Watch Hard Earned tonight on Al Jazeera America

A landmark new 6-part series about getting by in America, Hard Earned begins airing tonight, Sunday, May 3rd at 10 pm ET/7pm PT as part of Al Jazeera America's documentary series Al Jazeera America Presents.

In six one-hour episodes, the series follows the families both at work and at home, as they juggle the rising costs of housing, education, food, medical bills and more – all while working low-wage jobs. As widening economic inequality and the wealth gap continue to increase in the U.S., can these lower-income families get ahead? How are wage stagnation, student loan debt and demographic shifts in the workforce contributing to financial instability for many Americans?

The series was briefly profiled in the New York Times, quoting Elizabeth Bonta, one of the series' subjects, as stating: "You never hear about people that have credit card debt, three kids they’re putting through college or living with a stepson and modifying their life. That, I think, is the American story.”

In reviewing the film for the POV blog at, Heather McIntosh writes: "The one word that kept coming back to me throughout this series — and throughout all the Kartemquin films I have seen so far — is dignity. An unfortunate shame can accompany talking about difficult economic situations, leaving people feeling vulnerable about circumstances that often lie beyond their control. The people in this series make themselves vulnerable in talking openly and honestly about their situations, and the series deeply respects that trust and their dignity throughout in letting them tell their own stories in their own ways."

Visit for more information, including character and episode profiles, and discussion guides. Follow #HardEarned on Twitter tonight to join a live online conversation between the producers and directors of the series.

Hard Earned - Series Trailer from Kartemquin Films on Vimeo.

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View our press release as a word document.
Read an interview with Hard Earned Series Producer Maggie Bowman.