A table highlighting the differences between low-wage workers (also referred to as the working poor) and the total workforce.
Who are low-wage workers? They tend to more likely be white and female, possessing a less formal education and with family responsibilities, working part-time in the service industry as retail clerks and cashiers, childcare workers and education assistants, nurses aides, security guards, and many other low-wage positions. Read a list of low-wage occupations.
Learn more about the working poor in this section of Quintessential Careers: Low Wage Jobs: Tools, Statistics, Resources
Here are some basic statistics — comparing the low-wage workforce (earning an hourly wage under $9 and a yearly income of $18,800) to the total U.S. workforce:
|Percent of Workforce||24 percent||100 percent|
|Average Hourly Wage (2003)||$7.09||$17.15|
|Female||58 percent||45 percent|
|Male||42 percent||55 percent|
|White||58 percent||73 percent|
|Hispanic||22 percent||11 percent|
|Black||14 percent||10 percent|
|Asian/Other||6 percent||6 percent|
|Less than High School||23 percent||6 percent|
|High School Grad||37 percent||29 percent|
|Some College||31 percent||29 percent|
|College Grad+||9 percent||36 percent|
|18-25||37 percent||10 percent|
|26-35||22 percent||25 percent|
|36+||41 percent||65 percent|
|Services||50 percent||18 percent|
|Operations||21 percent||24 percent|
|Clerical||15 percent||16 percent|
|Managers||12 percent||41 percent|
|Others||2 percent||1 percent|
Source: Economic Policy Institute.
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