The Welfare Indicators Act challenges the Department of Health and Human Services, and indirectly the Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators, to identify and set forth not only indicators of welfare dependence and welfare duration, but also predictors and causes of welfare receipt. Up to this point, welfare research has not established clear and definitive causes of welfare dependence. However, research has identified a number of risk factors associated with welfare utilization. For purposes of this report, the terms “predictors” and “risk factors” are used somewhat interchangeably, although the differences between them are acknowledged.
Where the Advisory Board recommended narrowing the focus of dependence indicators, it recommended an expansive view toward predictors and risk factors. The range of possible predictors is extremely wide, and until they are measured and analyzed over time as the PRWORA changes are implemented, their value will not be known. Some of the “predictors” included in this chapter may turn out to be simply correlates of welfare receipt, some may have a causal relationship, some may be consequences, and some may have predictive value.
For purposes of this report, the predictors/risk factors included in this chapter are grouped into three categories:
ECON. The first group includes measures associated with economic security. This group encompasses measures of poverty, child support receipt, food insecurity, health care coverage, household mobility, and adult incarceration. The poverty-related measures in this group include overall and child poverty rates, transitions in and out of poverty, lengths of poverty spells, events associated with entries and exits from poverty, intergenerational poverty, pre- and post-cash transfers poverty rates, and high-poverty neighborhoods. For ease of presentation, the tables and figures illustrating measures of economic security are labeled with the prefix ECON throughout this chapter.
WORK. The second grouping (labeled with the WORK prefix) includes factors related to employment and barriers to employment. Data on labor force attachment and earnings for low-skilled workers are included, as are data on barriers to work. The latter category includes incidence of adult disabilities and children with chronic health conditions, adult substance abuse, levels of educational attainment and school drop-out rates, and child care costs.
TEEN. The final group addresses behavioral issues primarily affecting teenagers. This category includes out-of-wedlock childbearing data, onset of sexual activity, teen substance abuse and arrest data, and information on teens who are neither in school nor working. The tables and figures in this subsection are labeled with the TEEN prefix.
As noted above, the predictors/risk factors included in this chapter do not represent an exhaustive list of measures. They are, in fact, a sampling of available data that address in some way the question of how a family is faring on the deprivation/well-being scale. Such questions are a necessary part of the dependence discussion during this time of major change in the welfare rules. It is important to examine whether decreases in dependence measures are accompanied by improvements in family well-being (as, for example, if work activities increase) or by reductions in family’s material circumstance (which could happen as families lose access to benefits because of time limits or sanctions).
Economic Security Risk Factor 1. Poverty Rates
Poverty rates illustrate the economic condition of families and, as such, a key risk factor of dependence.
Figure ECON 1a. Percentage in Poverty by Age
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 1997," Current Population Reports, Series P60-201 and unpublished tables available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
- The percentage of people living in poverty fell from 13.7 percent to 13.3 percent between 1996 and 1997. This decline continues the trend since 1993, when poverty rates were at a ten-year high of 15.1 percent.
- Children, particularly young children, have much higher poverty rates than the overall population. The poverty rate for related children under 6 reached 25.7 percent in 1992. Since then it has declined, falling to 21.6 percent in 1997.
- Table Econ 1a shows that the poverty rate for blacks declined from 28.4 percent in 1996 to 26.5 percent in 1997. It still remains higher than the 11.0 percent rate for whites. The poverty rate for Hispanics also dropped between 1996 and 1997 from 29.4 percent to 27.1 percent.
Table ECON 1a. Number and Percentage of Persons in Poverty by Age, Sex, Race and Hispanic Origin, Selected Years
- The percentage of people living in poverty increased 2.3 percentage points to a level of 15.1 percent between 1989 and 1992 and has since declined to 13.3 percent as the economy has recovered from the recession.
Figure ECON 1b. Percentage of Population Below 50 and 100 Percent of Poverty
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 1997," Current Population Reports, Series P60-201 and unpublished tables available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
- Since 1975, the percentage of the population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold has risen and fallen in a pattern that reflects to some degree the trend in the overall poverty rate. For example, the percentage of people below 50 percent of poverty rose from a low of 3.3 percent in 1976 to a high of 5.9 percent in 1983 and then after falling slightly, rose to a second peak of 6.2 percent in 1993. The overall poverty rate – the percentage of people below 100 percent of poverty – also peaked in 1983 and 1993 in a somewhat similar pattern, although with more pronounced peaks and valleys.
- Over the past two decades, however, there has been an overall increase in the proportion of the poverty population that falls below 50 percent of the poverty level. Whereas the population below 50 percent of the poverty threshold was 30 percent of the poverty population in 1975, it rose to 39 percent of the total poverty population by 1983, and to 41 percent by 1997.
- Between 1995 and 1997, the percentage of the total population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level increased slightly, from 5.3 percent to 5.4 percent, in contrast to the decline in the overall poverty level, from 13.8 percent to 13.3 percent.
Table ECON 1b. Number and Percentage of People Below 50, 75, 100, and 125 Percent of Poverty Level, 1975 – 1997
- In 1997, there were 35.6 million people with family income below 100 percent of the poverty threshold, as shown in Table ECON 1b. This included 14.6 million people with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold.
