Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2007. Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Poverty Spells

07/31/2007

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1993-1995 and 2001-2003 Periods, by Length of Spell

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1993-1995 and 2001-2003 Periods, by Length of Spell

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993 and 2001 panels.


  • About half of all poverty spells that began between 2001 and 2003 ended within four months, and 77 percent ended within one year. Only 15 percent of all such spells were longer than 20 months, as shown in Table ECON 5a.
  • Spells of poverty that began between 1993 and 1995 were similar to those between 2001 and 2003; 47 percent ended within four months and 16 percent were longer than 20 months.
  • Poverty spells among adults ages 65 and older were more likely to last longer than 20 months (21 percent) than spells among other age groups, as shown in Table ECON 5a.

Table ECON 5a. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 2001-2003 Period, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity and Age

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 panel.

All Persons 49.2 27.7 7.7 15.5
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 52.3 27.1 7.1 13.5
Non-Hispanic Black 42.1 27.4 9.4 21.1
Hispanic 45.7 29.7 7.8 16.8
Age Categories
Ages 0-5 Years 48.0 29.6 8.3 14.2
Ages 6-10 Years 48.0 28.5 7.7 15.8
Ages 11-15 Years 50.3 27.8 8.5 13.4
Women Ages 16-24 49.4 28.6 7.6 14.4
Men Ages 16-64 Years 52.0 28.3 7.6 12.1
Adults Ages 65 Years and over 47.7 23.7 7.4 21.2

Table ECON 5b. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the Selected Time Periods, by Length of Spell and Panel

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996 and 2001 panels.
1993 – 1995 47.3 28.1 8.9 15.7
1996 – 1999 51.3 29.0 8.3 11.4
2001 – 2003 49.2 27.7 7.7 15.5

 

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