Who Are The Officially Poor (1987-2013)?

Previously I posted this graph about who the officially poor were in 2013.

I've been wanting to break "Rest" down a little more and extend this back into time. So I went into IPUMS and did just that.

Here is the resulting graph with explanation of the methodology below:

The way I do this is to first drop everyone who is not below the official poverty line. Then I count and clear out categories one by one starting with children, then going to elderly, disabled, students, working, unemployed, caring, and the rest (which is a residual category). This means that each person is only put into the first category that they qualify for. If you are both disabled and a student, you only show up as disabled. If you are both elderly and working, you only show up as elderly. I do this so that there is no double counting and I can get a perfect 100% total.

Children are defined as people below the age of 18. Elderly are defined as people above the age of 64. Disabled people are those who have a disability that limits or prevents work or who said they did not work at all in the year because of an illness or disability. Students are those who were in high school or college on the month that the survey was completed (March of the following year) or those who said they did not work at all in the year because of school. Working people are those who said they worked at least one week in the year.

After working people are taken out, that leaves only non-working people who don't fit any of the other categories. I broke them down into Unemployed people, Caring people, and Rest. Unemployed people are those who said they did not work at all in the year because they could not find any work. Caring people are those who said they did not work at all in the year because they were "taking care of home/family." And Rest is the residual.

There is more to come on this data dive tomorrow. For now note that the CED block (children, elderly, disabled) makes up the majority of the impoverished every year. Also note that carers make up the vast majority of the non-working, non-disabled, non-student, adult poor. These are your stay-at-home parents and homemakers and such.

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