Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 1997. Indicator 1. Degree of Dependence

10/01/1997

This indicator captures the degree of dependence by examining total family income and the percentage of total family income from means-tested assistance programs.

Figure IND 1a. Percent of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs for the Total Population, 1993

Figure IND 1a. Percent of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs for the Total Population, 1993

  • Eighty-three percent of the total population received no means-tested assistance in 1993. Table IND 1a reveals a similar pattern for 1992 (83 percent), 1990 (86 percent) and 1987 (85 percent).
  • For all persons who received some assistance, most received 25 percent or less of their total family income from AFDC, Food Stamps and SSI (9 percent). Table IND 1a shows similar percentages for other years (9 percent in 1992, 8 percent in 1990, 8 percent in 1987).
  • Table IND 1a shows that a larger percentage of non-Hispanic blacks received more than 50 percent of their income from means-tested assistance than Hispanics or non-Hispanic whites in all four years.
  • As further shown in Table IND 1a, somewhat larger percentages of children age 0 to 5, compared to children of other ages, lived in families that received more than 50 percent of their total income from means-tested assistance programs.

Table IND 1a. Percent of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs for the Total Population, Selected Years

  0% > 0% and > 25% and Total > 50% and Total
<= 25% <= 50% > 50% <= 75% > 75%
  1993
All Persons 83.0 9.5 2.7 4.8 1.5 3.4
Non-Hispanic White 89.1 7.0 1.6 2.3 0.9 1.4
Non-Hispanic Black 58.2 18.4 7.1 16.3 4.3 12.0
Hispanic 66.1 17.6 6.1 10.3 2.9 7.4
Children Age 0 - 5 71.0 12.8 4.6 11.6 3.1 8.5
Children Age 6 - 10 76.0 11.0 3.9 9.2 2.1 7.1
Children Age 11 - 15 77.4 11.1 4.3 7.3 2.0 5.2
Women Age 16 - 64 82.7 9.6 2.7 5.0 1.5 3.5
Men Age 16 - 64 88.0 8.4 1.4 2.1 0.9 1.2
Adults Age 65 and over 87.8 7.6 2.6 2.0 0.9 1.2
  1992
All Persons 83.1 9.3 2.7 4.9 1.4 3.5
Non-Hispanic White 89.0 6.8 1.8 2.4 0.8 1.6
Non-Hispanic Black 59.0 18.3 6.9 15.9 4.1 11.7
Hispanic 66.7 17.6 5.1 10.5 2.5 8.0
Children Age 0 - 5 71.1 12.1 4.6 12.2 3.0 9.3
Children Age 6 - 10 76.2 10.7 3.6 9.5 2.6 6.9
Children Age 11 - 15 76.8 11.9 3.8 7.5 2.1 5.4
Women Age 16 - 64 83.0 9.2 2.8 5.0 1.3 3.7
Men Age 16 - 64 88.2 8.2 1.6 1.9 0.7 1.3
Adults Age 65 and over 87.4 8.0 2.5 2.0 1.0 1.1
  1990
All Persons 85.9 7.9 2.0 4.2 1.2 3.0
Non-Hispanic White 91.1 5.7 1.1 2.1 0.6 1.5
Non-Hispanic Black 63.4 16.0 6.0 14.6 5.2 9.3
Hispanic 70.5 16.8 4.4 8.3 2.1 6.2
Children Age 0 - 5 76.0 11.0 2.8 10.3 2.4 7.9
Children Age 6 - 10 79.8 9.2 2.6 8.5 2.4 6.0
Children Age 11 - 15 81.2 9.6 2.8 6.4 1.8 4.5
Women Age 16 - 64 85.9 7.7 1.8 4.6 1.3 3.2
Men Age 16 - 64 90.5 6.7 1.3 1.5 0.5 1.0
Adults Age 65 and over 87.9 7.4 2.8 1.9 1.0 0.9
  1987
All Persons 85.1 8.2 2.1 4.7 1.3 3.3
Non-Hispanic White 90.7 5.8 1.3 2.2 0.9 1.3
Non-Hispanic Black 59.1 18.7 6.5 15.7 3.9 11.8
Hispanic 71.7 13.6 3.8 10.9 2.2 8.7
Children Age 0 - 5 75.5 10.9 3.7 10.0 2.7 7.3
Children Age 6 - 10 76.8 10.5 2.6 10.1 2.8 7.3
Children Age 11 - 15 80.2 9.2 2.6 8.0 1.6 6.4
Women Age 16 - 64 85.6 7.9 1.9 4.6 1.1 3.5
Men Age 16 - 64 89.9 6.8 1.4 2.0 0.8 1.2
Adults Age 65 and over 86.4 8.6 2.5 2.6 1.4 1.2

