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Cohabitation and the Measurement of Child Poverty Tables

Table 1. Number and Percent of Persons in Poverty, by Demographic Group,
with Separate and Combined Income of Cohabiting Couples

                                   
                                  Census Procedure,     Income of Cohabitors    Change:
                    Number        Separate Units        Combined                            Poverty Rate

                   of Persons     Number      Poverty   Number      Poverty     Number      Percentage
                   (millions)      Poor        Rate      Poor        Rate        Poor       Points     Percent


All persons          240.7          31.3       13.0       30.0       12.5         -1.3        -0.5       -4.2

All children          62.9          11.7       18.7       11.4       18.1         -0.4        -0.6       -3.0

Children in single-
parent families       15.4           7.2       46.6        6.8       44.3         -0.4        -2.3       -5.0
                                                                                                        
Children in cohabi-
ting parent families   2.0           0.9       44.4        0.5       26.9         -0.4       -17.5      -39.4
 
                                   
Note:  Cohabitors are those where the head of the household reported living with an unmarried partner.  
Living arrangements are reported for April 1990; income, for calendar year 1989.


Table 2. Transitions into and out of Poverty for Children in Cohabiting Unions Children Living with Mean Income-to-Needs Cohabiting Parents Ratio Number (millions) Percent Separate Combined (1) Poor as separate, poor as combined 0.519 25.5 0.39 0.55 (2) Poor as separate, not poor as combined 0.385 18.9 0.57 1.75 (3) Not poor as separate, poor as combined 0.029 1.4 1.08 0.91 (4) Not poor as separate, not poor as combine 1.104 54.2 2.46 3.17 All children in cohabiting unions 2.037 100.0 1.55 2.20 Net reduction in poor children 0.357 Note: The net reduction in the number of poor children is the difference between rows (2) and (3). The income-to-needs ratio is defined as family income divided by the poverty line.
Table 3. Descriptive Statistics for Cohabiting Families with Children Poor Separate, Poor Separate, Not Poor SeparatNot Poor Separate, Poor Combined Not Poor CombinedPoor Combined Not Poor Combined (N=228,103) (N=201,239) (N=14,009) (N=697,027) (1) (2) (3) (4) Parent: Received welfare income in previous year 38.9 31.3 13.8 6.4 Was unemployed or not in labor force in survey 59.9 53.2 24.6 11.7 Had no earnings in previous year 47.5 35.8 13.4 3.9 Mean earnings $2,279 $3,465 $8,915 $21,818 Education Less than H.S. 55.1 42.5 47.2 24.3 High school 29.5 32.9 29.2 36.2 More than H.S. 15.4 24.5 23.7 39.5 Percent ever-married 43.6 50.2 47.7 64.9 Percent female 60.3 75.5 29.9 45.8 Cohabitor: Was unemployed or not in labor force in survey 59.1 19.7 83.4 29.0 Had no earnings in previous year 46.3 5.7 77.0 17.3 Mean earnings $2,294 $15,615 $268 $13,380 Education Less than H.S. 58.4 39.5 59.5 28.9 High school 28.7 36.0 26.9 38.7 More than H.S. 12.9 24.5 13.6 32.4
