Economic News Release

A Profile of the Working Poor, 1997


A Profile of the Working Poor, 1997
U.S. Department of Labor
Bureau of Labor Statistics
August 1999
Report 936

In 1997, 35.6 million persons, 13.3 percent of the population, lived at or below the official poverty level. Although the Nation’s poor were primarily children and adults who were not in the labor force, 21.0 percent, or 7.5 million persons were classified as “working poor.” This level was about the same as in 1996. The working poor, as defined for this analysis, are individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose income fell below the official poverty threshold. The poverty rate—the ratio of the working poor to all persons in the labor force for at least 27 weeks—was 5.7 percent, little changed from 1996. (See table A.) A majority of the working poor (58.1 percent) usually worked full time (35 hours or more a week), although full-time work substantially lowers a person’s probability of being poor. Among persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more, the poverty rate for those usually employed full time was 4.0 percent compared with 11.9 percent for usual part-time workers. Only 6.8 percent of the working poor actively searched for a job for more than 6 months in 1997 but did not find work. (See table 1.)

This report presents data on the relationships between labor force activity and poverty in 1997 for individual workers and their families. The data were collected in the March 1998 supplement to the Current Population Survey, a nationwide monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a detailed description of the source of the data and an explanation of the concepts and definitions used in this report, see the Technical Note.

Although employment status is a characteristic of an individual, poverty status is defined in terms of a family unit. Thus, earnings from someone's employment are only one factor in that person's poverty status; the earnings of others in the family and the presence of dependents are also important. For example, working wives were less likely than working husbands to be poor (in aggregate) because working wives were more likely to be in families with a second earner. On average in 1997, about 77 percent of married men worked for 27 weeks or more compared with approximately 60 percent of married women. At the same earnings levels, women who headed families are more likely to be poor than other women, because of either limited earnings from others in the family, or because the presence of children raises the amount of income needed to live outside poverty.


Table A. Poverty status of persons and primary families in the labor force 
for 27 weeks or more, 1994-97
(Numbers in thousands)
    Characteristic	      1994        1995        1996        1997  
Total persons 1            124,303     126,020     128,320     130,047
  In poverty		     7,660       7,484	     7,421       7,453
  Poverty rate		       6.2         5.9	       5.8         5.7
Unrelated individuals	    23,622      24,207	    25,539      26,158
  In poverty		     2,322       2,312	     2,423       2,534
  Poverty rate		       9.8         9.5	       9.5         9.7
Primary families 2	    56,789      57,262	    58,087      58,815
  In poverty		     4,111       4,008	     4,084       4,068
  Poverty rate		       7.2         7.0	       7.0         6.9
  1 Includes persons in families, not shown separately.
  2 Primary families with at least one member in the labor force for more than half of the year.

Demographic characteristics

In 1997, the poverty rate continued to be higher for working women than men—6.7 versus 4.9 percent. Moreover, the proportion of working men living in poverty has edged down by 0.7 percentage point since 1995, while that for women has shown little change. (See table 2.)

Although nearly three-fourths of the working poor were white workers, black and Hispanic workers continued to experience poverty rates that were more than twice the rates of whites (11.5 and 12.5 percent versus 4.9 percent, respectively). Black working women had a poverty rate of 14.6 percent—-almost twice the rate of black working men (7.9 percent). The differences in the rates by sex were much smaller among whites and Hispanics. The earnings differential between black women and men is small relative to whites, but black women are far more likely than white women to head families alone.

Younger workers were most vulnerable to being poor. Teenagers (16- to 19-year-olds) and persons age 20 to 24 had poverty rates about twice the overall rate. Among blacks and Hispanic workers, the poverty rates for teenagers were 23.2 and 20.1 percent, respectively.

Educational attainment

In general, the risk of living in poverty is lower for workers with more education. Of persons in the labor force for at least half of 1997, those with less than a high school education had a much higher poverty rate (15.8 percent) than high school graduates (6.5 percent). Workers with an associate degree or 4-year college degree reported the lowest poverty rates, 3.1 and 1.5 percent, respectively. (See table 3.)

Although higher education lowers poverty rates among both blacks and whites, rates were about two times higher for black workers than for white workers at all educational levels. Among black men and women, there were marked disparities at all levels of education. The poverty rate for black women workers with less than a high school education was 30.0 percent compared to 19.3 percent for black men. Among high school graduates, the poverty rate of black women (17.6 percent) was more than twice that of black men (7.8 percent).

Occupation

During 1997, service and farm workers had the highest poverty rates, 12.1 and 16.0 percent, respectively. Persons employed in managerial and professional specialty occupations had the lowest probability of being poor (1.8 percent). (See table 4.)