Economic Security Risk Factor 2. Poverty Transition Rates
Data on poverty transitions show the extent of new entries into and exits from poverty.
Figure ECON 2a. Percentage of Poor Individuals Moving out of Poverty from 1993 to 1994
Figure ECON 2b. Percentage of Non-Poor Individuals Moving into Poverty from 1993 to 1994
Source: Table ECON 2.
- As shown in Figure ECON 2a, nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of all individuals who were poor in 1993 moved out of poverty in 1994. The percentage of poor non-Hispanic whites who exited poverty in 1994 (29 percent) was larger than the corresponding percentages for non-Hispanic blacks (17 percent) and Hispanics (24 percent).
- Only 3 percent of all individuals who were above the poverty line in 1993 became poor in 1994, as shown in Figure ECON 2b. A larger percentage of Hispanic individuals who were not poor in 1993 entered poverty in 1994 (7 percent) compared to both non-Hispanic Blacks (5 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (3 percent).
- As shown in Table ECON 2, 33 percent of men age 16 to 64 who were poor in 1993 moved out of poverty in 1994, compared to only 27 percent of women age 16 to 64. Poor adults age 65 or older were even less likely to exit poverty than poor adults age 16 to 64: only 15 percent of the elderly poor population in 1993 exited poverty in 1994.
Economic Security Risk Factor 3. Poverty Spells
The length of a poverty episode illustrates one aspect of the risk of dependence.
Figure ECON 3. Length of Spells of Poverty for Persons Who Became Poor during the 1993 SIPP Panel
Source: Table ECON 3.
- Nearly half (47 percent) of all poverty spells ended within 4 months and three-quarters of all poverty spells ended within one year. Only 16 percent of all poverty spells were 20 months or longer.
- As shown in Table ECON 3, a larger percentage of poverty spells among non-Hispanic blacks were 20 months or longer (23 percent) than was the case for spells among non-Hispanic whites (14 percent) and among Hispanics (15 percent).
- Spells of poverty among adults age 65 and older tend to last longer than poverty spells among adults age 16 to 64 and spells among children age 0 to 15. As shown in Table ECON 3, only 65 percent of poverty spells among adults age 65 and older ended within one year compared to 80 percent for women age 16 to 64, 75 percent for men age 16 to 64, and 73 percent for children age 0 to 15.
Table ECON 3. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1993 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell
Economic Security Risk Factor 4. Long-term Poverty
As with welfare, poverty experiences often occur in a number of discrete episodes. Measures that illustrate the total length of poverty episodes reveal an important aspect of the severity of the risk of dependence.
Figure ECON 4. Percentage of Children Ages 0 to 5 in 1982 Living in Poverty by Cumulative Number of Years in Poverty
Source: Table ECON 4.
- Among children who were age 0 to 5 in 1982, nearly three-quarters (73 percent) never lived in poverty for any year over the next ten years, as shown in Figure ECON 4. The percentage of children who remained above the poverty line in all years between 1972 and 1981 is similar although somewhat larger (76 percent), as shown in Table ECON 4.
- During the 1982 to 1991 period, 28 percent of black children experienced longer-term poverty of 6 to 10 years, a percentage much higher than that for non-black children during the same ten-year time period (3 percent).
- For both time periods, the percentages of all individuals who were poor for only one to two years are much larger than the percentages of all individuals who experienced longer-term poverty, as shown in Table ECON 4. For example, while 11 percent of all individuals were poor for only one to two years between 1982 and 1991, only 3 percent were poor for 6 to 8 years and only 2 percent were poor for 9 to 10 years during the same time period.
- As shown in Table ECON 4, a somewhat larger percentage of children compared to the percentage of total persons experienced long-term poverty in both time periods, especially long-term poverty of 9 to 10 years.
Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of a Poverty Spell
Events that trigger the beginning or ending of a poverty episode indicate an increased or decreased likelihood of future dependence.
Table ECON 5a. Percentage of First Poverty Spell Beginnings Associated with Specific Events
- During the 1986 to 1991 time period, first poverty spell beginnings were most often associated with a second or higher order birth (18 percent), a decrease in mothers’ work hours (29 percent), a decrease in other’s work hours (28 percent and 16 percent), or a work limitation (24 percent).
- The percentages of first poverty spell beginnings associated with decreases in mothers’ work hours increased dramatically over the three time periods, from 13 percent in the earliest period to 29 percent in the most recent period.
- The percentages of first poverty episodes associated with the householder acquiring a work limitation increased over time to nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of all first poverty spells beginning between 1986 and 1991.
Table ECON 5b. Percentage of First Poverty Spell Endings Associated with Specific Events
- Between 1986 and 1991, most first poverty spell exits were associated with increased work hours of mothers (21 percent), increased work hours for other adults (23 percent) or a change in work limitations (20 percent).
- The percentage of first poverty spell endings associated with marriage or cohabitation decreased somewhat in the 1986 to 1991 time period relative to the earlier time periods (from 14 to 12 percent).
- The percentages of first poverty spell endings associated with increases in transfer income remained relatively stable over the three time periods (around 4 to 5 percent).
- The percentages of spell endings associated with a householder no longer reporting a work limitation increased between the first two time periods and remained stable between the last two time periods.
Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Intergenerational Poverty
The extent to which parental poverty is associated with poverty of their children as adults illustrates a significant risk to current and future dependence.
Figure ECON 6. Poverty Status in 1990 of Persons under 18 and Poor in 1970
Source: Table ECON 6.
- Among children who were age 0 to 18 and lived in poor families in 1970, 17 percent of white children and 38 percent of black children also lived in poverty as adults in 1990. In other words, poor black children were more than twice as likely as poor white children to be poor as adults.
- Similar percentages of white and black children who were age 0 to 18 and poor in 1970 were “near-poor” (above 100 percent but less than 200 percent of the poverty level) as adults in 1990 (30 percent for whites and 28 percent for blacks). In contrast, white children were much more likely to be living above 200 percent of the poverty level as adults in 1990 (53 percent) than were black children (34 percent).
Table ECON 6. Poverty Status in 1990 of Persons Who Were under 18 and Poor in 1970
Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Pre-transfer and Posttransfer Poverty Rates
Trends in the pre- and post-transfer rates of poverty which show the anti-poverty effectiveness of social security and of the major means-tested assistance program benefits.
Figure ECON 7. Poverty Rate of All Persons in Families with Related Children Under 18 Using Alternative Definitions of Income, 1979-1996
Note: The pre-transfer rate measures poverty in terms of cash income (only) before all transfers. The official rate measures it in terms of cash income plus social security and means-tested cash transfers. The post-transfer rate measures poverty after adding not only social security and means-tested cash transfers but also the market value of food and housing benefits plus taxes (including the refundable EITC as well as Federal payroll and income taxes); it does not include the fungible value of Medicare and Medicaid.
Source: Congressional Budget Office tabulations. Additional calculations by DHHS.
- In all years reported, the pre-transfer poverty rate for families with related children under age18 was much higher than both the official poverty rate and the post-transfer poverty rate.
- Table ECON 7 shows that the total effect of transfers and taxes was to reduce the poverty rate by 6.1 percentage points in 1972, 4.2 percentage points in 1983, and 6.7 percentage points in 1996.
Table ECON 7. Antipoverty Effectiveness of Cash and Near-Cash Transfers for All Persons in Families with Related Children Under 18, Selected Fiscal Years
- Table ECON 7 shows that a substantial percentage of the poor population was removed from poverty by transfers in all years shown. The percentage of poor persons removed from poverty due to transfers was 37 percent in 1979, declining to 19 percent in 1983, and rising to 34 percent in 1996.
- Table ECON 7 shows that the percentage of the poor population removed from poverty due to food and housing benefits is much larger in all reported years than the percentage removed due to other transfers. In 1996, more than 11 percent of the poor population was removed from poverty due to food and housing benefits.
- Table ECON 7 also shows that whereas tax policies, including the EITC and Federal payroll and income taxes, did not remove any poor individuals from poverty in 1979, 1983, and 1989, the trend reversed in 1993. By 1996, EITC net of Federal payroll and income taxes removed about 8 percent of the poor population from poverty
Economic Security Risk Factor 8. Child SUPPORT
Child support provides critical income to families with children and reduces the likelihood of dependence. These child support risk factors reflect the presence and magnitude of child support payments made by noncustodial parents for families receiving services from the Child Support Enforcement Program.
Figure ECON 8a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections, 1978 – 1997
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1997 Data Report, 1998 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.
- Total collections paid through the Child Support Enforcement system (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) grew at an annual rate of growth of 14.4 percent (current dollars) from FY 1978 to FY 1997. The average rate of growth was higher for collections on behalf of non-AFDC families (16.5 percent) than for collections on behalf of AFDC families (9.9 percent). This rate of growth is attributable to both increases in the number of noncustodial parents paying child support and increases in the amount of child support paid per case.
Table ECON 8a. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections, 1978 to 1997
- From FY 1984 through FY 1996, the first $50 dollars of each month’s child support collection was passed-through to families that were receiving AFDC benefits. The “Collections Paid to Families” shown in Table ECON 8a reflects this $50 pass-through and other benefit adjustments. In FY 1997, states were no longer required to continue the $50 pass-through, and so collections paid to families dropped from $480 million in FY 1996 to $157 million in FY 1997.
Figure ECON 8b. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Noncustodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment in Nominal and Constant 1997 Dollars, 1986 to 1997
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1997 Data Report, 1998, and Twentieth Annual Report to Congress, for the period ending September 30, 1995 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.
- Figure ECON 8b represents the average annual payment of current support by noncustodial parents for families receiving services through the child support enforcement system. Payments on behalf of families not receiving AFDC were about twice as large as those payments for families receiving AFDC. (Note that many families not on AFDC may have received AFDC sometime in the past.)
- As shown in Table ECON 8b, annual payments in current dollars on behalf of AFDC and non-AFDC families have increased by more than 40 percent between FY 1986 and FY 1997. However, when converted to constant dollars, per capita payments have not quite kept pace with inflation.
- In FY 1996, collections were received from about 60 percent of the cases with orders and those collections represented about 52 percent of the current child support due (Table ECON 8b2). About 32 percent of the current support due on behalf of AFDC families is collected, compared to 60 percent collected on behalf of families not receiving AFDC.
