From Scarcity to Investment: The Range of Strategies Used by Low-Income Parents With “Good” Low-Wage Jobs. By: Kess L. Ballentine, Sara Goodkind, and Jeffrey Shook. 2020. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services.

Low-wage workers have borne the brunt of the changing labor market, including wage stagnation, growing income inequality, and increasingly unstable work environments. Most research on low-wage workers focuses on precarious minimum wage employment; however, some low-wage workers hold jobs earning more than minimum wage with consistent, full-time hours. This study explores strategies parents in these “good” low-wage jobs use to provide for their children, using data from in-depth interviews with hospital workers. We find workers use multiple strategies, which we categorized as scarcity, maintenance, and investment strategies to highlight the distinct types of resources and varying amount of stress associated with them. Finally, we compare the types and number of strategies parents use by hourly wage versus net household income.