The Economic Perspective: “The Persistence of Poverty”

Mary: This is Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at the persistence of poverty.  Mike, poverty continues to be an issue in our country.  The government puts out a snapshot of poverty each year.  But do we have any information on how long people stay in poverty?  Is poverty typically on-going or is temporary?


Mike:  Summary Answer

  • Great question, and fortunately we have a brand-new study answering it
  • Study looked at poverty from 2007 to 2018
  • Using a standard definition of poverty based on what a household earns, found 4 out of 10 people spent a least one year in poverty from 2007 to 2018
  • Note, the period did include the Great Recession
  • But on upside, study found 41% of people who were in poverty one year were out of poverty the next year
  • Also, poverty rates are higher for younger individuals but are less persistent, while rates are lower for older individuals but are more persistent
  • So poverty trends differ
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.