Non-Poor Population Growth as a Population Characteristic

Isaac Sasson, University of Texas at Austin

Traditional measures of poverty are informative in indicating the degree of economic deprivation in a population at a cross-sectional point in time, but disregard any growth in the size of the non-poor population. We develop a measure of non-poor population growth and argue that it constitutes an indicator of important demographic dynamics. We illustrate our approach with an analysis of the U.S. states using Census data from 1990 and 2000. Results indicate that the extent to which the non-poor population increased across states is uncorrelated with the initial poverty rate as conventionally measured. Broken down by nativity, findings reveal that some states with poverty rates above the national average nonetheless had some of the highest rates of non-poor growth among low-skilled immigrants. This suggests that low initial poverty rates do not necessarily contribute so substantially to the alleviation of global poverty through immigration of low-skilled persons from less developed nations.

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Presented in Poster Session 6