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Childhood Chronic Poverty Estimations: Looking Beyond a Count Index

Henrietta A. Asiamah ()
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Henrietta A. Asiamah: University of Guelph

Child Indicators Research, 2021, vol. 14, issue 1, No 8, 185-215

Abstract: Abstract Previous works have estimated the level of chronic poverty suffered by children using a count index, that is, the number of times a child was observed to be poor over a specified period of time. In addressing the question of which child suffers greater chronic poverty, this study looks beyond a count-based approach by paying attention to poverty measurement approaches that account for the timing, spacing and severity of poverty spells. This study is the first to document the poverty experiences of children in a developed nation using these intertemporal lifetime poverty measures. Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics longitudinal dataset of the United States, I demonstrate that the count index does not account for all aspects of chronic poverty. Specifically, the evidence suggests that spending fewer periods in poverty is not always an indication of less chronic poverty suffered if the depth and distribution of poverty are ignored. I compare chronic poverty experiences between groups of children based on race, age of mother at birth, region, type of household, parental educational attainment and experiences of parental marital dissolution. Not surprisingly, non-whites suffer more chronic poverty than whites. This study shows that this difference is significantly increased when the timing and spacing of poverty spells are accounted for.

Keywords: Chronic poverty; Early childhood; Poverty spells; Snapshot poverty (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s12187-020-09764-2

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