Following the format of the previous annual reports to Congress, Chapter II presents summary data related to indicators of dependence. These indicators differ from other welfare statistics because of their emphasis on welfare dependence, rather than simple welfare receipt. As discussed in Chapter I, the Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators suggested measuring dependence as the proportion of families with more than 50 percent of their total income in a one-year period coming from cash assistance through the AFDC (now TANF) program, food stamps and SSI benefits. Furthermore, this welfare income was not to be associated with work activities.
The indicators in Chapter II were selected to provide information about dependence, following, to the extent feasible, the definition of dependence proposed by the Advisory Board. Existing data from administrative records and national surveys, however, do not generally distinguish welfare benefits received in conjunction with work from benefits received without work. Thus, it was not possible to construct one single indicator of dependence; that is, one indicator that measures both percentage of income from means-tested assistance and presence of work activities.
Instead, this chapter includes some indicators that focus on the percentage of recipients’ income from means-tested assistance, while other indicators focus on presence of work activities at the same time as welfare receipt. Still other indicators present summary data and characteristics on all recipients, not limited to those with more than 50 percent of total income from welfare programs or those without work activities.
Overall, the indicators of dependency were selected to reflect both the range and depth of dependence. This chapter focuses on recipients of three major means-tested cash and nutritional assistance programs: cash assistance through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) programs, benefits under the Food Stamp Program, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for elderly and disabled recipients.
Here is a brief summary of each of the eleven indicators:
Indicator 1: Degree of Dependence. This indicator focuses most closely on those individuals who meet the Advisory Board’s proposed definition of “dependence.” In addition to examining individuals with more than 50 percent of their annual family income from AFDC/TANF cash assistance, food stamps and/or SSI benefits, it shows various levels of dependence by examining those with more than 0 percent, 25 percent, and 75 percent of their income from these sources (Indicators 1a and 1b). This indicator also shows the average percentage of income from means-tested assistance and earnings received by families with various levels of income relative to the poverty level (Indicators 1c and 1d).
Indicator 2: Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance and Labor Force Attachment. This indicator looks further at the relationship between receipt of means-tested assistance and participation in the labor force. This is an important issue because of the significant number of low-income individuals who use a combination of means-tested assistance and earnings from the labor force to get by each month.
Indicator 3: Rates of Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance. This indicator paints yet another picture of dependence by measuring recipiency rates, that is, the percentage of the population that receives AFDC/TANF, food stamps, or SSI in an average month. Program administrative data make these figures readily available over time, allowing a better sense of historical trends than is available from the more specialized indicators of dependence.
Indicator 4: Rates of Participation in Means-Tested Assistance Programs. While means-tested public assistance programs are open to all that meet their requirements, not all eligible households participate in the programs. This indicator uses administrative data and microsimulation models to reflect “take up rates” – the number of families that actually participate in the programs as a percentage of those who are legally eligible.
Indicator 5: Multiple Program Receipt. Depending on their circumstances, individuals may choose a variety of different means-tested assistance “packages.” This indicator looks at the percentage of individuals receiving AFDC/TANF, food stamps, and SSI in a month, examining how many rely on just one of these programs, and how many rely on a combination of two programs.
Indicator 6: Dependence Transitions. This indicator uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to look at the ability of individuals who are dependent on welfare in one year to make the transition out of dependence in the following year.
Indicator 7: Dependence Spell Duration. Like Indicator 6, this indicator is concerned with dynamics of welfare receipt and welfare dependence. It shows the proportion of individuals with short, medium, and long spells, or episodes, of AFDC or TANF receipt. The focus is on individuals in AFDC/TANF families with no labor force participants.
Indicator 8: Program Spell Duration. One critical aspect of dependence is how long individuals receive means-tested assistance. Like Indicator 7, this indicator provides information on short, medium, and long spells of welfare receipt. It differs from Indicator 7 in looking at all recipients, regardless of attachment to the labor force, and in analyzing recipients of each of the three major means-tested programs – AFDC/TANF, the Food Stamp Program, and SSI.
