The Welfare Indicators Act challenges the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to identify and set forth not only indicators of welfare dependence and welfare duration but also predictors and causes of welfare receipt. Prior to the Act, welfare research had 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.
Whereas the Advisory Board established under the Welfare Indicators Act 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 continue to be implemented, their value will not be fully 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: economic security risk factors, employment-related risk factors, and risk factors associated with non-marital childbearing.
Economic Security Risk Factors (ECON). The first group includes nine measures associated with economic security. This group encompasses six measures of poverty, as well as measures of child support receipt, food insecurity, and lack of health insurance. The tables and figures illustrating measures of economic security are labeled with the prefix ECON throughout this chapter.
Poverty measures are important predictors of dependence, because families with fewer economic resources are more likely to be dependent on means-tested assistance. In addition, poverty and other measures of deprivation, such as food insecurity, are important to assess in conjunction with the measures of dependence outlined in Chapter II.
Reductions in caseloads and dependence can reduce poverty, to the extent that such reductions are associated with greater work activity and higher economic resources for former welfare families. However, reductions in welfare caseloads can increase poverty and other deprivation measures, to the extent that former welfare families are left with fewer economic resources.
Several aspects of poverty are examined in this chapter. Those that can be updated annually using the Current Population Survey include: overall poverty rates (ECON 1); the percentage of individuals in deep poverty (ECON 2), and poverty rates using alternative definitions of income (ECON 3 and 4). The chapter also includes data on the length of poverty episodes or spells (ECON 5); and the cumulative time spent in poverty over a decade (ECON 6).
This chapter also includes data on child support collections (ECON 7), which can play an important role in reducing dependence on government assistance and thus serve as a predictor of dependence. Household food insecurity (ECON 8) is an important measure of deprivation that, although correlated with general income poverty, provides an alternative measure of tracking the incidence of material hardship and need, and how it may change over time. Finally, health insurance (ECON 9) is tied to the income level of the family, and may be a precursor to future health problems among adults and children.
Employment and Work-Related Risk Factors (WORK). The second grouping, labeled with the WORK prefix, includes seven factors related to employment and barriers to employment. These measures include data on overall labor force attachment and the employment and earnings for low-skilled workers, as well as data on barriers to work. The latter category includes incidence of adult and child disabilities, adult substance abuse, and levels of educational attainment and school drop-out rates.
Employment and earnings provide many families with an escape from dependence. It is important, therefore, to look both at overall labor force attachment (WORK 1), and at employment and earnings levels for those with low education levels (WORK 2 and WORK 3).
The economic condition of the low-skill labor market is a key predictor of the ability of young adult men and women to support families without receiving means-tested assistance. The next two measures in this group (WORK 4 and WORK 5) focus on educational attainment. Individuals with less 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.
Measures of barriers to employment provide indicators of potential work limitations, which may be predictors of greater dependence. Substance abuse (WORK 6) and disabling conditions among children and adults (WORK 7) all have the potential of limiting the ability of the adults in the household to work. In addition, debilitating health conditions and high medical expenditures can place a strain on a family’s economic resources.
Non-Marital Birth Risk Factors (BIRTH). The final group of risk factors addresses out-of-wedlock childbearing. The tables and figures in this subsection are labeled with the BIRTH prefix. This category includes long-term time trends in births to unmarried women (BIRTH 1), births to unmarried teens (BIRTH 2 and BIRTH 3), and children living in families with never-married parents (BIRTH 4). Children living in families with never-married mothers are at high risk of dependence, and it is therefore important to track changes in the size of this vulnerable population.
As noted above, the predictors/risk factors included in this chapter do not represent an exhaustive list of measures. They are merely a sampling of available data that address in some way the question of how a family is faring on the scale of deprivation and well-being. Such questions are a necessary part of the dependence discussion as researchers assess the effects of welfare reform.
Economic Security Risk Factor 1. Poverty Rates
Figure ECON 1. Percentage of Persons in Poverty, by Age: 1959-2001
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219 and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
- Poverty has declined substantially since enactment of welfare reform in 1996. Fewer than twelve percent (11.7) of all persons lived in poverty in 2001, compared to 13.7 percent in 1996. From 2000 to 2001, there was a small increase in the overall poverty rate.
