Christopher Wimer

Christopher Wimer
Columbia University | CU · Columbia Population Research Center

About

45
Publications
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1,755
Citations

Publications

Publications (45)
Article
Official poverty estimates for the United States are presented annually, based on a family unit's annual resources, and reported with a considerable lag. This study introduces a framework to produce monthly estimates of the Supplemental Poverty Measure and official poverty measure, based on a family unit's monthly income, and with a two‐week lag. W...
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Full-text available
Although pregnancy and the first year of life are sensitive windows for child development, we know very little about the lived experiences of mothers living in poverty or near poverty during the perinatal period; specifically, how they perceive and use public resources to support themselves and their newborn. In this qualitative study, we explore h...
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Full-text available
Children born to unmarried parents make up an increasing share of American children. But official poverty statistics provide little insight into their economic well-being because these statistics use an outdated definition of the family unit and an incomplete measure of family resources. Using Current Population Survey data and an improved measure...
Article
Despite our wealth, child poverty in the United States remains too high. The social safety net prevents and mitigates poverty for millions of children each year and evidence demonstrates long-term positive effects for recipients. But absent a commitment to universalism, our public investments in children produce uneven – and often inequitable – res...
Article
Children experiencing poverty or low incomes fare worse than their more advantaged peers on a host of developmental and educational outcomes. Interventions have focused on strengthening parenting in families with young children, when supports appear to be most critical. But most parenting programs for low-income families fail to address parents’ ec...
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Full-text available
Is income during children’s earliest years a key determinant of long-term child and adult success in the longer run? The research to date, Christopher Wimer and Sharon Wolf write, suggests that it is. Wimer and Wolf review substantial descriptive evidence that income can enhance child development and later adult outcomes, and that it does so most s...
Article
Scholars have increasingly drawn attention to rising levels of income inequality in the United States. However, prior studies have provided an incomplete account of how changes to specific transfer programs have contributed to changes in income growth across the distribution. Our study decomposes the direct effects of tax and transfer programs on c...
Article
State approaches to reducing child poverty vary considerably. We exploit this state-level variation to estimate what could be achieved in terms of child poverty if all states adopted the most generous or inclusive states’ policies. Specifically, we simulate the child poverty reductions that would occur if every state were as generous or inclusive a...
Article
Recent research using an improved measure of poverty finds that poverty has fallen by nearly forty percent since the 1960s in the United States. But past research has not examined whether this finding holds across detailed demographic groups who might be more or less vulnerable to poverty. This paper helps fill that gap, focusing on one such vulner...
Article
Out-of-pocket spending on health care pushed over 10.5 million Americans into poverty in 2016. Medicaid helps offset this risk by providing medical coverage to millions of poor and near-poor children and adults and thereby constraining out-of-pocket medical spending. This article examines whether recent state-level expansions to the Medicaid progra...
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Public charge, a term used by immigration officials for over 100 years, refers to a person who relies on public assistance at the government’s expense. Immigrants who are deemed at high risk of becoming a public charge can be denied green cards; those outside of the United States can be denied entry. Current public charge policy largely applies to...
Preprint
"Public charge," a term used by U.S. immigration officials for more than 100 years, refers to a person who relies on, or is likely to rely on, public assistance at the government's expense. Foreign-born individuals who are deemed at high risk of becoming a public charge can be denied green cards; those outside of the U.S. can be denied entry. Curre...
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Full-text available
According to the Supplemental Poverty Measure, state-level poverty rates range from a low of less than 10 percent in Iowa to a high of more than 20 percent in California. We seek to account for these differences using a theoretical framework proposed by Brady, Finnigan, and Hübgen (2017), which emphasizes the prevalence of poverty risk factors as w...
Article
To address the housing affordability crisis for low-income Americans, we argue for a refundable renter's tax credit. The proposed credit would be delivered through the tax code, reach a broad segment of renters, and target those with high housing cost burdens. We simulate the effects of the credit using Current Population Survey data. The credit wo...
Article
This article provides estimates of the potential anti-poverty impacts of eight proposals presented in this double issue of RSF. Using the 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the Current Population Survey and the Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics' Supplemental Poverty Measure, we first discuss the simulation approach taken for e...
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Full-text available
To reduce child poverty and income instability, and eliminate extreme poverty among families with children in the United States, we propose converting the Child Tax Credit and child tax exemption into a universal, monthly child allowance. Our proposal is based on principles we argue should undergird the design of such policies: universality, access...
Article
This study examined factors associated with being paid for sick leave after implementation of the New York City (NYC) paid sick leave law. A random sample of NYC residents was surveyed by telephone multiple times over a 2-year period. Participants (n = 1195) reported socio-demographics, awareness of the law, income, work hours per week, and payment...
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Poverty has a strong relationship to geography in the United States. Previous research has found that rural areas have higher average poverty rates than urban areas, but the new supplemental poverty measure (SPM) has shown in recent years that urban areas have higher average poverty. In this article, we analyze poverty trends from 1967 to 2014 in r...
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Full-text available
Prior research shows that financial assistance from family and friends is an important source of support for families with children. Research on financial transfers has largely focused on the recipients of transfers, however. In this study, using longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (n∼16,000 person-waves), the auth...
Article
We use data from the Current Population Survey and the new Supplemental Poverty Measure to provide estimates for poverty among foster children from 1992 to 2013. These are the first large-scale, national estimates for foster children because they are not included in official poverty statistics. Holding child and family demographics constant, foster...
