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object(Timber\Post)#3742 (44) { ["ImageClass"]=> string(12) "Timber\Image" ["PostClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Post" ["TermClass"]=> string(11) "Timber\Term" ["object_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["custom"]=> array(5) { ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(14) "CC_500HJCC.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "353773" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(21166) "Public Policy Institute of California California Counts POPULATION TRENDS AND PROFILES Volume 1 Number 3 • May 2000 Trends in Family and Household Poverty By Hans P. Johnson and Sonya M. Tafoya Summary Over the past two decades, California’s poverty rates have risen substantially, both in absolute terms and compared to poverty rates in the rest of the nation. Poverty rates differ dramatically across family and household types, but they also change over time within these types. Over the last two decades, changes in the distribution of family and household types account for very little of the increase in poverty rates. Instead, the overall rise is mostly the result of increases in poverty rates within two types of households: married couples with children and single par- ents. Poverty rates for such families increased substantially in California even as they showed no change or declined in the rest of the nation. In California, the higher poverty rates for both kinds of families can be attributed to the growing proportion of households headed by less-educated, often immigrant, adults. Many of these households consist of married couples and their children with at least one working spouse. Unlike the poor in the rest of the nation, the poor in California are now more likely to live in married-couple families than in any other type of household. Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Increases in poverty are more than temporal changes due to business cycles. 2 Trends in Family and Household Poverty Introduction Despite recent declines in poverty in California, the long-term trend has been toward higher poverty rates. Over the past 20 years, these rates have increased substantially during recessionary periods but declined only moderately during times of economic growth. In 1997–98, poverty rates were substantially higher than in 1978–79, increasing from 10.4 percent to 15.3 percent.1 Both periods were characterized by economic growth. Poverty has increased much faster in California than in the rest of the country, where poverty rates rose from 11.8 percent to 12.4 percent over this same time span (see Figure 1). Before 1987, California had lower poverty rates than the rest of the country; since then, its rates have been higher (see Figure 2). By 1997–98, poverty rates in California were almost 1.3 times greater than in the rest of the country. The long-term trends indicate that increases in poverty are more than temporal changes due to business cycles. The conventional wisdom is that some, if not most, of the increases in poverty rates over the past two decades can be 1 Because of sample size limitations in the Current Population Survey, we use two-year averages for poverty rates and for household and family structure. All poverty rates are for people living in certain types of households. Similarly, household and family structure is based on the proportion of people living in certain types of households and families. Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty attributed to changes in house hold and family structure, particularly the rise in the number of families headed by single parents. In this report, we test this conventional wisdom by describing trends in family and household poverty both in California and in the rest of the country. After examining the degree to which increases in poverty can be attributed to changes in family and household structure, we also consider the respective roles of employment, immigration, and education. We find that the conventional wisdom holds for the nation as a whole, but not for California. In California, the growing proportion of households headed by less-educated, often immigrant, adults explains much of the increase. Poverty Levels and Trends Poverty, by Household and Family Type Poverty rates vary dramatically with household and family structure. For example, families headed by single parents are almost ten times more likely to live in poverty than are married couples with no children (see Figure 3). People who live in households with other unrelated individuals also have high poverty rates, whereas people who live alone have relatively low poverty rates. In many ways, variations in poverty rates by household and family type in California resemble those for the rest of the United States. For example, in both California and the rest of the country, poverty rates are lowest for married couples without children and highest for single parents with children. However, three groups have substantially different poverty rates in California than in the rest of the United States: married couples with children, single parents with children, and people who live alone. Compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country, married couples with children in California are almost twice as likely to live in poverty. Single parents with children are also more likely to live in poverty in California than similar families in the rest of the country. People who live alone in California, however, are substantially less likely to live in poverty than people who live alone in the rest of the United States. 