Note: Means-tested assistance includes AFDC, SSI and Food Stamps. While only affecting a small number of cases, general assistance income is included under AFDC. Total > 50% includes all persons with more than 50 percent of their income from these means-tested programs.

Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1987, 1990 and 1992 panels.

Figure IND 1b. Percent of Recipients with More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC and Food Stamps by Number of Years

Figure IND 1b. Percent of Recipients with More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC and Food Stamps by Number of Years

For half of all recipients, AFDC and Food Stamps did not comprise more than 50 percent of total income at any time between 1982 and 1991. This was true for 55 percent of all recipients between 1972 and 1981.

The percentages of recipients who received more than 50 percent of total income from AFDC and Food Stamps for 6 to10 years are considerably smaller for all groups than the percentages for 1 to 5 years.

As shown in Table IND 1b, of child recipients, the percentage of black children in families who did not receive more than 50 percent of their income from AFDC and Food Stamps in any year increased across the two time periods (24 to 31 percent). In comparison, the same percentages for non-black children decreased substantially across the two time periods (50 to 37 percent).

Table IND 1b. Percent of Recipients with More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC and Food Stamps by Number of Years

  All Recipients: 1972 - 1981 All Recipients: 1982 - 1991
Years All Recipients Black Non-Black All Recipients Black Non-Black
0 Years 55 44 62 50 43 54
1 - 2 Years 22 22 22 23 21 25
3 - 5 Years 14 19 11 15 17 14
6 - 8 Years 5 9 3 9 12 6
9 - 10 Years 4 7 2 4 7 2
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
  Children 0 - 5 in 1972: 1972 - 1981 Children 0 - 5 in 1982: 1982 - 1991
Years All Child Recipients Black Non-Black All Child Recipients Black Non-Black
0 Years 39 24 50 34 31 37
1 - 2 Years 25 27 23 28 19 35
3 - 5 Years 21 27 17 16 18 15
6 - 8 Years 6 9 4 13 19 9
9 - 10 Years 9 12 6 8 14 4
  100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%

Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1972 - 1991.

Figure IND 1c. Percent of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status, 1992

Figure IND 1c. Percent of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status, 1992

  • Not surprisingly, poorer families received a larger percentage of their income from transfer programs and Food Stamps while wealthier families received a larger percentage of their income from earnings.
  • Poor individuals (less than 100 percent of poverty) received 41 percent of their total family income from means-tested assistance programs (transfer income and Food Stamps). In contrast, the percentage for those who are at least 200 percent above the poverty line is much lower (less than one percent).
  • Those living in deep poverty (total family income less than 50 percent of the poverty line) relied heavily on transfer income from AFDC and SSI (36 percent of total family income) as well as Food Stamps (35 percent of total family income).
  • The composition of income for all poor persons (less than 100 percent of poverty) is significantly different than that for those living in deep poverty (less than 50 percent of poverty). For example, the percentage of income from earnings for all poor individuals is nearly twice the percentage for those in deep poverty. The percentage of income from transfer programs is about two-thirds and the percentage of income from Food Stamps is less than half the percentage for the very poor.

