The Great Recession and Material Hardship

Natasha Pilkauskas, Columbia University
Irwin Garfinkel, Columbia University
Janet Currie, Columbia University

The current recession began in December, 2007 and is predicted to be the worst in the US since the Great Depression. The Great Recession, as it is now referred to in the media, is likely to have a large impact on the health and well-being of mothers, fathers, and children in vulnerable families. Material hardship is an alternative indicator to poverty of economic well-being and the two measures are not highly correlated. Hardship reflects the effects of real resources not captured by income and the effects of ability to manage resources as well as the level of resources. We use data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FF) to study the effect of the Great Recession on poverty and material hardship and to sort out the relationship between these two measures of economic well-being.

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Presented in Session 18: Demographic Consequences of Economic Downturns