Measures of Material Hardship: Final Report. Household Characteristic Measures

04/01/2004

In our analyses, basic needs, food security and other material hardship measures have been cross-tabulated with several measures of household characteristics. The following sections describe how the household characteristic measures were constructed.

Income relative to federal poverty level (FPL): Total household income is reported for the last month of Wave 8. This is compared with the federal poverty line (FPL), conditional on household size, and households are classed as: under 100% of FPL, 100-200% of FPL, and over 200% of FPL. These three groups comprise 15, 21, and 64% of the weighted sample, respectively.

Assets: Household assets were measured in Wave 6 (months before the administration of the Adult Well-Being Module) for the household that includes the person responding to the Adult Well-Being Module.(15) Assets are defined in terms of the money available in respondents' savings and checking accounts. Households are classified as having liquid assets up to $100, and greater than or equal to $100. The latter group comprises 66% of the weighted sample, thus being similar in size to the highest of the three income groups.

Urban/Rural: Households are classified according to whether they are identified in the SIPP as residing in a metropolitan or non-metropolitan area. For purposes of confidentiality, the public use data were altered, with 10% of true metropolitan area residents classified as living in non-metropolitan areas. Hence, the results for non-metropolitan areas are not completely accurate, and it might be more correct to refer to this group as "residual" rather than "rural." Households classified as urban comprise 82% of the sample.

Household Composition: All households included in these analyses include dependent children. They are further classified according to whether they include a single adult, a married couple, or multiple adults with no married couple. The presence of a married couple in the household is determined based on the RHTYPE variable (1=married couple present). Married couple households account for 70% of the weighted sample, while single-adult and other multiple adult configurations account for 16 and 13%, respectively.

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