Table ECON 8b1. Average Annual Child Support Enforcement Payments for Current Support by Noncustodial Parents with an Obligation and Payment in Nominal and Constant Dollars, 1986 – 1997
Table ECON 8b2. Proportion of IV-D Cases with Orders and Collections and Proportion of Amount Paid to Amount Due, FY 1996 (In millions)
Figure ECON 8c. Percentage of Single Mothers Receiving Child Support by Marital Status and Receipt of Income Assistance, 1977 – 1996
Source: Elaine Sorensen, the Urban Institute, unpublished data from the March Current Population Survey Public Use Files, 1978 – 1997.
- Single mothers enrolled in the AFDC program are less likely than other single mothers to receive child support, even after controlling for marital status. Since the authorization of the Child Support Enforcement program in the mid-1970s, the proportion of single AFDC mothers receiving child support has generally increased, resulting in a narrowing of the gap between AFDC and non-AFDC mothers. Between 1995 and 1996, however, the proportion of AFDC recipients receiving child support declined, following drops in the AFDC caseload and shifts in its composition.
Table ECON 8c. Percentage of Single Mothers Receiving Child Support and Alimony by Marital Status and Receipt of Income Assistance, 1977 – 1996
- Figure ECON 8c also shows that divorced and separated women are more likely to receive child support than are never-married women.
- The proportion of never-married women receiving child support is similar for the AFDC and non-AFDC populations. The upward trend lines for both groups reflect the paternity establishment activities of the Child Support Enforcement Program, as very few paternities are established outside of the CSE system.
- The proportion of divorced and separated women receiving child support but not AFDC payments has remained relatively constant.
Figure ECON 8d. Estimated Children Under 18 Born Outside of Marriage With Paternity Established, 1978 – 1997
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, annual and Monthly Vital Statistics Report, Vol. 46, No. 1, Supplement 2, September 11, 1997 and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Preliminary Child Support Enforcement FY 1997 Data Report, 1998 (and earlier years), Washington, DC.
- The cumulative number of children needing paternity to be established has risen steadily over the last two decades due to growing numbers of children being born outside of marriage. The cumulative total of children born outside of marriage as of 1997 was about 17.5 million as shown in Figure ECON 8d. While the number and percentage of paternity establishments has increased, 45 percent of these children still did not have a legally identified father.
Table ECON 8d. Estimated Children under 18 Born Outside of Marriage with Paternity Established
- As shown in Table ECON 8d, the number of paternities established each year as a percent of the number of children born outside of marriage each year has increased from 20 percent in 1978 to over 100 percent in 1997. This increasing rate of paternity establishment in the 1990s has increased the proportion of children with paternity established from about 44 percent in the period prior to 1994 to nearly 55 percent in 1997.
- The proportion of all children under age 18 with paternities established has increased significantly in the past few years. This increase reflects the additional paternities now being established in the hospitals at the time of the birth of the child.
- Reporting of in-hospital paternity establishments is voluntary and reflects reports from only 39 states, therefore the rate of increase in paternity establishments over the past few years may be underestimated.
Economic Security Risk Factor 9. Food Insecurity
Household food insecurity, including (at a severe level) direct hunger among children in the household, is related to general income poverty and is expected to affect children’s health, cognitive and social development, and general school success.
Figure ECON 9. Percentage of Households Classified as Food Insecure, 1995
Source: Table ECON 9. See table for definition of food secure households.
- A large majority (88 percent) of American households was food secure in the year ending April 1995. Food secure households show little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
- About 11.9 million (of approximately 100 million) households experienced food insecurity - not being able to afford enough food - at some level during 1995. Most of the food insecure households were food insecure without hunger, meaning that although food insecurity was evident in their concerns and in adjustments to household food management, including reduced quality of diets, little or no reduction in food intake was reported.
- About 4 percent of the 100 million households were classified as food insecure with hunger. Thus, one or more adult members of some 4.2 million households were estimated to have experienced reduced food intake and hunger as a result of financial constraints in the year ending April 1995.
- About 800,000 households were classified as food insecure with severe hunger, meaning that children, as well as adults, experienced reduced food intake and hunger.
Table ECON 9. Percentage of Households Classified as Food Insecure, 1995
- The prevalence of food insecurity is higher among non-white households than among white households. As shown in Table ECON 9, 10 percent of black and Hispanic households with children under six experience food insecurity with either moderate or severe hunger, compared with 4 percent of white households with children under six.
- Households with an income-to-poverty ratio under 1.00 have a higher rate of food insecurity with moderate or severe hunger – 13 percent – than the 4 percent rate for the total population.
- Female-headed households with children under 18 had a higher prevalence of food insecurity with moderate or severe hunger (12 percent) than male-headed families (7 percent) or married-couple families (3 percent).
Economic Security Risk Factor 10. Health Insurance
A lack of health insurance may be the precursor to future health problems and as such a risk factor of dependence.
Figure ECON 10. Percentage of Persons without Health Insurance by Age, 1996
Source: Table ECON 10.
- Among all age categories, young adults age 18 to 24 were the most likely to be without health insurance in 1996 (29 percent).
- Sixteen percent of the population was without health insurance in 1996 as shown in Table ECON 10.
