Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2001 . Indicator 8: Program Spell Duration

03/01/2001

Figure IND 8. Percentage of AFDC, Food Stamp, and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1993 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell

Figure IND 8. Percentage of AFDC, Food Stamp, and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1993 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell

Source:  Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 Panel.


  • Short spells lasting 4 months or less accounted for 31 percent of AFDC spells, 24 percent of SSI spells, and 33 percent of food stamp spells.
  • Over one-half of all AFDC and food stamp spells lasted one year or less (56 percent and 60 percent, respectively).  In contrast, only 32 percent of SSI spells ended within one year.  The percentage of SSI spells that lasted more than 20 months is twice the percentage of AFDC and food stamp spells that lasted this long (see Table IND 5).
  • As shown in Table IND 8, for AFDC spells, a larger percentage of short spells (lasting 4 months or less) and a smaller percentage of long spells (lasting more than 20 months) occurred among non-Hispanic whites compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
  • A larger percentage of AFDC and food stamp spells among adults ages 16 to 64 ended within 4 months compared to spells among children.
  • Short spells are less common among recipients in families without labor force participants, as shown previously in Figure and Table IND 7.

Table IND 8. Percentage of AFDC, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1993 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell, Race, and Age

    Spells <=4 months Spells <=12 months Spells <=20 months Spells >20 months
AFDC All Recipients 30.7 56.1 68.6 31.4
  Racial Categories        
  Non-Hispanic White 35.6 62.2 72.3 27.7
  Non-Hispanic Black 24.6 52.3 66.7 33.3
  Hispanic 30.8 52.5 63.4 36.6
  Age Categories        
  Children Ages 0-15 28.1 53.6 65.6 34.4
  Adults Ages 16-64 33.5 59.0 72.2 27.8
SSI All Recipients 24.0 31.9 36.6 63.4
  Racial Categories        
  Non-Hispanic White 27.2 34.6 40.8 59.2
  Non-Hispanic Black 20.5 26.2 30.0 70.0
  Hispanic 20.0 32.2 NA NA
  Age Categories        
  Adults Ages 16-64 26.8 34.6 39.7 60.3
FOODSTAMPS All Recipients 33.1 59.9 70.0 30.0
  Racial Categories        
  Non-Hispanic White 34.3 62.1 71.5 28.5
  Non-Hispanic Black 28.4 53.4 64.9 35.1
  Hispanic 35.4 64.0 71.1 28.9
  Age Categories        
  Children Ages 0-15 29.8 56.5 67.0 33.0
  Adults Ages 16-64 35.9 63.0 72.8 27.2

Note: Spell length categories are not mutually exclusive. Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed. AFDC spells are defined as those starting during the 1993 SIPP Panel. For certain age and racial categories, data are not available (N/A) because of insufficient sample size. Data on SSI recipiency for children are not available (N/A).

Source:  Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 Panel.

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