Table 4. Number and Percent of Children Living with Single Parents and Cohabiting Parents who Receive Welfare Income, Classified by their Poverty Status when Separate and Combined ***Final table shown below*** Children Living with Children Living with Single Parents Cohabiting Parents Number with Number with Total Wefare Income Percent Total Wefare Income Percent (millions) (millions) (of row) (millions) (millions) (of row) (1) Poor as separate, poor as combined 6,774,179 3,577,331 52.8 519,412 223,339 43.0 (2) Poor as separate, not poor as combined 385,411 133,528 34.6 385,411 133,528 34.6 (3) Not poor as separate, poor as combined 28,749 5,440 18.9 28,749 5,440 18.9 (4) Not poor as separate, not poor as combined 8,162,733 1,146,337 14.0 1,103,696 87,758 8.0 Total 15,351,072 4,862,636 31.7 2,037,268 450,065 22.1 Note: Welfare income includes any cash assistance from AFDC, Supplemental Security Income or General Assistance. The numbers in rows (2) and (3) are identical for children living with single parents and cohabiting parents, because only children with cohabiting parents can change poverty status when income is combined. Table 4. Number and Percent of Children Living with Single Parents and Cohabiting Parents who Receive Welfare Income, Classified by their Poverty Status when Separate and Combined Children Living with Children Living with Single Parents Cohabiting Parents Number with Number with Total Wefare Income Percent Total Wefare Income Percent (millions) (millions) (of row) (millions) (millions) (of row) (1) Poor as separate, poor as combined 6.77 3.58 52.8 0.52 0.22 43.0 (2) Poor as separate, not poor as combined 0.39 0.13 34.6 0.39 0.13 34.6 (3) Not poor as separate, poor as combined 0.03 0.01 18.9 0.03 0.01 18.9 (4) Not poor as separate, not poor as combined 8.16 1.15 14.0 1.10 0.09 8.0 Total 15.4 4.9 31.7 2.0 0.5 22.1 Note: Welfare income includes any cash assistance from AFDC, Supplemental Security Income or General Assistance. The numbers in rows (2) and (3) are identical for children living with single parents and cohabiting parents, because only children with cohabiting parents can change poverty status when income is combined.
Table 5. Estimated Coefficients of Logistic Regression Models: Likelihood that Poor Families with Children Will Be Reclassified as Non-Poor When a Cohabitor's Income Is Counted Model 1 Model 2 B SE Exp(B) B SE Exp(B) Race/ethnic origin of parent White, non-Hispanic (excluded) (excluded) Black, non-Hispanic 0.0634 0.1916 1.0654 0.2379 0.2134 1.2686 Puerto Rican 0.5459 0.3353 1.7262 0.6387a 0.3733 1.8940 Mexican 0.0415 0.2179 1.0424 0.1029 0.2390 1.1084 Other Hispanic -0.2031 0.2765 0.8162 -0.2643 0.3040 0.7677 Other non-Hispanic -0.4320b 0.2106 0.6492 -0.5014b 0.2317 0.6057 Race/ethnic origin of cohabitor White, non-Hispanic (excluded) (excluded) Black, non-Hispanic -0.5490c 0.1876 0.5775 -0.5529c 0.2085 0.5753 Puerto Rican -1.0176c 0.3586 0.3614 -0.9577b 0.3996 0.3838 Mexican -0.0587 0.2148 0.9429 -0.2432 0.2339 0.7841 Other Hispanic -0.1421 0.2623 0.8675 -0.2464 0.2864 0.7816 Other non-Hispanic -0.4408b 0.2131 0.6435 -0.4956b 0.2336 0.6092 Marital status of parent Never-married (excluded) (excluded) Ever-married 0.2079b 0.0828 1.2311 0.1571a 0.0916 1.1701 Age of parent -0.0283 0.0214 0.9721 -0.0294 0.0240 0.9711 Age of parent (squared) 0.0002 0.0003 1.0002 0.0003 0.0003 1.0003 Age of cohabitor 0.0928c 0.0219 1.0973 0.0773c 0.0251 1.0804 Age of cohabitor (squared) -0.0009 0.0003 0.9991 -0.0005 0.0003 0.9995 Education of parent Less than H.S. (excluded) (excluded) High school 0.1275 0.0810 1.1360 0.0758 0.0902 1.0787 More than H.S. 0.3325c 0.0982 1.3944 0.2621b 0.1093 1.2996 Education of cohabitor Less than H.S. (excluded) (excluded) High school 0.6874c 0.0801 1.9885 0.5645c 0.0890 1.7586 More than H.S. 0.9189c 0.1011 2.5066 0.6641c 0.1109 1.9428 Sex of parent Male (excluded) (excluded) Female 0.7631c 0.0801 2.1450 0.5310c 0.0967 1.7007 SMSA Non-metro area (excluded) (excluded) Metro area 0.3360c 0.0773 1.3993 0.3856c 0.0854 1.4705 ap<.1 b p<.05c p<.01> Table 5 (continued). Estimated Coefficients of Logistic Regression Models: Likelihood that Poor Families with Children Will Be Reclassified as Non-Poor When a