• $2.00 a Day

  • Living on Almost Nothing in America
  • By: Kathryn Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
  • Narrated by: Allyson Johnson
  • Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 01-09-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
  • 4 out of 5 stars 4.0 (2 ratings)


We have made great steps toward eliminating poverty around the world - extreme poverty has declined significantly and seems on track to continue to do so in the next decades. Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank estimates that extreme poverty can be eliminated in 17 years. This is clearly cause for celebration.
However, this good news can make us oblivious to the fact that there are, in the United States, a significant and growing number of families who live on less than $2.00 per person, per day. That figure, the World Bank measure of poverty, is hard to imagine in this country - most of us spend more than that before we get to work or school in the morning.
In $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Kathryn Edin and Luke Schaefer introduce us to people like Jessica Compton, who survives by donating plasma as often as 10 times a month and spends hours with her young children in the public library so she can get access to an Internet connection for job-hunting; and like Modonna Harris who lost the cashier's job she had held for years, for the sake of $7.00 misplaced at the end of the day.
They are the would-be working class, with hundreds of job applications submitted in recent months and thousands of work hours logged in past years. Twenty years after William Julius Wilson's When Work Disappears, it's still all about the work. But as Edin and Shaefer illuminate through incisive analysis and indelible human story, the combination of a government safety net built on the ability to work and a low-wage labor market increasingly designed not to deliver a living wage has delivered a vicious one-two punch to the would-be working poor.
More than a powerful expose of a troubling trend, $2.00 a Day delivers new evidence and new ideas to our central national debate on work, income inequality, and what to do about it.
©2015 Kathryn J. Edin (P)2015 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books
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Critic reviews

"The story of a kind of poverty in America so deep that we, as a country, don't even think exists - from a leading national poverty expert who "defies convention". ( New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Bee on 10-02-17


Easy to follow explanation of extreme poverty in a rich country. A cautionary tale for Brits.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Jason Comely on 24-09-15

It Stays with You

$2.00 a Day is an eye-opening book but heartbreaking. It describes the daily grind and many unseen hardships of people with practically no income.

Allyson Johnson did a wonderful job narrating the book.

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22 of 23 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Daryl on 14-12-15

Changed my View

I read this book months ago, and I've never forgotten it. I think about the pizza I just ordered or the amount I spend on groceries, and I wonder... if I had to live on an income of $2 per person per day... what would I do?
I am awed by the industriousness of the families profiled in this book, by their pluckiness and their togetherness, the love for their children and their spouses and their parents.
This book will change how you view poverty... and maybe that's a good thing.

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42 of 45 people found this review helpful

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