Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2000. Indicator 9. Rates of Receipt of Means-tested Assistance

03/01/2000

Figure IND 9a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970-98

Figure IND 9a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970-98

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).


  • Although the SIPP data needed to examine welfare dependency are not yet available past 1995, administrative data for AFDC/TANF, food stamps, and SSI provide measures of recipiency for each of these three programs through 1998, as shown in Figures IND 9a, IND 9b, and IND 9c. Additional administrative data are shown in Appendix A.
  • Only 3.2 percent of the population received TANF in 1998, the lowest AFDC/TANF recipiency rate in the 28 years shown in Figure IND 9a.
  • AFDC/TANF recipiency rates are much higher for children than for adults, with the child recipiency rates showing more pronounced changes over time. Child recipiency rates increased substantially between 1970 and 1976, and then remained relatively stable for the next 13 years (i.e. through 1989), before turning upward in the early 1990s and then declining sharply. Between 1993 and 1998, the child recipiency rate declined from 14.1 to 8.7 percent, a decline of 5 percentage points.

Table IND 9a. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970- 98

  Total Recipients 1 Adult Recipients Child Recipients 2
Fiscal Year Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent
1970.............. 7,188 3.5 1,863 1.4 5,325 7.6
1971.............. 9,281 4.5 2,516 1.8 6,765 9.7
1972.............. 10,345 4.9 2,848 2.0 7,497 10.8
1973.............. 10,760 5.1 2,984 2.1 7,776 11.3
1974.............. 10,591 5.0 2,935 2.0 7,656 11.3
1975.............. 10,854 5.0 3,078 2.1 7,776 11.6
1976.............. 11,171 5.1 3,271 2.2 7,900 11.9
1977.............. 10,933 5.0 3,230 2.1 7,703 11.8
1978.............. 10,485 4.7 3,128 2.0 7,357 11.4
1979.............. 10,146 4.5 3,071 1.9 7,075 11.0
1980.............. 10,422 4.6 3,226 2.0 7,196 11.3
1981.............. 10,979 4.8 3,491 2.1 7,488 11.8
1982.............. 10,233 4.4 3,395 2.0 6,838 10.9
1983.............. 10,467 4.5 3,548 2.1 6,919 11.1
1984.............. 10,677 4.5 3,652 2.1 7,025 11.2
1985.............. 10,630 4.5 3,589 2.0 7,041 11.2
1986.............. 10,810 4.5 3,637 2.1 7,173 11.4
1987.............. 10,878 4.5 3,624 2.0 7,254 11.5
1988.............. 10,734 4.4 3,536 2.0 7,198 11.4
1989.............. 10,741 4.4 3,503 1.9 7,238 11.4
1990.............. 11,263 4.5 3,643 2.0 7,620 11.9
1991.............. 12,391 4.9 4,016 2.1 8,375 12.9
1992.............. 13,423 5.3 4,336 2.3 9,087 13.7
1993.............. 13,943 5.4 4,519 2.4 9,424 14.1
1994.............. 14,033 5.4 4,554 2.4 9,479 14.0
1995.............. 13,479 5.1 4,322 2.2 9,157 13.4
1996.............. 12,476 4.7 3,920 2.0 8,556 12.4
19973............ 10,779 4.0 3,106 4 1.6 7,673 4 11.0
1998.............. 8,633 3.2 2,573 5 1.3 6,060 5 8.7

Note: See Appendix A, Tables A-5, A-12, and A-13, for more detailed data on recipiency rates.
1 Does not include the territories.
2 Includes a small number of dependents 18 and older who are students.
3 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 repealed the AFDC Program as of July 1, 1997 and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program.
4 Average number of adults and children based on the first three quarters of 1997 only; data on number of adults and children under TANF not currently available.
5 The average number of adults and children in 1998 is estimated by multiplying the ratio of total children to total recipients (from the Quality Control data estimates) times the total number of recipients in 1998 from the administrative data records.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).


Figure IND 9b. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-98

Figure IND 9b. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-98

Source: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 1998, and earlier reports and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).


  • The food stamp recipiency rate, like the AFDC/TANF recipiency rate shown previously in Figure IND 9a, fell sharply in recent years, from a high of 10.5 in 1993 and 1994, to only 7.3 percent in 1998. The recipiency rate was lower in 1998 than at any other point since 1979.
  • In all years between 1980 and 1998, the percentage of all children who received food stamps was between two and one-half to three times that for all adults 18 to 59.
  • Similar trends – largely reflecting changes in the rate of unemployment and programmatic changes – existed for each age group: children, adults aged 18 to 59 and adults aged 60 and over. The percentages of individuals receiving food stamps within all age groups declined from 1984 through 1988, rose in the early 1990s, peaked in 1994, and fell sharply between 1994 and 1998.

