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Low-Wage America: Laressa Matthews

Laressa Matthews with three of the eight children in her home daycare center -- from left, 18-month-old Tasia, Abigail, 4, and 2-year-old Destiny.
Noah Adams, NPR /
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Laressa Matthews with three of the eight children in her home daycare center -- from left, 18-month-old Tasia, Abigail, 4, and 2-year-old Destiny.

Laressa Matthews operates a day care center out of her home's basement in Balitmore. Her day is 13 hours long, beginning at 5 a.m.

She cares for eight children ranging in age from from just over 1 year to 12. She's one of tens of millions of low-wage workers in the United States, with no health care, no savings and no safety net.

NPR's Noah Adams spends the day with Matthews as she feeds, cares for and teaches the children while their mothers -- some of them low-wage workers themselves -- struggle to make a living.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Noah Adams, long-time co-host of NPR's All Things Considered, brings more than three decades of radio experience to his current job as a contributing correspondent for NPR's National Desk., focusing on the low-wage workforce, farm issues, and the Katrina aftermath. Now based in Ohio, he travels extensively for his reporting assignments, a position he's held since 2003.