3 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty 4 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty Changes in the Distribution of Household and Family Types Because poverty rates differ dramatically by household and family type, changes in the distribution of these types have important implications for overall poverty rates. For the purposes of our analysis, we consider these changes separately from poverty rate changes within each type of household. Although the proportion of married-couple households has been declining in California and the rest of the United States, most Californians still live in marriedcouple households. In 1997–98, over 40 percent of Californians lived in households that contained a married couple and their children, and another 23 percent con sisted of married couples living together with no children (see Table 1). The decline in families consisting of a married couple with children has been much less precipitous in California than in the rest of the United States. Indeed, Californians in 1978–79 were less likely to reside in these households than the rest of the country’s population but more likely to reside in them in 1997–98. California, often seen as a bellwether state for social change, now has a greater preponderance of nuclear family households than the rest of the nation. In California, unlike the rest of the nation, the proportion of California, often seen as a bellwether state for social change, now has a greater preponderance of nuclear family households than the rest of the nation. 5 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts In California, poverty rates have risen for five of the six family and household types considered here. For the rest of the country, however, those rates have declined for five of these family and household types. Trends in Family and Household Poverty the population living in marriedcouple households without children declined between 1978–79 and 1997–98. Many of these households, which include “dinks” (double income no kids) and “empty nesters,” have two wage earners in addition to no other residents and thus have very low poverty rates. While the proportion of the population living in married-couple households has declined, the proportion living in single-parent families has increased. Compared to the rest of the countr y, California had a higher proportion of its population living in such families in 1978–89. Since that time, however, a rise in single-parent families in the rest of the nation has closed that gap. By 1997–98, about 12 percent of the popula - tion, both in California and the rest of the nation, lived in households headed by single parents. Other notable trends include the large increase in the number and proportion of Californians living in “other families” (families that do not include a married couple). Many of these families consist of a divorced parent with adult children. The very large increase in the number of people living in such families in California at least partly reflects the increasing tendency of adult children to continue living at home rather than establishing their own households. Although the proportion of people living alone has increased nationally, that proportion has declined in California. California’s increasingly younger age structure, large immigrant population, and high housing costs at least partially explain this difference. Those over age 60 are most likely to live alone, and California has a lower proportion of people in that age group. In addition, high housing costs in California make living alone a more expensive proposition than in the rest of the country. Finally, immigrants are less likely to live alone than are U.S. natives. Changes in Poverty Rates, by Household and Family Type Over the past two decades, a remarkable difference in poverty rates between California and the rest of the United States has emerged. In California, poverty rates have risen for five of the six family and household types con- 6 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts sidered here. For the rest of the country, however, those rates have declined for five of these family and household types (see Figure 4). From 1978–79 to 1997–98, increases in California’s poverty rates were especially dramatic for single-parent families, married couples with children, and nonfamily households. In absolute numbers, the greatest increase was for single-parent families, who saw their poverty rates rise from 33.4 percent in 1978–79 to 44.2 percent in 1997–98 (see Figure 5). The greatest relative increase was for married couples with children, whose 1998 poverty rates rose from 8.2 percent in 1978–79 to 14.3 percent in 1997–98. Substantial increases in poverty rates also occurred for non-family households (18.9 percent to 25.4 percent) and other family households (10.7 percent to 15.0 percent). Poverty rates for married couples without children increased slightly, while poverty rates for people who lived alone were essentially unchanged between 1978–79 and 1997–98. In contrast to these increases in California, poverty rates in the rest of the United States declined slightly for five of the six family and household types. The lone exception, married couples with children, experienced virtually the same poverty rates in 1997–98 as in 1978–79. These differences between California and the rest of the United Trends in Family and Household Poverty 7 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty We find that the preponderance of less-educated, often immigrant, households explains much of California’s higher poverty rates. States are striking. In 1978–79, poverty rates in California were about the same or lower than poverty rates in the rest of the United States for every type of family and household. By 1997–98, poverty rates in California were greater than those in the rest of the United States for every type of family and household with one exception—people who live alone. Changes in Household/ Family Structure and Rising Poverty So far we have looked at two factors that affect overall poverty rates: changes in the distribution of family and household types and poverty rate changes within those types. In this section, we examine the degree to which each kind of change has contributed to overall poverty rates.2 2 Such an analysis gives us a sense of the importance of changes in household and family structure, but it is important to note that poverty itself could lead to changes in household and family structure. Most if not all of the modest increase in poverty in the rest of the United States can be explained by shifts