The Social Ladder

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich Book link (

Read Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich (listed in the optional texts section). Discuss the obstacles faced by the working poor as illustrated in this book, and research the cost of living for a single parent of two children in your city while working a minimum wage job. For example, how much is an apartment? Utilities? Bus fare? Health care? Food? Clothes? Opening a bank account? Your essay should also address how being poor is paradoxically expensive for those struggling to get by.

Students will write a paper approximately eight pages (3000-3200 words) in length. The paper will include a title page and reference page (no abstract) and be formatted per ASA guidelines. Students are encouraged to check the papers with before submitting the final version to the Dropbox. Note: In addition to the requirements for each option, students should specifically address how the issues of social inequality discovered through their research relate to the University’s value of community.

Value of community: The University develops hospitable Christian learning communities everywhere we serve. We foster a spirit of belonging, unity, and interdependence based on mutual trust and respect to create socially responsible environments that challenge all of us to listen, to learn, to change, and to serve.