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Escaping Poverty through Work: The Problem of Low Earnings Capacity in the United States, 1973-88

  • Haveman, Robert
  • Buron, Lawrence

This paper documents the changes in earnings capacity poverty that occurred between 1973 and 1988. Families are 'Earnings Capacity Poor' if they are unable to generate enough income to lift them out of poverty, even if all working-age adults in the family work full-time, year round. Data from the March 1974 and March 1989 Current Population Surveys indicate that earnings capacity poverty increased more rapidly than official poverty. Much of this increase can be attributed to the rise in earnings capacity poverty among whites, intact families, and family heads with more than a high school diploma. Most alarming, the percentage of children in earnings capacity poor families is considerably higher than it is among persons over eighteen; in 1988, nearly 15 percent of children under six lived in families that could not have escaped poverty even if the adults in their family were working and earning at their full capacity levels. Copyright 1993 by The International Association for Research in Income and Wealth.

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Article provided by International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in its journal Review of Income & Wealth.

Volume (Year): 39 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 141-58

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Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:39:y:1993:i:2:p:141-58
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