Education, employment, and home ownership have long been considered stepping stones to the middle class. But in Abandoned Families, social policy expert Kristin Seefeldt shows how many working families have access only to a separate but unequal set of poor-quality jobs, low-performing schools, and declining housing markets, which offer few chances for upward mobility. Through in-depth interviews over a six-year period with women in Detroit, Seefeldt charts the increasing social isolation of many low-income workers, particularly African Americans, and analyzes how economic and residential segregation keep them from achieving the American dream of upward mobility. Seefeldt explores the economic and political obstacles that have altered the pathways for opportunity.
Abandoned Families is a timely, on-the-ground assessment of hardship in contemporary America. Seefeldt exposes the shortcomings of the institutions that once fostered upward mobility and shows how sweeping policy measures - including new labor protections, expansion of the social safety net, increased regulation of for-profit colleges, and reparations - could help lift up those who have fallen behind.
The book is published by the Russell Sage Foundation.