Household service workers (that is, housekeepers, child-care workers, and cooks), almost all of whom were women, had a poverty rate of 22.3 percent. Protective service providers, such as firefighters, police officers, and guards, reported a poverty rate of only 3.1 percent. The poverty rate among service providers other than private household or protective—-which includes occupations such as bartenders, waiters and waitresses, dental assistants, janitors, and hairdressers—-was 13.0 percent.

For persons employed in executive, administrative, and managerial occupations, managers of properties and real estate, and food serving and lodging establishments had the highest poverty rates (5.4 and 4.2 percent, respectively). Although 2.5 percentage points less than in 1996, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten teachers still had a relatively high poverty rate (5.4 percent) among professional specialty occupations. Among the other major occupational groups, sales workers and handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers also had relatively high poverty rates.

Family structure

In 1997, nearly 4.1 million families lived below the poverty level despite having at least one member in the labor market for 27 weeks or more. Nearly half of these were families maintained by women. The poverty rate for families—the ratio of poor families with workers to all families with workers—was 6.9 percent in 1997, little changed from 1996. (See table 6.)

The poverty rate for families with just one member in the labor force was over seven times higher than that of families with two or more members in the workforce (14.4 versus 1.9 percent). Families maintained by women with only one member in the labor force were nearly two times more likely to be poor than were such families maintained by men (25.8 versus 13.6 percent). Married-couple families with one member in the labor force had lower poverty rates than families maintained by either women or men. This was true regardless of which member of the married-couple family was in the labor force.

Working families with children, regardless of type of family, had higher poverty rates than families without children. The difference was greatest among families maintained by women. Among these families, 27.0 percent of those with children were poor compared to 4.9 percent of those without children.

Unrelated individuals

In 1997, 2.5 million unrelated individuals who were in the labor force for more than half the year lived below the poverty level. Unrelated individuals are those persons who live by themselves or with others not related to them. Their poverty rate was 9.7 percent in 1997, relatively unchanged from 1996. Among unrelated individuals, teenagers were the most vulnerable to being poor. Nearly half of the working teenagers living on their own or with others not related to them lived below the poverty level. (See table 7.)

Of the 2.5 million unrelated workers who lived below the poverty level, 63.6 percent lived with others. These individuals reported a poverty rate two times higher than that of individuals who lived alone. Many unrelated individuals in poverty may live with others out of necessity. Conversely, many of those who live alone do so because they have sufficient incomes to support themselves. However, each person's resources determine unrelated individuals' poverty status. The pooling of resources and sharing of expenses may allow some individuals in this category, who are technically classified as poor, to live above the poverty level.

Labor market problems

The primary labor market problems associated with workers whose incomes fall below the poverty threshold include unemployment, low earnings, and involuntary part-time employment, that is, wanting full-time work but having to settle for part-time work. (See definitions in the Technical Note.) Among those who participated in the labor force for more than half the year in 1997 and usually worked in full-time wage and salary positions, 3.7 million, or 3.7 percent, lived in poverty. (See table 8.) The following analysis of labor market problems is restricted to these full- time wage and salary workers.

Low earnings continued to be the most common problem; about 7 in 10 poor workers were subject to low earnings alone, or in combination with other labor market problems. Over 35 percent of the working poor experienced unemployment, either alone or in combination with other problems. Only 6.2 percent of the working poor experienced all three problems—low earnings, unemployment, and some involuntary part-time work. Some 502,000 of these working poor, or 13.6 percent, did not experience any of the three labor market problems in 1997. Their poverty status may be associated with other factors, including short-term employment, some weeks of voluntary part-time work, or a family structure that increases the risk of poverty.

Technical Note

Source of data

The primary source of data in this report is the work experience and income supplement (called the Annual Demographic Survey) to the March 1998 Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey of about 50,000 households conducted by the Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to collect demographic, social, and economic information about persons 16 years of age and over. The work experience and income information collected in the March supplement refers to activity in the entire prior calendar year. Because the estimates are based on a sample, they may differ from the figures that would have been obtained from a complete census using the same questionnaire and procedures. Sampling variability may be relatively large in cases where the numbers are small. Thus, small estimates, or small differences between estimates, should be interpreted with caution. For a detailed explanation of the March supplement to the Current Population Survey, its sampling variability, and more complete definitions than those provided below, see Poverty in the United States: 1997, Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 201 (Bureau of the Census, September 1998). This publication also is available on the Bureau of the Census web site (http://www.census.gov). Information in this report will be made available to sensory impaired individuals upon request. Voice phone: (202) 606-7828; Federal Relay Service: 1-800-877-8339. This material is in the public domain and, with appropriate credit, may be reproduced without permission.

For more information on the data provided in this release, write to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Division of Labor Force Statistics, Room 4675, 2 Massachusetts Avenue, NE., Washington, DC 20212, E-mail: cpsinfo@bls.gov or telephone (202) 606-6378.

