$2.00 a Day Book Summary - $2.00 a Day Book explained in key points

$2.00 a Day summary

Kathryn J. Edin

Brief summary

$2.00 a Day by Kathryn J. Edin reveals the harsh reality of extreme poverty in the United States, exploring the lives of families struggling to survive on less than $2 a day and the systemic issues that contribute to their plight.

Give Feedback
Table of Contents

    $2.00 a Day
    Summary of key ideas

    The Harsh Reality of Extreme Poverty

    In $2.00 a Day, we dive into Kathryn J. Edin's revealing exploration of the depths of extreme poverty in the United States, a situation so dire that individuals subsist on a shocking two dollars per day. Drawing on years of observation, the book showcases the invisible group of Americans who've been left out of the modern economy. Edin's clear and compassionate narrative explores the inception of this crisis during the welfare reform of the 1990s.

    The stories unfolding in $2.00 a Day are those of families devoid of cash income, meandering through a cycle of homelessness, joblessness, and despair. Despite these dire conditions, we observe the astonishing resilience and ingenuity of the affected individuals. They devise survival strategies such as selling blood plasma or scrap metal, only to fight another day in inhospitable conditions.

    A System in Crisis

    Edin's portrayal further delves into the system's failures, providing insight into the role of welfare reform in creating the two-dollar-a-day poverty bracket. The narrative presents the "welfare queen" stereotype - a myth that helped fuel the push for welfare reform in the 90s. The result was the creation of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), which, with its strict work requirements and lifetime limits, has in turn perpetuated the cycle of extreme poverty.

    Part of the grim reality exposed in $2.00 a Day is the distinctly American paradox of working people barely scraping by despite holding jobs. Edin delves into how the low-wage job market worsens the plight of the poor. Issues such as unpredictable scheduling, zero-hour contracts, wage theft, and the difficulty of obtaining full-time employment offer a bleak picture of low-wage jobs exacerbating extreme poverty.

    Living in the Abject Poverty

    Capturing the intimate details of everyday life in extreme poverty, Edin paints a vivid picture of desperate living conditions, deteriorating family structures, and neglected neighborhoods. Due to the lack of cash, the book shows us households living without basics like soap and toilet paper, while families are split apart, and children are sent away to live with distant relatives.

    The narrative in $2.00 a Day also underlines the vicious circle of challenge and defeat, as the individuals in extreme poverty repeatedly face setbacks such as eviction, theft, and violence. Despite their best efforts to escape, they often are pulled back into the depths of despair, highlighting the almost inescapable grip of deep poverty.

    Seeking Solutions

    The repercussions of extreme poverty are grave. Edin, however, doesn't leave us without hope. Towards the end of $2.00 a Day, she proposes policy changes and initiatives such as strengthening the TANF, improving the quality of low-wage jobs, and offering subsidized jobs for those unable to find regular employment. These, and more, could help alleviate the predicament of the poorest Americans.

    In conclusion, $2.00 a Day is a potent examination of an alarming, often overlooked aspect of American poverty. Through first-hand accounts and rigorous research, the book lays bare the harsh realities of living in the extreme poverty bracket, calling for systemic changes to break the cycle. While painful, it's an important read, spotlighting the people beneath commonly held socio-economic assumptions and shedding light on the unseen corners of American poverty.

    Give Feedback
    How do we create content on this page?
    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is $2.00 a Day about?

    This book explores the lives of families living in extreme poverty in the United States, surviving on just $2.00 a day. Through in-depth interviews and research, the author sheds light on the harsh realities and challenges faced by these families, and offers potential solutions to address this pressing issue. It provides a thought-provoking examination of poverty and its impact on individuals and society.

    $2.00 a Day Review

    $2.00 a Day (2015) sheds light on the reality of extreme poverty in the United States and why it's crucial to understand and address this issue. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers eye-opening stories of families living on $2.00 a day, exposing the harsh conditions and challenges they face.
    • Through detailed research and interviews, the book uncovers the systemic causes that trap individuals in extreme poverty, urging readers to confront and address the issue.
    • With its accessible language and compassionate approach, the book sparks empathy and encourages readers to engage in the fight against poverty.

    Who should read $2.00 a Day?

    • Individuals who are interested in understanding the challenges faced by those living in extreme poverty
    • Researchers and policymakers studying inequality and social welfare systems
    • Advocates and activists working to address poverty and improve living conditions for marginalized communities

    About the Author

    Kathryn J. Edin is a renowned sociologist and author who has dedicated her career to studying poverty in America. She has conducted extensive research on the lives of low-income individuals and families, shedding light on the harsh realities they face. In her book "$2.00 a Day," Edin explores the extreme poverty experienced by millions of Americans and the challenges they encounter in trying to survive on such a meager income. Through her work, she has made significant contributions to our understanding of poverty and inequality.

    Categories with $2.00 a Day

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    $2.00 a Day FAQs 

    What is the main message of $2.00 a Day?

    The main message of $2.00 a Day is the reality of extreme poverty in America and the struggles faced by families living on two dollars a day.

    How long does it take to read $2.00 a Day?

    The reading time for $2.00 a Day varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is $2.00 a Day a good book? Is it worth reading?

    $2.00 a Day is a thought-provoking and eye-opening book that sheds light on poverty in America. It is definitely worth reading for its important insights.

    Who is the author of $2.00 a Day?

    Kathryn J. Edin is the author of $2.00 a Day.

    What to read after $2.00 a Day?

    If you're wondering what to read next after $2.00 a Day, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson
    • The Big Short by Michael Lewis
    • Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Civilization by Niall Ferguson
    • No Logo by Naomi Klein
    • The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich August von Hayek
    • Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
    • Breakout Nations by Ruchir Sharma
    • The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson
    • Free to Choose by Milton Friedman