in the distribution of household and family types, that is, by distributional shifts from households and families with low poverty rates (such as married-couple families) to households and families with high poverty rates (such as single-parent families with children). Without such shifts between 1978–79 and 1997–98, poverty rates in the rest of the United States would have fallen.3 In contrast, only a small amount of California’s increase in poverty can be attributed to changes in the distribution of household and family types. Even with no distributional changes between 1978–79 and 1997–98, poverty rates would have increased, largely because poverty rates increased for almost every type of household and family in the state. Why California Poverty Rates Are Higher If changes in household and family type do not explain the rise in poverty in California, what does? Of course there are myriad 3 Again, this assumes that poverty rates for a given household or family type are not affected by changes in the distribution of households and families. determinants of poverty. Here we examine the role of education, employment, and immigration, focusing on poverty among two groups: married couples with chil dren and single parents with chil dren. These two groups account for almost 7 in 10 impoverished Californians (see Figure 7) and 72 percent of the increase in the number of people in poverty between 1978–79 and 1997–98. We find that the preponderance of less-educated, often immigrant, households explains much of California’s higher poverty rates. Among married couples with children, the increase in poverty in California is not due to a decline in labor force participation but rather to an increase in po verty among working families.4 The vast majority of married-couple families in California contain at least one worker (95 percent in 1996–98). In 1978–79, working married couples with children had similar poverty rates in California as in the rest of the United States (6 percent). By 1997–98, however, poverty rates for working married couples with children in California had doubled to 12 percent whereas those in the rest of the nation remained mostly unchanged (see Figure 8). Many of these working poor households are headed by an immi- 4 We define working families as those containing at least one worker. 8 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts grant with little education. In 1996–98, 43 percent of California’s married couples with children were headed by an immigrant, compared to only 11 percent in the rest of the country (see Table 2).5 Half of the immigrant heads of these households in California had not completed high school. Poverty rates are particularly high for this large group of poorly educated immigrants (see Table 3). Most of the difference in po verty between married couples with children in California and their counterparts in the rest of the United States is due to the large concentration of poorly educated immigrants in California. Among single parents, the large increase in poverty rates in California is at least partly attributable to two factors: a rapid rise in the percentage of never-married mothers and increasing poverty rates for these same mothers. In California, the share of nevermarried single mothers among all single parents increased from 14 percent in 1978–80 to 37 percent in 1996–98. At the same time, poverty rates for never-married parents in California increased from 52 percent to 55 percent, or about twice the rate for divorced 5 The March Current Population Surveys did not begin collecting information on immi grant status until 1994. Because of sample size limitations, we combine three years of survey data when examining factors associat ed with poverty for a specific type of household or family. Trends in Family and Household Poverty 9 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts 10 Trends in Family and Household Poverty or separated mothers. The rest of the United States experienced an almost equally dramatic shift in marital status toward nevermarried mothers (17 percent to 38 percent), but unlike California, this shift was countered by a substantial decline in poverty rates among never-married mothers, which declined 12 percent between 1978–80 and 1996–98. Increasing poverty rates of single parents in California can also be attributed to an increase in the number of less-educated single parents. Relative to the rest of the country, California has a high proportion of single parents who have not graduated from high school (see Table 3). The majority of these parents are immigrants, who, like their U.S. native counterparts, have very high poverty rates (see Table 4). Conclusion Much if not all of the relatively modest increase in poverty in the rest of the United States can be explained by shifts from house holds and families that have low poverty rates (such as marriedcouple families) to households and families that have high poverty rates (such as single-parent families with children). In contrast, only a small amount of California’s increase in poverty can be attributed to such changes. Instead, poverty rates in California increased for Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty almost every type of household and family. The relative increase in California’s poverty rates is undoubtedly due to some of the factors that have led to California’s relative increase in income inequality. Those factors include education and immigration (Reed, 1999). We find that for all household types, poverty rates are higher for immigrants than for U.S.