Concepts and definitions

Poverty classification. Poverty statistics presented in this report are based on definitions developed by the Social Security Administration in 1964 and revised by Federal interagency committees in 1969 and 1981. These definitions were originally based on the Department of Agriculture’s Economy Food Plan and reflected the different consumption requirements of families based on factors such as family size and the number of children under 18 years of age.

The actual poverty thresholds vary in accordance with the makeup of the family. In 1997, the average poverty threshold for a family of four was $16,400; for a family of nine or more persons, the threshold was $32,566; and for an unrelated individual aged 65 and over, it was $7,698. The poverty thresholds are updated each year to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The thresholds do not vary geographically. For more information, see Poverty in the United States: 1997, cited above.

Low earnings. The low earnings level, as first developed in 1987, represented the average of the real value of the minimum wage between 1967 and 1987 for a 40-hour week. The base year of 1967 was chosen because that was the first year in which minimum-wage legislation covered essentially the same broad group of workers who are currently covered. The low earnings level has subsequently been adjusted each year using the CPI-U so that the measure maintains the same real value it held in 1987. In 1997, the low earnings threshold was $236.23 per week. For a more complete definition, see Bruce W. Klein and Philip L. Rones, "A Profile of the Working Poor," Monthly Labor Review, October 1989, pp. 3-13.

Income. Data on income are limited to money income received in the calendar year preceding the March survey date before personal income taxes and payroll deductions. It does not include the value of noncash benefits such as food stamps, medicare, medicaid, public housing, and employer-provided benefits. For a complete definition of the income concept, see Poverty in the United States: 1997, cited above.

In the labor force. Persons in the labor force are those who worked or looked for work sometime during the calendar year preceding the March survey date. The number of weeks in the labor force is accumulated over the entire year. The focus in this report is on persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.

Involuntary part-time workers. These are persons who, in at least 1 week of the year, worked fewer than 35 hours because of slack work or business conditions, or because they could not find full-time work. The number of weeks of involuntary part-time work is accumulated over the year.

Occupation. Refers to the occupation in which a person worked the most weeks during the calendar year.

Unemployed. Unemployed persons are those who looked for work while not employed or those who were on layoff from a job and expecting recall. The number of weeks unemployed is accumulated over the entire year.

Family. A family is defined as a group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage, or adoption. Persons in related subfamilies—married couples, or parent-child groups sharing the living quarters of another family member—are included as members of that family and are not distinct family units. The count of families used in this report does not include unrelated subfamilies, such as lodgers, guests, or resident employees living in a household but not related to the householder (the person in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented). Families are classified either as married-couple families or as those maintained by men or women without spouses present. Family status is determined at the time of the March interview and thus may be different from that of the previous year.

Unrelated individuals. These are persons who are not living with any relatives. Such individuals may be living alone, reside in a non-related family household, or live in group quarters with other unrelated individuals.

Related children. Data on related children refer to own children (including sons, daughters, and step or adopted children) of the husband, wife, or person maintaining the family and all other children related to the householder by blood, marriage, or adoption.

Race. White, black, and other are terms used to describe the race of workers. Included in the “other” group are American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and Asians and Pacific Islanders; because of their relatively small sample size, data for this group are not separately tabulated or published.

Hispanic origin. This term refers to persons who identify themselves in the CPS enumeration process as Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or of some other Hispanic origin or descent. Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race; thus, they also are included in both the white and black population groups.

. Gloria P. Goings, an economist in the Division of Labor Force Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, prepared this report.


Table 1.  Persons in the labor force: Poverty status and work experience by weeks in the labor force, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                     27 weeks or more in the labor force    
            Poverty status and work experience               Total in the labor                                             
                                                                   force                                                    
                                                                                         Total             50 to 52 weeks   
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                          TOTAL                                                                                             
                                                                                                                            
  Total in labor force....................................        145,323               130,047               115,757       
    Did not work during the year..........................          2,129                   903                   740       
    Worked during the year................................        143,193               129,144               115,017       
      Usual full-time workers.............................        113,128               107,169                99,066       
      Usual part-time workers.............................         30,066                21,975                15,951       
        Involuntary part-time workers.....................          4,927                 3,926                 3,064       
        Voluntary part-time workers.......................         25,139                18,049                12,887       
                                                                                                                            
                At or above poverty level                                                                                   
                                                                                                                            
  Total in labor force....................................        134,905               122,594               110,083       
    Did not work during the year..........................          1,135                   394                   315       
    Worked during the year................................        133,771               122,200               109,768       
      Usual full-time workers.............................        107,738               102,842                95,670       
      Usual part-time workers.............................         26,033                19,358                14,098       
        Involuntary part-time workers.....................          3,654                 2,984                 2,332       
        Voluntary part-time workers.......................         22,379                16,374                11,765       
                                                                                                                            
