Income, Assets & Program Participation: An Introduction

Income, Assets & Program Participation: An Introduction

The NLSY79 cohort is a unique source of income and asset information. Two sets of family poverty variables, family poverty status and family poverty level, are available for NLSY79 respondents. In addition, detailed information is provided on public assistance income sources, and a series of environmental variables describe the extent of family and individual poverty within the respondent's geographical area of residence. Note: By their nature, financial questions may elicit a higher number of "refusal" or don't know" responses than other questions. Starting in 2002, respondents were asked to estimate financial values when they gave an initial "refusal" or "don't know" response. For more information about these estimate variables, see Appendix 26: Non-Response to Financial Questions and Entry Points.

Assets

In many survey years, NLSY79 respondents have been asked about their savings, debt, home, and vehicle ownership. This data allow users to calculate net wealth.

Income

Respondents are asked about income from a variety of sources and mostly these questions refer to the previous calendar year. Questions also concern transfers from both governmental and non governmental sources.

Pension Benefits and Pension Plans

Information on whether income was received by the respondent or spouse from other (unspecified) sources such as Social Security, pensions, or annuities was collected during the administration of each survey.

Poverty Status and Public Assistance Support Sources

Two sets of family poverty variables, family poverty status and family poverty level, are available for NLSY79 respondents. Family poverty status variables have been created for each survey year that indicate whether a respondent's total family income for the past calendar year was above or below the poverty level. Family poverty level variables provide the amount of total family income, controlling for family size and state of residence, below which a respondent (and his or her family) would be considered to be in poverty for that year. The Public Assistance Support Sources section looks at poverty characteristics, the value of food stamps, and in 1998 examined effects of welfare reform.