NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Poverty of Widows: Future Prospects

Michael D. Hurd

NBER Working Paper No. 2326
Issued in July 1987
NBER Program(s):   AG

I estimate the fraction of widows that will be in poverty by projecting the economic status, as measured in 1979, of a cohort of the elderly. The projections are based on an economic model of consumption behavior. I define and estimate a consumption-based measure of poverty status that, I believe, is more appropriate for the elderly than the usual income-based measure. According to the projections, the fraction of widows in poverty should not increase substantially as the 1979 cohort ages. However, the fraction in poverty depends critically on the definition: the differences between the consumption- and income- based measures are large. But even more important is the valuation put on Medicare/Medicaid: for two reasonable valuations, the fractions in poverty are very different.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w2326

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