$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America


In $2.00 a Day, Kathryn Edin and H. Luke Shaefer deliver a thorough, fact-filled yet emotional account of poverty in the modern-day United States.  Drawing on decades of sociological research, they lay out the history and very human consequences of welfare rollbacks and the near-disappearance of cash assistance programs for the American poor.  By presenting both economic evidence and personal, heart-wrenching stories, Edin and Shaefer illuminate the devastating effects of severe income equality in the wealthiest nation on earth.

Recommended book pairing:  Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich.

“Two dollars is less than the cost of a gallon of gas, roughly equivalent to that of a half gallon of milk.  Many Americans have spent more than that before they get to work or school in the morning.  Yet in 2011, more than 4 percent of all households with children in the world’s wealthiest nation were living in a poverty so deep that most Americans don’t believe it even exists in this country.”

Kathryn J. Edin is a professor at Johns Hopkins University and a sociologist specializing in welfare in the United States.  H. Luke Shaefer teaches at the University of Michigan's School of Social Work and specializes in poverty among low-wage families.

Published:  2015
Length:  210 pages
Set in:  United States (various)