Indicators of Welfare Dependence: 2008 Research Brief. Welfare Dependency


In 2005, 3.8 percent of the total population would be considered “dependent” on social welfare programs given the definition stated above.  This is approximately one quarter of the recipiency rate, which is defined as the percentage of individuals living in a family receiving at least some TANF, food stamps or SSI benefits during the year.  Although the dependency and recipiency rates have been increasing since 2000, they remain lower than the rates for the period prior to the welfare reform legislation of 1996 as shown in Figure 1.  While 13.74 million individuals were dependent in 1996, 11.15 million were dependent in 2005 — representing a decline of 2.59 million people (results not shown).

Figure 1.
Recipiency and Dependency Rates: 1993-2005

Figure 1

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement,
1994-2006, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

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