Figure 6.1 and Appendix Table E.1 display the combined income of program and control group members during each year of follow-up. Year-by-year trends in income varied considerably by site. In Grand Rapids, Detroit, and Atlanta, control group members' average combined income increased by about $900 to nearly $1,800 between years 1 and 5. In contrast, control group members' combined income decreased during these years in Portland and Riverside by about $700 and $1,050, respectively. Control group members in Columbus received about the same amount of income during years 1 and 5. Trends for program group members were similar.(9)
Impacts on Combined Income in Years 1 to 5
SOURCE: MDRC calculations from state and county administrative records.
NOTES: See Appendix A.1.
Programs may have affected income in particular years, but these impacts can be obscured when impacts are calculated for the entire five-year follow-up. For example, it would be important to know whether programs increased income during the first three years of follow-up when no control group members had access to program services. Likewise, increases or decreases in income during year 5 would suggest future trends.(10)
According to Figure 6.1 and Appendix Table E.1, program impacts on combined income were concentrated during certain follow-up years. For example, during the first three years after random assignment, the Atlanta LFA program led to significantly greater income on average for program group members than for control group members. Similarly, the Atlanta HCD program achieved statistically significant increases in combined income in years 2 to 4. However, neither Atlanta program significantly increased income in year 5 of the follow-up period. Portland also increased program group members' income above control group levels in years 2 to 5 by $400 to $600 per program group member.(11) These three programs were not the norm, however. Grand Rapids LFA and HCD were more typical. The reductions in income stemming from the two Grand Rapids programs were spread out over the entire five-year period, even though the differences were statistically significant only in years 1 and 2 for Grand Rapids LFA and years 1 and 4 for Grand Rapids HCD.
Perhaps the most troubling results were in the Riverside HCD program, which left program group members with significantly less income than control group members in each year of the follow-up period. Reductions in income were especially large in years 2 to 4, when the average program group member had between $460 and $560 less in combined income than the average control group member.