This study examined economic well-being outcomes including income generation and family poverty between 1991 and 1995 among low-income microentrepreneurs who took part in one of seven microenterprise assistance programs in the United States. While income generated from the business was examined, the primary focus here was at the household level, on whether or not poor families improve their economic status. This focus is consistent with the current dialogue between proponents, who suggest microenterprise can move families out of poverty, and critics who question such claims, suggesting microbusinesses may instead perpetuate poverty. Broadly, this study asks: Does microenterprise improve the economic well being of poor families over time? And, do economic outcomes differ significantly between program participants, nonparticipants and wage workers?
Funding Partner: Ford Foundation