Getting into Poverty Without a Husband, and Getting Out, With or Without

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1988

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Abstract

Interest in the poverty of U.S. women with children but without husbands stems from numerous sources including (i) the secular growth of this demographic group-up 110 percent since 1970 to a total of 6 million (almost 20 percent of all families) in 1985; (ii) the high poverty rates of these women -34 percent in 1985; (iii) the overrepresentation of blacks in this group-about 42 percent in 1985; (iv) the increasing fraction of children raised in these families-over 16 percent in 1984 vs. 6 percent in 1959; and (v) the size of government transfers to this particular group-almost $17 billion for income support under the AFDC program alone in 1985.1 Our research uncovers some important racial similarities as well as stark differences in how women enter and exit single-mother poverty status.

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