An Analysis of Poverty

Some Preliminary Findings

by John McCall


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Statistics on race, age, sex, and estimated annual income up to $4500 for 836,000 Americans in the period 1962-1965 were processed using a probabilistic model to determine patterns of income mobility. Results showed that during this period of sustained economic growth nonwhite males close to the poverty line (most of whom were blacks) benefited more from expanded job opportunity than did their white counterparts. However, another large number of blacks, the hard-core poor, remained mired in poverty. Findings suggest that while upward mobility may well be linked to a rise in the GNP, and while mature black male workers are more sensitive to the business cycle than are many of their white counterparts, there are certain groups in society that remain unaffected by economic growth. (See also RAND/RM-5739.)

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