The Missing Class
Portraits of the Near Poor in America
Katherine Newman and Victor Tan Chen
An urgent examination of the lives of millions of hardworking Americans-neither poor nor middle class-who live without a safety net.
Named one of the Best Business Books of 2007 by Library Journal, The Missing Class gives voice to the 54 million Americans, including 21 percent of the nation’s children, who are sandwiched between poor and middle class. While government programs help the needy and politicians woo the more fortunate, the “Missing Class” is largely invisible and ignored. Through the experiences of nine families, Katherine Newman and Victor Tan Chen trace the unique problems faced by individuals in this large and growing demographic-the “near poor.” The question for the Missing Class is not whether they’re doing better than the truly poor-they are. The question is whether these individuals, on the razor’s edge of subsistence, are safely ensconced in the Missing Class or in danger of losing it all.
The Missing Class has much to tell us about whether the American dream still exists for those who are sacrificing daily to achieve it
Published by Beacon Press
Praise for The Missing Class
In this compassionate and clear-eyed analysis . . . Newman and Chen contribute significantly to the dialogue on America’s widening inequities.
— Publishers Weekly
“The Missing Class is a call to action to change America.”
— Senator John Edwards
At last, a focus on people who struggle from month to month with housing, health care and education costs but don’t fit into the government’s comfortingly minimalist definition of poverty. Newman and Chen give us a vivid, close-up, and often moving look at the urban ‘near poor.’ An excellent follow-up to Newman’s essential body of work on America’s economic anxieties.
— Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed
Just above the artificial ‘poverty line,’ millions of hard-working people struggle invisibly to gain a foothold on the promise of the American Dream. Their raw hardships and persistent hopes, collected in this book of unflinching portraits, ought to sound the alarm for an America grown complacent.
— David Shipler, author of The Working Poor: Invisible in America