"$2.00 A Day" Selected for Washtenaw Reads

Friday, October 28, 2016


A powerful book delivering new evidence and ideas to our national debate on work, income inequality, and what to do about it has been chosen as the book selection for Washtenaw Reads 2017: $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin & H. Luke Shaefer.

Washtenaw Reads is a community initiative to promote reading and civic dialogue through the shared experience of reading and discussing a common book.  A panel of community members from Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti chose the book early this week from two finalist titles.

The other title under consideration was Aline Ohanesia’s Orhan's Inheritance: A Novel. Each finalist title met the criteria of this year’s theme – A Very Good Read. 



$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America is, according to the New York Times Book Revew, “A remarkable book that could very well change the way we think about poverty in the United States.”   The book received much critical acclaim, winning the prestigious Hillman Prize for Book Journalism by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, was short-listed for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize by the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the Nieman Foundation and was named a New York Times Notable Book and a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice.

After two decades of groundbreaking research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen before — households surviving on virtually no income, a level of destitution so deep as to be unthought-of in the world’s most advanced capitalist economy. Edin teamed with Luke Shaefer, an expert on surveys of the incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to one and a half million American households, including about three million children. The result of their investigation is $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, which has just been released in paperback from Mariner Books.

Where do these families live? How did they get so desperately poor? Edin and Shaefer’s compelling profiles range from families in Chicago to Appalachia to the Mississippi Delta, and through these profiles, startling answers emerge. The authors illuminate a troubling trend: a low wage labor market that increasingly fails to deliver a living wage, and a growing but hidden landscape of survival strategies among America’s extreme poor that can pull families into a web of exploitation and illegality.

A powerful exposé of the rise of a new form of poverty in the United States that defies every assumption about economic, political, and social progress made over the last fifty years, $2.00 a Day also delivers new evidence and new ideas to our national debate on income inequality.



Kathryn J. Edin, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, is the coauthor of Promises I Can’t Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage and Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work. H. Luke Shaefer, Ph.D. is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, where he studies poverty and social welfare policy in the United States. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, and received the 2013 Early Career Achievement Award, given by the Society for Social Work and Research. He has spoken before The U.S. Senate, at the White House, and at the U.S. Treasury Department, among many other venues.

Both authors will appear at the Washtenaw Reads author event, to be scheduled for February 2017 in Ann Arbor.

Libraries in Ann Arbor, Chelsea, Dexter, Milan, Northfield Township, Saline and Ypsilanti own multiple copies of $2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America and are ordering more.  Additional copies of the title are now being shipped to area bookstores. 


Washtenaw Reads 2017 will be held January and February 2017.  There will be multiple opportunities for the community to become involved.  For more information, visit the website at wread.org.




September 30, 2016

Contact Person:
Tim Grimes
Ann Arbor District Library
Community Relations

Just In

October/November 2017 New & On Order DVD/Blu-ray
A listing of DVD's and Blu-ray added to the collection in October/November 2017
View in catalog