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by

Gregory Acs
The Urban Institute
2100 M Street NW
Washington, DC 20037

May 1999

V. Conclusion

This profile of low-wage workers reveals that over one-quarter of the workforce in 1997 earned less than $7.50 an hour. But while low-wage workers comprise a significant share of the workforce, most low-wage workers are younger and secondary earners. Only one in ten workers is a low-wage worker in a family whose income falls below $24,600 a year; and only one in 20 workers are low-wage workers in low-income families with children. To the extent that concern for low-wage workers is based on concern for low-income families with children, policies aimed at low-wage workers in general are likely to be poorly targeted. Policies aimed at helping low-income families, many of whom have low-wage workers, may prove to be more cost effective.

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