- Table ECON 10 also shows that among racial groups, a much larger percentage of Hispanics were without health insurance (34 percent) than non-Hispanic whites (12 percent) or non-Hispanic blacks (22 percent).
Economic Security Risk Factor 11. Percentage Residing in High-poverty Neighborhoods
High-poverty neighborhoods are often associated with relatively lower quality services (e.g., education, medical) that can have a negative effect on development and increase the risk of dependence.
Figure ECON 11. Percentage of Total Population Residing in High-Poverty Neighborhoods, 1990
Source: Table ECON 11.
- Black and Hispanic individuals were disproportionately represented in high-poverty neighborhoods in 1990, as shown in Figure ECON 11. Whereas 14 percent of black individuals and 9 percent of Hispanic individuals resided in neighborhoods where over 40 percent of residents were poor, only 1 percent of white individuals lived in such neighborhoods.
- The percentage of black individuals living in high-poverty neighborhoods has increased over time, from 11 percent in 1970 to 14 percent in 1990, as shown in Table ECON 11. This has contributed to an overall increase in the percentage of the population residing in high-poverty neighborhoods, from 2 percent in 1970 to 3 percent in 1990.
Table ECON 11. Percentage of Total Population Residing in High-Poverty Neighborhoods, Selected Years
Economic Security Risk Factor 12. Residential Mobility
Frequent changes of residence are disruptive events for children and may increase the risk of dependence.
Figure ECON 12. Percentage of Persons and Families with Children Who Moved in a Given One-Year Period
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Geographical Mobility,” Current Populations Reports, Series P20, Nos. 463,
473, 481, 485, 497 and 510.
- Single-parent families with children under age 18 were much more likely to move in a year than married-couple families in each of the periods shown above.
- Residential mobility for all persons age 1 year and older remained essentially unchanged, dropping only one percentage point from 17 percent to 16 percent over the period as the economy recovered from the recession in the early 1990s.
- Female-headed families with children were much more likely to move in a year than marriedcouple families with children, in each of the one-year periods shown.
- Residential mobility decreased one percentage point every two years for children age 1 to 14 from 1987 - 1988 to 1993 - 1994.
- Residential mobility for adults age 25 and above remained essentially unchanged, dropping only one percentage point over this period.
Table ECON 12. Number and Percentage of Individuals and Families Who Moved in a Given One-Year Period, Selected Years
Economic Security Risk Factor 13. Adult Incarceration
This risk factor tracks trends in the extent to which adults are living apart from their children because they are incarcerated. An incarcerated parent leaves his orher family at increased risk of dependence.
Figure ECON 13. Estimated Number of Sentenced Male Prisoners Under State or Federal Jurisdiction per 100,000 Resident Population, 1981 to 1996
Source: Table ECON 13.
- From 1980 to 1996, the number of black men incarcerated per 100,000 population increased 185 percent, while the rate for white men increased 144 percent in the same period.
- Table ECON 13 shows that the rate of incarceration for women, while still very small relative to men, rose 364 percent from 1980 to 1996, with white female incarceration increasing 400 percent and black female incarceration increasing 307 percent.
- Table ECON 13 also shows that the rates for black men and black women were much higher than the rates for white men and white women in 1996.
Table ECON 13. Estimated Number of Sentenced Prisoners Under State or Federal Jurisdiction per 100,000 Resident Population
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 1. Labor Force Attachment
This risk factor focuses exclusively on the participation of an adult in the labor market, without regard to whether means-tested assistance was received concurrently. Measuring labor force attachment reflects a critical aspect of the risk of dependence.
Figure WORK 1. Percentage of All Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants, 1994
Source: Table WORK 1a.
- In 1994, most individuals, regardless of race, lived in families with at least one person participating in the labor force on a full-time basis.
- Non-Hispanic blacks were more likely than Hispanics or non-Hispanic whites to live in families with no one in the labor force.
- As shown in Table WORK 1a, younger children were slightly more likely than older children to live in families with no one in the labor force.
- Table WORK 1a shows that working-age women were more likely than working-age men to live in families with no one in the labor force, and less likely to live in families with at least one full-time labor force participant.
- The percentage of individuals in families with no one in the labor force increased slightly, from 16 percent in 1987 to 17 percent in 1994, as shown in Table WORK 1b.
Table WORK 1a. Percentage of All Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants, 1994
Table WORK 1b. Percentage of All Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants, 1987 to 1994
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled
This risk factor tracks trends in the percentage of men and women with 12 years of schooling or less who are engaged in paid employment. These trends illustrate a key risk of dependence.
Figure WORK 2. Percent of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with no more than a High School Education who were Employed, 1969 to 1998
Source: Table WORK 2.
- The percentage of low-skilled men who were employed dropped significantly between 1969 and 1984, with the largest decline among black men. During this time period, the percentage of high school-educated black men who were employed dropped 20 percentage points, from 90 percent to 70 percent; for low-skilled white men, employment rates dropped 8 percentage points over this time period, from 93 percent to 85 percent.
- Since 1984, employment levels for high school-educated white men and Hispanic men have leveled off, hovering close to 85 percent. Employment levels for low-skilled black men have fluctuated over the past fifteen years, rising as high as 76 percent in 1991, and falling as low as 69 percent in 1995.
