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Asset Poverty in the United States, 1984-1999: Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics

  • Asena Caner

    (Levy Institute)

  • Ed Wolff

    (Levy Institute and New York University)

Using PSID data for the years 1984 to 1999, we estimate the level and severity of asset poverty. Our results indicate that the share of asset- poor households remained almost the same and the severity of poverty increased during this period, despite the growth in the economy and the financial markets. The race, age, education, and marital status of the household head, and homeownership, are important determinants of asset poverty. There seems to be a downward trend in the contribution to asset poverty of being a college graduate, a married elderly or a black head of household, a single mother, or a married person with children. The contributions of not having a college degree, being a 35 to 49 year-old household head, being a childless nonelderly couple, or being an unmarried elderly person seem to have increased. The contribution to net worth poverty of being a homeowner also went up. Descriptive statistics suggest that changes in the value of assets are more effective in transitions into and out of asset poverty than are changes in debt. Some lifetime events, such as changes in marital, homeownership, or business ownership status, are also correlated with the transitions.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Microeconomics with number 0209002.

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Length: 89 pages
Date of creation: 30 Sep 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpmi:0209002
Note: Type of Document - Microsoft Word; prepared on IBM-PC; to print on postscript; pages: 89; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Maury Gittleman & Edward N. Wolff, 2000. "Racial Wealth Disparities: Is the Gap Closing?," Macroeconomics 0004058, EconWPA.
  2. Joseph Tracy & Henry Schneider & Sewin Chan, 1999. "Are stocks overtaking real estate in household portfolios?," Current Issues in Economics and Finance, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, vol. 5(Apr).
  3. Robert K. Triest, 1998. "Has Poverty Gotten Worse?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 97-114, Winter.
  4. 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.
  5. Erik Hurst & Ming Ching Luoh & Frank P. Stafford, 1998. "The Wealth Dynamics of American Families, 1984-94," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(1), pages 267-338.
  6. Joan R. Rodgers & John L. Rodgers, 1993. "Chronic Poverty in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(1), pages 25-54.
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