                   Below poverty level                                                                                      
                                                                                                                            
  Total in labor force....................................         10,417                 7,453                 5,675       
    Did not work during the year..........................            994                   509                   425       
    Worked during the year................................          9,423                 6,944                 5,249       
      Usual full-time workers.............................          5,390                 4,327                 3,396       
      Usual part-time workers.............................          4,033                 2,618                 1,853       
        Involuntary part-time workers.....................          1,273                   942                   732       
        Voluntary part-time workers.......................          2,760                 1,675                 1,121       
                                                                                                                            
                     Poverty rate(1)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                            
  Total in labor force....................................           7.2                   5.7                   4.9        
    Did not work during the year..........................          46.7                  56.4                  57.5        
    Worked during the year................................           6.6                   5.4                   4.6        
      Usual full-time workers.............................           4.8                   4.0                   3.4        
      Usual part-time workers.............................          13.4                  11.9                  11.6        
        Involuntary part-time workers.....................          25.8                  24.0                  23.9        
        Voluntary part-time workers.......................          11.0                   9.3                   8.7        
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force.
    NOTE: Data refer to persons 16 years and over.
Table 2.  Persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more: Poverty status by age, sex, race, and Hispanic origin, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                                                                      Below poverty level             Poverty rate(1)       
                                                        Hispanic                                                            
          Age and sex             Total   White   Black  origin                                                             
                                                                  Total  White  Black Hispanic  Total  White  Black Hispanic
                                                                                       origin                        origin 
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
    Total, 16 years and older... 130,047 109,198 14,848   12,901  7,453  5,381  1,709    1,609    5.7    4.9   11.5    12.5 
16 to 19 years..................   4,855   4,186    532      532    566    422    124      107   11.6   10.1   23.2    20.1 
20 to 24 years..................  12,152  10,033  1,623    1,723  1,394    967    372      232   11.5    9.6   22.9    13.5 
25 to 34 years..................  31,812  25,916  4,189    4,096  2,150  1,532    507      535    6.8    5.9   12.1    13.1 
35 to 44 years..................  36,420  30,385  4,248    3,482  1,874  1,303    462      473    5.1    4.3   10.9    13.6 
45 to 54 years..................  27,679  23,697  2,784    2,001    894    696    155      180    3.2    2.9    5.6     9.0 
55 to 64 years..................  13,296  11,569  1,194      885    474    381     74       76    3.6    3.3    6.2     8.6 
65 years and older..............   3,834   3,412    278      183    102     81     16        6    2.7    2.4    5.7     3.5 
                                                                                                                            
    Men, 16 years and older.....  70,310  60,108  6,887    7,835  3,468  2,697    547      970    4.9    4.5    7.9    12.4 
16 to 19 years..................   2,397   2,107    220      303    254    201     46       58   10.6    9.5   20.7    19.1 
20 to 24 years..................   6,465   5,428    763    1,110    603    449    133      148    9.3    8.3   17.4    13.4 
25 to 34 years..................  17,536  14,561  1,993    2,628  1,005    781    144      345    5.7    5.4    7.2    13.1 
35 to 44 years..................  19,722  16,790  1,952    2,042    830    625    129      266    4.2    3.7    6.6    13.0 
45 to 54 years..................  14,764  12,869  1,281    1,127    476    400     54      103    3.2    3.1    4.2     9.1 
55 to 64 years..................   7,269   6,415    549      514    239    196     30       44    3.3    3.1    5.5     8.6 
65 years and older..............   2,156   1,939    129      111     60     44     11        5    2.8    2.3    8.5     4.9 
                                                                                                                            
