More than a quarter of residential long-term care workers are struggling to make ends meet: Poverty and twice-poverty rates for the overall workforce, residential long-term care workers, and workers in selected residential long-term care occupations

Poverty rate Twice-poverty rate
All workers 5.3% 17.7%
All residential long-term care workers 7.2% 27.6%
Direct care workers 10.4% 40.6%
Registered nurses 0.9% 9.3%
Licensed practical nurses 4.9% 17.9%
Food service workers 10.1% 36.5%
Cleaning and maintenance workers 14.6% 39.1%

Notes: To ensure sufficient sample sizes and reflect the “normal” pre-pandemic state of this industry, this figure draws from pooled 2015–2019 microdata. AAPI stands for Asian American and Pacific Islander. Direct care workers are those in the occupational categories “nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides” and “personal and home care aides.” For definition of poverty rate and twice-poverty rate, see extended notes.

“Poverty rate” refers to the share of workers whose family income is below the official federal poverty line. “Twice-poverty rate” refers to the share of workers whose family income is below twice the official poverty line. Since the official poverty threshold set in the 1960s has not been revised to reflect low-income families’ changing shares of necessary spending, researchers often use the twice-poverty rate as a better benchmark for whether a family is able to make ends meet.

Source: Authors’ analysis of 2015–2019 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement microdata.

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