Poverty Facts is a series that provides key background
information for understanding research and policies affecting
poverty. We aim to promote informed discussion and debate on the
challenges of addressing poverty and inequality in the United
States. Poverty Facts is authored by faculty and graduate student
affiliates of the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis.
Over 11 million undocumented immigrants reside in the United States. Many arrived as children, attended school in the U.S. and consider the country their home. Over 60 percent of the undocumented population has lived in the U.S. for 10 years or more. However, undocumented students face substantial barriers to higher education due to their legal status. This brief outlines key facts about the barriers undocumented students face in terms of access to higher education.
Unstable work schedules include work hours that are variable, meaning the number of hours worked week to week fluctuates, and unpredictable, meaning workers receive little notice of when they will work. Such schedules are common in the United States and lead to earnings volatility, unpredictable incomes, and challenges in work-family management. For low-income workers, these problems may be magnified as almost 43 percent of workers making under $15,000 experience high work-hour instability and 57 percent report high schedule unpredictability.
Incarceration in the United States has a serious impact on families and on children. Incarcerated adults have children at nearly the same rates as the non-incarcerated population, and children living in families with an incarcerated parent are more likely to experience certain hardships.
For the past two decades, U.S. anti-poverty policy has coalesced around the idea that work should be at the center of anti-poverty programs. Bi-partisan welfare reform in the 1990s focused on work requirements and time limits. The growth of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which increases after-tax income for those working at the bottom of the wage distribution, has also emphasized the importance of work.