The Working Poor

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The Working Poor: Invisible in America
The Working Poor.jpg
AuthorDavid K. Shipler
Publication date
Media typePrint (hardcover and paperback)
Preceded byA Country of Strangers: Blacks and Whites in America 
Followed byThe Rights of the People: How Our Search for Safety Invades Our Liberties 

The Working Poor: Invisible in America is a 2004 book written by Pulitzer Prize-winner David K. Shipler. From personal interviews and research, Shipler presents in this book anecdotes and life stories of individuals considered the working poor.[1] Using their lives as examples, he illustrates the struggles the working poor face while attempting to escape poverty. Throughout the book, the author describes numerous economic issues preventing the working poor from escaping poverty.

Shipler explores some flaws of comparative advantages. One case is illustrated by clothing companies who hire contractors that hire illegal immigrants. The contractors pay employees below the minimum wage to work in low quality sweatshops for hours, exceeding the legal limit.[2]

The New York Times review stated, "Mr. Shipler avoids saying anything too controversial and as a result his book seems unlikely to change minds on either the left or the right. ... Nonetheless, by exposing the wretched condition of these invisible Americans, he has performed a noble and badly needed service."[1] The San Francisco Chronicle reviewer wrote, "Shipler is informative, sometimes outraged, and often eloquent in rendering the working poor visible", but also noted that "the author appears to hope for good will from above, within the system, to carry out his suggestions."[3]


  1. ^ a b Michael, Massing (February 18, 2004). "Books Of The Times; Take This Job and Be Thankful (for $6.80 an Hour)". The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 21, 2018. Retrieved May 15, 2011.
  2. ^ Suskind, Ron (February 15, 2004). "Can't Win for Losing". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  3. ^ Glass, Fred (March 7, 2004). "Stuck at the bottom: There is no easy answer for the working poor". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 4, 2005. Retrieved May 15, 2011.