September 20, 2000
Although the Nation's poor were primarily children and adults who did not participate in the labor force, just under 7.2 million persons were classified as the "working poor" in 1998. This was about 300,000 fewer than in 1997.
The poverty rate—defined here as the ratio of working poor to persons in the labor force for at least 27 weeks in 1998—fell 0.3 percentage point to 5.4 percent.
The proportion of women classified as working poor (6.3 percent) was higher than that of men (4.7 percent). The rate for women had been 7.3 percent in 1993 and has declined in three of the succeeding five years. The rate for men has declined steadily from its high of 6.2 percent in 1993.
These data are a product of the Current Population Survey. The working poor are individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (employed or unemployed), but whose family or personal incomes fell below the official poverty level. For more information, read BLS Report 944, A Profile of the Working Poor, 1998.