The changing impact of marriage, motherhood and work on women's poverty

Hilarie Lieb*, Susan Thistle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


This study evaluates historical changes in the relative importance of key factors influencing white, African American, and Hispanic women's poverty. Empirical results, based on reduced form logistic regressions, indicate that work has become, relative to marriage, a potentially better way to decrease women's poverty. The greater relative importance of work when compared to marriage is strongest for blacks and weakest for whites, although for all three groups of women this pattern holds. This trend is consistent with the move from women's main economic support being generated through marriage to instead being generated through work. At the same time, children continue to increase women's chances of being in poverty, though their impact has changed differently among the three groups. The findings suggest that resources directed towards alleviating poverty should ideally be allocated towards efforts to create good job opportunities combined with support to reduce the costs associated with balancing market and family responsibilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-22
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Women, Politics and Policy
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2005


  • African americans
  • Children
  • Employment
  • Hispanics
  • Marriage
  • Poverty
  • Single mothers
  • Whites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science


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