Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



In the United States, it is generally assumed that getting a job is enough to make ends meet. But, in today’s labor market, where nearly a quarter of jobs pay low wages and offer no benefits, this couldn’t be further from the truth for millions of workers and their families. Work supports—programs to assist working families to access basics, such as health care, child care, food, and housing—are supposed to fill in the gaps for families, helping them to afford a safe and decent standard of living. The Bridging the Gaps (BTG) project finds that work supports work for the families who receive them. Across the ten states we studied, they close nearly half (44 percent) of the gap between a family’s earnings and needs.


Written by Randy Albelda and Heather Boushey,
with Elizabeth Chimienti, Rebecca Ray and Ben Zipperer.

Bridging the Gaps (BTG) is a multi-year, multi-state intensive research and outreach project intended to provide a full picture of public work supports in the United States. The project was led by the Center for Economic and Policy Research and the Center for Social Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston in collaboration with organizations in nine states (Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. The conclusions presented in this report represent only the views of the authors, not necessarily the views of any of the BTG state partners.

More information about the project and our partners can be found at:



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