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Concept: Poverty threshold


Research on poverty in the United States has largely consisted of examining cross-sectional levels of absolute poverty. In this analysis, we focus on understanding relative poverty within a life course context. Specifically, we analyze the likelihood of individuals falling below the 20th percentile and the 10th percentile of the income distribution between the ages of 25 and 60. A series of life tables are constructed using the nationally representative Panel Study of Income Dynamics data set. This includes panel data from 1968 through 2011. Results indicate that the prevalence of relative poverty is quite high. Consequently, between the ages of 25 to 60, 61.8 percent of the population will experience a year below the 20th percentile, and 42.1 percent will experience a year below the 10th percentile. Characteristics associated with experiencing these levels of poverty include those who are younger, nonwhite, female, not married, with 12 years or less of education, or who have a work disability.

Concepts: United States, Econometrics, Statistical data types, Cross-sectional data, Poverty threshold, Panel data, Panel Study of Income Dynamics, German Socio-Economic Panel


A cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is the expansion of Medicaid coverage in 2014 to adults with incomes up to 133% of the federal poverty level (approximately $15,500 for a single adult in 2014). The proportion of these low-income adults under 65 years of age who are uninsured exceeds 40% nationally. Individual insurance is prohibitively expensive for most adults with low incomes, and employer-sponsored insurance is often unaffordable or not offered to the members of this population who work. Extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults can have important benefits for their access to care, health outcomes, and . . .

Concepts: Biology, Poverty, Economics, Poverty in the United States, Medicaid, Adult, Poverty threshold, Poverty by country


Many families rely on employer-sponsored health insurance for their children. However, the rise in the cost of such insurance has outpaced growth in family income, potentially making public insurance (Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Plan) an attractive alternative for affordable dependent coverage. Using data for 2008-13 from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we quantified the coverage rates for children from low- or moderate-income households in which a parent was offered employer-sponsored insurance. Among families in which parents were covered by such insurance, the proportion of children without employer-sponsored coverage increased from 22.5 percent in 2008 to 25.0 percent in 2013. The percentage of children with public insurance when a parent was covered by employer-sponsored insurance increased from 12.1 percent in 2008 to 15.2 percent in 2013. This trend was most pronounced for families with incomes of 100-199 percent of the federal poverty level, for whom the share of children with public insurance increased from 22.8 percent to 29.9 percent. Among families with incomes of 200-299 percent of poverty, uninsurance rates for children increased from 6.0 percent to 9.2 percent. These findings suggest a movement away from employer-sponsored insurance and toward public insurance for children in low-income families, and growth in uninsurance among children in moderate-income families.

Concepts: Family, Health insurance, Poverty, Poverty in the United States, Mother, Household income in the United States, Poverty threshold, Poverty by country


Both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which are run by the states and funded by federal and state dollars, offer health insurance coverage for low-income children. Thirty-three states charged premiums for children at some income ranges in CHIP or Medicaid in 2013. Using data from the 1999-2010 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, we show that the relationship between premiums and coverage varies considerably by income level and by parental access to employer-sponsored insurance. Among children with family incomes above 150 percent of the federal poverty level, a $10 increase in monthly premiums is associated with a 1.6-percentage-point reduction in Medicaid or CHIP coverage. In this income range, the increase in uninsurance may be higher among those children whose parents lack an offer of employer-sponsored insurance than among those whose parents have such an offer. Among children with family incomes of 101-150 percent of poverty, a $10 increase in monthly premiums is associated with a 6.7-percentage-point reduction in Medicaid or CHIP coverage and a 3.3-percentage-point increase in uninsurance. In this income range, the increase in uninsurance is even larger among children whose parents lack offers of employer coverage.

Concepts: Family, Health insurance, Poverty, Poverty in the United States, Mother, Household income in the United States, Poverty threshold, State Children's Health Insurance Program


Trends in concentrated neighborhood poverty in the United States have been volatile over the past several decades. Using data from the 1980 to 2000 decennial census and the 2010-2014 American Community Survey, we examine the association between concentrated poverty across metropolitan areas in the United States and key proximate factors, including overall changes in poverty, racial residential segregation, and income segregation. One of our unique contributions is assessing the relative contribution of each of these to long-term trends in such poverty using a decomposition analysis. We find that changes in the segregation of the poor explained the largest share of the change in concentrated poverty over most of the time period, with the exception of the 1990s, where the plunge in both black and white poverty rates had the largest role in explaining the considerable decline in concentrated poverty in that decade for both groups. The association between racial segregation and black concentrated poverty is positive but weaker, indicating that without declines in black segregation, concentrated poverty would have been higher. Overall, growing income segregation, along with weak economic performance in recent years, have put more poor people at risk for living in high-poverty communities.

