Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Thirteenth Report to Congress. Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Poverty Spells

03/01/2014

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel (2008 – 2011).


  • Figure ECON 5 shows the percentage of poverty spells that are of various lengths for persons who became poor during the 2008 - 2011 period. Forty-three (43.2) percent of poverty spells that began between 2008 and 2011 ended within 4 months. Almost three-quarters (71.5 percent) of poverty spells during this period ended within one year while 18.4 percent of spells lasted more than 20 months.
  • Table ECON 5a shows the percentage of poverty spells for persons entering poverty during the 2008 - 2011 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 (45.6 percent) than Non-Hispanic Blacks (36.5 percent) or Hispanics of any race (42.1 percent). For poverty spells greater than 20 months, a larger percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks had long poverty spells (25.4 percent) compared to Non-Hispanic Whites (15.4 percent) and Hispanics of any race (20.1 percent).
  • When examining long spells of poverty, greater than 20 months, by age group, children 0 - 5 years of age had the highest rate (23.6 percent) and men 16-64 years of age had the lowest rate (14.8 percent).

Table ECON 5a. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

  Spells<=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
All Persons 43.2 28.3 10.1 18.4
    Racial/Ethnic Categories
        Non-Hispanic White 45.6 29.6 9.4 15.4
        Non-Hispanic Black 36.5 26.5 11.6 25.4
        Hispanic 42.1 27.2 10.6 20.1
    Age Categories
        Children ages 0-5 years 40.2 26.2 10.0 23.6
        Children ages 6-10 years 41.2 27.3 9.6 21.9
        Children ages 11-15 years 43.6 29.5 9.9 16.9
        Women ages 16-64 years 42.8 28.3 10.2 18.8
        Men ages 16-64 years 45.3 29.5 10.4 14.8
        Adults ages 65 years and over 40.5 24.6 7.0 27.8

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.

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, 2008 panel (2008 – 2011).

Table ECON 5b. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during Selected SIPP Panels by Length of Spell

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
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
2004 – 2007 47.8 26.7 12.2 13.4
2008 – 2011 43.2 28.3 10.1 18.4

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

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