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Economic Patterns of Single Mothers Following Their Poverty Exits

Publication Date
Jun 24, 2007

This report examines the employment patterns and income progression of single mothers and their families for two years after they exit poverty. The study found that 30 percent of single mothers were poor but then left poverty. Work effort was high among single mothers who left poverty: on average they worked for three-quarters of the subsequent two years following their poverty exit. Among this group of poverty leavers, 28 percent remained out of poverty for the next two years, 56 percent cycled in and out of poverty, and 16 percent reentered poverty and stayed poor over the next two years. Those who remained out of poverty tended to have higher paying jobs and more benefits (such as health insurance), and worked more hours than single mothers in the other two groups. The single mothers who stayed out of poverty also were somewhat older and were more likely to have more than a high school degree and to ever have been married. They were also much less likely to have a health limitation that affected their ability to work. [PDF - 92 pages]

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