Indicator 9: Long-Term Dependency. This indicator uses data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) to examine dependency over three separate ten-year time periods. It measures dependency as individuals with more than 50 percent of their income from AFDC and food stamps, not counting SSI.
Indicator 10: Long-Term Receipt. Many individuals who leave welfare programs cycle back on after an absence of several months. Thus it is important to look beyond individual program spells, measured in Indicator 8, to examine the cumulative amount of time individuals receive assistance over a period of several years.
Indicator 11: Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of Program Spells. To gain a better understanding of welfare dynamics, it is important to go beyond measures of spell duration and examine information regarding the major events in people’s lives that are correlated with the beginnings or endings of program spells. This measure focuses on receipt of AFDC.
Indicator 1. Degree of Dependence
Figure IND 1a. Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 2000
Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.
- Only 3.0 percent of the total population in 2000 received more than half of their total family income from TANF, food stamps and SSI. As shown in Table IND1b, the percentage of families dependent on public assistance has dropped in half since 1993, with most of the decline occurring since 1996. As noted in Chapter I, preliminary data suggest dependency will remain near 3 percent in 2001.
- A total of 13 percent of the overall population received at least one dollar in means-tested assistance in 2000. However, for over half of these individuals (7 percent of the total population), such assistance represented 25 percent or less of annual family income. The vast majority (88 percent) of the population received no means-tested assistance in 2000.
- As shown in Table IND 1a, individuals living in female-headed families were much more likely to be dependent on assistance from means-tested programs compared to individuals in married-couple or male-headed families (11.4 percent compared to 0.9 and 4.4 percent respectively).
- In 2000, fewer than one in four individuals receiving some public assistance reported that TANF, food stamps, and SSI accounted for more than half of their total family income. This number showed a decline in dependence since 1996, when nearly one in three individuals receiving public assistance were dependent on it.
Table IND 1a. Percentage of Total Annual Family Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs, by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2000
Table IND 1b. Percentage of Total Annual Family Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 1993-2000
Figure IND 1b. Percentage of Total Annual Income from Various Sources, by Poverty Status: 2000
Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.
- Those in families with income below the poverty level received half (50 percent) of their total family income from earnings and 30 percent of their total family income from means-tested assistance programs (AFDC/TANF, SSI, and food stamps) in 2000. In contrast, those with family income over 200 percent of the poverty level received the majority (87 percent) of their income 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. For example, the percentage of income received from earnings for those living in deep poverty (below 50 percent of poverty) was only 31 percent, compared to 50 percent for all poor individuals in 2000.
- 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 1c. The elderly received more income from other sources, such as Social Security benefits and private pensions.
- The percentage of income received from earnings for families with incomes below the poverty level has increased over time, as shown in Table IND 1d. In 1995, poor families received 40 percent of their income from earnings; this percentage rose to 50 percent in 2000.
Table IND 1c. Percentage of Total Annual Family Income from Various Sources, by Poverty Status, Race/Ethnicity, and Age: 2000
Table IND 1d. Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources: Selected Years
Indicator 2. Receipt of Means-tested Assistance and Labor Force Attachment
Figure IND 2. Percentage of Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants in that Month, by Program: 2000
Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.
- In 2000, 59 percent of individuals who received TANF, 56 percent of individuals who received food stamps, and 37 percent of individuals who received SSI were in families with at least one person in the labor force, either part-time or full-time.
- Over one-third of TANF and food stamp recipients lived in families with at least one fulltime worker in 2000, while slightly more than one-fifth had a part-time labor force participant. In contrast, SSI recipients were more likely to live in families with no labor force participant.
- As shown in Table IND 2a, among recipients of TANF, food stamps, and SSI, the percentage of children in families with at least one full-time worker was similar across various age groups.
- The percentage of AFDC/TANF recipients living in families with at least one full-time worker increased from 24 percent in 1996 to 35 percent in 2000, as shown in Table IND 2b.
