Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Economic Security Risk Factor 4. Long-term Poverty

10/01/1997

As with welfare, poverty experiences often occur in a number of discrete episodes. Measures that illustrate the total length of poverty episodes reveal an important aspect of the severity of the risk of dependence.

Figure ECON 4. Percent of Children Age 0 to 5 in 1972 or 1982 Living in Poverty by Number of Years in Poverty

Figure ECON 4. Percent of Individuals Living in Poverty by Number of Years in Poverty

  • In both time periods, approximately 75 percent of children never lived in poverty.
  • The percentage of black children age 0 to 5 who experienced longer-term poverty of 6 to 10 years was much higher than the corresponding percentages for non-black children in both time periods.
  • Table ECON 4 shows that for those individuals who were ever poor during the time period, a larger percentage were poor for only one to two years than were poor for a longer period of time.
  • Table ECON 4 also shows a higher percentage of children compared to total persons experienced long-term poverty in both time periods, especially long-term poverty of 9 to 10 years.
  • As shown in Table ECON 4, in both time periods, compared to non-black individuals and children, a much lower percentage of black individuals were never poor. Also, a much higher percentage of black individuals, relative to non-black individuals, experienced poverty for 3 to 10 years during both time periods.

Table ECON 4. Percent of Individuals Living in Poverty by Number of Years in Poverty

Years in
Poverty
All Persons: 1972 - 1981 All Persons: 1982 - 1991
All
Persons
Black Non-Black All
Persons
Black Non-Black
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
0 Years 79.2 45.6 83.7 78.8 50.6 82.9
1 - 2 Years 12.3 20.0 11.3 11.3 14.9 10.7
3 - 5 Years 4.6 16.6 3.1 5.3 14.4 4.0
6 - 8 Years 2.5 10.4 1.5 2.8 11.2 2.0
9 - 10 Years 1.2 7.5 0.4 1.8 8.9 0.7
Years in
Poverty
Children 0 - 5 in 1972: 1972-1981 Children 0 - 5 in 1982: 1982-1991
All
Children
Black
Children
Non-Black
Children
All
Children
Black
Children
Non-Black
Children
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
0 Years 75.6 34.1 82.3 73.3 40.9 79.2
1 - 2 Years 13.1 21.7 11.7 12.3 16.5 11.6
3 - 5 Years 5.6 20.5 3.2 7.5 14.8 6.1
6 - 8 Years 3.2 11.1 1.9 3.2 11.1 1.7
9 - 10 Years 2.5 12.8 0.9 3.8 16.8 1.4

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1972 - 1991.