Final Synthesis Report of Findings from ASPE "Leavers" Grants. Household Income


Household income is an important indicator of the well-being of welfare leavers. Although such information is difficult to gather, a subset of studies examine income levels, sources of income, and poverty. Results for the subset of studies that examine these outcomes for the entire household are summarized below.

  • Across all leaver families, own earnings are the most important single source of income, and own earnings plus the earnings of other family members together comprise over three-quarters of leaver families incomes on average.
  • Average monthly family income for leavers from all sources, including earnings, generally lies near the poverty line.
  • In the four studies that explicitly examine poverty rates of leaver families, on average, over half of leavers are poor. Two of the four studies find that the majority of leavers have incomes below 185 percent of the federal poverty line.
  • In the few studies that compare monthly income for subgroups, continuous leavers have considerably higher incomes than leavers in general. Employed leavers also have much greater monthly incomes than jobless leavers.