Below you will find resources to help you learn more about the working poor, whether it is through books about the poor, through organizations that can help or which you can volunteer at, or data and statistics on the working poor.


Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans

One of the most influential books ever written about the poor. Back in 1936, James Agee and Walker Evans spent many weeks with tenant farmers in Moundville, Alabama. Eventually, this book was the result of their experiences. A truly unique book.

All Over but the Shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

One of the best books about the working poor. Bragg writes eloquently about growing up in eastern Alabama with an absent father and a mother who works as a cotton farmer. Bragg won The Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for Feature Writing while working as a reporter for The New York Times.

Barbara Ehrenreich

Author who has tackled the living wage issue, as well as the opposite end of the spectrum, the white collar class, and the immense pressure and job insecurity they face. Ehrenreich worked five different low wage jobs to capture the experiences of the working poor first hand.

Poor But Proud by Wayne Flynt

Wayne Flynt is Professor Emeritus in the History Department at Auburn University. He has written several books on Alabama, but for those interested in knowing more about the poor, this is the one to read. Flynt uses raw government data and other historical tools to trace the history of poor whites in Alabama and breaks a few myths in the process.

Dale Maharidge

Dale Maharidge has written about the working poor for nearly thirty years. He and photographer Michael Williamson won The Pulitzer Prize for best nonfiction work in 1990 with their book, And Their Children After Them. He is a long-time journalism professor at Columbia University. His latest book is Someplace Like America.

Someplace Like America

And Their Children After Them

Poor People by William T. Vollman

Prolific author and journalist Williams T. Vollmann offers a simple journey across the world where he asks them about being poor. He discovers the term “poor” many different things to different people.


Alabama Organizations

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

Habitat for Humanity–Tuscaloosa

Junior League–Tuscaloosa¬†


National and International Organizations

Meals on Wheels Association of America

Junior League International

Habitat for Humanity International

Works about American culture during the 1930s

Studies and Data

Working Poor Families Project

2004 Working Hard, Falling Short Report

2008 Still Working Hard, Falling Short Report

U.S. Department of Labor Statistics

Profile of the Working Poor

U.S. Census Bureau

No longer defines “working poor,” plus poverty definitions