Families on TANF in South Carolina: Employment Assets and Liabilities. Basic Demographic Characteristics


Table II-1 presents a basic demographic profile of the TANF recipients who responded to the survey. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents were under the age of 30, almost all were female, and nearly three-fourths were black. The median age was only 26 years, which may be due to South Carolina’s 24-month time limit on the receipt of TANF assistance in ten years.
  • Many of the respondents (especially younger respondents) had educational deficits.

Nearly 40% of the respondents had not completed high school or a GED, while about a quarter had education beyond high school or a GED. A key finding was that younger respondents (aged 18-24) were more likely to be high school dropouts than older respondents – 46% of younger respondents had not completed high school or a GED compared to 31% of respondents 35 years old and older (data not shown).

  • Few of the respondents were currently married or living with a partner, and 75% of black respondents had never been married.

Very few of the respondents (8%) were currently married or living with a partner who might have been a source of support in times of joblessness. Another 27% were divorced or separated, and 65% had never been married. Blacks (75%) were much more likely than whites (35%) to have never married.

Table II-1 – Basic Demographic Characteristics
of the Survey Respondents
Characteristics Percent
Did not complete high school/GED 38
Completed high school/GED only 38
Education beyond high school or GED 24
Marital Status
Married or living with partner 8
Separated/divorced/ widowed 27
Never married 65
Age Group
18-24 41
25-29 22
30-34 14
35-39 9
40+ years old 13
(Median age in years) (26 years)
White 24
Black/African American 73
Hispanic 2
Other 1
Female 98
Male 2

Source: Telephone survey of 1,120 TANF recipients in South Carolina


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