The Association Between Parental Work and Family Poverty Experience in the First Six Years of a Child’s Life

Wen-Jui Han, New York University (NYU)
Liwei Zhang , New York University

Using the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study–Birth Cohort in the United States, this paper examines the relationship between changes in parental work status and schedules and changes in families’ poverty status during early childhood years. We focus on three dimensions of familial poverty: poverty depth, volatility in family income, and poverty duration. Regression results suggest that for both the mother and the father, repeated changes in work status between standard daytime hours, nonstandard hours, or not working significantly increased the probabilities of families experiencing 1) not only near-poor conditions, but also falling into poverty, if not deep poverty, 2) volatility in family income, and 3) longer durations of poverty. Working nonstandard hours brought another layer of instability and insecurity. Results in this paper shed new light on whether families’ poverty or economic status change when parents move into or out of employment and into or out of nonstandard work schedules.

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 Presented in Session 82. Economic Instability and Family Well-being