Publication Date



Research indicates that low-income families with children have many motives to save, however, the costs of raising children, low wage employment, means tested programs, and the need for child care make it difficult for them to save. Using data from the American Dream Demonstration (n=1,801), this study examines saving performances of low-income families with children in a matched savings program – Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). The results indicate that households with children in IDAs can save when they are provided structured opportunities. In addition, this study finds that institutional factors, not merely individual characteristics, are highly associated with IDA saving performance, and are important in explaining saving performances in IDAs. Implications for policy makers and program administrators to better assist low – income families to save and accumulate assets in IDAs are given.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building

Original Citation

Grinstein-Weiss, M., Wagner, K., & Ssewamala, F. (2005). Saving and asset accumulation among low-income families with children in IDAs (CSD Working Paper No. 05-09). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


American Dream Policy Demonstration (ADD)


IDA, individual development account, state policy, assets, low income, institutional support, children, ADD, American Dream Demonstration