How Permanent Fund Dividends Reduce Poverty in Alaska

Permanent Fund dividends—payments the state makes to virtually all residents annually—lifted about 25,000 Alaskans out of poverty in 2015, reducing poverty in Alaska by about a third. Since 1990, PFDs have reduced poverty rates in Alaska by an estimated 2.5 to 4 percentage points annually. They have been particularly important for children, Alaska Natives, and rural residents, who are much more likely to be poor than Alaskans on average.

Those are estimates that Matthew Berman, a professor of economics at ISER, and Random Reamey, an ISER research professional, developed for their analysis of how PFDs have reduced poverty in Alaska over the past 25 years. They made their own estimates, because they discovered that the U.S. census data federal agencies use to calculate poverty rates for Alaska don’t include all PFD income. So they adjusted census data to include all PFD income, and then estimated poverty rates with and without PFDs.

Download the summary (PDF, 955KB) or the full analysis (PDF, 994KB). If you have questions, call Matthew Berman at 907-786-5426.

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