Bureau of Labor Statistics

Working poor and education in 2004

June 21, 2006

Achieving higher levels of education dramatically reduces the likelihood of being among the working poor.

Poverty rate for persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more by educational attainment in 2004
[Chart data—TXT]

Individuals with higher levels of education have greater access to higher paying jobs, such as management, professional, and related occupations, than do those with lower education. In 2004, the working-poor rate for college graduates was 1.7 percent, the lowest by education level.

Persons with less than a high school diploma were those most likely to be among the working poor (15.2 percent); having a high school diploma or equivalent, but no college, reduced the working-poor rate to 6.5 percent.

These data were collected in the 2005 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey. For more information see A Profile of the Working Poor, 2004, Report 994 (PDF 87K). As defined in this report, the working poor are individuals who spent at least 27 weeks in the labor force (working or looking for work), but whose incomes fell below the official poverty level.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Working poor and education in 2004 at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2006/jun/wk3/art03.htm (visited December 05, 2021).

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