Calculator determines your risk of poverty during next 5, 10 or 15 years

While Forbes touted its annual list of billionaires around the world this week, economic hardship and inequality experts Thomas Hirschl, professor in the Department of Development Sociology at Cornell University, and Mark Rank, the Herbert S. Hadley Professor of Social Welfare at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, have developed a new poverty risk calculator that can determine the risk of poverty based on four factors: race, education, marital status and age.

The calculator can be found at and is especially poignant during the 2016 Presidential Campaign, in which both Republican and Democratic candidates are pitching their plans to embolden the American middle class which has seen the U.S. median household income stagnate over the last decade.

Hirschl and Rank are co-authors of the influential 2014 book, “Chasing the American Dream: Understanding What Shapes Our Fortunes.” A paperback version is due out in March.”

Hirschl says:

“Two economic issues have loomed large during the current political campaign season. One is widespread economic insecurity; the other is soaring levels of U.S. income inequality. Presidential candidates from both parties have hammered home the importance of these issues in the lives of ordinary citizens. As a result, many may be asking themselves, ‘How much personal economic risk do I face in the future?’ ‘How does my risk differ from that of others?’

“The idea behind the tool is similar to the logic behind the heart disease calculators that can be readily found on the Internet.

“Based on hundreds of thousands of case records taken from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, an ongoing longitudinal study of Americans begun in 1968, the calculator estimates the percentage of Americans who will experience poverty in the next 5, 10 or 15 years.”

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