- Children also experienced a considerable decline in poverty from 20.5 percent in 1996 to 16.3 percent in 2001. Children continue, however, to have higher poverty rates than the overall population. For example, in 2001, the poverty rate for related children ages 0 to 5 was just over 18 percent, compared to less than 12 percent for the overall population.
- The gap between black and white poverty rates was at an historic low of less than 13 percentage points in 2001; the gap has narrowed by well over a third since the early 1990s, when it exceeded 21 percentage points. The poverty rate among Hispanics declined to 21 percent in 2001, the lowest level recorded, as shown in Table ECON 1.
- The poverty rate for the elderly (persons ages 65 and over) reached historic lows of less than 10 percent in 1999 and 2000 before edging up to 10.1 percent in 2001. This was a lower poverty rate than the rate for children (16 percent) and equal to that of adults ages 18-64.
Table ECON 1. Percentage of Persons in Poverty, by Race and Age: Selected Years
Economic Security Risk Factor 2. Deep Poverty Rates
Figure ECON 2. Percentage of Total Population Below 50 and 100 Percent of Poverty Level: 1975-2001
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219 and unpublished tables available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
- The percentage of the population in “deep poverty” (with incomes below 50 percent of the federal poverty level) decreased from 5.4 percent in 1996 to 4.8 percent in 2001. From 2000 to 2001 there was a small increase in the “deep poverty” rate.
- In general, the percentage of the population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty threshold has followed a pattern that reflects the trend in the overall poverty rate, as shown in Figure ECON 2. The percentage of people below 50 percent of poverty rose in the late 1970s and early 1980s, but then, after falling slightly, rose to a second peak in 1993. The overall poverty rate followed a somewhat similar pattern with more pronounced peaks and valleys.
- Over the past two decades, there has been an overall increase in the proportion of the poverty population in deep poverty. From a low of 28 percent of the poverty population in 1976, this population rose to 41 percent in 2001.
- The total number of poor people in 2001 was 32.9 million people, as shown in Table ECON 2. While higher than the previous year, this number was 3.6 million lower than 1996, and 6.7 million fewer than forty years prior.
Table ECON 2. Number and Percentage of Total Population Below 50, 75, 100, and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: Selected Years
Economic Security Risk Factor 3. Experimental Poverty Measures
Figure ECON 3. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures, by Age: 2001
Note: Alternative poverty measures used in this figure are defined in the note to Table ECON 3b.
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Poverty in the United States: 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-219, available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.
- Three experimental measures of poverty (developed by the Census Bureau in response to the recommendation of a 1995 panel of the National Academy of Sciences) yield poverty rates that are similar to the official poverty measure overall, but differ by age and other characteristics.
- Experimental measures generally show lower poverty rates among children than the official measure, partly because they take into account non-cash benefits that many children receive. Conversely, experimental measures show higher rates of poverty among the elderly than the official measure, in part due to the inclusion of certain out-of-pocket health costs in these measures.
- All three measures shown in Figure Econ 3 take into account geographic adjustments (GA) in housing costs; the measures can also be calculated with no geographic adjustment (NGA), as shown in Tables ECON 3a and 3b. See note to Table ECON 3b.
Table ECON 3a. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures, by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2001
Table ECON 3b. Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using Various Experimental Poverty Measures: 1999-2001
Economic Security Risk Factor 4. Poverty Rates with Various Means-tested Benefits Included
Figure ECON 4. Percentage of Total Population in Poverty with Various Means-Tested Benefits Added to Total Cash Income: 1979-2001
Source: Congressional Budget Office tabulations of March CPS data. Additional calculations by DHHS.
- The official definition of poverty – which includes means-tested cash assistance (primarily TANF and SSI) in addition to pre-tax cash income and social insurance – was 11.7 percent in 2001, as shown in the bold line with empty boxes in Figure ECON 4. Without cash welfare, the 2000 poverty rate would be 12.5 percent, as shown by the top line in the figure above.
