Exploring the impact of the economic decline on the literacy of middle-class families in three regions of the United States

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: Bryan Anthony Bardine


This thesis seeks to examine the relationship between literacy attainment and the current recession. The impact of the economy on the global labor force has unquestionably altered the lives of many families in all over the country. Literacy development has altered the social, economic, cultural, and political development of the middle-class families, and current economic realities have become a daily discusses on news outlets around the world. The downturn of this financial crisis is transforming the way working-class families gain access to critical pieces of knowledge and skills to safeguard their position on the literacy ladder. Since money plays a key role in accessing technology, tutors, books, and higher education a collapse or economic downturn can challenge any family's social class, but it cripples the middle-class. In short, middle class families lives have been -- and continue to be -- transformed in immense ways as a result of the significant economic disparity, outflow of resources, and the desperate need answers to the social classes dilemma regarding literacy development. The intent of this study is to determine whether the elements of region, race, and place in the class sphere, age, or engagement play a rolel in maneuver through the economic downturn. Through interviews conducted on Facetime, Skype and in-person I chose three distinct families and examined how they negotiate the effect of this economic landscape on their lives and that of their communities. Using documented case studies I reveal that while the middle class' financial status is in economic upheaval, the literacy development of the children is pertinent for community engagement. In fact, literacy of middle class families preserves community literacy, engagement, and builds an infrastructure that enriches communities by example alone. Although, social, political and economic endeavors are weigh in when establishing the direct impact that the economy has on middle class families the more crucial impact however, is the economic impact on literacy development during a recession. Additionally, the roll parents take in ensuring that economics never impact engagement in the development of literacy in their families.


Literacy Economic aspects United States, Literacy Social aspects United States, Middle class families United States Economic conditions 21st century, African Americans; Black studies; education; education philosophy; gender studies; language; literacy; multicultural education; pedagogy; social research; teacher education; economy; economics; recession; economic decline; literacy; achievement; attainment; families; family; literate; literacy development

Rights Statement

Copyright 2013, author