In recent weeks, two reports have noted an increase in working Texans toiling under the federal poverty line, a notoriously stingy measure of need equaling just $17,600 for a family of three.
The Working Poor Families Project used Census data to determine that 37% of working families in Texas are "officially" poor according to federal guidelines. This makes Texas one of eleven states where more than a third of the working population remains poor.
Most astonishing, these numbers increased since 2002, when the report was last published. "Both the number and percentage of low-income families increased during this period," said Brandon Roberts, co-author of the report. "This was a time when we had solid and robust economic growth."
A second report, released by the Brookings Institute this summer, found a growing density of low-income workers in many supposed economic powerhouses, including Dallas. Both reports rely on available data from 2007, and don't take account of the recent financial crisis.