    Women, 16 years and older...  59,738  49,090  7,961    5,066  3,985  2,684  1,162      639    6.7    5.5   14.6    12.6 
16 to 19 years..................   2,458   2,079    312      229    312    221     78       49   12.7   10.6   25.0    21.3 
20 to 24 years..................   5,687   4,605    860      613    791    518    239       84   13.9   11.2   27.8    13.6 
25 to 34 years..................  14,276  11,355  2,196    1,467  1,144    750    363      190    8.0    6.6   16.5    12.9 
35 to 44 years..................  16,698  13,595  2,296    1,441  1,043    678    333      207    6.2    5.0   14.5    14.3 
45 to 54 years..................  12,915  10,828  1,503      873    418    295    101       77    3.2    2.7    6.7     8.8 
55 to 64 years..................   6,027   5,155    645      371    235    185     44       32    3.9    3.6    6.8     8.6 
65 years and older..............   1,677   1,474    149       72     42     37      5        1    2.5    2.5    3.2    (2)  
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
  2 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
    NOTE: Detail for race and Hispanic-origin groups will not sum to totals because data for the "other races" group are not
presented and Hispanics are included in both the white and black population groups.  
Table 3.  Persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more: Poverty status by educational attainment, race, and sex, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                  Below poverty level          Poverty rate(1)     
         Educational attainment and race             Total     Men     Women                                                       
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                Total     Men     Women    Total     Men     Women 
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
    Total, 16 years and older.....................  130,047   70,310   59,738    7,453    3,468    3,985     5.7      4.9      6.7 
Less than a high school diploma...................   16,351   10,145    6,206    2,587    1,461    1,125    15.8     14.4     18.1 
  Less than 1 year of high school.................    4,631    3,093    1,537      870      583      287    18.8     18.9     18.7 
  1-3 years of high school........................   10,069    6,029    4,040    1,550      779      771    15.4     12.9     19.1 
  4 years of high school, no diploma..............    1,652    1,023      629      167       99       67    10.1      9.7     10.7 
High school graduates, no college.................   42,629   22,891   19,738    2,755    1,170    1,585     6.5      5.1      8.0 
Some college, no degree...........................   25,922   13,326   12,596    1,258      458      800     4.9      3.4      6.3 
Associate degree..................................   10,861    5,227    5,634      337      122      215     3.1      2.3      3.8 
College graduates.................................   34,285   18,720   15,564      517      257      261     1.5      1.4      1.7 
                                                                                                                                   
    White, 16 years and older.....................  109,198   60,108   49,090    5,381    2,697    2,684     4.9      4.5      5.5 
Less than a high school diploma...................   13,279    8,506    4,773    1,894    1,147      747    14.3     13.5     15.7 
  Less than 1 year of high school.................    3,980    2,731    1,249      772      521      251    19.4     19.1     20.1 
  1-3 years of high school........................    8,077    4,976    3,101    1,026      570      457    12.7     11.4     14.7 
  4 years of high school, no diploma..............    1,222      798      423       96       56       40     7.9      7.0      9.4 
High school graduates, no college.................   35,572   19,359   16,213    1,913      887    1,026     5.4      4.6      6.3 
Some college, no degree...........................   21,490   11,300   10,190      910      370      540     4.2      3.3      5.3 
Associate degree..................................    9,341    4,601    4,740      265       96      169     2.8      2.1      3.6 
College graduates.................................   29,517   16,342   13,175      399      197      202     1.4      1.2      1.5 
                                                                                                                                   
    Black, 16 years and older.....................   14,848    6,887    7,961    1,709      547    1,162    11.5      7.9     14.6 
Less than a high school diploma...................    2,367    1,265    1,102      575      244      331    24.3     19.3     30.0 
  Less than 1 year of high school.................      394      230      164       61       32       29    15.5     13.9     17.7 
  1-3 years of high school........................    1,657      867      790      458      176      282    27.6     20.3     35.6 
  4 years of high school, no diploma..............      315      168      148       56       36       20    17.8     21.3     13.8 
High school graduates, no college.................    5,568    2,694    2,874      716      210      505    12.9      7.8     17.6 
Some college, no degree...........................    3,432    1,498    1,934      298       60      238     8.7      4.0     12.3 
Associate degree..................................    1,069      394      675       61       16       45     5.7      4.0      6.7 
College graduates.................................    2,412    1,035    1,377       60       17       43     2.5      1.6      3.1 
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
Table 4.  Persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more who worked during the year: Poverty status by occupation of the longest
job held, race, and sex, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                  Below poverty level          Poverty rate(1)     
               Occupation and race                   Total     Men     Women                                                       
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                Total     Men     Women    Total     Men     Women 
                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                   
    Total, 16 years and older(2)..................  129,144   69,846   59,298    6,944    3,239    3,705     5.4      4.6      6.2 
                                                                                                                                   
