Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations

54 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2005 Last revised: 3 Jun 2021

See all articles by Hilary Williamson Hoynes

Hilary Williamson Hoynes

University of California, Berkeley; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Marianne Page

University of California, Davis

Ann Huff Stevens

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2005

Abstract

Despite robust growth in real per capita GDP over the last three decades, the U.S. poverty rate has changed very little. In an effort to better understand this disconnect, we document and quantify the relationship between poverty and four different factors that may affect poverty and its evolution over time: labor market opportunities, family structure, anti-poverty programs, and immigration. We find that the relationship between the macro-economy and poverty has weakened over time. Nevertheless, changes in labor market opportunities predict changes in the poverty rate rather well. We also find that changes in female labor supply should have reduced poverty, but was counteracted by an increase in the rate of female headship. Changes in the number and composition of immigrants and changes in the generosity of anti-poverty programs seem to have had little effect.

Suggested Citation

Hoynes, Hilary Williamson and Page, Marianne and Stevens, Ann, Poverty in America: Trends and Explanations (October 2005). NBER Working Paper No. w11681, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=823184

Hilary Williamson Hoynes (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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IZA Institute of Labor Economics

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Marianne Page

University of California, Davis ( email )

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Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States
530-752-1551 (Phone)

Ann Stevens

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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