Rising extreme poverty in the United States and the response of federal means-tested transfer programs

H. Luke Shaefer, Kathryn Edin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study documents an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty among US households with children between 1996 and 2011 and assesses the response of major federal means-tested transfer programs. Extreme poverty is defined using a World Bank metric of global poverty: $2 or less, per person, per day. Using the 1996-2008 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), we estimate that in mid-2011, 1.65 million households with 3.55 million children were living in extreme poverty in a given month, based on cash income, constituting 4.3 percent of all nonelderly households with children. The prevalence of extreme poverty has risen sharply since 1996, particularly among those most affected by the 1996 welfare reform. Adding SNAP benefits to household income reduces the number of extremely poor households with children by 48.0 percent in mid-2011. Adding SNAP, refundable tax credits, and housing subsidies reduces it by 62.8 percent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-268
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Service Review
Volume87
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Rising extreme poverty in the United States and the response of federal means-tested transfer programs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this