Into and out of poverty: Changes in the demographic composition of the United States poor, 1967-1987.
AuthorBrowne, Irene Ann.
KeywordsBaby boom generation -- United States -- Economic conditions
Poor -- United States
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe dissertation examines how changes in the race, gender and age composition of poverty over the past twenty years are linked to the unique experiences of particular birth cohorts. Demographer Richard Easterlin argues that generations born between 1944 and 1963 (the 'baby boom') face exceptional labor market competition and economic vulnerability due to their large numbers. Extending this theory, the central question of the dissertation is: Have families headed by the baby boom generation been more likely to be poor in the 1970s and 1980s compared to families headed by generations born prior to the baby boom? The findings indicate that among whites, the answer is clearly 'yes.' For African Americans, the answer appears to be 'no.' Results consistently show that the risk of poverty has been increasing with each successive generation of white family born since 1944. On the other hand, there is no evidence that black families headed by an individual born during the baby boom are more likely to be poor than those headed by previous generations. For both races, however, the most striking finding concerns the generation which was born after the baby boom. White and black families headed by adults born since 1964 are more likely to be poor compared to families headed by the older generations. The cohort effects on poverty are net of family structure, age of the family head, and period. The effects also persist controlling for employment variables which reflect labor market competition. Hypotheses about demographic trends in poverty from 1967 to 1987 are tested using multivariate analyses of a cross-sectional dataset (the Current Population Survey) and a longitudinal dataset (the Panel Study of Income Dynamics). Log-linear analyses of the Current Population Survey decompose the effects of family structure, age, period and cohort on poverty for all families as well as families headed by women. Discrete-time event history analyses of the PSID are used to model poverty among all families in any given year between 1969 and 1987. The dynamics of poverty are further examined in comparisons of nested multinomial logistic regression models of poverty entrances and exits among wives and female-headed families.