-born residents and are higher for households headed by an adult with relatively little education. For most household and family types, these two factors — education and immigrant status — explain most if not all of the difference in poverty rates between California and the rest of the countr y. Unlike the rest of the countr y, California has experienced substantial increases in poverty not only among family types most economically vulnerable (such as single-parent families), but also among family types generally considered to be more economically robust (married-couple families). In particular, we note a substantial increase in the number of working poor married couples with children in California. x California Counts will be available by e-mail soon. Subscribe now to receive future editions of California Counts, a FREE publication of PPIC, by e-mail instead of by mail. See the enclosed card for details. References Dalaker, Joseph, Poverty in the United States: 1998, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-207, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1999. Fisher, Gordon M., “The Development and History of the Poverty Thresholds,” Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1992. Reed, Deborah S., California’s Rising Income Inequality: Causes and Concerns, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, 1999. Institute for Research on Poverty, “Revising the Poverty Measure,” Focus, Vol. 19, No. 2, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1998. Institute for Research on Poverty, “The Poverty Measure: A Brief History,” University of Wisconsin, Madison, http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irp/faq2.htm, 2000. 11 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty Board of Directors David A. Coulter, Chair Partner The Beacon Group William K. Coblentz Partner Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP Edward K. Hamilton Chairman Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities David W. Lyon President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Cheryl White Mason Partner O’Melveny & Myers Arjay Miller Dean Emeritus Graduate School of Business Stanford University A. Alan Post Former State Legislative Analyst State of California Cynthia A. Telles Department of Psychiatry UCLA School of Medicine Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board The Irvine Company Harold M. Williams President Emeritus The J. Paul Getty Trust and Of Counsel Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP The Public Policy Institute of California is a private, nonprofit research organization established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. The Institute conducts independent, objective, nonpartisan research on the economic, social, and political issues affecting Californians. The Institute’s goal is to raise public awareness of these issues and give elected representatives and other public officials in California a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 800 • San Francisco, California 94111 Telephone: (415) 291-4400 • Fax: (415) 291-4401 • info@ppic.org • www.ppic.org PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 800 San Francisco, California 94111 NON-PROFIT ORG. U.S. POSTAGE PAID SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA PERMIT #655" } ["___content":protected]=> string(106) "

CC 500HJCC

" ["_permalink":protected]=> string(83) "https://www.ppic.org/publication/trends-in-family-and-household-poverty/cc_500hjcc/" ["_next":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_prev":protected]=> array(0) { } ["_css_class":protected]=> NULL ["id"]=> int(8105) ["ID"]=> int(8105) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "1" ["post_content"]=> string(0) "" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-05-20 02:34:55" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(3206) ["post_status"]=> string(7) "inherit" ["post_title"]=> string(10) "CC 500HJCC" ["post_type"]=> string(10) "attachment" ["slug"]=> string(10) "cc_500hjcc" ["__type":protected]=> NULL ["_wp_attached_file"]=> string(14) "CC_500HJCC.pdf" ["wpmf_size"]=> string(6) "353773" ["wpmf_filetype"]=> string(3) "pdf" ["wpmf_order"]=> string(1) "0" ["searchwp_content"]=> string(21166) "Public Policy Institute of California California Counts POPULATION TRENDS AND PROFILES Volume 1 Number 3 • May 2000 Trends in Family and Household Poverty By Hans P. Johnson and Sonya M. Tafoya Summary Over the past two decades, California’s poverty rates have risen substantially, both in absolute terms and compared to poverty rates in the rest of the nation. Poverty rates differ dramatically across family and household types, but they also change over time within these types. Over the last two decades, changes in the distribution of family and household types account for very little of the increase in poverty rates. Instead, the overall rise is mostly the result of increases in poverty rates within two types of households: married couples with children and single par- ents. Poverty rates for such families increased substantially in California even as they showed no change or declined in the rest of the nation. In California, the higher poverty rates for both kinds of families can be attributed to the growing proportion of households headed by less-educated, often immigrant, adults. Many of these households consist of married couples and their children with at least one working spouse. Unlike the poor in the rest of the nation, the poor in California are now more likely to live in married-couple families than in any other type of household. Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Increases in poverty are more than temporal changes due to business cycles. 2 Trends in Family and Household Poverty Introduction Despite recent declines in poverty in California, the long-term trend has been toward higher poverty rates. Over the past 20 years, these rates have increased substantially during recessionary periods but declined only moderately during times of economic growth. In 1997–98, poverty rates were substantially higher than in 1978–79, increasing from 10.4 percent to 15.3 percent.1 Both periods were characterized by economic growth. Poverty has increased much faster in California than in the rest of the country, where poverty rates rose from 11.8 percent to 12.4 percent over this same time span (see Figure 1). Before 1987, California had lower poverty rates than the rest of the country; since then, its rates have been higher (see Figure 2). By 1997–98, poverty rates in California were almost 1.3 times greater than in the rest of the country. The long-term trends indicate that increases in poverty are more than temporal changes due to business cycles. The conventional wisdom is that some, if not most, of the increases in poverty rates over the past two decades can be 1 Because of sample size limitations in the Current Population Survey, we use two-year averages for poverty rates and for household and family structure. All poverty rates are for people living in certain types of households. Similarly, household and family structure is based on the proportion of people living in certain types of households and families. Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty attributed to changes in house hold and family structure, particularly the rise in the number of families headed by single parents. In this report, we test this conventional wisdom by describing trends in family and household poverty both in California and in the rest of the country. After examining the degree to which increases in poverty can be attributed to changes in family and household structure, we also consider the respective roles of employment, immigration, and education. We find that the conventional wisdom holds for the nation as a whole, but not for California. In California, the growing proportion of households headed by less-educated, often immigrant, adults explains much of the increase. Poverty Levels and Trends Poverty, by Household and Family Type Poverty rates vary dramatically with household and family structure. For example, families headed by single parents are almost ten times more likely to live in poverty than are married couples with no children (see Figure 3). People who live in households with other unrelated individuals also have high poverty rates, whereas people who live alone have relatively low poverty rates. In many ways, variations in poverty rates by household and family type in California resemble those for the rest of the United States. For example, in both California and the rest of the country, poverty rates are lowest for married couples without children and highest for single parents with children. However, three groups have substantially different poverty rates in California than in the rest of the United States: married couples with children, single parents with children, and people who live alone. Compared to their counterparts in the rest of the country, married couples with children in California are almost twice as likely to live in poverty. Single parents with children are also more likely to live in poverty in California than similar families in the rest of the country. People who live alone in California, however, are substantially less likely to live in poverty than people who live alone in the rest of the United States. 3 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty 4 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty Changes in the Distribution of Household and Family Types Because poverty rates differ dramatically by household and family type, changes in the distribution of these types have important implications for overall poverty rates. For the purposes of our analysis, we consider these changes separately from poverty rate changes within each type of household. Although the proportion of married-couple households has been declining in California and the rest of the United States, most Californians still live in marriedcouple households. In 1997–98, over 40 percent of Californians lived in households that contained a married couple and their children, and another 23 percent con sisted of married couples living together with no children (see Table 1). The decline in families consisting of a married couple with children has been much less precipitous in California than in the rest of the United States. Indeed, Californians in 1978–79 were less likely to reside in these households than the rest of the country’s population but more likely to reside in them in 1997–98. California, often seen as a bellwether state for social change, now has a greater preponderance of nuclear family households than the rest of the nation. In California, unlike the rest of the nation, the proportion of California, often seen as a bellwether state for social change, now has a greater preponderance of nuclear family households than the rest of the nation. 5 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts In California, poverty rates have risen for five of the six family and household types considered here. For the rest of the country, however, those rates have declined for five of these family and household types. Trends in Family and Household Poverty the population living in marriedcouple households without children declined between 1978–79 and 1997–98. Many of these households, which include “dinks” (double income no kids) and “empty nesters,” have two wage earners in addition to no other residents and thus have very low poverty rates. While the proportion of the population living in married-couple households has declined, the proportion living in single-parent families has increased. Compared to the rest of the countr y, California had a higher proportion of its population living in such families in 1978–89. Since that time, however, a rise in single-parent families in the rest of the nation has closed that gap. By 1997–98, about 12 percent of the popula - tion, both in California and the rest of the nation, lived in households headed by single parents. Other notable trends include the large increase in the number and proportion of Californians living in “other families” (families that do not include a married couple). Many of these families consist of a divorced parent with adult children. The very large increase in the number of people living in such families in California at least partly reflects the increasing tendency of adult children to continue living at home rather than establishing their own households. Although the proportion of people living alone has increased nationally, that proportion has declined in California. California’s increasingly younger age structure, large immigrant population, and high housing costs at least partially explain this difference. Those over age 60 are most likely to live