Volume 39 - Article 12 | Pages 365–380 Author has provided data and code for replicating results

When working isn’t enough: Family demographic processes and in-work poverty across the life course in the United States

By Zachary Van Winkle, Emanuela Struffolino

Print this page  Facebook  Twitter

 

 
Date received:14 Feb 2018
Date published:04 Sep 2018
Word count:1916
Keywords:family processes, gender, life course, working poor
DOI:10.4054/DemRes.2018.39.12
Additional files:readme.39-12 (text file, 2 kB)
 demographic-research.39-12 (zip file, 189 kB)
 

Abstract

Background: In-work poverty, a phenomenon that engenders social exclusion, is exceptionally high in the United States. The literature on in-work poverty focuses on occupational polarization, human capital, demographic characteristics, and welfare generosity. However, we have no knowledge on the effects of family demographic processes on in-work poverty across individuals' life courses.

Objective: We estimate the risk of in-work poverty in the United States over the life course as a function of family demographic processes, namely leaving the parental home, union formation and dissolution, and the transition to parenthood.

Methods: We use data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79) and fixed effects regression models with interactions between age and each family demographic process to estimate age-specific associations between these processes and the probability of in-work poverty.

Results: In-work poverty is a common phenomenon across the life courses of our study cohort: 20% of individuals are at risk of in-work poverty at every age. However, the risk generally decreases for men and increases for women across the life course. Leaving the parental home, entering parenthood, and separation increase, while marriage decreases the risk of in-work poverty. While the associations between marital statuses and in-work poverty are stable over the life course, the associations between parental home leaving and fertility with in-work poverty vary by age.

Contribution: Our findings demonstrate the importance of family demographic processes over and above traditional stratification factors for the risk of in-work poverty. Associations between family demographic processes and in-work poverty estimated for all age groups may be grossly underestimated.

Author's Affiliation

Zachary Van Winkle - University of Oxford, United Kingdom [Email]
Emanuela Struffolino - Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Germany [Email]

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

» Longitudinal employment trajectories and health in middle life: Insights from linked administrative and survey data
Volume 40 - Article 47

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

» Coronavirus and care: How the coronavirus crisis affected fathers' involvement in Germany
Volume 44 - Article 4    | Keywords: gender

» Looking after grandchildren: gender differences in ‘when,’ ‘what,’ and ‘why’: Evidence from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Volume 43 - Article 53    | Keywords: gender

» Family changes and residential mobility among immigrant and native-born populations: Evidence from Swiss administrative data
Volume 43 - Article 41    | Keywords: life course

» Marriage counterfactuals in Japan: Variation by gender, marital status, and time
Volume 43 - Article 37    | Keywords: gender

» Women's employment and fertility in a global perspective (1960–2015)
Volume 43 - Article 25    | Keywords: gender