Low-Wage Jobs Cause More Problems Than They Solve

In the wake of strikes by Walmart workers last week and fast food workers in New York City this past Thursday, the issue of low-wage work is slowly becoming more prominent. This is a timely, important and essential conversation.

Retail's Hidden Potential, a recent Demos' report about the possibility of lifting 1.5 million retail workers and their families out of poverty, provides hard evidence about the impact of low-wage work on the economy. Now a new studyby researchers at Boston College and the University of Massachusetts shows the impact of parents' low-wage jobs on their children.

Analyzing over 100 different data sources, the new study, How Youth Are Put At Risk by Parents' Low-Wage Jobs, estimates that nearly 16 million U.S. families are headed by parents working low-wage jobs and that 1 in 6 adolescents alone live in such households.

Figures from the National Center for Children in Poverty corroborate this, showing that 44 percent of U.S. children under 18 live in low-income households. These numbers may be alarming enough, but the impact of low-wage work on family life and on healthy child development is even more astounding.