alone, and California has a lower proportion of people in that age group. In addition, high housing costs in California make living alone a more expensive proposition than in the rest of the country. Finally, immigrants are less likely to live alone than are U.S. natives. Changes in Poverty Rates, by Household and Family Type Over the past two decades, a remarkable difference in poverty rates between California and the rest of the United States has emerged. In California, poverty rates have risen for five of the six family and household types con- 6 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts sidered here. For the rest of the country, however, those rates have declined for five of these family and household types (see Figure 4). From 1978–79 to 1997–98, increases in California’s poverty rates were especially dramatic for single-parent families, married couples with children, and nonfamily households. In absolute numbers, the greatest increase was for single-parent families, who saw their poverty rates rise from 33.4 percent in 1978–79 to 44.2 percent in 1997–98 (see Figure 5). The greatest relative increase was for married couples with children, whose 1998 poverty rates rose from 8.2 percent in 1978–79 to 14.3 percent in 1997–98. Substantial increases in poverty rates also occurred for non-family households (18.9 percent to 25.4 percent) and other family households (10.7 percent to 15.0 percent). Poverty rates for married couples without children increased slightly, while poverty rates for people who lived alone were essentially unchanged between 1978–79 and 1997–98. In contrast to these increases in California, poverty rates in the rest of the United States declined slightly for five of the six family and household types. The lone exception, married couples with children, experienced virtually the same poverty rates in 1997–98 as in 1978–79. These differences between California and the rest of the United Trends in Family and Household Poverty 7 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty We find that the preponderance of less-educated, often immigrant, households explains much of California’s higher poverty rates. States are striking. In 1978–79, poverty rates in California were about the same or lower than poverty rates in the rest of the United States for every type of family and household. By 1997–98, poverty rates in California were greater than those in the rest of the United States for every type of family and household with one exception—people who live alone. Changes in Household/ Family Structure and Rising Poverty So far we have looked at two factors that affect overall poverty rates: changes in the distribution of family and household types and poverty rate changes within those types. In this section, we examine the degree to which each kind of change has contributed to overall poverty rates.2 2 Such an analysis gives us a sense of the importance of changes in household and family structure, but it is important to note that poverty itself could lead to changes in household and family structure. Most if not all of the modest increase in poverty in the rest of the United States can be explained by shifts in the distribution of household and family types, that is, by distributional shifts from households and families with low poverty rates (such as married-couple families) to households and families with high poverty rates (such as single-parent families with children). Without such shifts between 1978–79 and 1997–98, poverty rates in the rest of the United States would have fallen.3 In contrast, only a small amount of California’s increase in poverty can be attributed to changes in the distribution of household and family types. Even with no distributional changes between 1978–79 and 1997–98, poverty rates would have increased, largely because poverty rates increased for almost every type of household and family in the state. Why California Poverty Rates Are Higher If changes in household and family type do not explain the rise in poverty in California, what does? Of course there are myriad 3 Again, this assumes that poverty rates for a given household or family type are not affected by changes in the distribution of households and families. determinants of poverty. Here we examine the role of education, employment, and immigration, focusing on poverty among two groups: married couples with chil dren and single parents with chil dren. These two groups account for almost 7 in 10 impoverished Californians (see Figure 7) and 72 percent of the increase in the number of people in poverty between 1978–79 and 1997–98. We find that the preponderance of less-educated, often immigrant, households explains much of California’s higher poverty rates. Among married couples with children, the increase in poverty in California is not due to a decline in labor force participation but rather to an increase in po verty among working families.4 The vast majority of married-couple families in California contain at least one worker (95 percent in 1996–98). In 1978–79, working married couples with children had similar poverty rates in California as in the rest of the United States (6 percent). By 1997–98, however, poverty rates for working married couples with children in California had doubled to 12 percent whereas those in the rest of the nation remained mostly unchanged (see Figure 8). Many of these working poor households are headed by an immi- 4 We define working families as those containing at least one worker. 