Evaluating the Success of President Johnson's War on Poverty: Revisiting the Historical Record Using a Full-Income Poverty Measure
We evaluate progress in President's Johnson's War on Poverty. We do so relative to the scientifically arbitrary but policy relevant 20 percent baseline poverty rate he established for 1963. No existing poverty measure fully captures poverty reductions based on the standard that President Johnson set. To fill this gap, we develop a Full-income Poverty Measure with thresholds set to match the 1963 Official Poverty Rate. We include cash income, taxes, and major in-kind transfers and update poverty thresholds for inflation annually. While the Official Poverty Rate fell from 19.5 percent in 1963 ...
What are the Perceived Barriers to Homeownership for Young Adults?
As the U.S. emerges from the Great Recession, there is concern about slowing rates of new household formation and declining interest in homeownership, especially among younger households. Potential reasons that have been posited include tight mortgage credit and housing supply, changing preferences over tenure in the wake of the foreclosure crisis, and weak labor markets for young workers. In this paper, we examine how individual housing choices, and the stated motivations for these choices, reflect local housing affordability and individual financial circumstances, focusing particularly on ...
How Much Does Health Insurance Cost? Comparison of Premiums in Administrative and Survey Data
Using newly available administrative data from the Internal Revenue Service, this paper studies the distribution of employer-sponsored health insurance premiums. Previous estimates, in contrast, were almost exclusively from household surveys. After correcting for coverage limitations of the IRS data, we find that average premiums for employer-sponsored plans are roughly $1000 higher in IRS records than in the Current Population Survey. The downward bias in the CPS is largely driven by underestimating of premiums among married workers and topcoding of high premiums.
Income and Earnings Mobility in U.S. Tax Data
We use a large panel of federal income tax data to investigate intragenerational income mobility in the United States. We have two primary objectives. First, we explore the determinants of two-year changes in individual labor earnings and family incomes, such as job or industry changes, marriage, divorce, and geographic mobility. Second, we evaluate how federal income taxes stabilize or destabilize post-tax income changes relative to pre-tax changes. We find a relatively high degree of income mobility, with almost half of workers exhibiting earnings increases or decreases of at least 25 ...
Household Incomes in Tax Data : Using Addresses to Move from Tax Unit to Household Income Distributions
Tax return data are increasingly the standard for tracking income statistics in the United States. However, these data have traditionally been limited by their inability to capture non-filers and to identify members of separate tax units living in the same household. We overcome these obstacles and create household records directly in the tax data using mailing address information included on tax forms. We then present the first set of tax-based household income and inequality measures for the entire income distribution. When comparing household income inequality results in the tax data to ...
Whose Child Is This? Shifting of Dependents Among EITC Claimants Within the Same Household
Using a panel of household level tax data, we estimate the degree to which dependents are "reassigned" between tax units within households, and how these reassignments affect combined tax liabilities. Reassigning dependents reduces combined tax liabilities on average, suggesting some household level coordination. Additionally, when EITC benefits expanded in 2009, reassignments increasingly involved adding a third child to tax returns to claim these new benefits. However, the subgroup reassigning towards three child tax units actually increased total household tax liabilities, suggesting that ...
Are Central Cities Poor and Non-White?
For much of the 20th century, America's central cities were viewed as synonymous with economic and social hardship, often used as proxy for low-income communities of color. Since the 1990s, however, many metropolitan areas have seen a resurgence of interest in central city neighborhoods. Theoretical models of income sorting lead to ambiguous predictions about where households of different income levels will live within metropolitan areas. In this paper, we explore intra-city spatial patterns of income and race for U.S. metropolitan areas, focusing particularly on the locations of low-income ...
Assessing the Severity of Rent Burden on Low-Income Families
To assess the rent burden on families, we analyze housing expenditures of renters using the American Community Survey (ACS) Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS). In this note, we have shown that the lowest-income families face severe rent burdens.
Does it Matter who your Parents are? Findings on Economic Mobility from the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking
Coming out of the Great Recession, there are renewed concerns about the level of economic opportunity throughout the income distribution and the extent to which economic advancement is a realistic goal for all American families.
Should You Trust Things You Hear Online? Comparing SHED and Census Bureau Survey Results
In the fall of 2013, the Federal Reserve Board began conducting the Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking (SHED), which is an annual survey of individual consumers designed to monitor their well-being and identify risks to their financial stability.