Table IND 9b. Number and Percentage of the Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-98

  Total Recipients 1 Adult Recipients 60 & older Adult Recipients 18 to 9 Child Recipients under 18
Fiscal Year Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number(thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent
1975.............. 17,217 8.0
1976.............. 16,733 7.7
1977.............. 15,579 7.1
1978.............. 14,503 6.5
1979.............. 15,976 7.1
1980.............. 19,253 8.5 1,741 4.9 7,186 5.6 9,876 15.5
1981.............. 20,654 9.0 1,845 5.0 7,811 6.0 9,803 15.5
1982.............. 20,446 8.8 1,641 4.4 7,838 6.0 9,591 15.3
1983.............. 21,667 9.3 1,654 4.4 8,960 6.7 10,910 17.4
1984.............. 20,796 8.8 1,758 4.5 8,521 6.3 10,492 16.8
1985.............. 19,847 8.3 1,783 4.5 8,258 6.1 9,906 15.8
1986.............. 19,381 8.1 1,631 4.1 7,895 5.7 9,844 15.7
1987.............. 19,072 7.9 1,589 3.9 7,684 5.5 9,771 15.5
1988.............. 18,613 7.6 1,500 3.7 7,506 5.3 9,351 14.8
1989.............. 18,778 7.6 1,582 3.8 7,560 5.3 9,429 14.9
1990.............. 20,038 8.0 1,511 3.6 8,084 5.6 10,127 15.8
1991.............. 22,599 9.0 1,593 3.8 9,190 6.4 11,952 18.4
1992.............. 25,369 9.9 1,687 3.9 10,550 7.2 13,349 20.2
1993.............. 26,952 10.5 1,876 4.4 11,214 7.6 14,196 21.2
1994.............. 27,469 10.6 1,952 4.5 11,539 7.7 14,391 21.2
1995.............. 26,575 10.1 1,896 4.3 10,962 7.3 13,860 20.2
1996.............. 25,533 9.6 1,892 4.3 10,766 7.1 12,992 18.8
1997.............. 22,858 8.5 1,834 4.1 9,385 6.1 11,871 17.1
1998.............. 19,788 7.3 1,637 3.7 7,772 5.0 10,546 15.1

Note: See Appendix A, Tables A-14 and A-19 for more detailed data on recipiency rates.
1 Does not include the territories.
Source: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 1998, and earlier reports and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).


Figure IND 9c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1974-98

Figure IND 9c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1974-98

Note: Recipients are reported as of December in each year.

Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (data available online at http://www.ssa.gov/statistics/ores_home.html) and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).


  • Unlike the recipiency rates for AFDC/TANF and food stamps, which are strongly influenced by the economy and welfare reform, recipiency rates for SSI show less variation. The proportion of the total population that receives SSI has risen slightly over time, from about 2 percent in 1975 to 2.4 percent in 1998.
  • Elderly adults (aged 65 and older) have much higher recipiency rates than any other age group. The gap has narrowed, however, as the percentage of adults aged 65 and older has fallen from 11 percent (in 1974) to 6 percent (in 1998).
  • The proportion of children receiving SSI has increased gradually between 1975 and 1990, rising from 0.2 percent to 0.5 percent. Since then it has grown more rapidly, reaching 1.5 percent in 1996. The child recipiency rate fell to 1.3 percent in 1997 and remained at that level through 1998.

Table IND 9c. Number and Percentage of the Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-98

  Total Recipients Adult Recipients 65 & older Adult Recipients 18 to 64 Child Recipients1  under 18
Date Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent
Dec '75 4,314 2.0 2,508 10.9 1,678 1.3 128 0.2
Dec '76 4,236 1.9 2,397 10.2 1,686 1.3 153 0.2
Dec '77 4,238 1.9 2,353 9.7 1,709 1.3 175 0.3
Dec '78 4,217 1.9 2,304 9.3 1,716 1.3 197 0.3
Dec '79 4,150 1.8 2,246 8.8 1,692 1.2 212 0.3
Dec '80 4,142 1.8 2,221 8.6 1,693 1.2 229 0.4
Dec '81 4,019 1.7 2,121 8.0 1,668 1.2 230 0.4
Dec '82 3,858 1.7 2,011 7.4 1,618 1.1 229 0.4
Dec '83 3,901 1.7 2,003 7.3 1,662 1.1 236 0.4
Dec '84 4,029 1.7 2,037 7.2 1,743 1.2 249 0.4
Dec '85 4,138 1.7 2,031 7.1 1,841 1.2 265 0.4
Dec '86 4,269 1.8 2,018 6.9 1,972 1.3 280 0.4
Dec '87 4,385 1.8 2,015 6.7 2,081 1.4 289 0.5
Dec '88 4,464 1.8 2,006 6.6 2,168 1.4 290 0.5
Dec '89 4,593 1.9 2,026 6.5 2,271 1.5 296 0.5
Dec '90 4,817 1.9 2,059 6.5 2,418 1.6 340 0.5
Dec '91 5,118 2.0 2,080 6.5 2,600 1.7 439 0.7
Dec '92 5,566 2.2 2,100 6.5 2,843 1.8 624 0.9
Dec '93 5,984 2.3 2,113 6.4 3,101 2.0 771 1.1
Dec '94 6,296 2.4 2,119 6.3 3,284 2.1 893 1.3
Dec '95 6,514 2.5 2,115 6.3 3,425 2.1 974 1.4
Dec '96 6,630 2.5 2,110 6.2 3,503 2.1 1,016 1.5
Dec '97 6,495 2.4 2,054 6.0 3,511 2.1 930 1.3
Dec '98 6,566 2.4 2,033 5.9 3,605 2.2 928 1.3

Note: December population figures used as the denominators are obtained by averaging the Census Bureau's July 1 population estimate for the current and the following year. See Appendix, Tables A-23, A-25, and A-26.
1 Includes a small number of dependents 18 and older who are students.
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics (data available online at http://www.ssa.gov/statistics/ores_home.html) and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Resident Population Estimates of the United States by Age and Sex, April 1, 1990 to November 1, 1999, Internet release date December 23, 1999 (Available online at http://www.census.gov).

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