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Family Self-Sufficiency and Stability Research Consortium

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Families on a fault line? The risk of poverty when a child joins the home

Individual Author: 
Mattingly, Marybeth J.
Schaefer, Andrew
Gagnon, Douglas J.

The mathematics of poverty suggest that family composition changes may influence poverty rates and, in particular, that the addition of a new child increases estimated family expenses and correspondingly the family’s poverty threshold. This analysis of 2015 Current Population Survey data finds that those families more likely to live in poverty—Black and Hispanic families, families with children, less-educated families, and those living in more rural or highly urban environments—are at heightened risk of falling into poverty with an additional child. (Author abstract)

The changing composition of Minnesota's social safety net

Individual Author: 
Merrick, Weston
Phinney, Robin
Heflin, Colleen
Aratani, Yumiko

This research brief uses data from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Study (CPS) to describe trends in the demographic and economic characteristics of social safety net recipients in Minnesota. The analysis shows that from 1990 to 2015, recipients of federal welfare, food assistance, and disability programs became increasingly diverse. In addition, although educational attainment increased among program recipients, trends in employment were similar and many participants remained in deep poverty.

"Not very many options for the people who are working here": Rural housing challenges through the lens of two New England communities

Individual Author: 
Carson, Jessica A.
Mattingly, Marybeth J.

In this brief, we use interview and focus group data to describe some of the ways that restricted rural housing stock affects working families in two rural New England counties, and explore solutions proposed by rural residents and experts to make housing affordable (see Box 1 on page 2). Rural amenities and scenery make residence in certain New England regions desirable for second-home owners, vacationers, and retirees.

Family Self-Sufficiency Data Center: Creating a data model to analyze TANF caseloads

Individual Author: 
Wiegand, Emily
Goerge, Robert
Gjertson, Leah

The Family Self-Sufficiency Data Center released a new brief describing a model for using TANF data to understand caseload dynamics and address key policy questions. The TANF data model provides a simple guiding structure for agencies to extract and transform their data from common data elements into a format that facilitates easy data analysis. The data model is intended to make limited data and capacity as useful as possible, streamlining the process of connecting TANF data with policy questions. (Author abstract)

The Great Recession and the rise in material hardship

Individual Author: 
Heflin, Colleen

Through the late 1990s, a strong economy improved the economic well-being of most Americans. However, many different sources of economic and family instability can leave households struggling to stretch their financial resources to meet essential needs. During the Great Recession of 2008, material hardship spiked to historically high levels: In 2010, 16 percent of American households reported difficulty paying for essential expenses, 8 percent reported difficulty paying housing costs, 15 percent experienced food insecurity, and 13 percent had an unmet medical need.

Income instability and income support programs: Recommendations for policy and practice

Individual Author: 
Romich, Jennifer
Hill, Heather D.

This brief presents background information on income volatility and income support programs before mak­ing recommendations for policymakers and program administrators to promote income stability and mobility with income support programs. (Author abstract)