Concepts: Poverty, United States, United Kingdom, Poverty in the United States, Race, Racial segregation, Poverty threshold, United States Census


BACKGROUND: Many health systems in Africa are funded primarily through out-of-pocket payments. Out-of-pocket payments prevent people from seeking care, can result to catastrophic health spending and lead to impoverishment. This paper estimates the burden of out-of-pocket payments in Kenya; the incidence and intensity of catastrophic health care expenditure and the effect of health spending on national poverty estimates. METHODS: Data were drawn from a nationally representative health expenditure and utilization survey (n = 8414) conducted in 2007. The survey provided detailed information on out-of-pocket payments and consumption expenditure. Standard data analytical techniques were applied to estimate the incidence and intensity of catastrophic health expenditure. Various thresholds are applied to demonstrate the sensitivity of catastrophic measures. RESULTS: Each year, Kenyan households spend over a tenth of their budget on health care payments. The burden of out-of-pocket payments is highest among the poor. The poorest households spent a third of their resources on health care payments each year compared to only 8% spent by the richest households. About 1.48 million Kenyans are pushed below the national poverty line due to health care payments. CONCLUSIONS: Kenyans are becoming poorer due to health care payments. The need to protect individuals from health care related impoverishment calls for urgent reforms in the Kenyan health system. An important policy question remains what health system reforms are needed in Kenya to ensure that financial risk protection for all is achieved.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Africa, Poverty, Kenya, Finance, Poverty threshold


We compared access to preventive dental care among low-income children eligible for public dental insurance to access among children with private dental insurance and/or high family income (>400% of the federal poverty level) in Georgia, and the effect of policies toward increasing access to dental care for low-income children.

Concepts: Poverty, Poverty in the United States, Dentistry, Household income in the United States, Social security, Poverty threshold, Federal, Poverty by country


The United States has long struggled with high levels of child poverty. In 2014, 2 of 5 (42.9%) of all American children lived in economically insecure households and just over 1 in 5 children lived below the official absolute poverty line. These rates are high, but not intractable. Evidence from the US Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure, among other sources, shows the effect that public investments in cash and noncash transfers can have in reducing child poverty and improving child well-being. However, with significant disparities in services and supports for children across states and the projected decline of current federal spending on children, the United States is an international outlier in terms of public investments in children, particularly compared with other high-income nations. One such country, the United Kingdom (UK), faced similar child poverty challenges in recent decades. At the end of the 20th century, the British Prime Minister pledged to halve child poverty in a decade and eradicate it ‘within a generation.’ The Labour Government then set targets and dedicated resources in the form of income supplements, employment, child care, and education support. Child poverty levels nearly halved against an absolute measure by the end of the first decade. Subsequent changes in government and the economy slowed progress and have resulted in a very different approach. However, the UK child poverty target experience, 15 years in and spanning multiple changes in government, still offers a useful comparative example for US social policy moving forward.

Concepts: United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Poverty in the United States, English language, Poverty threshold, British Empire, Labour Party, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


We examined use of a farmers' market that leverages community partnerships to provide free produce to lower-income persons. Participants (n = 422) were asked to complete a questionnaire and given an ID number, which was used to track market use from 2014 to 2015. Chi square tests were used to examine associations between 2014/2015 market use and reasons for market use, financial support received, and how attendees had learned about the market. Ordinal regression was used to identify household characteristics associated with increased market attendance. Although the proportion of lower-income attendees declined over the study period, a substantial proportion of households in 2014 (69.1%) and 2015 (54.6%) were below the poverty threshold. We identified significant differences in attendees' reasons for market use and ways attendees heard about the market from 2014 to 2015. The most frequently reported reason for 2014 market use was retirement/fixed income (P < 0.001) and in 2015 was low-income (P < 0.001). Most attendees heard about the market through flyers (P < 0.001) and word of mouth (P ≤ 0.001) in 2014 and through local, non-profit services (P < 0.001) in 2015. In the ordinal regression, households with an older person registering the household for the market used the market more times per year (P < 0.001). Impoverished households (P = 0.020) and households receiving more financial support services (P < 0.001) used the market fewer times per year. While a substantial proportion of lower-income persons used the free-produce market, frequency of use was still lowest among this group indicating a need to address barriers beyond produce cost.

Concepts: Poverty, Poverty in the United States, Household, Chi-square test, Household income in the United States, Cycle of poverty, Reason, Poverty threshold


With rapid aging, many of the elderly suffer from poverty and high healthcare needs. In Korea, there is a means-tested and non-contributory public assistance, the National Basic Livelihood Security System (NBLSS). The purpose of this study is to show older population’s condition of disability and poverty, to evaluate the impact of NBLSS on health services utilization, and to examine the differential effect of the NBLSS by disability status among the elderly. This study used the Korea Welfare Panel Study data 2005-2014 with the final sample of 40,365, who were 65 years and older. The participants were divided into people with mild disability, severe disability, and without disability according to the Korean disability registration system. The income-level was defined to the low-income with NBLSS, the low-income without NBLSS, and the middle and high income, using the relative poverty line as a proxy of the low-income. The dependent variables were the number of outpatient visits and inpatient days, experience of home care services, total healthcare expenditure, and financial burden of healthcare expenditure. We performed Generalized Estimating Equations population-averaged model using the ten years of panel data. The result showed that within the same disability status, the low-income without NBLSS group used the least amount of inpatient care, but their financial burden of health expenditure was the highest among the three income groups. The regression model showed that if the elderly with severe disability were in the low-income without NBLSS, they reduced the outpatient and inpatient days; but their financial burden of healthcare became intensified. This study shows that the low-income elderly with disability but without adequate social protection are the most disadvantaged group. Policy is called for to mitigate the difficulties of this vulnerable population.

Concepts: Health care, Regression analysis, Health economics, Health insurance, Poverty, Poverty threshold, Poverty reduction, Panel data