Cohabitor's Income Is Counted Model 1 Model 2 B SE Exp(B) B SE Exp(B) Region Northeast (excluded) (excluded) Midwest -0.2399b 0.1095 0.7867 -0.2711b 0.1246 0.7626 South -0.2796c 0.1055 0.7561 -0.5786c 0.1199 0.5607 West 0.0040 0.1148 1.0040 -0.0824 0.1291 0.9209 Number of children less than -0.3041c 0.0317 0.7378 -0.2782c 0.0349 0.7572 Parent received welfare income None (excluded) Some -0.2299b 0.0921 0.7946 Earnings of parent Negative/none (excluded) Positive 0.4791c 0.0855 1.6147 Earnings of cohabitor Negative/none (excluded) Positive 2.5808c 0.1190 13.2081 ap<.1 bp<.05 cp<.01 Note: 'Parent' refers to the partner with child(ren) when the cohabiting partners are treated units. 'Cohabitor' refers to the partner whose income is combined when the couple is counted as a single household unit. Only families that are counted as poor by the Census are included in the regressions; each family is counted once.
Table 6. Predicted Probabilities that a Poor Single-Mother Family Will Be Reclassified as Non-Poor when a Cohabitor's Income Is Counted Model 1 A. Mother is Ever-Married White mother with no HS degree and white cohabitor with no HS degree 0.62 Black mother with no HS degree and black cohabitor with no HS degree 0.50 Mexican mother with no HS degree and Mexican cohabitor with no HS degree 0.61 White mother with a HS degree and white cohabitor with a HS degree 0.79 B. Mother is Never-Married Black mother with no HS degree and black cohabitor with no HS degree 0.45 Model 2 C. White mother and cohabitor; both have no HS degree; mother is on welfare Cohabitor has no earnings 0.13 Cohabitor has some earnings 0.66 D. White mother and cohabitor; both have no HS degree; mother is not on welfare Mother has no earnings; cohabitor has some earnings 0.71 Both mother and cohabitor have some earnings 0.80 Note: All predictions assume the child's mother is age 30, she has two children, she lives in a metropolitan area in the Northeast region, and she cohabits with a man who is age 35. The mother is assumed to have been previously married, except in Panel B.
Appendix Table. Characteristics of Unweighted Sample of Cohabiting Families with Children Who are Poor When Income is Counted Separately (In percent) (N=4,001) Race/ethnic origin of parent White, non-Hispanic 58.1 Black, non-Hispanic 24.2 Puerto Rican 2.4 Mexican 7.0 Other Hispanic 3.2 Other non-Hispanic 5.0 Race/ethnic origin of cohabitor White, non-Hispanic 57.0 Black, non-Hispanic 25.4 Puerto Rican 2.1 Mexican 7.2 Other Hispanic 3.5 Other non-Hispanic 4.8 Marital status of parent Never-married 51.3 Ever-married 48.7 Sex of parent Male 33.9 Female 66.1 Age of parent (mean) 30.8 Age of cohabitor (mean) 30.9 Education of parent Less than H.S. 49.3 High school 31.4 More than H.S. 19.2 Education of cohabitor Less than H.S. 49.8 High school 32.4 More than H.S. 17.7 Appendix Table (continued). Characteristics of Unweighted Sample of Cohabiting Families with Children Who are Poor When Income is Counted Separately (In percent) (N=4,001) Non-metro area 32.8 Metro area 67.2 Region Northeast 18.6 Midwest 22.9 South 33.6 West 24.9 Total number of children (combined) One 36.2 Two 32.6 Three 18.7 Four or more 12.5 Parent received welfare income None 65.5 Some 34.5 Earnings of parent Negative/none 41.5 Positive 58.5 Earnings of cohabitor Negative/none 26.9 Positive 73.1 Note: 'Parent' refers to the partner with child(ren) when the cohabiting partners are treated as two separate households. 'Cohabitor' refers to the partner whose income is combined when the couple is counted as a single household unit.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Poverty - Experimental Measures |  Last Revised: December 15, 2010