limits to certain benefits, there’s actually more government money than before reform. The bad news is that virtually no cash component allows poor people almost no flexibility. The lack of subsidized housing has deleterious effects—it’s not a question of doubling up, but of 20 people living in a three bedroom apartment. And heaven help a person with no job who can’t get on disability of some sort. Edin and Shaefer highlight the continuing plight of the poorest of the poor, noting what policies have worked and others that have backfired, offering a few prescriptive solutions for action."— Daniel Goldin
"This punches you in the gut, as you read about people living in America making $1-$2 per day to live on. It shows what a broken society we are that we have seven siblings sharing a bed and they all have one outfit to wear day after day. If you growing up in this kind of poverty, what wouldn't you do to get out? Who would attempt to exploit you to get what they want? Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer have done a tremendous job shedding light on a very dark part of our country, one that we ignore in the media , except to bash the all the programs designed to help the poor, and one where generations of poor families are almost doomed to repeat. Edin and Shaefer also offer some possible solutions that could be a good starting point to bring hope."— Jason Kennedy
“A remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States.” — New York Times Book Review
“Powerful . . . Presents a deeply moving human face that brings the stunning numbers to life. It is an explosive book . . . The stories will make you angry and break your heart.” — American Prospect
Jessica Compton’s family of four would have no income if she didn’t donate plasma twice a week at her local donation center in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter, Brianna, in Chicago, often have no food but spoiled milk on weekends.
After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no cash income. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million households, including about three million children.
Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Through this book’s eye-opening analysis and many compelling profiles, moving and startling answers emerge. $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.
“Harrowing . . . [An] important and heart-rending book, in the tradition of Michael Harrington’s The Other America.” — Los Angeles Times