Longitudinal Intergenerational Poverty Research - 2021

By Kelsey Martinez, PhD, Research Manager
October 13, 2021

Store Closed
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

UDRC recently released its longitudinal poverty research for 2021. This research is produced each year by a number of state departments under the direction of the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission and in addition to the main IGP Annual Report.

This year, the longitudinal IGP research focused on the impacts of the COVID-19 recession on those experiencing Intergenerational Poverty (IGP). The analysis employs regression to understand workforce impacts on those experiencing IGP in 2019 and those experiencing situational or temporary poverty. Specifically, this year’s IGP research examined each individual’s change in quarterly wages from 2019 Q1 to 2021 Q1 and each individual’s change in workforce attachment, or the number of quarters worked annually, from 2019 to 2020. Demographic factors such as age, race, ethnicity, and education level were included as control variables in the analyses.

The main findings of the research were as follows


  1. There was no statistically significant difference in wage change from 2019 to 2021 Q1 between those experiencing IGP and those experiencing temporary poverty.
  2. The median wage for all adults in the study remained about the same in 2019 and 2020; however, 67.8% of adults experiencing IGP had wage loss from 2019 to 2021 Q1.
    • The median annual wage of adults experiencing IGP in 2019 was $8,885, and $9,028 in 2020.
  3. Men and older adults experienced statistically significantly more wage loss from 2019 to 2021 Q1.

Workforce Attachment

  1. We found no statistically significant difference in change in workforce attachment (2019 – 2020) between IGP and control.
  2. About 1/3 of all adults in this research experienced a reduction in workforce attachment from 2019 to 2020.
  3. Men, older adults, and those identifying as African American/Black or American Indian experienced statistically significant declines in workforce attachment.
  4. Those with a college degree experienced a statistically significant increase in workforce attachment as compared to those with less education.

We were somewhat surprised to see that there were no differences in workforce outcomes during the COVID-19 recession between those experiencing IGP and those experiencing situational poverty. These two groups are fairly demographically similar and tend to work in similar industries, such as education, service, and retail. These similarities may partially explain the lack of statistically significant differences in them for this research.

Interestingly, this year’s longitudinal research again points to the importance of higher education in buffering individuals against economic hardship, as those adults in this study with a college degree experienced a statistically significant increase in workforce attachment from 2019 to 2020.

Furthermore, women impacted by IGP or situational poverty in 2019 experienced fewer adverse economic effects than men. However, the two genders may tend to be employed in different industries, which were impacted in various ways during the COVID-19 recession. For example, men may be more likely to work in industries that shut down during the recession than women.

This research was produced with the help of members of the IGP Longitudinal Research Subcommittee. Some of these members assembled their own longitudinal studies this year. You can check out more about those research reports here, under partner reports!