Causes of Poverty

Powerful Essays
CAUSES OF POVERTY:
Findings from Recent Research
By Amy Rynell

The Heartland Alliance
Mid-America Institute on Poverty

October 2008

Acknowledgements
Funder
This report was supported by a grant from the Chicago Community Trust.
Editorial Support
Jim Lewis, Chicago Community Trust
Amy Terpstra, The Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty
Research Team
The Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty provides dynamic research and analysis on today’s most pressing social issues and solutions to inform and equip those working toward a just global society. For more information call 773.336.6075, email maip@heartlandalliance.org, or visit www.heartlandalliance.org/maip/.
This report as well as other publications on poverty are available for download from www.heartlandalliance.org/maip/. 1

Table of Contents
1. Background on Methods

3

2. Poverty Overview: Scale and Dynamics in the United States

4

3. What is the Relationship of Macroeconomic Performance to Poverty?

6

4. What Aspects of Employment Trigger Entry into Poverty?

8

5. How Does Human Capital Development Impact Employment and Poverty
Chances?

10

6. What Household Composition Factors Increase the Likelihood that a
Family will Enter Poverty?

12

7. How Are Disability and Poor Health Linked to Poverty?

14

8. How Does the Rise in Men with Criminal Records Decrease Economic
Chances for Themselves and Their Families?

16

9. Does Being an Immigrant Impact the Likelihood of Being Poor?

18

10. Does Having Experienced Violence Increase the Risk of Economic
Insecurity for Women?

21

11. What are the Economic Consequences of Living in Disproportionately
Poor Neighborhoods?

24

12. Summary of Findings

27

13. References

29

2

1. Background on Methods
Over the past 25 years significant structural changes have occurred in the United States that have influenced poverty, making current-day poverty



References: level analysis. Discussion Paper, 1299-05. Madison, WI: Institute for Research on Poverty. Journal of Economic Perspectives symposium on poverty. NBER Working Paper No. 11681. Retrieved January 3, 2008, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w11681 Journal of Economic Perspectives symposium on poverty. NBER Working Paper No. 11681. Retrieved January 3, 2008, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w11681 Journal of Economic Perspectives symposium on poverty. NBER Working Paper No. 11681. Retrieved January 3, 2008, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w11681 outcomes of young black men, 1979-2000. In R. Mincy (Ed.), Black males left behind. Washington DC: The Urban Institute.) 28 Mishel, L., Berstein, J., & Allegretto, S. (2006). The state of working America 2006/2007. Economic Policy Institute. Ithaca, New York: ILR Press. Blank, R. M. (2000, January 8). Fighting poverty: Lessons from recent U.S. history. Distinguished Lecture on Economics in Government

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