Final Synthesis Report of Findings from ASPE "Leavers" Grants. Employment and Earnings by Subgroup


The ASPE-funded leaver studies contain interesting information on the employment outcomes for different groups of leavers. These subgroup comparisons often highlight important issues that are specific to each site. For example, Massachusetts compares outcomes for leavers who reached their initial time limit (24 months) with other leavers. Although there are many interesting and important subgroup comparisons within leaver studies, these subgroups are not all comparable across studies. Among the subgroups that can be compared across studies, this synthesis has already reviewed employment outcomes for continuous leavers with other leavers. This next section considers differences in employed outcomes by race/ethnic affiliation.

Six studies report some information on employment and earnings by racial and ethnic groups. These results show that for the most part, black leavers have higher employment rates than white leavers. The evidence on earnings and for other race/ethnicity groups is more mixed. 17

Of the studies reporting some results on employment rates for different race/ethnic groups, five of the six find that black leavers have higher employment rates than white leavers (Table III.11). The difference in the percentages of black and white leavers employed at any time in the year after exit ranges from 6 percentage points in Arizona (78 percent of blacks compared with 72 percent of whites) to 14 percentage points in Florida (60 percent of blacks compared with 46 percent of whites). Similar differences are reported for employment in the fourth quarter after exit for Arizona, Missouri, and South Carolina. Only in Illinois are the employment rates slightly higher for whites (56 percent) than for blacks (54 percent). The study attributes this difference more to geographic differences in employment between Chicago and downstate Illinois than to race differences per se.

Table III.11:
Employment and Earnings for Single-Parent Welfare Leavers by Race/Ethnicity: Administrative Data Findings
  Race/Ethnicity Group
Black White Hispanic Other1

Employment Anytime in Year After Exit (%)


78 72 77 64


60 46 48 43


80 67 n.a. n.a.


78 71 n.a. n.a.

Employment in Fourth Quarter After Exit (%)


53 49 54 43


54 56 54 n.a.


64 54 n.a. n.a.

South Carolina5

61 53 n.a. n.a.

Mean Annual Earnings for Workers in Year After Exit ($)


7,037 6,361 7,732 8,236


7,784 6,894 n.a. 8,572

Mean Earnings in Fourth Quarter After Exit ($)


2,503 2,618 2,487 2,171


2,900 2,550 n.a. n.a.

South Carolina4,5

798 850 n.a. n.a.

1Other includes Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, and other unless otherwise specified
2Other category is Native American. A samll percent of caseload (less than 1%) is other race/ethnicity not included in this table..
3Figures listed under "black" represent all "non-white" leavers which include a small percent (less than 2 percent) of Hispanic, Native American, and other race/ethnicities.
4Reported earnings are mean monthly earnings in year after exit.
5Report data for all cases, not just for single-parent cases.

Four studies report employment results for other race/ethnic groups. Employment rates of Hispanic leavers are similar to black leavers in Arizona and Illinois. In Florida, however, the employment rate of Hispanic leavers at any point in the year after exit (48 percent) is similar to that of whites, and lower than rates for blacks. Arizona reports a much lower employment rate for Native Americans than for other racial/ethnic groups in both the year after exit and the fourth quarter after exit. Finally, Georgia also reports significantly lower employment rates for all non-white, non-black leavers, who make up about 2 percent of Georgias leaver sample.

Differences in earnings across racial/ethnic groups for those leavers that are employed are more varied across the studies. Five studies report some measure of earnings after exit by race/ethnicity. Florida and Georgia both report mean annual earnings for workers in the year after exit. They both find that blacks have higher earnings than whites; about $700 higher in Florida and $900 higher in Georgia. Earnings of Hispanic leavers in Florida are significantly higher than for blacks or whites, $7,732 a year. Both Florida and Georgia find the highest earnings among the other category, but this group is quite small in both studies.

Arizona and Missouri report mean earnings in the fourth quarter by race/ethnicity while South Carolina reports mean monthly earnings. Unlike Florida and Georgia, Arizona and South Carolina find that working white leavers have higher earnings than working black leavers. Missouri finds nonwhite leavers have quarterly earnings that are almost $400 higher than white leavers. And Arizona, in contrast to Florida, finds that Hispanic leavers have lower earnings in the fourth quarter after exit ($2,487) than black or white leavers; Native American leavers in Arizona have the lowest earnings levels ($2,171).