- Adding other, non-cash, public assistance benefits to this definition has the effect of lowering the percentage of people who have incomes below the official poverty rate. Adding in the value of food and housing benefits reduces the poverty rate to 10.5 percent in 2001.
- When income is defined as including benefits from the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and federal taxes, the percentage of the total population in poverty decreases to 9.8 percent in 2001. Taxes have had a net effect of reducing poverty rates since the significant increases in the size of the EITC in 1993 and 1995.
- The combined effect of means-tested cash assistance, food and housing benefits, EITC and taxes was to reduce the poverty rate in 2001 by 2.7 percentage points, as shown in Table ECON 4. Net reductions in poverty rates were somewhat lower during the recession of the early 1980s, and somewhat higher in the mid-1990s, largely due to expansions in the EITC.
Table ECON 4. Percentage of Total Population in Poverty with Various Means-Tested Benefits Added to Total Cash Income: Selected Years
Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Poverty Spells
Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1993 and 1996 SIPP Panels, by Length of Spell
Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 panels.
- Half (51 percent) of all poverty spells that began during the 1996 SIPP panel ended within four months and 70 percent ended within one year. Only 11 percent of all such spells were longer than 20 months.
- Spells of poverty that began between 1993 and 1995 were slightly longer; 47 percent ended within four months and 16 percent were longer than 20 months.
- Poverty spells among adults age 65 and older were more likely to last longer than 20 months (17 percent) than spells among other age groups, as shown in Table ECON 5a.
Table ECON 5a. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1996 SIPP Panel, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity, and Age
Table ECON 5b Percentage of Poverty Spells for Individuals Entering Poverty during the 1993 and 1996 SIPP Panels, by Length of Spell and Year
Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Long-term Poverty
Figure ECON 6. Percentage of Children Ages 0 to 5 in 1987 Living in Poverty between 1987 and 1996, by Years in Poverty and Race
Source: Unpublished data from the PSID, 1987-1996.
- ECON 6, which analyzes poverty 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 children who were ages 0 to 5 in 1987, two-thirds (66 percent) never lived in poverty for any year over the next ten years. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) lived in poverty for one to five years and 10 percent were poor for six to ten years.
- For all three time periods, the percentages of all individuals who were poor for only one to two years were much larger than the percentages of all individuals who experienced longer-term poverty. For example, while 15 percent of all individuals were poor for only one to two years between 1987 and 1996, only 5 percent were poor for six to ten years during the same time period.
- Long-term poverty of six or more years decreased for blacks more than for non-blacks across the three ten-year time periods. As shown in Table ECON 6, the percentage of persons experiencing long-term poverty decreased from 27 percent in the earliest period to 22 percent in the most recent period for blacks, but remained essentially unchanged for non-blacks. The percentage of black children experiencing long-term poverty was steady across the periods, while the percentage for non-black children increased slightly, from 3 to 5 percent.
Table ECON 6: Percentage of Individuals Living in Poverty across Three Ten-Year Time Periods, by Years in Poverty, Race, and Age
Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Child SUPPORT
Figure ECON 7. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-2001
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Child Support Collections: 2002 TANF Report to Congress (and earlier years), Washington, DC.
- Collections paid through the Child Support Enforcement system (Title IV-D of the Social Security Act) totaled $19 billion in 2001, over $1 billion more than in 2000. During the 1990s, child support collections grew rapidly, at an average rate of almost $1.1 billion a year.
- Non-TANF collections as a percentage of overall collections by the IV-D program have rapidly increased in recent years. (Non-TANF collections include collections paid to former TANF families as well as to families with no contact with the welfare system.) Non-TANF collections increased by $1.1 billion between 2000 and 2001, while TANF collections remained essentially unchanged. Note that this stability occurred despite a 6.5 percent drop in the number of TANF recipient families over the same time period.
- The amount of TANF collections paid to AFDC/TANF families is difficult to track in recent years because of changes in data reporting forms. Available data suggest these payments declined in fiscal years 1997-2000, with an increase shown in fiscal year 2001, as shown in Table ECON 7. A number of states have opted to pass through some or all of collections to the custodial TANF family, even though the 1996 welfare reform repealed the former requirement for a $50 “pass-through to families.”
