Washington Post/Kaiser/Harvard survey on experiences of low-wage workers

For immediate release: Monday, August 4, 2008

A new national survey by The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation, and Harvard University provides a detailed look at the real life experiences and views of low-wage workers. The survey assesses financial challenges low-wage workers face, including difficulties obtaining and paying for health care, their views about their financial and job situations and their hopes and expectations for the future.

The Washington Post is featuring findings from the survey in a series of articles that began yesterday. The telephone poll was conducted from June 18 to July 7, 2008 among 1,350 randomly selected low-wage workers nationwide. Low-wage workers were defined as adults ages 18 to 64 working at least 30 hours per week, not self-employed, and earning $27,000 or less in 2007. This income cutoff was chosen because it roughly corresponds to the bottom 40 percent of the wage distribution.

The Survey of Low-Wage Workers is the 17th in a series generated under a three-way partnership between The Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University. The three partners worked together to pick the survey topics, design the survey instruments, and analyze the results. Full survey results, methodology, and a link to The Washington Post articles are available online.

The project team included Jon Cohen, The Washington Post director of polling and Jennifer Agiesta, polling analyst; Drew E. Altman, president of the Kaiser Family Foundation, Mollyann Brodie, vice president and director of public opinion and survey research, Elizabeth Hamel and Claudia Deane, associate directors, Carolina Gutiérrez, survey analyst, and Sasha Buscho, research assistant; and Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health and the John F. Kennedy School of Government, and John M. Benson, managing director of the Harvard Opinion Research Program in the Harvard School of Public Health.


For further information contact:

Harvard School of Public Health
Robin Herman

Kaiser Family Foundation
Craig Palosky
(202) 347-5270

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Harvard School of Public Health is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu