Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Indicator 1: Degree of Dependence

03/01/2001

Figure IND 1a. Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 1998

Figure IND 1a.Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 1998

Source:  March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.


  • Less than 4 percent of the total population in 1998 received more than half of their total family income from TANF, food stamps and SSI.  This number has steady declined since 1993, when nearly 6 percent of the population could be defined as “dependent” on public assistance.  The decline in dependency over time was depicted in Figure SUM 1, in Chapter I.
  • The vast majority (87 percent) of the total population received no means-tested assistance in 1998.  The inverse of this, or the percentage of those in families receiving at least one dollar of assistance from one of the three programs, is the recipiency rate of 13.5 percent shown in Figure and Table SUM 1, in Chapter I.
  • In 1998, three out of four of individuals receiving some public assistance reported that TANF, food stamps, and SSI accounted for one-half or less of their total family income.
  • As shown in Table IND 1a, a smaller percentage of non-Hispanic whites were receiving more than 50 percent of their annual income from means-tested assistance programs in 1998 (2 percent) than the percentage of non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics similarly dependent on public assistance (11 percent and 7 percent, respectively).
  • Very young children (birth to five years) were more likely than children of other ages to be in families receiving some amount of public assistance.  In addition, 8 percent of very young children were dependent on public assistance in 1998.

Table IND 1a.
Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs, by Race and Age: Selected Years

  0% >0% and <= 50% Total > 50%
1998
All Persons 86.5 9.7 3.8
Non-Hispanic White 91.5 6.5 2.1
Non-Hispanic Black 70.5 19.1 10.5
Hispanic 75.5 17.8 6.6
Children Ages 0-5 77.6 14.6 7.8
Children Ages 6-10 80.0 13.4 6.7
Children Ages 11-15 83.0 11.3 5.7
Women Ages 16-64 86.4 9.7 3.9
Men Ages 16-64 90.0 7.9 2.1
Adults Age 65 and over 90.1 7.8 2.1
1997
All Persons 85.3 10.2 4.5
Non-Hispanic White 90.3 7.2 2.5
Non-Hispanic Black 69.9 18.8 11.4
Hispanic 72.0 18.9 9.1
Children Ages 0-5 74.9 15.8 9.3
Children Ages 6-10 78.8 12.8 8.4
Children Ages 11-15 80.6 12.0 7.4
Women Ages 16-64 85.4 10.0 4.6
Men Ages 16-64 88.9 8.7 2.5
Adults Age 65 and over 89.9 8.0 2.1
1996
All Persons 84.0 10.9 5.2
Non-Hispanic White 90.1 7.2 2.6
Non-Hispanic Black 64.4 21.8 13.8
Hispanic 68.0 21.2 10.9
Children Ages 0-5 71.8 17.0 11.2
Children Ages 6-10 75.8 14.6 9.5
Children Ages 11-15 78.9 13.0 8.1
Women Ages 16-64 84.0 10.8 5.2
Men Ages 16-64 88.3 9.0 2.7
Adults Age 65 and over 89.7 7.9 2.4
1995
All Persons 83.2 11.6 5.3
Non-Hispanic White 90.0 7.7 2.3
Non-Hispanic Black 61.4 23.1 15.5
Hispanic 65.0 22.8 12.2
Children Ages 0-5 68.4 18.6 12.9
Children Ages 6-10 73.5 16.0 10.5
Children Ages 11-15 78.3 14.1 7.6
Women Ages 16-64 83.4 11.3 5.2
Men Ages 16-64 88.2 9.3 2.5
Adults Age 65 and over 89.4 8.3 2.2
1994
All Persons 82.8 11.4 5.8
Non-Hispanic White 89.1 8.0 2.9
Non-Hispanic Black 61.7 21.6 16.7
Hispanic 65.1 22.4 12.5
Children Ages 0-5 68.5 17.8 13.7
Children Ages 6-10 73.2 15.6 11.2
Children Ages 11-15 76.5 14.3 9.2
Women Ages 16-64 83.1 11.2 5.7
Men Ages 16-64 88.1 9.3 2.7
Adults Age 65 and over 89.1 8.2 2.7
1993
All Persons 83.4 10.7 5.9
Non-Hispanic White 89.7 7.3 3.0
Non-Hispanic Black 62.0 20.3 17.8
Hispanic 65.4 22.8 11.8
Children Ages 0-5 69.5 16.6 13.9
Children Ages 6-10 75.1 13.7 11.2
Children Ages 11-15 77.9 12.8 9.3
Women Ages 16-64 83.6 10.5 5.9
Men Ages 16-64 88.5 8.8 2.7
Adults Age 65 and over 88.8 8.8 2.4

