How Effective Are Different Welfare-to-Work Approaches? Five-Year Adult and Child Impacts for Eleven Programs. Marital Status and Household Composition

12/01/2001

Marital status was measured at one point in time: the month prior to the survey interview. Dynamic or cumulative patterns of marital status are therefore not captured. Five mutually exclusive categories of marital status were created: married and living with a spouse, cohabiting, separated, divorced, widowed, and never married.

Measures of household composition were constructed from a grid that questioned the respondent about all household members who stayed in her home for at least two nights a week during the month prior to the survey interview. For all measures of household composition, it is assumed that household members in the respondent's generation or older are adults(2) and that household members in a younger generation are children.(3) Adult extended family members include parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other adult relatives. For comparability with census definitions of "living with unrelated adults," the measure of living with unrelated adults was constructed based on information about household members and marital status.(4) If respondents listed unrelated adults as household members or reported not being married and living as a couple with a boyfriend or partner, they were considered to be living with unrelated adults. "Living with unrelated adults" includes cohabiting partners who may have fathered at least one child in the household.(5) All marital status categories were coded independently from household composition outcomes. For example, some respondents could have reported living with a "partner" or a "spouse" but may not have reported being "married" or "cohabiting."(6) Specific information about whether or not the father of at least one child lived in the household was not collected for all client survey respondents. Thus, respondents who reported being married or cohabiting may include marriage or cohabitation with the father of at least one child in the household. Presence of a new baby during the five-year follow-up period was measured by comparing the birth dates of each biological, legally adopted, or step child with the date of random assignment (plus nine months). To evaluate changes in outcomes over time and compare these patterns with national figures (described in the final section of this chapter), comparable outcomes were created for sample members who had information collected at both the two-year follow-up and the five-year follow-up.