Table IND 1c. Percent of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status, 1992

  <50% of Poverty <100% of Poverty <150% of Poverty <200% of Poverty 200%+ of Poverty
All Persons
Transfer Income 35.5 23.9 12.7 7.5 0.2
Food Stamps 34.6 16.6 7.9 4.4 0.0
Earnings 21.8 41.4 56.9 65.9 83.2
Other Income 8.1 18.2 22.5 22.2 16.5
Average Income $6,269 $9,694 $12,796 $16,113 $54,915
 
Racial Categories          
Non-Hispanic White          
Transfer Income 28.0 17.9 9.0 4.8 0.2
Food Stamps 31.6 13.5 5.8 2.8 0.0
Earnings 32.9 46.0 56.6 65.4 82.4
Other Income 7.5 22.6 28.6 27.0 17.4
Average Income $4,957 $8,731 $12,133 $15,935 $55,769
 
Non-Hispanic Black          
Transfer Income 40.2 31.8 20.6 14.1 0.7
Food Stamps 39.8 22.6 13.0 8.6 0.1
Earnings 11.2 29.5 47.6 58.5 89.1
Other Income 8.8 16.1 18.7 18.8 10.1
Average Income $7,254 $10,475 $12,859 $15,707 $46,183
 
Hispanic          
Transfer Income 39.2 23.3 12.6 8.8 1.0
Food Stamps 32.8 14.8 7.8 5.2 0.1
Earnings 21.4 48.4 66.2 73.1 88.9
Other Income 6.6 13.5 13.5 12.8 10.4
Average Income $7,236 $10,970 $14,511 $17,157 $46,749
 
Age Categories          
Children Age 0 - 5          
Transfer Income 39.1 30.0 17.4 10.5 0.2
Food Stamps 37.4 21.4 11.9 7.0 0.1
Earnings 17.2 38.7 59.2 71.9 91.7
Other Income 6.3 10.0 11.5 10.5 8.0
Average Income $7,298 $10,932 $14,149 $17,841 $57,627
 
Children Age 6 - 10          
Transfer Income 35.5 27.5 14.5 8.4 0.2
Food Stamps 36.9 20.6 10.4 5.8 0.0
Earnings 16.4 37.7 60.0 72.6 90.7
Other Income 11.1 14.3 15.1 13.2 9.1
Average Income $8,484 $11,684 $15,329 $19,196 $60,301
 
Children Age 11 - 15          
Transfer Income 38.3 24.1 12.9 7.8 0.2
Food Stamps 35.6 17.9 9.2 5.4 0.0
Earnings 15.7 42.4 61.9 70.7 91.5
Other Income 10.3 15.5 15.9 16.1 8.4
Average Income $7,647 $11,711 $15,499 $19,347 $61,133
 
Women Age 16 - 64          
Transfer Income 35.9 24.9 13.6 8.2 0.2
Food Stamps 33.7 16.5 8.1 4.6 0.0
Earnings 22.6 42.3 59.0 68.1 86.7
Other Income 7.8 16.3 19.2 19.1 13.1
Average Income $5,573 $9,148 $12,332 $15,573 $55,057
 
Men Age 16 - 64          
Transfer Income 24.0 15.3 8.1 4.7 0.2
Food Stamps 27.4 11.4 5.1 2.7 0.0
Earnings 46.5 56.1 66.9 74.9 88.0
Other Income 2.2 17.3 19.8 17.7 11.7
Average Income $4,006 $8,815 $12,679 $16,412 $56,796
 
Adults Age 65 and over          
Transfer Income 12.2 16.5 9.1 5.9 0.4
Food Stamps 3.1 3.8 1.5 0.8 0.0
Earnings 13.5 3.0 5.9 7.9 25.1
Other Income 71.2 76.7 83.4 85.4 74.5
Average Income $2,912 $6,168 $8,404 $10,570 $40,077

Note: Transfer income is defined as AFDC and SSI. While only affecting a small number of cases, general assistance income is included under AFDC. Other income is non-transfer, non-earnings income such as child support, alimony, pensions, survivor benefits, interest and dividends. Poverty status categories are not mutually exclusive. Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1992 panel.