Note: Means-tested assistance includes AFDC/TANF, SSI, and food stamps.  Total >50% includes all persons with more than 50 percent of their total annual family income from these means-tested programs.  Income includes cash income and the value of food stamps.  Differences between data presented in this report and the 2000 Indicators of Welfare Dependence report are discussed in Appendix D.

Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.


Figure IND 1b. Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources, by Poverty Status: 1998

Figure IND 1b. Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources, by Poverty Status: 1998

Source:  March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.


  • Those in families with incomes below the poverty level received nearly half (48 percent) of their total family income from earnings and about a third (32 percent) of their total family income from means-tested assistance programs (AFDC/TANF, SSI, and food stamps) in 1998.&amp;amp;nbsp; In contrast, those with family incomes over 200 percent of the poverty level received the majority (85 percent) of their incomes from earnings and less than one percent of their income from means-tested assistance (a percentage so small as to not be visible in Figure IND 1b).
  • The percentage of family income received from earnings is inversely proportional to overall family income relative to the poverty line.&amp;amp;nbsp; For example, the percentage of income received from earnings for those living in deep poverty (below 50 percent of poverty) was only 27 percent, compared to 48 percent for all poor individuals in 1998.
  • On average, children were more likely than the elderly to live in families receiving a higher percentage of their income from means-tested assistance programs, as shown by Table IND 1b.&amp;amp;nbsp; The elderly received more income from other sources, including Social Security benefits and private pensions.

Table IND 1b. Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources, by Poverty Status, Race, and Age: 1998

  < 50% poverty <100% of poverty <200% of poverty 200%+ of poverty
All Persons        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 58.9 32.0 10.6 0.2
Earnings 27.0 47.9 67.8 85.3
Other Income 14.1 20.1 21.6 14.5
Racial Categories        
Non-Hispanic White        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 51.0 29.1 7.7 0.1
Earnings 28.5 45.6 64.7 84.5
Other Income 20.5 25.3 27.7 15.4
Non-Hispanic Black        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 69.1 38.1 16.7 0.7
Earnings 20.3 41.1 62.9 87.1
Other Income 10.5 20.8 20.4 12.3
Hispanic        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 54.4 28.4 10.6 0.6
Earnings 36.1 59.2 78.7 91.1
Other Income 9.6 12.4 10.6 8.3
Age Categories        
Children Ages 0-5        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 65.4 37.7 13.7 0.3
Earnings 23.9 51.2 77.2 93.7
Other Income 10.8 11.1 9.1 6.1
Children Ages 6-10        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 65.6 35.2 12.3 0.2
Earnings 22.7 51.6 75.9 92.7
Other Income 11.7 13.1 11.8 7.2
Children Ages 11-15        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 63.6 34.7 11.7 0.2
Earnings 22.4 49.6 75.1 91.1
Other Income 14.0 15.6 13.2 8.7
Women Ages 16-64        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 56.4 32.6 11.3 0.2
Earnings 28.8 48.1 71.4 88.2
Other Income 14.8 19.3 17.3 11.6
Men Ages 16-64        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 41.9 26.1 8.3 0.2
Earnings 41.0 54.8 75.7 89.5
Other Income 17.1 19.2 16.0 10.3
Adults Age 65 and over        
TANF, SSI, and Food Stamps 25.1 19.3 6.2 0.3
Earnings 8.0 5.3 9.5 33.0
Other Income 66.9 75.3 84.3 66.7

Note: Total income is total annual family income, including the value of food stamps. Other income is non means-tested, non-earnings income such as child support, alimony, pensions, Social Security benefits, interest, and dividends.&amp;amp;nbsp; Poverty status categories are not mutually exclusive. Differences between data presented in this report and the 2000 Indicators of Welfare Dependence report are discussed in Appendix D.

Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

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