Table IND 2a. Percentage of Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants, by Program, Race/Ethnicity, and Age: 2000
Table IND 2b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants: 1993-2000
Indicator 3. Rates of Receipt of Means-tested Assistance
Figure IND 3a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970-2001
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, (available online at http://www.census.gov).
- Although the survey data needed to examine overall welfare receipt and dependency are not yet available past 2000, administrative data for AFDC/TANF, food stamps, and SSI provide measures of recipiency for each of these three programs through 2001, as shown in Figures IND 3a, IND 3b, and IND 3c. Additional administrative data are shown in Appendix A.
- Just under 2 percent of the population received TANF in 2001. This is the lowest rate of AFDC/TANF receipt in the 30 years shown in Table IND 3a. The percentage of the total population receiving AFDC/TANF has dropped significantly since 1994, when it was at a 25-year high of over 5 percent.
- AFDC/TANF recipiency rates have been much higher over time for children than for adults, with the child recipiency rates also showing more pronounced changes over time. Between 1993 and 2001, the receipt of AFDC/TANF receipt among children was cut more than half (from 14 to well under 6 percent), the most rapid decline in a generation.
Table IND 3a. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age 1970-2001
Figure IND 3b. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-2001
Source: USDA, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition, and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 2001, and earlier reports, and U.S. Bureau of the Census, (available online at http://www.census.gov).
- The food stamp recipiency rate, like the AFDC/TANF recipiency rate shown previously in Figure IND 3a, has fallen sharply in recent years. The percentage of all persons receiving food stamps peaked in 1994, at nearly 11 percent, but dropped to 6.1 percent in 2000 with no change in 2001, its lowest point ever since the Food Stamp program became available nationwide in 1975.
- As with AFDC/TANF, food stamp recipiency rates have been much higher over time for children than for adults. Between 1980 and 2001, 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 in food stamps recipiency – largely reflecting changes in the rate of unemployment and programmatic changes – existed across all age groups over time, as shown in Table IND 3b. The percentages of individuals receiving food stamps within all age groups declined from 1984 through 1988, rose in the early 1990s until reaching a peak in 1994, and then declined through 2000 with no appreciable change in 2001.
Table IND 3b. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age 1975-2001
Figure IND 3c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-2001
Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, Social Security Bulletin Annual Statistical Supplement • 2002 (Data available online at http://www.ssa.gov/statistics), and U.S. Bureau of the Census, (available online at http://www.census.gov).
- Unlike the recipiency rates for AFDC/TANF and food stamps, which have been influenced by outside factors such as the economy and welfare reform, overall recipiency rates for SSI show less variation over time. After trending downward slightly from 1975 to the early 1980s, the proportion of the total population that receives SSI has risen from 1.7 percent in 1983 to 2.5 percent in 1996 and subsequently declined slightly to 2.3 percent. As shown in Table IND 3c, the total number of recipients has grown by 71 percent over the same period, from 3.9 million in 1983 to 6.7 million people in 2001.
- Elderly adults (aged 65 and older) have much higher recipiency rates than any other age group. The gap has narrowed, however, as percentage of adults aged 65 and older receiving SSI has been cut nearly in half, declining from 10.9 percent in 1975 to 5.6 percent in 2001.
- The proportion of children receiving SSI increased gradually between 1975 and 1990, and grew more rapidly in the early-to-mid 1990s, reaching a high of 1.4 percent in 1996. The rate has since fallen, with 1.2 percent of children receiving SSI in 2001.
Table IND 3c. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-2001
Indicator 4. Rates of Participation in Means-tested Assistance Programs
Figure IND 4. Participation Rates in the AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp and SSI Programs Selected Years
Source: AFDC and SSI participation rates are tabulated using TRIM3 microsimulation model, while food stamp participation rates are from a Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. model. See Tables IND 4a, IND 4b, and IND 4c for details.
- Whereas Indicator 3 examined participants as a percentage of the total population (recipiency rates), this indicator examines participating families or households as a percentage of the estimated eligible population (participation rates, also known as “take up” rates).