Article
Between 1968 and 2013, the poverty rate of young children age 0 to 5 years fell by nearly one third, in large part because of the role played by anti-poverty programs. However, young children in the U.S. still face a much higher rate of poverty than do older children in the U.S. They also continue to have a much higher poverty rate than do young ch...
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Full-text available
Official poverty statistics have been criticized, however, for being based on an outdated measure of poverty (Blank, 2008; Citro and Michael, 1995). First put into use in the 1960s, the official poverty measure’s (OPM) concept of needs has been updated for inflation but still reflects the living standards, family budgets, and family structures of t...
Article
The U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics recently developed a substantially improved measure of poverty, the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM has only been released since 2009, and prior efforts by researchers to construct a historical SPM time series have not taken into account an essential element of the new measure -...
Article
Objectives: To examine the association of county-level cost of living with nutrition among low-income Americans. Methods: We used the National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (2012-2013; n = 14 313; including 5414 persons in households participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [SNAP]) to examine associations b...
Article
This study examines historical trends in poverty using an anchored version of the U.S. Census Bureau’s recently developed Research Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) estimated back to 1967. Although the SPM is estimated each year using a quasi-relative poverty threshold that varies over time with changes in families’ expenditures on a core basket o...
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In this article, we review the evidence on the effects of poverty and low income on children's development and well-being. We argue that poverty is an important indicator of societal and child well-being, but that poverty is more than just an indicator. Poverty and low income are causally related to worse child development outcomes, particularly co...
Article
The official measure of poverty has been used to assess trends in children's poverty rates for many decades. But because of flaws in official poverty statistics, these basic trends have the potential to be misleading. We use an augmented Current Population Survey data set that calculates an improved measure of poverty to reexamine child poverty rat...
Article
The New York City (NYC) Longitudinal Study of Wellbeing, or “Poverty Tracker,” is a survey of approximately 2300 NYC residents. Its purpose is to provide a multidimensional and dynamic understanding of economic disadvantage in NYC. Measures of disadvantage were collected at baseline and a 12-month follow-up, and include 3 types of disadvantage: 1)...
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Full-text available
This paper examines the changing face of deep poverty in the United States over the past fifty years and the role of family structure, employment patterns, and governmental taxes and transfers in explaining these trends. Using a newly developed historical measure of poverty based on the Census Bureau's supplemental poverty measure, we find that dee...
Article
Using data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey and the March Current Population Survey, we provide poverty estimates for 1967 to 2012 based on a historical supplemental poverty measure (SPM). During this period, poverty, as officially measured, has stagnated. However, the official poverty measure (OPM) does not account for the effect of near-cash...
Article
We draw upon past research on gender and prosocial emotions in hypothesizing that empathy can help explain the gender gap in charitable giving. In a nationally representative survey, we found that men reported less willingness to give money or volunteer time to a poverty relief organization, gaps that were mediated by men's lower reported feelings...
Article
Recessions can alter family life by constraining the choices that individuals and couples make concerning their family lives and by activating the family’s role as an emergency support system. Both effects were visible during and after the Great Recession. Fertility declined by 9 to 11 percent, depending on the measure, and the decline was greater...
Book
Officially over in 2009, the Great Recession is now generally acknowledged to be the most devastating global economic crisis since the Great Depression. As a result of the crisis, the United States lost more than 7.5 million jobs, and the unemployment rate doubled-peaking at more than 10 percent. The collapse of the housing market and subsequent eq...
Article
In this study, children's participation (N = 1,420) in activities outside of elementary school was examined as a function of disparities in family income using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, Child Development Supplement. Children's neighborhood and home environments were investigated as mechanisms linking income disparities and parti...
Article
In this study, we identified unique clusters of parenting behaviors based on parents' school involvement, community involvement, rule-setting, and cognitive stimulation with data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics—Child Development Supplement. In early (n=668) and middle adolescence (n=634), parents who provided high cognitive stimulation (i.e...
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Full-text available
Youth out-of-school time (OST) programs and activities can provide developmental benefits for participating youth. Yet little research has examined the contextual predictors of youth OST participation. To address this issue, we examined a collection of child-, family-, school-, and neighborhood-level characteristics as predictors of OST participati...
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Harvard Family Research Project's (HFRP) series of "Out-of-School Time Evaluation Snapshots" distills the wealth of information compiled in our Out-of-School Time (OST) Program Research and Evaluation Database into a single report. Each "Snapshot" examines a specific aspect of out-of-school time (OST) evaluation. This "Snapshot" describes instrumen...
Article
Although marriage is associated with a plethora of adult outcomes, its causal status remains controversial in the absence of experimental evidence. We address this problem by introducing a counterfactual life-course approach that applies inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) to yearly longitudinal data on marriage, crime, and shared cov...
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Full-text available
Participation in structured out-of-school time (OST) activities is of growing interest to families, youth practitioners, and policymakers. OST activities benefit youth socially, emotionally, and academically, especially at-risk youth. Yet, little research has explored the characteristics of youth participants. This study examines whether demographi...
Article
With support from the William T. Grant Foundation, Harvard Family Research Project (HFRP) is conducting a research study on the factors associated with whether children and youth participate in out-of-school time (OST) programs and activities. Building on our previous work, we are using national data to examine the many factors and contexts in chil...

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