- More than 87 percent of TANF collections (collections on behalf of TANF recipients and for past due support assigned to the state by former TANF recipients) was retained in 2001 to reimburse the state and federal governments for the cost of welfare benefits.
Table ECON 7. Total, Non-AFDC/TANF, and AFDC/TANF Title IV-D Child Support Collections: 1978-2001
Economic Security Risk Factor 8. Food Insecurity
Figure ECON 8. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2001
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2001.
- A large majority (89 percent) of American households was food secure in 2001 – that is, showed little or no evidence of concern about food supply or reduction in food intake.
- The prevalence of food insecurity with hunger in 2001 was estimated to be 3.3 percent. During the twelve months ending in December 2001, one or more members of these households experienced reduced food intake and hunger as a result of financial constraints. Food insecurity would be lower measured over a monthly basis.
- An additional 7 percent of households experienced food insecurity, but were without hunger, during the twelve months ending in December 2001. Although these households showed signs of food insecurity in their concerns and in adjustments to household food management, little or no reduction in food intake was reported.
- Poor households have a higher rate of food insecurity with hunger (12.9 percent) than the 3.3 percent rate among the general population, as shown in Table ECON 8a. Only 1.3 percent of families with incomes at or above 185 percent of the poverty level showed evidence of food insecurity with hunger.
- Changes in survey administration must be taken into account when assessing time trends. In general, there was a downward trend in food insecurity with hunger from 1995-1999, followed by a slight increase between 1999-2001. Higher food insecurity in even years may reflect seasonal differences in data collection between odd and even years.
Table ECON 8a. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2001
Table ECON 8b. Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1995-2001
Economic Security Risk Factor 9. Lack of Health Insurance
Figure ECON 9. Percentage of Persons without Health Insurance, by Income: 2001
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey, March 2002.
- Poor persons were more than twice as likely as all persons to be without health insurance in 2001 (30 percent compared to 14 percent). While the ratio varied across categories, persons with family income at or below the poverty line were more likely to be without health insurance regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, educational attainment, or age.
- Hispanics were the ethnic group least likely to have health insurance in 2001, among both the general population and those with incomes below the poverty line. While white individuals in general were more likely to have insurance than black individuals, poor black individuals were more likely to have insurance than poor white individuals.
- Among all persons, the amount of education was inversely related to health insurance coverage, as shown in Table ECON 9. However, among poor persons, educational attainment made little difference as to whether individuals had health insurance.
- As shown in Table ECON 9, individuals ages 18 to 34 are the most likely to be without health insurance, among both the general population and the poor population. Nearly half of all 18 to 34 year-olds with incomes below the poverty line had no health insurance in 2001.
Table ECON 9. Percentage of Persons without Health Insurance, by Income and Selected Characteristics: 2001
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 1. Labor Force Attachment
Figure WORK 1. Percentage of Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants, by Race/Ethnicity: 2001
Source: Unpublished tabulations of March CPS data.
- In 2001, 72 percent of the total population lived in families with at least one person working on a full-time, full-year basis, as shown in Table WORK 1a. Full-time full-year work was slightly lower than in 2000, although generally still higher than during the 1990s, as shown in Table WORK 1b.
- Overall, 14 percent of the population lived in families with no labor force participants and 14 percent lived in families with part-time and/or part-year labor force participants in 2001.
- Persons of Hispanic origin were less likely than non-Hispanic whites or non-Hispanic blacks to live in families with no one in the labor force in 2001 (9 percent compared to 15 and 16 percent, respectively).
- Working-age women in 2001 were more likely than working-age men to live in families with no one in the labor force (8 percent compared to 6 percent). Men were more likely than women to live in families with at least one full-time, full-year worker (80 percent compared to 76 percent).
Table WORK 1a. Percentage of Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants, by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2001
Table WORK 1b. Percentage of Individuals in Families with Labor Force Participants: 1990-2001
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled
Figure WORK 2. Percentage of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed: 1969-2001
Source: ASPE tabulations of March CPS data.
