Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008. Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Poverty Spells

12/20/2008

Figure ECON 5.
Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2001 – 2003 Period by Length of Spell

Figure ECON 5

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.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 panel.


  • Figure ECON 5 shows the percentage of poverty spells that are of various lengths for persons who became poor during the 2001 to 2003 period.  Nearly half (49.2 percent) of poverty spells that began between 2001 and 2003 ended within 4 months.  More than three-quarters (76.9 percent) of poverty spells during this period ended within one year while 15.5 percent of spells lasted more than 20 months.
  • Table ECON 5a shows the percentage of poverty spells for persons entering poverty during the 2001 to 2003 period by length of spell and demographic characteristics.
  • Among racial and ethnic groups, a larger percentage of Non-Hispanic Whites had short spells of poverty (52.3 percent) than Non-Hispanic Blacks (42.1 percent) or Hispanics of any race (45.7 percent).  For poverty spells greater than 20 months, a larger percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks had longer poverty spells (21.1 percent) compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (13.5 percent) and Hispanics of any race (16.8 percent).
  • Among age categories, the difference in the percentage of poverty spells among adults 65 years or older and other adults is notable.  Twenty-one (21.2) percent of adults ages 65 years and over had poverty spells that lasted more than 20 months as compared to 14.4 percent of women ages 16 to 64 and 12.1 percent of men ages 16 to 64.

Table ECON 5a.
Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2001-2003 Period by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

  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
Children ages 0-5 years 48.0 29.6 8.3 14.2
Children ages 6-10 years 48.0 28.5 7.7 15.8
Children ages 11-15 years 50.3 27.8 8.5 13.4
Women ages 16-64 years 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 Persons Entering Poverty during Selected Time Periods by Length of Spell

  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.

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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