One of the unsettling facts that emerges out of Making Ends Meet
, by Kathryn Edin and Laura Lein, is that mothers who work outside the home spend twice as much per month as welfare mothers on such necessities as transportation, health care, day care, and housing. Yet many women continue to move--or are being pushed by politicians--off welfare into jobs in the forlorn hope that those positions would one day lead to better careers. Almost inevitably, the economic realities of trying to raise families on the wages from low-paying jobs would force them back on government assistance. Making Ends Meet
is a study commissioned by the Russell Sage Foundation, and its disturbing conclusions expose as myth the view prevalent in Washington, D.C., and the country at large that if people would just get jobs they could pull themselves out of poverty.
From Library Journal
The disparity between research and much of recent federal and state welfare reform is again apparent in this practical study of the economic lives of mothers on welfare or in low-wage employment. The authors interviewed 379 welfare- and wage-reliant mothers in four cities. Their study plainly displays the hardship for women on welfare and the even greater hardship for mothers engaging in low-wage work. The discussion centers on how these mothers meet expenses and what survival strategies they employ to obtain basic necessities. It shows the difficulties of making a transition from welfare to work, including the critical role of child-care costs, lack of access to healthcare, and concern for the emotional needs and supervision of their children. The authors have previously written on this and related topics, Edin from Rutgers University on the economic struggles of poor women and Lein from the University of Texas at Austin on women and work. All academic and public libraries will want this important and timely study.?Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.