8 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts grant with little education. In 1996–98, 43 percent of California’s married couples with children were headed by an immigrant, compared to only 11 percent in the rest of the country (see Table 2).5 Half of the immigrant heads of these households in California had not completed high school. Poverty rates are particularly high for this large group of poorly educated immigrants (see Table 3). Most of the difference in po verty between married couples with children in California and their counterparts in the rest of the United States is due to the large concentration of poorly educated immigrants in California. Among single parents, the large increase in poverty rates in California is at least partly attributable to two factors: a rapid rise in the percentage of never-married mothers and increasing poverty rates for these same mothers. In California, the share of nevermarried single mothers among all single parents increased from 14 percent in 1978–80 to 37 percent in 1996–98. At the same time, poverty rates for never-married parents in California increased from 52 percent to 55 percent, or about twice the rate for divorced 5 The March Current Population Surveys did not begin collecting information on immi grant status until 1994. Because of sample size limitations, we combine three years of survey data when examining factors associat ed with poverty for a specific type of household or family. Trends in Family and Household Poverty 9 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts 10 Trends in Family and Household Poverty or separated mothers. The rest of the United States experienced an almost equally dramatic shift in marital status toward nevermarried mothers (17 percent to 38 percent), but unlike California, this shift was countered by a substantial decline in poverty rates among never-married mothers, which declined 12 percent between 1978–80 and 1996–98. Increasing poverty rates of single parents in California can also be attributed to an increase in the number of less-educated single parents. Relative to the rest of the country, California has a high proportion of single parents who have not graduated from high school (see Table 3). The majority of these parents are immigrants, who, like their U.S. native counterparts, have very high poverty rates (see Table 4). Conclusion Much if not all of the relatively modest increase in poverty in the rest of the United States can be explained by shifts from house holds and families that have low poverty rates (such as marriedcouple families) to households and families that have high poverty rates (such as single-parent families with children). In contrast, only a small amount of California’s increase in poverty can be attributed to such changes. Instead, poverty rates in California increased for Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty almost every type of household and family. The relative increase in California’s poverty rates is undoubtedly due to some of the factors that have led to California’s relative increase in income inequality. Those factors include education and immigration (Reed, 1999). We find that for all household types, poverty rates are higher for immigrants than for U.S.-born residents and are higher for households headed by an adult with relatively little education. For most household and family types, these two factors — education and immigrant status — explain most if not all of the difference in poverty rates between California and the rest of the countr y. Unlike the rest of the countr y, California has experienced substantial increases in poverty not only among family types most economically vulnerable (such as single-parent families), but also among family types generally considered to be more economically robust (married-couple families). In particular, we note a substantial increase in the number of working poor married couples with children in California. x California Counts will be available by e-mail soon. Subscribe now to receive future editions of California Counts, a FREE publication of PPIC, by e-mail instead of by mail. See the enclosed card for details. References Dalaker, Joseph, Poverty in the United States: 1998, U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, Series P60-207, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., 1999. Fisher, Gordon M., “The Development and History of the Poverty Thresholds,” Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 55, No. 4, 1992. Reed, Deborah S., California’s Rising Income Inequality: Causes and Concerns, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco, California, 1999. Institute for Research on Poverty, “Revising the Poverty Measure,” Focus, Vol. 19, No. 2, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1998. Institute for Research on Poverty, “The Poverty Measure: A Brief History,” University of Wisconsin, Madison, http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/irp/faq2.htm, 2000. 11 Public Policy Institute of California California Counts Trends in Family and Household Poverty Board of Directors David A. Coulter, Chair Partner The Beacon Group William K. Coblentz Partner Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP Edward K. Hamilton Chairman Hamilton, Rabinovitz & Alschuler, Inc. Walter B. Hewlett Director Center for Computer Assisted Research in the Humanities David W. Lyon President and CEO Public Policy Institute of California Cheryl White Mason Partner O’Melveny & Myers Arjay Miller Dean Emeritus Graduate School of Business Stanford University A. Alan Post Former State Legislative Analyst State of California Cynthia A. Telles Department of Psychiatry UCLA School of Medicine Raymond L. Watson Vice Chairman of the Board The Irvine Company Harold M. Williams President Emeritus The J. Paul Getty Trust and Of Counsel Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP The Public Policy Institute of California is a private, nonprofit research organization established in 1994 with an endowment from William R. Hewlett. The Institute conducts independent, objective, nonpartisan research on the economic, social, and political issues affecting Californians. The Institute’s goal is to raise public awareness of these issues and give elected representatives and other public officials in California a more informed basis for developing policies and programs. PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 800 • San Francisco, California 94111 Telephone: (415) 291-4400 • Fax: (415) 291-4401 • info@ppic.org • www.ppic.org PUBLIC POLICY INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA 500 Washington Street, Suite 800 San Francisco, California 94111 NON-PROFIT ORG. 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