Final Synthesis Report of Findings from ASPE "Leavers" Grants. Poverty and Family Income Relative to Needs


Four of the eight studies collecting information about leaver income explicitly examine the poverty status of leavers. Figure V.2 and Table V.8 shows that in Missouri, Washington, and Cuyahoga County, well over half of all single-parent leavers are poor. In Iowa, nearly half of all leavers are poor (47 percent) when focusing on cash income.36 The Washington study compares poverty rates of TANF leavers with those of families still on TANF: although 58 percent of Washington's leavers are poor, a much higher percentage (86 percent) of families receiving TANF have incomes that fall below the poverty line.

Figure V.2:
Poverty Among Single-Parent Welfare Leavers: Survey Findings

Figure V.2: Poverty Among Single-Parent Welfare Leavers: Survey Findings

Notes:See table V.8 for more information

Table V.8:
Poverty Among Single-Parent Welfare Leavers: Survey Findings
State/ Study Exit Cohort Timing of Survey Post Exit % Poor % Below 185% of Federal Poverty Level


2Q99 8-12 months 47 1 80


4Q98 26-34 months 58 89


Oct. 1998 6-8 months 58 n.a.
Cuyahoga Co. 3Q98 14-21 months 57 2 n.a.

1Iowa also provided a poverty rate based on income including food stamps, 41%.
2The poverty rate is based on income including food stamps.
Source: See Appendix B for a complete listing of the leavers studies referenced.

Iowa and Missouri also report the share of single-parent leavers who have incomes below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. Above this level of income, most families become ineligible for virtually all low-income support programs including the earned income tax credit, and so this cutoff can be considered a rough marker for self-sufficiency. In Iowa, only one out of five leavers have incomes above 185 percent of poverty, and in Missouri, about one out of ten leavers have incomes above this threshold.