Using logistic regression analysis on data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, this study found that sociodemographic factors were far more influential in determining escape from poverty and becoming self sufficient than social psychological factors. The number of years respondents lived in poverty was the best predictor of escaping poverty, while the number of years respondents made use of public assistance programs was the best predictor of becoming self-sufficient. Marital status and change in the number of hours worked influenced the prospect for escaping poverty, though not becoming self-sufficient. Implications regarding the changing philosophy of social welfare from income maintenance to self-sufficiency are discussed.