Managerial and professional specialty.............   37,767   19,253   18,514      691      312      379     1.8      1.6      2.0 
  Executive, administrative, and managerial.......   18,526   10,139    8,387      323      176      147     1.7      1.7      1.8 
  Professional specialty..........................   19,241    9,114   10,127      368      136      232     1.9      1.5      2.3 
Technical, sales, and administrative support......   38,133   13,631   24,502    1,663      402    1,261     4.4      2.9      5.1 
  Technicians and related support.................    4,363    1,943    2,420       66       30       36     1.5      1.6      1.5 
  Sales occupations...............................   15,408    7,863    7,545      994      281      713     6.5      3.6      9.5 
  Administrative support, including clerical......   18,362    3,825   14,537      603       91      512     3.3      2.4      3.5 
Service occupations...............................   17,209    7,186   10,023    2,084      663    1,421    12.1      9.2     14.2 
  Private household...............................      763       33      730      170        7      163    22.3     (3)      22.4 
  Protective service..............................    2,286    1,911      374       70       47       23     3.1      2.5      6.2 
  Service, except private household and protective   14,161    5,242    8,919    1,844      609    1,235    13.0     11.6     13.8 
Precision production, craft, and repair...........   14,612   13,396    1,216      676      596       81     4.6      4.4      6.6 
Operators, fabricators, and laborers..............   18,177   13,719    4,458    1,335      855      480     7.3      6.2     10.8 
  Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors...    7,979    4,963    3,016      544      243      302     6.8      4.9     10.0 
  Transportation and material moving occupations..    5,415    4,883      532      337      277       60     6.2      5.7     11.3 
  Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and                                                                                       
   laborers.......................................    4,783    3,872      910      454      336      118     9.5      8.7     13.0 
Farming, forestry, and fishing....................    3,089    2,539      550      495      412       82    16.0     16.2     15.0 
                                                                                                                                   
      White, 16 years and older(2)................  108,705   59,814   48,890    5,154    2,557    2,597     4.7      4.3      5.3 
                                                                                                                                   
Managerial and professional specialty.............   33,068   17,105   15,963      556      259      298     1.7      1.5      1.9 
  Executive, administrative, and managerial.......   16,543    9,236    7,307      284      159      124     1.7      1.7      1.7 
  Professional specialty..........................   16,525    7,869    8,656      273       99      173     1.6      1.3      2.0 
Technical, sales, and administrative support......   32,014   11,641   20,373    1,151      290      860     3.6      2.5      4.2 
  Technicians and related support.................    3,669    1,655    2,013       55       27       28     1.5      1.6      1.4 
  Sales occupations...............................   13,327    6,950    6,377      709      194      515     5.3      2.8      8.1 
  Administrative support, including clerical......   15,019    3,036   11,983      387       69      318     2.6      2.3      2.7 
Service occupations...............................   13,378    5,660    7,718    1,464      469      996    10.9      8.3     12.9 
  Private household...............................      614       26      589      132        7      125    21.5     (3)      21.3 
  Protective service..............................    1,779    1,552      226       47       35       12     2.6      2.3      5.1 
  Service, except private household and protective   10,984    4,082    6,903    1,286      427      859    11.7     10.5     12.4 
Precision production, craft, and repair...........   12,891   11,990      902      572      521       51     4.4      4.3      5.6 
Operators, fabricators, and laborers..............   14,370   10,964    3,406      962      645      317     6.7      5.9      9.3 
  Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors...    6,232    3,993    2,239      380      183      196     6.1      4.6      8.8 
  Transportation and material moving occupations..    4,367    3,950      417      242      203       39     5.5      5.1      9.3 
  Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and                                                                                       
   laborers.......................................    3,771    3,021      750      340      258       82     9.0      8.6     10.9 
Farming, forestry, and fishing....................    2,866    2,360      506      449      373       76    15.7     15.8     15.0 
                                                                                                                                   
      Black, 16 years and older(2)................   14,489    6,750    7,739    1,462      481      982    10.1      7.1     12.7 
                                                                                                                                   
Managerial and professional specialty.............    2,835    1,105    1,730      101       33       68     3.6      3.0      3.9 
  Executive, administrative, and managerial.......    1,183      481      703       19        6       13     1.6      1.3      1.9 
  Professional specialty..........................    1,652      624    1,028       82       27       55     4.9      4.3      5.3 
Technical, sales, and administrative support......    4,354    1,250    3,104      424       64      360     9.7      5.1     11.6 
  Technicians and related support.................      446      162      283        3     -           3      .6      -         .9 
  Sales occupations...............................    1,365      531      834      230       51      179    16.9      9.7     21.4 
  Administrative support, including clerical......    2,543      557    1,986      191       13      178     7.5      2.3      9.0 
Service occupations...............................    2,942    1,082    1,859      510      135      375    17.3     12.5     20.1 
  Private household...............................      120        4      116       34     -          34    28.5      -       29.5 
  Protective service..............................      432      297      135       23       11       12     5.3      3.8      8.5 
  Service, except private household and protective    2,390      781    1,608      453      124      329    19.0     15.9     20.5 
Precision production, craft, and repair...........    1,178      979      199       75       52       23     6.4      5.3     11.4 
Operators, fabricators, and laborers..............    3,038    2,222      816      327      177      150    10.8      8.0     18.4 
  Machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors...    1,310      727      583      146       50       96    11.2      6.9     16.5 
  Transportation and material moving occupations..      877      774      103       86       64       21     9.8      8.3     20.7 
  Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and                                                                                       
   laborers.......................................      851      721      130       95       62       33    11.2      8.6     25.4 
Farming, forestry, and fishing....................      113       95       19       26       19        6    22.6     20.4     (3)  
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more who worked during the year.
  2 Includes a small number of persons whose last job was in the Armed Forces.
  3 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
    NOTE:   Dash represents or rounds to zero.
Table 5.  Persons in families and unrelated individuals: Poverty status and work experience, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                         In married-couple families     In families maintained   In families maintained          
                                                                               by women                  by men            Unre- 
  Poverty status and work     Total                                                                                        lated 
         experience          persons                                                                                       indi- 
                                       Hus-           Related   Other  House-  Related   Other  House-  Related   Other   viduals
                                       bands   Wives children relativ- holder children relativ- holder children   rela-          
                                                     under 18    es           under 18    es           under 18   tives          
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                 
           TOTAL                                                                                                                 
  All persons(1)............ 204,551   53,700 54,256    5,171   16,827 12,639    1,911    9,573  3,880      457    3,876   42,261
  With labor force activity. 145,323   43,010 36,001    2,509   12,756  9,188      787    6,531  3,177      174    2,712   28,477
    1 to 26 weeks...........  15,275    1,617  3,775    1,484    2,889    983      485    1,094    177      112      341    2,319
    27 weeks or more........ 130,047   41,393 32,226    1,025    9,868  8,206      303    5,437  2,999       62    2,371   26,158
  With no labor force                                                                                                            
     activity...............  59,228   10,689 18,255    2,662    4,071  3,451    1,123    3,042    704      283    1,164   13,784
                                                                                                                                 
