2006 University of Michigan Poverty Research Grants
Lloyd Grieger, Sociology and Public Policy; Jessica Wyse, Sociology and Public Policy
Rates of Long-Term Childhood Poverty Rates by Race over three Decades
We analyze changes in rates of long-term childhood poverty by race. While roughly one in three children is expected to experience poverty at some point in their childhood, long-term childhood poverty is less common and has more severe consequences for child development and the life-course. Historically, racial differences in rates of long-term poverty are starker than racial differences within a single year. Given that African-American children’s poverty reached historic lows in the late 1990’s, we examine if the proportion of long-term childhood poverty experienced by African-American children also declined.
We will compare rates of long-term poverty over three decades, from the 1970’s through the 1990’s, and attempt to determine what factors may have been the primary drivers of observed changes. We will focus on how demographic changes, such as the increase in single-mother family structure, and changes in income packages, such as expansion to the EITC, may have affected long-term poverty.
We will use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to estimate rates of childhood poverty across three seven-year waves beginning in 1973, 1983 and 1993. We estimate three alternative definitions of long-run poverty defined as: pre-tax cash income falling below the census-defined poverty line, the ratio of post-tax plus food stamp income to the poverty threshold as less than one, and the ratio of post-tax plus food stamp income to poverty threshold as less than one in greater than half of the years under observation. For each wave we will use multiple cutoffs to determine the prevalence of rates of extreme poverty. We examine the demographic characteristics of: age of household head, education of household head, number of children and family configuration. For each wave, we examine the proportion of family income derived from: father’s income, mother’s income, cash welfare, food stamps, EITC and income and payroll taxes not included in the EITC.