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  • Individual Author: Mattingly, Marybeth J.; Wimer, Christopher T.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty. Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family's income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families. Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and...

    How often are low-income families pushed into poverty by their child care expenses? In this fact sheet, we use the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to assess the extent to which child care expenses are pushing families with young children into poverty. Nearly one-third (30.4 percent) of families with young children are poor. To fall under the SPM poverty line means that a family's income would be less than $26,000 a year on average, with variations by family composition and geographic location. Among poor families with young children, 12.3 percent incur child care expenses according to our analyses of the SPM. For families earning this little income, child care expense can be a burden. Of those who pay for child care, nearly one in ten (9.4 percent) are poor (Figure 1). Roughly one third of these poor families are pushed into poverty by child care expenses. This represents an estimated 207,000 families. Among families with young children who pay for child care, those with three or more children, those headed by a single parent, those with black or Hispanic household heads, and those headed by someone with less than a high school degree or by someone who does not work full time are most often pushed into poverty by child care expenses. Notably, these are also the families that tend to have the highest rates of poverty. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Pac, Jessica; Nam, Jaehyun; Waldfogel, Jane; Wimer, Chris
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young children in other developed countries around the world. In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of trends in poverty and the role of anti-poverty programs in addressing poverty among young children, using an improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure. We examine changes over time and the current status, both for young children overall and for key subgroups (by child age, and by child race/ethnicity). Our findings can be summarized in three key points. First, poverty among all young children age 0–5 years has fallen since the beginning of our time series; but absent the safety net, today's poverty rate among young children would be identical to or higher than it was in 1968. Second, the safety net plays an...

    Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young children in other developed countries around the world. In this paper, we provide a detailed analysis of trends in poverty and the role of anti-poverty programs in addressing poverty among young children, using an improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure. We examine changes over time and the current status, both for young children overall and for key subgroups (by child age, and by child race/ethnicity). Our findings can be summarized in three key points. First, poverty among all young children age 0–5 years has fallen since the beginning of our time series; but absent the safety net, today's poverty rate among young children would be identical to or higher than it was in 1968. Second, the safety net plays an increasing role in reducing the poverty of young children, especially among Black non-Hispanic children, whose poverty rate would otherwise be 20.8 percentage points higher in 2013. Third, the composition of support has changed from virtually all cash transfers in 1968, to about one third each of cash, credit and in-kind transfers today. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Gagnon, Douglas; Mattingly, Beth; Schaefer, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families. The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars. Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how...

    The federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the nation, offering tax credits to low- and moderate-earning families. The amount of EITC benefits varies by earnings and the number of dependent children in a family, with considerably more generous benefits going to families with children. In addition to the federal EITC, as of 2015, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia provided additional EITC dollars. Most state EITCs are generally structured such that they offer credits equal to a proportion of the federal EITC, varying from 3.5 percent in Louisiana to 40 percent in Washington, DC. This brief documents the estimated effects of state EITC benefits on rates of poverty in 2010–2014 using the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC). First, we examine Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) rates and average EITC benefits across states with a fully refundable EITC between 2010 and 2014, and estimate how much higher poverty rates would have been in the absence of the state EITC. Next, we analyze how trends in poverty and state EITC benefits vary by race, marital status, metropolitan status, and region among these states. Finally, we project hypothetical differences in poverty rates for non-EITC states had they adopted EITCs of various generosities over this same time period. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dalaker, Joseph
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2017

    Poverty measures convey the number or percentage of people falling below given income amounts, which are intended to represent a level of economic privation and are computed using some factually based measurement of basic needs. The poverty measures discussed in this report—the official U.S. poverty measure and the research Supplemental Poverty Measure— focus on financial resources. A family’s income is compared against a dollar amount representing some measure of need, called a threshold, which typically varies by family size and composition. Those with family income less than the threshold are considered to be “in poverty,” or poor; those with incomes greater than or equal to the threshold are not considered to be in poverty. All members of the same family have the same poverty status. The poverty measures discussed here are financial measures; they do not directly capture the physical, mental, or social effects of being poor. They were developed to accurately measure economic privation rather than to describe the full complement of resources a person or family needs to be self...

    Poverty measures convey the number or percentage of people falling below given income amounts, which are intended to represent a level of economic privation and are computed using some factually based measurement of basic needs. The poverty measures discussed in this report—the official U.S. poverty measure and the research Supplemental Poverty Measure— focus on financial resources. A family’s income is compared against a dollar amount representing some measure of need, called a threshold, which typically varies by family size and composition. Those with family income less than the threshold are considered to be “in poverty,” or poor; those with incomes greater than or equal to the threshold are not considered to be in poverty. All members of the same family have the same poverty status. The poverty measures discussed here are financial measures; they do not directly capture the physical, mental, or social effects of being poor. They were developed to accurately measure economic privation rather than to describe the full complement of resources a person or family needs to be self-sufficient. (Author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Alexander, J. Trent; Andersen, Robert; Cookson, Peter W.; Edin, Kathryn; Fisher, Jonathan; Grusky, David B.; Mattingly, Marybeth; Varner, Charles
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2017

    If we want to build authentic evidence-based policy, we need a strong descriptive foundation of evidence on the everyday experience of poverty. The National Poverty Study (NPS), which is currently in development, provides this foundation with a new “qualitative census” of the everyday conditions of poverty in rural, suburban, and urban sites. The NPS will allow us to build new evidence-based theories of poverty, evaluate and improve existing place-based antipoverty policies, validate official poverty measures, and assist local communities in improving the safety net for vulnerable populations. (Author abstract)

    If we want to build authentic evidence-based policy, we need a strong descriptive foundation of evidence on the everyday experience of poverty. The National Poverty Study (NPS), which is currently in development, provides this foundation with a new “qualitative census” of the everyday conditions of poverty in rural, suburban, and urban sites. The NPS will allow us to build new evidence-based theories of poverty, evaluate and improve existing place-based antipoverty policies, validate official poverty measures, and assist local communities in improving the safety net for vulnerable populations. (Author abstract)

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