Examining Chronic and Transient Poverty in the United States with the Supplemental Poverty Measure

Sara Kimberlin, University of California, Berkeley

Research shows that long-term or chronic poverty has a greater impact on life outcomes than short-term or transient poverty. Moreover, chronic and transient poverty are conceptually distinct phenomena calling for different policy solutions. Thus it is important to examine poverty from a longitudinal perspective. All prior research on poverty duration in the United States has used the official federal poverty measure (FPL) as its basis, but there is widespread recognition of the inadequacies of the FPL. The Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) recently developed by the U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor Statistics is a better-grounded measure, but has not yet been used to examine longitudinal poverty. This study fills that gap. Using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics from 1998 to 2008, this study identifies the extent, demographics, and correlates of chronic and transient poverty using the SPM, including the disproportionate poverty among racial minorities and female-headed households.

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Presented in Poster Session 9