 At or above poverty level                                                                                                       
  All persons(1)............ 181,822   50,908 51,435    4,855   16,059  8,644    1,249    8,003  3,380      386    3,562   33,342
  With labor force activity. 134,905   41,299 35,079    2,438   12,431  6,798      598    5,832  2,846      142    2,572   24,870
    1 to 26 weeks...........  12,311    1,414  3,465    1,442    2,745    305      355      834    114       91      301    1,245
    27 weeks or more........ 122,594   39,885 31,614      997    9,685  6,493      243    4,998  2,732       51    2,271   23,625
  With no labor force                                                                                                            
     activity...............  46,917    9,608 16,356    2,416    3,628  1,846      651    2,171    534      244      990    8,472
                                                                                                                                 
    Below poverty level                                                                                                          
  All persons(1)............  22,728    2,792  2,820      316      769  3,995      662    1,570    501       71      313    8,919
  With labor force activity.  10,417    1,711    922       71      326  2,391      190      699    331       32      140    3,607
    1 to 26 weeks...........   2,964      203    310       43      143    678      130      260     64       21       40    1,074
    27 weeks or more........   7,453    1,508    612       28      182  1,713       60      439    267       11      100    2,534
  With no labor force                                                                                                            
     activity...............  12,311    1,081  1,898      245      443  1,605      473      871    170       39      174    5,312
                                                                                                                                 
      Poverty rate(2)                                                                                                            
  All persons(1)............   11.1      5.2     5.2     6.1      4.6    31.6    34.7     16.4    12.9    15.5      8.1     21.1 
  With labor force activity.    7.2      4.0     2.6     2.8      2.6    26.0    24.1     10.7    10.4    18.2      5.1     12.7 
    1 to 26 weeks...........   19.4     12.5     8.2     2.9      5.0    69.0    26.8     23.7    35.9    18.8     11.7     46.3 
    27 weeks or more........    5.7      3.6     1.9     2.7      1.8    20.9    19.8      8.1     8.9    (3)       4.2      9.7 
  With no labor force                                                                                                            
     activity...............   20.8     10.1    10.4     9.2     10.9    46.5    42.1     28.6    24.1    13.9     14.9     38.5 
  1 Data on families include persons in primary families and unrelated subfamilies.
  2 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total.
  3 Data not shown where base is less than 75,000.
    NOTE: Data refer to persons 16 years and over.
Table 6.  Primary families: Poverty status, presence of related children, and work experience of family
members in the labor force for 27 weeks or more, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                              
                                                                                                              
                  Characteristic                                    At or above   Below poverty     Poverty   
                                                   Total families  poverty level      level         rate(1)   
                                                                                                              
                                                                                                              
        Total primary families....................      58,815         54,747          4,068           6.9    
                                                                                                              
With related children under 18....................      34,140         30,610          3,531          10.3    
Without children..................................      24,674         24,137            537           2.2    
                                                                                                              
With one member in the labor force................      23,637         20,234          3,402          14.4    
With two or more members in the labor force.......      35,178         34,512            666           1.9    
  With two members................................      29,452         28,843            609           2.1    
  With three or more members......................       5,726          5,669             57           1.0    
                                                                                                              