- In 1998, only 72 percent of black men with no more than a high school education were working compared to 85 percent of similarly educated white and Hispanic men.
- The employment rates for low-skilled women have steadily increased since the early 1970s. Since 1973, employment levels for white and black women have improved by about 20 percentage points. The improvement for Hispanic women, however, has been much less pronounced.
Table WORK 2. Percentage of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More Than a High School Education Who Were Employed, 1969 to 1998
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers
The economic condition of the low-skill labor market is key to the ability of young adult men and women to support families without receiving means-tested assistance. This measure tracks trends in the earnings of low-skilled workers.
Figure WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More Than a High School Education (1995 Dollars), 1970 to 1994
Source: Table WORK 3.
- Mean weekly wages for full-time work by high school-educated men have decreased in real terms over the past quarter of a century. In 1970 the mean weekly wage for low-skilled men working full-time was $593 (in 1995 dollars); the comparable wage in 1994 was $523, representing a decrease of 12 percent.
- A large gap exists between mean weekly wages for high school-educated white and black men, although it has been narrowing over time. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled black men working full-time was $432 (in 1995 dollars), or 70 percent of the $615 average for white men. In 1994, full-time working black men with no more than a high school education received 82 percent of the weekly wages of white men, or a mean wage of $446, compared to a mean wage for white men of $539. The narrowing of this gap is predominantly a result of the declining value of white men’s mean wages.
Table WORK 3. Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More Than a High School Education (1995 Dollars), 1970 to 1994
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 4. ADULT/CHILD Disability
Health conditions that limit parents’ ability to work are important predictors of family economic problems and future dependence.
Figure WORK 4. Percentage of the Total Population Reporting a Disability, 1994
Source: Table WORK 4.
- In 1994, adults were more likely than school-age children to have a functional disability, and school-age children were in turn more likely to have a functional disability than younger children.
- As shown in Table WORK 4, the percentage of non-Hispanic blacks who reported a functional disability was larger than the percentages for non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics.
- Table WORK 4 also shows that while adults were more likely in 1994 to report a functional disability than children, a higher percentage of children than adults were actually recipients of disability program benefits.
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 5. Adult Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Adult alcohol and substance abuse is a risk factor for dependence.
Figure WORK 5. Percentage of Adults who used Cocaine, Marijana, or Alcohol, 1997
Source: Table WORK 5.
- In 1997, young adults (age 18 to 25) were more likely than other adults to report cocaine use, marijuana use, or alcohol abuse in the past month. One-eighth (13 percent) of adults 18 to 25 reported using marijuana in the past month, compared with 6 percent of adults 26 to 34 and 3 percent of adults 35 and older. The age differences were less pronounced for cocaine use and alcohol abuse.
- The percentages of persons reporting binge alcohol use were significantly larger than the percentages for all other reported behaviors, across all age groups and for all years with reports on alcohol use, as shown in Table WORK 5. In 1997, for example, about one-fourth of adults under 35 (28 percent for adults 18 to 25, and 23 percent for adults 26 to 34) reported drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once within the past month.
- As shown in Table WORK 5, marijuana use was more prevalent than heavy alcohol use among adults ages 18 to 25 in the most recent years (1996 and 1997), as had been the case in earlier years (1985 and 1988). In the intervening years, however, heavy alcohol use was more prevalent than marijuana use among this age group. The recent trend is a result of both increasing marijuana use and decreasing heavy alcohol use in the 1990s, a reversal of the prior trend.
Table WORK 5. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine, Marijuana, or Alcohol, 1979 to 1997
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 6. Children's Health Conditions
Health limitations may limit the labor force participation of parents and therefore illustrate a risk of dependence.
Table WORK 6. Selected Chronic Health Conditions per 1,000 Children Ages 0 to 17, 1984 to 1994
- Respiratory conditions were the most prevalent chronic health conditions experienced by children ages 0 to 17 throughout the time period, especially asthma. In 1994, 69 children per thousand had asthma, up from 43 children per thousand in 1984. The prevalence of chronic sinusitis also increased, from 47 children per thousand in 1984, to 65 children per thousand by 1994.
- In 1994, 28 children per thousand had a deformity or orthopedic impairment, down from 35 children per thousand in 1984.
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 7. Child CARE Expenditures
Proportion of total family income spent on child care in families with employed mothers is an important dimension of the risk of dependency.
Figure WORK 7. Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Child Care for Preschoolers by Families with Employed Mothers, 1993
Source: Table WORK 7.
- Poor families with employed mothers of preschoolers spent a much larger percentage of their monthly family income on child care in 1993 relative to non-poor families with employed mothers (18 percent compared to 7 percent).
- As shown in Table WORK 7, employed single mothers (no husband present) spent a larger percentage of their monthly family income on child care expenses than did employed married mothers.
- Table WORK 7 shows that employed mothers who received assistance from AFDC, WIC or Food Stamps spent a larger percentage of their total monthly family income on child care relative to non-recipients (13 percent compared to 7 percent). Among recipients of these programs, AFDC recipients spent the largest percentage of their monthly family income on child care.
