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The Underclass - a year or two The Middle Class •...

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The Underclass • The underclass refers to those poor people who live in areas with high concentrations of poverty and few opportunities to improve their lives. These individuals suffer from extreme forms of segregation, resulting in a lack of good schooling and well-paying jobs. • The underclass includes about one in seven poor people and only a small percentage of the country’s entire population. Although the underclass faces persistent poverty, the poor is generally characterized as dynamic: roughly 25% of the U.S. population falls below the poverty line at some point over a ten-year period (usually due to illness, unemployment, or divorce) and remain poor for only
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Unformatted text preview: a year or two. The Middle Class • Beginning around 1970, many U.S. families found themselves working harder than ever, yet feeling that they were falling behind. For a large share of workers, earnings have stalled, forcing them to work longer hours to meet the rising costs of housing and college. • Underlying this pattern of stalled earnings are economic changes. Specifically, lower-paid service work (e.g., sales positions, computer data entry, and fast-food restaurant work) has replaced factory work. • Young people are also feeling this pinch, which is why more than half (53%) of those between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four now live with their parents....
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