In recent years, there has been growing academic and media attention regarding income
inequality—the disparity in the distribution of income across households. This report focuses on
a less studied issue, how income varies within households even over relatively short periods of
time. Variability or volatility in income can contribute to economic hardship, even among
families with an annualized income above the poverty line. While this report highlights the
importance of income volatility for working families, it also launches a timely discussion of what
policies and programs can do to mitigate the hardships imposed by increasing income volatility.
This report develops an innovative set of alternatives to stimulate innovations in policies,
programs, and financial products aimed at economically vulnerable households.