This paper addresses issues related to the dynamics of income poverty using unique household panel data for urban and rural areas of Ethiopia covering the period 1994-97. The percentage of households that remained in poverty was twice as large in urban areas as in rural areas. This suggests that income variability is a serious problem in rural areas, while the persistence is a key feature of urban poverty. The paper also discusses household characteristics that are correlated with the incidence of chronic poverty as well as vulnerability to poverty. A strategy that promotes consumption smoothing through say access to credit can work well in rural areas, while income or employment generation are required for poverty alleviation in urban areas.