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The dynamics of poverty in the United States: A review of data, methods, and findings

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  • Stephanie Riegg Cellini

    (George Washington University)

  • Signe-Mary McKernan

    (Urban Institute)

  • Caroline Ratcliffe

    (Urban Institute)

Abstract

This paper reviews the literature on poverty dynamics in the U.S. It surveys the most prevalent data, theories, and methods used to answer three key questions: How likely are people to enter, exit, and reenter poverty? How long do people remain in poverty? And what events are associated with entering and exiting poverty? The paper then analyzes the combined findings of the literature, discussing overarching patterns of poverty dynamics, differences among demographic groups, and how poverty probabilities, duration, and events have changed over time. We conclude with a discussion of the policy implications of these findings and avenues for future research. © 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephanie Riegg Cellini & Signe-Mary McKernan & Caroline Ratcliffe, 2008. "The dynamics of poverty in the United States: A review of data, methods, and findings," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(3), pages 577-605.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:3:p:577-605 DOI: 10.1002/pam.20337
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lillard, Lee A & Willis, Robert J, 1978. "Dynamic Aspects of Earning Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 985-1012, September.
    2. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper, 1998. "An Economic Model of Household Income Dynamics, with an Application to Poverty Dynamics among American Women," CASE Papers case09, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.
    3. Mary Jo Bane & David T. Ellwood, 1986. "Slipping into and out of Poverty: The Dynamics of Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-23.
    4. Cecilia Rouse & Claudia Goldin, 2000. "Orchestrating Impartiality: The Impact of "Blind" Auditions on Female Musicians," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 715-741, September.
    5. Gottschalk, Peter & Danziger, Sheldon, 1985. "A Framework for Evaluating the Effects of Economic Growth and Transfers on Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(1), pages 153-161, March.
    6. John Fitzgerald & Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1998. "An Analysis of the Impact of Sample Attrition on the Second Generation of Respondents in the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(2), pages 300-344.
    7. Ann Huff Stevens, 1999. "Climbing out of Poverty, Falling Back in: Measuring the Persistence of Poverty Over Multiple Spells," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(3), pages 557-588.
    8. Daniel Weinberg, 2005. "Alternative Measures of Income Poverty and the Anti-Poverty Effects of Taxes and Transfers," Working Papers 05-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sheila Mammen & Elizabeth Dolan & Sharon Seiling, 2015. "Explaining the Poverty Dynamics of Rural Families Using an Economic Well-Being Continuum," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(3), pages 434-450, September.
    2. Elena Bárcena-Martín & M. Carmen Blanco-Arana & Salvador Pérez-Moreno, 2017. "Dynamics of child poverty in the European countries," Working Papers 437, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    3. Smriti Rao & Hazel Malapit, 2015. "Gender, Household Structure and Financial Participation in the United States," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 36(4), pages 606-620, December.
    4. David Brady & Ryan Finnigan & Sabine Hübgen, 2017. "Rethinking the risks of poverty: a framework for analyzing prevalences and penalties," LIS Working papers 693, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    5. Lisa Kaida, 2015. "Ethnic Variations in Immigrant Poverty Exit and Female Employment: The Missing Link," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 52(2), pages 485-511, April.
    6. Sung-Geun Kim, 2016. "What Have We Called as “Poverty”? A Multidimensional and Longitudinal Perspective," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(1), pages 229-276, October.
    7. Bruce Western & Deirdre Bloome & Benjamin Sosnaud & Laura M. Tach, 2016. "Trends in Income Insecurity Among U.S. Children, 1984–2010," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 53(2), pages 419-447, April.
    8. Kenworthy, Lane & Marx, Ive, 2017. "In-Work Poverty in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 10638, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Birhanu, Mulugeta Y. & Ambaw, Birhanu & Mulu, Yohannis, 2017. "Dynamics of multidimensional child poverty and its triggers: Evidence from Ethiopia using Multilevel Mixed Effect Model," MPRA Paper 79377, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Katherine Michelmore & Susan Dynarski, 2016. "The Gap within the Gap: Using Longitudinal Data to Understand Income Differences in Student Achievement," NBER Working Papers 22474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Anthony, Elizabeth K. & King, Bryn & Austin, Michael J., 2011. "Reducing child poverty by promoting child well-being: Identifying best practices in a time of great need," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1999-2009, October.
    12. Tammy Leonard & Wenhua Di, 2014. "Is Household Wealth Sustainable? An Examination of Asset Poverty Reentry After an Exit," Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 131-144, June.

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