Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Intergenerational Poverty

10/01/1997

The extent to which parental poverty is associated with poverty of their children as adults illustrates a significant risk to current and future dependence.

Figure ECON 6. Poverty Transitions Between Childhood and Adulthood

Figure ECON 6. Poverty Transitions Between Childhood and Adulthood

  • Whereas only 10 percent of white children who were usually poor in childhood were usually poor in adulthood, 26 percent of black children who were usually poor in childhood were also usually poor in adulthood.
  • Similarly, 10 percent of white children who were never poor as children experienced some poverty as adults. In contrast, 26 percent of black children who were never poor as children experienced some poverty as adults.

Table ECON 6. Poverty Transitions Between Childhood and Adulthood

  Usually Poor as Child and Usually Poor as Adult Never Poor as Child and Ever Poor as Adult
White 9.8 10.2
Black 26.4 26.2

Note: "Usually Poor as Child and Usually Poor as Adult" measures the percent of children who were poor 51-100 percent of childhood who were also poor 51-100 percent of adulthood. "Never Poor as Child and Ever Poor as Adult" measures the percent of children who were never poor during childhood who were ever poor during adulthood. The table reads 9.8 percent of children who were usually poor during childhood (51-100 percent) were themselves usually poor during their observed adult years. Numbers are calculated for adults age 27 to 35 years in the 1988 PSID.

Source: Corcoran, M., "Rags to Rags: Poverty and Mobility in the United States," Annual Review of Sociology, 21:237-6, 1995.