- Slightly over half (52 percent) of the families estimated as eligible for AFDC/TANF cash assistance actually enrolled and received benefits in an average month in 2000. This rate was essentially unchanged from 1999; and it was significantly lower than earlier AFDC participation rates, which ranged from 77 percent to 86 percent between 1981 and 1996.
- Food stamp participation rates have been very similar to AFDC/TANF participation rates in recent years. Estimated participation among eligible households has fallen from 69 percent in 1995 to 53 percent in both 1999 and 2000.
- In contrast to the declines in AFDC/TANF and food stamp participation, the SSI participation rate rose by 14 percentage points between 1993 and 2000. In 2000, the estimated SSI participation rate was 76 percent, well above the rates for the other two programs.
Table IND 4a. Number and Percentage of Eligible Families Participating in AFDC/TANF Selected Years
- In 2000, an estimated 4.3 million families were eligible for TANF cash assistance. This estimate is 1.2 million below the 1998 level and the lowest during the 20-year period for which estimates are available.
Table IND 4b. Number and Percentage of Eligible Households Participating in the Food Stamp Program: Selected Years
- The proportion of eligible households who participated in the Food Stamp Program was 53 percent in 2000, essentially unchanged from 1999. Since 1996, food stamp participation rates have fallen from 65 percent to 53 percent, a drop of 12 percentage points.
- In addition, there was a decline in the number of households eligible for the Food Stamp Program, from 15.3 million in September 1994 to just under 13.5 million in September 2000. This decline was driven by new eligibility restrictions on aliens and able-bodied adults without dependent children, growth in the economy, changes in the TANF program, and other factors.
- The significant drop in participating households, from just under 10 million households in September 1996 to 7.2 million households in September 2000, reflects the combined effect of a decline in the eligible population and lower participation rates.
Table IND 4c. Percentage of Eligible Adult Units Participating in the SSI Program, by Type: 1993-2000
- In contrast to the declining participation rates for the AFDC/TANF and Food Stamp programs, the participation rate for adult units in the SSI Program has been increasing, from 62 percent in 1993, to nearly 76 percent in 2000. Some of the apparent growth between 1996 and 1997, however, may be due to a revision in estimating methodology, as noted above.
- In 2000, as in past years, disabled adults in one-person units had a higher participation rate (82 percent) than either aged adults in one-person units (71 percent) or adults in married-couple units (50 percent).
Indicator 5. Multiple Program Receipt
Figure IND 5. Percentage of Population Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs (TANF, Food Stamps, & SSI), Among Those Receiving Assistance: 2000
Source: March CPS data, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.
- Of the 8 percent of the population in families receiving TANF, food stamps, or SSI benefits in an average month in 2000, about two-thirds (67 percent) received assistance from only one program. Most of these received food stamps or SSI benefits only. Another common pattern of benefit receipt, found in 22 percent of those with any receipt, was TANF and food stamps.
- Children are more likely than other age groups to live in families receiving TANF and/or food stamps. For example, 15 percent of children under six lived in families receiving any public assistance in an average month in 2000, and 5 percent of children under six, lived in families receiving both TANF and food stamps, as shown in Table IND 5a.
- The percentage of individuals receiving assistance from at least one program among AFDC/TANF, food stamps, and SSI in an average month decreased during the mid-to-late 1990s (from 12 percent in 1996 to 8 percent in 2000), as shown in Table IND 5b. The decline was most dramatic for families receiving a combination of AFDC/TANF and food stamps.
Table IND 5a. Percentage of Population Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs (TANF, Food Stamps, SSI), by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2000
Table IND 5b. Percentage of Population Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs (AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps, SSI): 1993-2000
Indicator 6. Dependence Transitions
Figure IND 6. Dependency Status in 1999 of Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in 1998, by Race/Ethnicity
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1996 panel.
- Recipients of means-tested assistance were more likely to move out of dependency in the late 1990s than in the early 1990s. Three-tenths (30 percent) of recipients who received more than 50 percent of their total income from means-tested assistance programs in 1998 transitioned out of this dependency status in 1999. The comparable transition rate was only 20 percent between 1993 and 1994.
- Of recipients who received more than 50 percent of their total income from AFDC/TANF, food stamps, and/or SSI in 1998, there was little difference among racial and ethnic categories in dependency transitions between 1998 and 1999. Past SIPP panels (data not shown) had found more movement among non-Hispanic whites than among non-Hispanic blacks.
- As shown in Table IND 6a, a slightly larger percentage of women who received more than half of their total income from means-tested assistance programs in 1998 remained “dependent” in 1999 compared to the same group of men (71 percent compared to 66 percent).
Table IND 6a. Dependency Status in 1999 of Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in 1998, by Race/Ethnicity and Age
Table IND 6b. Dependency Status for All Persons Who Received More than 50 percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in Previous Year
Indicator 7. Dependence Spell Duration
Figure IND 7. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Spells of Individuals in Families with No Labor Force Participants for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1993 and 1996 SIPP Panels, by Length of Spell
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 panels.
- Over two-fifths (41 percent) of AFDC/TANF spells for individuals in families with no one in the labor force ended within four months and over two-thirds (68 percent) ended within a year. These spells are measured for individuals entering AFDC/TANF in 1996 to 1998, during early implementation of the TANF program.
- Spells were much longer for families entering AFDC in 1993 to 1995, as shown in Figure IND 7 and Table IND 7b. Half (50 percent) of AFDC/TANF spells for individuals in families where no one participated in the labor force lasted more than 20 months in the 1993 SIPP panel, compared with only 19 percent of that length in the 1996 SIPP panel.
- As shown in Table IND 7a, the percentage of AFDC/TANF spells ending in four months or less was similar across racial/ethnic categories, ranging from 38 percent among non-Hispanic whites to 44 percent among non-Hispanic blacks.
- Spells shown in Figure IND 7 are limited to spells of recipients in families without any labor force participation. Spell lengths are slightly shorter in Figure IND 8, which shows spells for all recipients, including those in families with labor force participants. For example, whereas 81 percent of spells shown in Figure IND 7 end in 20 months or less, 87 percent of all AFDC/TANF spells last 20 months or less, as shown in Figure IND 8.
Table IND 7a. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Spells of Individuals in Families with No Labor Force Participants for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity, and Age
Table Ind 7b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Spells of Individuals in Families with No Labor Force Participants for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1993 and 1996 SIPP Panels
Indicator 8. Program Spell Duration
Figure IND 8. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp, and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 Panels.
- Between the years 1996 and 1998, short spells lasting 4 months or less accounted for about 47 percent of AFDC/TANF spells, 43 percent of food stamp spells, and 34 percent of SSI spells.
- Approximately three-fourths of all AFDC/TANF and food stamp spells lasted one year or less (76 percent and 71 percent, respectively). In contrast, only 53 percent of SSI spells ended within one year.
- As shown in Table IND 8a, for TANF/AFDC spells, a smaller percentage of long spells (lasting more than 20 months) occurred among non-Hispanic whites compared to non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
- Spells of welfare receipt were shorter in the second half of the 1990s than in the early 1990s, as shown in Table IND 8b. For example, only 13 percent of AFDC/TANF spells for individuals entering AFDC/TANF in 1996 to 1998 lasted 20 months or longer, compared with 34 percent of AFDC spells beginning between 1992 and 1994.
- Short spells are less common among recipients in families without labor force participants, as shown previously in Figure and Table IND 7.
Table IND 8a. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity, and Age
Table IND 8b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp and SSI Spells for Individuals Entering Programs During the 1992, 1993, and 1996 SIPP Panels
Indicator 9. Long-term Dependency
Figure IND 9. Percentage of AFDC Recipients with More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC and Food Stamps Between 1987 and 1996, by Years of Dependency
Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1988-1997.
