Moonlighting to the Side Hustle

The Effect of Working an Extra Job on Household Poverty for Households With Less Formal Education

Published in: Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, Volume 101, Issue 3, pages 324–339 (July 2020). doi: 10.1177/1044389420910664

Posted on RAND.org on September 17, 2020

by Jennifer Scott, Kathryn A. Edwards, Alexandra Stanczyk

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Although working more than one job to avoid economic hardship is not a new strategy for U.S. workers, official estimates suggest it is infrequent. These may not, however, include new conceptualizations of work like "side hustles." To understand who works multiple jobs and its effect on economic well-being, we expanded the definition and used the Survey of Income and Program Participation to estimate (a) prevalence and (b) the effect of secondary earnings on household poverty. We found that 18.2% of households held multiple jobs and that secondary earnings reduced household poverty, and more effectively for consistent multiple jobholders. Integrating this understanding into economic well-being practice and policy interventions that expand employee benefits could better support multiple jobholding as a poverty reduction strategy.

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