The Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty: An Overview

63 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2010

See all articles by Kate Bird

Kate Bird

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

Date Written: October 1, 2007


This paper reviews the international literature on the intergenerational transmission (IGT) of poverty and seeks to identify gaps in knowledge and to suggest a research agenda for work on the IGT poverty within the Chronic Poverty Research Centre. It aims to identify the factors and processes that, within the context of the broader economic and socio-political context, determine the poverty status of individuals and their households, the likelihood that poverty is passed from one generation to another, and the potential ‘poverty trajectories’ for those growing up in poor households.

After a general introduction to what we mean by IGT poverty, the paper presents a brief review of the literature on IGT poverty in the United States. We then go on to discuss some of the most influential household level and extra-household factors influencing the intergenerational transmission of poverty, before discussing the role of resilience.

Keywords: Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty, Household-Level Analysis, Resilience

Suggested Citation

Bird, Kate, The Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty: An Overview (October 1, 2007). Chronic Poverty Research Centre Working Paper No. 99, Available at SSRN: or

Kate Bird (Contact Author)

Overseas Development Institute (ODI) ( email )

111 Westminister Bridge Rd.
London, SE17JD
United Kingdom

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