Married-couple families:                                                                                      
                                                                                                              
  With related children under 18..................      25,536         24,086          1,450           5.7    
  Without children................................      20,155         19,810            345           1.7    
                                                                                                              
  With one member in the labor force..............      14,585         13,256          1,330           9.1    
    Husband.......................................      11,004          9,934          1,070           9.7    
    Wife..........................................       2,918          2,697            221           7.6    
    Relative......................................         663            624             39           5.9    
  With two or more members in the labor force.....      31,105         30,641            464           1.5    
    With two members..............................      26,142         25,709            432           1.7    
    With three or more members....................       4,964          4,931             32            .7    
                                                                                                              
Families maintained by women:                                                                                 
                                                                                                              
  With related children under 18..................       6,655          4,856          1,800          27.0    
  Without children................................       3,030          2,883            147           4.9    
                                                                                                              
  With one member in the labor force..............       6,904          5,123          1,781          25.8    
    Householder...................................       5,667          4,103          1,565          27.6    
    Relative......................................       1,237          1,021            216          17.5    
  With two or more members in the labor force.....       2,782          2,615            166           6.0    
                                                                                                              
Families maintained by men:                                                                                   
                                                                                                              
  With related children under 18..................       1,949          1,668            281          14.4    
  Without children................................       1,489          1,444             45           3.0    
                                                                                                              
  With one member in the labor force..............       2,147          1,856            292          13.6    
    Householder...................................       1,826          1,581            245          13.4    
    Relative......................................         321            274             47          14.6    
  With two or more members in the labor force.....       1,291          1,256             35           2.7    
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
   NOTE: Data relate to primary families with at least one member in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
Table 7.  Unrelated individuals in the labor force for 27 weeks or more: Poverty status by age, sex, race, Hispanic origin,
and living arrangement, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
             Characteristic                      Total         At or above poverty  Below poverty level    Poverty rate(1)  
                                                                      level                                                 
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
              Age and sex                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                            
       Total unrelated individuals......         26,158               23,625                2,534                 9.7       
16 to 19 years..........................            561                  286                  275                49.1       
20 to 24 years..........................          3,457                2,780                  677                19.6       
25 to 64 years..........................         21,053               19,537                1,516                 7.2       
65 years and older......................          1,087                1,022                   65                 6.0       
                                                                                                                            
Men.....................................         14,519               13,285                1,234                 8.5       
Women...................................         11,639               10,340                1,299                11.2       
                                                                                                                            
        Race and Hispanic origin                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
White...................................         21,893               19,884                2,009                 9.2       
   Men..................................         12,113               11,184                  929                 7.7       
   Women................................          9,780                8,700                1,079                11.0       
                                                                                                                            
Black...................................          3,292                2,877                  416                12.6       
   Men..................................          1,849                1,609                  239                13.0       
   Women................................          1,444                1,268                  176                12.2       
                                                                                                                            
Hispanic origin.........................          2,031                1,696                  335                16.5       
   Men..................................          1,349                1,157                  192                14.2       
   Women................................            682                  539                  143                21.0       
                                                                                                                            
           Living arrangement                                                                                               
                                                                                                                            
Living alone............................         14,014               13,091                  923                 6.6       
Living with others......................         12,144               10,534                1,611                13.3       
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
    NOTE: Detail for race and Hispanic-origin groups will not sum to totals because data for the "other races" group are not
presented and Hispanics are included in both the white and black population groups.  
Table 8.  Persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more: Poverty status and labor market problems of full-time wage and
salary workers, 1997
(Numbers in thousands)
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                       At or above     Below       Poverty  
                Poverty status and labor market problems                     Total       poverty      poverty      rate(1)  
                                                                                          level        level                
                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                            
     Total, full-time wage and salary workers...........................    100,313       96,617        3,696         3.7   
                                                                                                                            
No unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, or low earnings(2)...     80,453       79,950          502          .6   
                                                                                                                            
Unemployment only.......................................................      5,626        5,246          380         6.8   
Involuntary part-time employment only...................................      2,317        2,260           58         2.5   
Low earnings only.......................................................      7,933        6,295        1,638        20.7   
                                                                                                                            
Unemployment and involuntary part-time employment.......................      1,020          936           84         8.2   
Unemployment and low earnings...........................................      1,624          994          630        38.8   
Involuntary part-time employment and low earnings.......................        764          589          176        23.0   
                                                                                                                            
Unemployment, involuntary part-time employment, and low earnings........        576          348          228        39.6   
  1 Number below the poverty level as a percent of the total in the labor force for 27 weeks or more.
  2 The low earnings threshold in 1997 was $236.23 per week.
    NOTE: Data refer to persons 16 years and over.

Last Modified Date: October 16, 2001

Recommend this page using: