The Missing Class

Sub-titled "portraits of the near poor in America",  The Missing Class by Katherine S Newman and Victor Tan Chen was frankly a disappointment to me.   While the title and introduction suggest the authors are doing an analysis of American families with incomes between twenty and forty thousand dollars per year,  the book is very tightly focused on a number of black families in various Brookly, New York neighborhoods.   Most all of these families have previously been on welfare but are now working and no longer collecting benefits.    As someone whose household income falls squarely between the stated bench marks,   I was already well aware that being near poor and receiving no government benefits actually leaves one somewhat worse off than being truly poor and receiving full benefits.   What the authors seem to not realize or at least never acknowledge is that there are many "near-poor" families all over the United States,  many of which have never received welfare of any kind,  many of which are not black, not uneducated or poorly educated who struggle day to day just like the featured families in Brooklyn.    While I did find the profiles mildly interesting,  I was very put off by the authors’ very narrow focus and ultimately found the book to be a great disappointment.   The Missing Class—  Not Recommended.

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