Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1998. Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of a Poverty Spell

10/01/1998

Events that trigger the beginning or ending of a poverty episode indicate an increased or decreased likelihood of future dependence.

Table ECON 5a. Percentage of First Poverty Spell Beginnings Associated with Specific Events

  Spell Began 1973 – 1979 Spell Began 1980 - 1985 Spell Began 1986 - 1991

Note: Events are defined to be neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Work limitation is defined as a self-reported physical or nervous condition that limits the type of work or the amount of work the respondent can do.

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1968 - 1992.

First birth to an unmarried, non-cohabiting mother 4.2 5.8 7.3
First birth to other circumstances 2.3 4.5 2.3
Second (or higher order) birth 9.2 10.2 17.9
Divorce/separation 10.9 16.2 14.6
Mother's work hours decreased by more than 500 hours per year 12.5 21.4 28.6
Other adults' work hours decreased by more than 500 hours, but no change in family structure 29.0 27.6 27.7
Other adults' work hours decreased by more than 500 hours, and a change in family structure 24.6 22.9 16.3
Householder acquired work limitation 13.9 17.2 23.7
Other transfer income dropped by $1,000 or more (in 1996$) 5.9 3.5 2.9
Changed state of residence 7.5 10.0 8.0
  • During the 1986 to 1991 time period, first poverty spell beginnings were most often associated with a second or higher order birth (18 percent), a decrease in mothers’ work hours (29 percent), a decrease in other’s work hours (28 percent and 16 percent), or a work limitation (24 percent).
  • The percentages of first poverty spell beginnings associated with decreases in mothers’ work hours increased dramatically over the three time periods, from 13 percent in the earliest period to 29 percent in the most recent period.
  • The percentages of first poverty episodes associated with the householder acquiring a work limitation increased over time to nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of all first poverty spells beginning between 1986 and 1991.

Table ECON 5b. Percentage of First Poverty Spell Endings Associated with Specific Events

  Spell Ended 1973 – 1979 Spell Ended 1980 - 1985 Spell Ended 1986 - 1991

Note: Events are defined to be neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive. Work limitation is defined as a self-reported physical or nervous condition that limits the type of work or the amount of work the respondent can do.

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1968 - 1992.

Mother married or acquired cohabitor 14.2 14.0 11.5
Children under 18 no longer present 2.0 1.3 4.3
Mother's work hours increased by more than 500 hours 19.8 22.5 21.1
Other adults' work hours increased by more than 500 hours, but no change in family structure 23.7 29.5 22.5
Other adults' work hours increased by more than 500 hours, and a change in family structure 12.1 8.5 8.1
Householder no longer reports work limitation 14.3 19.1 20.1
Other transfer income increased by $1,000 or more (in 1996$) 4.2 5.3 3.8
Changed state of residence 8.9 14.0 9.5
  • Between 1986 and 1991, most first poverty spell exits were associated with increased work hours of mothers (21 percent), increased work hours for other adults (23 percent) or a change in work limitations (20 percent).
  • The percentage of first poverty spell endings associated with marriage or cohabitation decreased somewhat in the 1986 to 1991 time period relative to the earlier time periods (from 14 to 12 percent).
  • The percentages of first poverty spell endings associated with increases in transfer income remained relatively stable over the three time periods (around 4 to 5 percent).
  • The percentages of spell endings associated with a householder no longer reporting a work limitation increased between the first two time periods and remained stable between the last two time periods.

View full report

Preview
Download

"Introduction" (pdf, 47.84Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Indicators of Dependence" (pdf, 152.45Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (First Half)" (pdf, 158.1Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt (Second Half)" (pdf, 150.06Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Appendices (First Half)" (pdf, 182.84Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®

View full report

Preview
Download

"Appendices (Second Half)" (pdf, 289.7Kb)

Note: Documents in PDF format require the Adobe Acrobat Reader®. If you experience problems with PDF documents, please download the latest version of the Reader®