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Poverty, Assets, and Safety Net

Mother and ChildGovernment safety net programs aim to protect families during tough times—before they fall into poverty. But rising unemployment, foreclosures, and economic distress are putting pressure on a system already in need of updates and repairs.

Urban Institute experts, building on decades of welfare reform research, evaluated public safety nets and proposed new initiatives to bolster work supports and help families gain a stable financial footing. Read more.

Featured Links

Data Tools

  • NICCNet Income Change Calculator
  • TRIM3 program and poverty analysis model
  • Welfare Rules Database — tables on TANF data from each of the states and Washington D.C.

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Impact of the Great Recession and Beyond: Disparities in Wealth Building by Generation and Race (Occasional Paper)
Signe-Mary McKernan, Caroline Ratcliffe, C. Eugene Steuerle, Sisi Zhang

This paper uses over two decades of Survey of Consumer Finances data and a pseudo-panel technique to measure the impact of the Great Recession on wealth relative to the counterfactual of what wealth would have been given wealth accumulation trajectories. Our regression-adjusted synthetic cohort-level models find that the Great Recession reduced the wealth of American families by 28.5 percent—nearly double the magnitude of previous pre-post mean descriptive estimates and double the magnitude of any previous recession since the 1980s. The housing market was only part of the story; all major wealth components fell as a result of the Great Recession.

Posted to Web: April 22, 2014Publication Date: April 22, 2014

Capitol Hill Economist and Data Visualization Expert Jonathan Schwabish to Join Urban Institute (Press Release)
Urban Institute

Jonathan Schwabish, an economist with the Congressional Budget Office, will join the Urban Institute on May 7 as a senior researcher and data visualization expert. A leading voice calling for clarity and accessibility in research, Schwabish will boost the Institute's capabilities in data visualization and conduct research on older workers, people with disabilities, food security, immigration policy, and microsimulation modeling at Urban's Income and Benefits Policy Center.

Posted to Web: April 21, 2014Publication Date: April 21, 2014

Financial Burden of Medical Spending by State and the Implications of the 2014 Medicaid Expansions (Research Report)
Kyle Caswell, Timothy Waidmann, Linda J. Blumberg

This study is the first to offer a detailed look at medical spending burden levels, defined as total family medical out-of-pocket spending as a proportion of income, for each state. It further investigates which states have greater shares of individuals with high burden levels and no Medicaid coverage, but would be Medicaid eligible under the 2014 rules of the Affordable Care Act should their state choose to participate in the expansion. This work suggests which states have the largest populations likely to benefit, in terms of lowering medical spending burden, from participating in the 2014 adult Medicaid expansions.

Posted to Web: April 03, 2014Publication Date: April 03, 2014

Driving to Opportunity: Understanding the Links among Transportation Access, Residential Outcomes, and Economic Opportunity for Housing Voucher Recipients (Research Report)
Rolf Pendall, Christopher Hayes, Taz George, Zach McDade, Additional Authors

In the 1990s and early 2000s, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sponsored two major experiments to test whether housing choice vouchers propelled low-income households into greater economic security, the Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing program (MTO) and the Welfare to Work Voucher program (WTW). Using data from these programs, this study examines differences in residential location and employment outcomes between voucher recipients with access to automobiles and those without. Overall, the findings underscore the positive role of automobiles in outcomes for housing voucher participants.

Posted to Web: March 31, 2014Publication Date: March 31, 2014

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