Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Long-term Poverty

03/01/2001

Figure ECON 6. Percentage of Children Ages 0 to 5 in 1982 Living in Poverty Between 1982 and 1991, by Years in Poverty and Race

Figure ECON 6. Percentage of Children Ages 0 to 5 in 1982 Living in Poverty Between 1982 and 1991, by Years in Poverty and Race

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1983-1992.


  • Among children who were ages 0 to 5 in 1982, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) never lived in poverty for any year over the next ten years.  One-fifth (20 percent) lived in poverty for one to five years and 7 percent were poor for six to ten years.

  • During the 1982-1991 period, 28 percent of black children experienced longer-term poverty of six to ten years, a percentage much higher than that for non-black children during the same ten-year period (3 percent).  Similar patterns existed in the 1972-1981 period, as shown in Table ECON 6.

  • For both time periods, the percentages of all individuals who were poor for only one to two years were much larger than the percentages of all individuals who experienced longer-term poverty.  For example, while 11 percent of all individuals were poor for only one to two years between 1982 and 1991, only 3 percent were poor for six to eight years and only 2 percent were poor for nine to ten years during the same time period.

  • Children were more likely than others to experience long-term poverty, especially poverty of nine or ten years.  Table ECON 6 shows that this pattern was true in both time periods.

Table ECON 6. Percentage of Individuals Living in Poverty Across Two Ten-Year Time Periods, by Years in Poverty, Race, and Age

Between 1982 and 1991:      
    All Persons  
  All Persons Black Non-Black
0 Years 78.8 50.6 82.9
1 - 2 Years 11.3 14.9 10.7
3 - 5 Years 5.3 14.4 4.0
6 - 8 Years 2.8 11.2 2.0
9 - 10 Years 1.8 8.9 0.7
  100.0 100.0 100.0
    Children 0 - 5 in 1982  
  All Children Black Children Non-Black Children
0 Years 73.3 40.9 79.2
1 - 2 Years 12.3 16.5 11.6
3 - 5 Years 7.5 14.8 6.1
6 - 8 Years 3.2 11.1 1.7
9 - 10 Years 3.8 16.8 1.4
Between 1972 and 1981:      
    All Persons  
  All Persons Black Non-Black
0 Years 79.2 45.6 83.7
1 - 2 Years 12.3 20 11.3
3 - 5 Years 4.6 16.6 3.1
6 - 8 Years 2.5 10.4 1.5
9 – 10 Years 1.2 7.5 0.4
    Children 0 - 5 in 1972  
  All Children Black Children Non-Black Children
0 Years 75.6 34.1 82.3
1 - 2 Years 13.1 21.7 11.7
3 - 5 Years 5.6 20.5 3.2
6 - 8 Years 3.2 11.1 1.9
9 – 10 Years 2.5 12.8 0.9

Note: The base for the percentage is individuals in the first year (1982 or 1972). Children are defined by age in the first year. This measures years of poverty over the specified ten-year time periods and does not take into account years of poverty that may have occurred before the initial year (1982 or 1972).

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1973-1992.

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