Working Paper 2016-10: Alexandra Stanczyk

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10042016-WP-income-volatility-around-birth

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Author:

Alexandra B. Stanczyk, School of Social Welfare Postdoctoral Scholar, University of California, Berkeley


Abstract:

With the arrival of an infant, many households face increased demands on resources, changes in the composition of income, and a potentially heightened risk of economic insecurity. Changing household economic circumstances around a birth have implications for child and family wellbeing, women’s economic security, and public program design, yet have received little research attention in the U.S. Using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, this study provides new descriptive evidence of month-to-month changes in household economic wellbeing and the composition of household income in the year before and after a birth. Results show evidence of significant declines in household economic wellbeing in the months around a birth, particularly for single mothers who live without other adults. Income from public benefit programs buffers but does not eliminate declines in economic wellbeing. More generous and timely income supports, as well as policies facilitating mothers’ employment could boost economic wellbeing during this critical period.