- Almost half (47 percent) of all persons who received AFDC at some point in the ten-year period ending in 1996 were not dependent on welfare in any of these years. Specifically, they did not receive more than 50 percent of their income from AFDC and/or food stamps in any of the ten years (SSI receipt is excluded from this measure of dependency). This was also true for recipients in the two earlier ten-year time periods, as shown in Table IND 9.
- About 14 percent of recipients in the most recent ten-year period were dependent (received more than 50 percent of annual income from AFDC and food stamps) for more than five years between 1987 and 1996. The 14 percent of recipients who were dependent for six or more years represent 1.7 percent of the total population.
- As shown in Table IND 9, young children (ages 0-5 in 1987) are more likely to experience long-term dependency than other individuals. About one-fourth (26 percent) of such children receiving AFDC at least once between 1987 and 1996 were dependent on AFDC and food stamp income for six or more years. Another 45 percent were dependent for one to five years, and only 28 percent were not dependent in any year.
Table IND 9. Percentage of AFDC Recipients with More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC and Food Stamps Across Three Ten-Year Time Periods, by Years of Dependency, Race, and Age
Indicator 10. Long-term Receipt
Figure IND 10. Percentage of AFDC Recipients, by Years of Receipt Between 1987 and 1996
Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1988-1997.
- IND 10, which analyzes recipiency over a ten-year period using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), is only periodically updated. This figure is unchanged from last year’s report and is included to assist those without previous reports.
- Among all persons receiving AFDC at some point in the ten-year period ending in 1996, about half (51 percent) received assistance for only one or two of these years. About one quarter (27 percent) received AFDC for three to five years, and close to one quarter (22 percent) received AFDC for more than five years.
- A larger percentage of child recipients experienced long-term receipt and a smaller percentage experienced short-term receipt in all three time periods relative to the percentages for all recipients, as shown in Table IND 10.
- The percentage of AFDC recipients with long-term assistance (at least six years) is somewhat lower in the most recent ten-year time period—22 percent—than in the earlier two time periods (28 and 26 percent).
- Whereas nearly one-quarter (22 percent) of recipients received at least some AFDC for six or more years between 1987 and 1996 (as shown in Figure IND 10), only 14 percent of recipients received more than 50 percent of their income from AFDC and food stamps for six or more years over the same time period (as previously shown in Figure IND 9).
Table IND 10: Percentage of AFDC Recipients Across Three Ten-Year Time Periods by Years of Receipt, Race, and Age
Indicator 11. Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of Program Spells
Table IND 11a. Percentage of First AFDC Spell Beginnings Associated with Specific Events: Selected Periods
- Between 1986 and 1991, the most common events associated with the beginnings of a first AFDC spell were work-related: a decrease in mother’s work hours (26 percent), a decrease in work hours of another adult (22 percent), and acquisition of a work limitation (24 percent).
- The percentage of first AFDC episode beginnings associated with a householder acquiring a work limitation was higher for spells that began between 1986 and 1991 (24 percent) than for spells that began between 1973 and 1979 (16 percent) or 1980 to 1985 (18 percent).
- Between 1973 and 1979, first births to an unmarried, non-cohabiting mother were associated with 28 percent of first AFDC episodes. In contrast, such births were associated with 21 percent of first spells beginning between 1980 and 1985, and 22 percent of spells beginning between 1986 and 1991.
Table IND 11b. Percentage of First AFDC Spell Endings Associated with Specific Events: Selected Periods
- During the 1986 to 1991 time period, over one-fourth (27 percent) of first AFDC spell endings were associated with increases in mother’s work hours. The corresponding percentage was smaller for spells ending between 1973 and 1979 (15 percent).
- In the period between 1973 and 1979, a greater percentage of spell endings was associated with an increase in work hours for other adults (22 percent) as compared to mothers (15 percent). In the more recent time period (1986 to 1991), a greater percentage of spell endings was associated with an increase in mother’s work hours (27 percent) compared to other adults (17 percent).