A Demographic Snapshot of Disconnected Low-Income Men. Characteristics and Risk of Being or Becoming Disconnected


Nationally, 16.5 million civilian men age 18–44 lived in families with incomes below 200 percent of FPL3 in 2008–10. Fifteen million men meet our definition of “low income”—that is, in addition to living in poor families, they are without four-year college degrees. Low-income men accounted for more than a quarter (28 percent) of men age 18–44 nationwide.

The number and share of low-income men have increased since 2000. That year, 13 million, or 24 percent of the male population age 18–44, were low income.

Low-income men are less likely to have graduated from high school and are more likely to be unemployed than men living in families with incomes above 200 percent of FPL (or “higher-income men”). Twenty-eight percent of low-income men have not completed high school.4 Low-income men are also more likely than all men age 18–44 nationally to be unemployed: 21 percent compared with 11 percent.5

Low-income men are more likely to be young adults than in their late 30s and early 40s: 36 percent of low-income men are age 18–24. Thirty percent of low-income men are age 35–44.

More than half (59 percent) of low-income men in the United States have never been married. Thirty-two percent are married, and 8 percent are widowed, divorced, or sepa-rated. Low-income men are less likely to be ever married than men in the same age group overall (41 percent versus 50 percent).

Low-income men are more likely to be immigrants (foreign born) than all men in that age group: 27 percent compared with 18 percent. Only 16 percent of low-income immigrants are naturalized US citizens, below the share for all immigrant men (28 percent).

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