Table WORK 7. Percentage of Monthly Income Spent on Child Care for Preschoolers by Families with Employed Mothers, 1993
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 8. Educational Attainment
Completed schooling is one measure of job-skill level. Individuals with no more than a high school education have the lowest amount of human capital and are at the greatest risk of becoming poor despite their work effort. This risk factor tracks the trend in educational attainment.
Figure WORK 8. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and Over by Level of Educational Attainment, 1970 to 1997
Source: Table WORK 8.
- Since 1970 there has been a marked decline in the percentage of the population with less than a high school education, dropping from 45 percent in 1970 to 18 percent in 1997.
- The percentage of the population receiving a high school education but with no subsequent college was 34 percent in 1970, rose somewhat in the 1970s and 1980s, and then fell back to 34 percent by 1997.
- Since 1970 there has been a consistent increase in the percentage of the population with some college (one to three years), rising from 11 to 25 percent.
- The percentage of the population completing four or more years of college more than doubled from 1970 to 1997, rising steadily from 11 to 24 percent.
Table WORK 8. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and Over by Level of Educational Attainment, 1970 to 1997
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 9. High-school Dropout Rates
Although some teens who drop out of high school eventually graduate or obtain GEDS, dropout rates are reliable risk factors associated with teen problem behavior and future economic problems.
Figure WORK 9. Percentage of Students Enrolled in Grades 10 to 12 in the Previous Year Who Were Not Enrolled and Had Not Graduated in the Survey Year, 1975 to 1996
Source: Table WORK 9.
- After declining steadily during the 1980s and the 1990s, dropout rates for teens in grades 10 to 12 began rising, from a total dropout rate of 4 percent in 1990 to a rate of 6 percent in 1995. The overall rate dropped back to 5 percent in 1996.
- Dropout rates are highest for Hispanic teens. In 1996, the dropout rate was 9 percent for Hispanic teens, compared to 7 percent for black teens and 4 percent for white teens.
Table WORK 9. Percentage of Students Enrolled in Grades 10 to 12 in the Previous Year Who Were Not Enrolled and Had Not Graduated in the Survey Year, 1975 to 1996
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 1. Percentage of Births That are to Unmarried Women Within Age Groups
This risk factor shows the percentage of all births, within each age group, that are to unmarried women.
Figure TEEN 1. Percentage of Births That Are to Unmarried Women, by Age Group, 1940 to 1997
Source: Table TEEN 1.
- The percentage of children born outside of marriage to women of all ages has increased over the past half-century, from 4 percent in 1940 to 32 percent in 1997. This increase reflects changes in several factors: the rate at which unmarried women have children, the rate at which married women have children, and the rate at which women marry.
- The percentage of children born outside of marriage is especially high for teen women, as shown in Figure TEEN 1. Among teens, over three-quarters (78 percent) of births were outside of marriage in 1997. The comparable percentage for all women is 32 percent.
- Figure TEEN 1 shows that the percentage of unmarried births to all women has leveled off since 1994. Growth in the percentage of unmarried births to teen mothers has also slowed since 1994, but it is still rising (from 76 percent in 1994 to 78 percent in 1997).
- The trend toward leveling off has occurred for both black and white women (see Table C-1 in Appendix C for non-marital birth data by age and race).
Table TEEN 1. Percentage of Births That Are to Unmarried Women by Age Group, 1940 to 1997
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 2. Percentage of All Births That are to Unmarried Teens
This risk factor shows the percentage of total births that are to unmarried teen mothers each year.
Figure TEEN 2. Percentage of all Births That Are to Unmarried Teens Ages 15-19, 1940 to 1997
Source: Table TEEN 2.
- In contrast to Figure TEEN 1, which showed births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all teen births, Figure TEEN 2 shows births to unmarried teens as a percentage of births to all women, teens or adults, married or unmarried. Births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all births have risen, from 2 percent in 1940 to 10 percent in 1997. This percentage is affected by several factors: the age distribution of the population, the marriage rate among teens, the birth rate among unmarried teens, and the birth rate among all other women.
- The percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens leveled off over the last four years for births to both white and black women.
- Between 1970 and 1994, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens had been increasing steadily among white women.
- Among births to black women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens varied greatly during the same period, peaking in 1975, then falling until the early 1990s. The sharp increase in the percentage for black women in the early 1970s reflects a rise in non-marital teen births concurrent with a decline in total black births.
Table TEEN 2. Percentage of All Births That Are to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, 1940 to 1997
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 3. Unmarried Teen Birth Rates Within Age Groups
This indicator tracks trends in the number of births per 1,000 unmarried teen women within specific age groups.
Figure TEEN 3a. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17, 1966 to 1996
Figure TEEN 3b. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 to 19, 1966 to 1996
Source: Table TEEN 3.
- The birth rate per 1,000 single teens fell between 1994 and 1996 for both black and white teens in the 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 age groups, with the largest relative decline among black teens age 15 to 17.
- Prior to 1994, birth rates among single white teens in both age groups rose steadily for nearly three decades.
- Among single black teens in both age groups, birth rates varied greatly over the period, peaking in 1991, and falling thereafter. Rates for both age groups were lower in 1996 than in 1970.
Table TEEN 3. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teen Women Within Age Groups, 1966 to 1996
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 4. Early Sexual Intercourse
Early sexual intercourse is a strong predictor of subsequent childbearing at an early age, which increases the risk of dependence.
Figure TEEN 4. Percentage of High School Students Grades 9 to 12 Who Reported Ever Having Sexual Intercourse, 1997
Source: Table TEEN 4.
- Between 1995 and 1997, the percentage of high school students reporting ever had sexual intercourse dropped by 5 percentage points, from 53 percent to 48 percent, as shown in Table TEEN 4.
- The percentage of high school students who report ever having had sexual intercourse increases with each grade, particularly among female students. In 1997, the rates rose from 34 percent for female 9th grade students to 62 percent for female 12th grade students, as depicted in Figure TEEN 4.
- Female students in grade 9 were less likely than their male counterparts to report ever having had sexual intercourse (34 percent compared to 42 percent). By grades 10 through 12, however, rates reported by female students had risen slightly above rates reported by male students.
- As shown in Table TEEN 4, in 1997, four-fifths (80 percent) of non-Hispanic black male students reported ever having had sexual intercourse, a percentage that is 14 percentage points above the 66 percent reported by non-Hispanic black female students. Among Hispanic students, the rate for males (58 percent) is 12 percentage points higher than the rate for females (46 percent). Among non-Hispanic white students, however, nearly equal percentages of males and females report ever having had sexual intercourse – 43 percent for males and 44 percent for females.
Table TEEN 4. Percentage of High School Students Grades 9 to 12 Who Reported Ever Having Sexual Intercourse, 1995 and 1997
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 5. Never-married Family Status
This measure complements the measures of nonmarital births by showing the “stock” of children living with never-married women. Children living with never-married women are at increased risk of dependence.
Figure TEEN 5. Percentage of all Children Living in Families Headed by Never- Married Women, 1983 to 1997
Source: Table TEEN 5.
- The percentage of children living with never-married women increased from 5 percent in 1983 to 9 percent in 1997. This increase reflects growth across all racial categories, as shown in Figure TEEN 5.
- A very small percentage (2 percent) of white children were living in families headed by never-married women in 1983. Although this percentage increased by 150 percent over the time period, the percentage of white children in families headed by never-married women was still relatively small (5 percent) in 1997.
- The percentage of black children living in families headed by never-married women was much higher than the percentages for other groups throughout the time period. In 1997, for example, 31 percent of black children, compared to 12 percent of Hispanic children and 5 percent of white children, lived in families headed by never-married women.
Table TEEN 5. Percentage of all Children Living in Families Headed by Never-Married Women, 1983 to 1997
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 6. Detached Youth
Teens who are neither in school nor working are likely to be at significant risk of dependence.
Figure TEEN 6. Percentage of Youths Ages 16 to 19 Who Were Neither in School Nor Working by Race, 1985 to 1996
Source: Table TEEN 6.
- Black and Hispanic youths ages 16 to 19 are more likely than white youths to be neither in school nor working. In 1996, for example, Hispanic youths were twice as likely as white youths to be out of school and work, 16 percent compared to 8 percent.
- In 1975, 12 percent of all youths ages 16 to 19 were neither in school nor working, as shown in Table TEEN 6. This percentage has gradually declined since then, reaching 9percent in 1996.
- The percentage of female youths who are neither in school nor working in 1996 was higher (11 percent) than the comparable percentage (8 percent) of male youths.
Table TEEN 6. Percentage of Youths Ages 16 to 19 Who Were Neither in School Nor Working, 1975 to 1996
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 7. Teen Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Teen alcohol and substance abuse are important examples of teen problem behavior and may increase the risk of dependence.
Figure TEEN 7. Percentage of Teens Ages 12 to 17 Who Used Cocaine, Marijuana, or Alcohol, 1979 to 1997
- Source: Table TEEN 7.
- Although both binge and heavy alcohol use declined among teens ages 12 to 17 throughout most of the period, the percentage of teens abusing alcohol rose slightly in 1997.
- Marijuana use among teens declined fairly continuously through the 1980s but has risen fairly sharply since, from a minimum of 4 percent in 1991 to 9 percent in 1997. It is still below the 14 percent level occurring in 1979.
- As shown in Table TEEN 7, cocaine use more than tripled between 1994 and 1997, and in 1997 was at its highest level (1 percent) since 1988.
Table TEEN 7. Percentage of Teens Ages 12 to 17 Who Used Cocaine, Marijuana, or Alcohol, 1979 to 1997
Teen Behavior Risk Factor 8. Teen Violent Crime Arrests
Teen crime data indicate serious adolescent problem behavior and may predict future dependence.
Figure TEEN 8. Arrest Rates for Violent Crime for Youths Ages 10 to 17, per 100,000 Youths, 1980 to 1996
Source: Table TEEN 8.
- Arrest rates for violent crimes for all youths peaked in 1994 but have gradually been decreasing since that time.
- Historically, youths become more likely to be arrested for violent crimes as they grow older; 17 year-olds, for example, were more than twelve times as likely to be arrested than ten to twelve year-olds in 1996.
- Table TEEN 8 also shows that, as expected, violent crime arrest rates were consistently much higher among males than among females for all ages over the time period.
TEEN 8. Arrest Rates for Violent Crime for Youths Ages 10 to 17, per 100,000 Youths, 1980 to 1996