September 04, 2008 (The Editor’s Desk is updated each business day.)

Working poor and education in 2006

Achieving higher levels of education dramatically reduces the likelihood of being among the working poor. Individuals who complete more years of education have greater access to higher paying jobs, such as managerial, professional, and related occupations, than those with lower education.

Poverty rate for persons in the labor force for 27 weeks or more by educational attainment in 2006
[Chart data—TXT]

In 2006, the working-poor rate for college graduates was 1.4 percent, the lowest by education level.

By comparison, individuals with less than a high school diploma and those with a high school diploma or the equivalent, but no college, had working-poor rates of 13.8 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

These data were collected in the 2007 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey. For more information, see "A Profile of the Working Poor, 2006," Report 1006 (PDF 69K). 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. The working-poor rate is defined as the ratio of the working poor to all individuals in the labor force at least 27 weeks.