Poverty dynamics in widowhood

J Gerontol. 1991 May;46(3):S115-24. doi: 10.1093/geronj/46.3.s115.


Data from a national sample of widows of all ages were used to examine links between poverty and widowhood. We found that widowhood drops living standards by 18 percent, on average, and pushes 10 percent of women whose incomes were above the poverty line prior to widowhood into poverty after it. Not surprisingly, economic status prior to widowhood is the strongest predictor of status during widowhood. Striking in the data is the instability of family income during widowhood, producing substantial numbers of exits from poverty.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Marriage
  • Middle Aged
  • Poverty*
  • Single Person*
  • United States