- Employment rates for women with a high school education or less dropped in 2001, following several years of rising employment, particularly among black and Hispanic women. Low-skilled white women continued to have the highest employment level (67 percent in 2001) among the three racial/ethnic groups.
- Employment levels for white and Hispanic men with no more than a high school education have hovered close to 85 percent for close to two decades. In contrast, employment levels for low-skilled black men have varied over the same period. Between 1968 and 1983, employment rates for black men with no more than high school education fell by 20 percentage points. Since 1992, these rates have remained fairly stable at around 71 percent.
- As shown in Figure and Table WORK 2, employment levels for black men with a high school education or less were 6 percentage points higher than those of similarly educated black women in 2001. In contrast, there was a 17 percentage point difference in employment levels of white men and white women with a high school education or less, and a 26 percentage point difference between similarly educated Hispanic men and Hispanic women.
Table WORK 2. Percentage of All Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed at Any Time: 1969-2001
Note: All data include both full and partial year employment for the given calendar year. Race categories include those of Hispanic origin for all years. Hispanic origin was not available until 1975.
Source: ASPE tabulations of March CPS data.
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. 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, by Race (2001 Dollars): Selected Years
Source: ASPE tabulations of March CPS data.
- Mean weekly wages for full-time work by men with no more than a high school diploma have decreased in real terms for much of the past quarter century, with some recovery in the late 1990s. In 2001, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled men working full-time was $660. This level is 4 percent above the 1995 weekly wages of $635 (in 2001 dollars), but 12 percent below the 1970 level of $747 (in 2001 dollars).
- The gap between mean weekly wages for white and black men with low education levels has narrowed significantly over time, but expanded slightly in 2000 and 2001. In 1970, the mean weekly wage for low-skilled black men working full-time was $544 (in 2001 dollars), or 70 percent of the $773 average for white men. However, full-time working black men with no more than a high school education received 83 percent of the mean weekly wages of white men in 2001 ($560 compared to $677).
Table WORK 3: Mean Weekly Wages of Men Working Full-Time, Full-Year with No More than a High-School Education, by Race (2001 Dollars): Selected Years
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 4. Educational Attainment
Figure WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Age 25 and Over, by Level of Educational Attainment: 1960-2001
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Educational Attainment in the United States: March 2001,” Current Population Reports, Series PPL-157, February 2002, and earlier reports.
- There has been a marked decline over the past 40 years in the percentage of the population who has not earned a high school diploma. This percentage fell from 59 percent in 1960 to 16 percent in 2001.
- The percentage of the population receiving a high school education only (with no subsequent college) was 25 percent in 1960 and rose to 39 percent in 1988. Since then this figure has fallen to 33 percent, although some of this decline is a result of a change in the survey methodology in 1992 (see note to Table WORK 4).
- Between 1960 and 1990, the percentage of the population with some college (one to three years) doubled, from 9 percent to 18 percent. The apparent jump in 1992 is a result of a change in the survey methodology (see note to Table WORK 4), but the trend continued upward, reaching nearly 26 percent in 2001.
- The percentage of the population completing four or more years of college more than tripled from 1960 to 2001, rising steadily from 8 percent to 26 percent.
Table WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Age 25 and Over, by Level of Educational Attainment: Selected Years
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 5. High-school Dropout Rates
Figure WORK 5. 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, by Race/Ethnicity: Selected Years
Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Dropout Rates in the United States: 2000 and earlier years (based on Current Population Survey data from the October supplement).
- With the exception of a small upward movement in 1988, the dropout rates for teens in grades 10 to 12 declined steadily from 1979 to 1991. From a low of 4.0 percent, the rate began rising to a peak of 5.7 percent in 1995. Following this upturn, the overall rate again declined to 4.6 percent in 1997; since then it has fluctuated, moving up to 5.0 percent in 1999 and then back down again to 4.8 percent in 2000.
- Dropout rates among Hispanic and black teens have fluctuated considerably over time. Still, dropout rates are generally highest for Hispanic teens and lowest for white teens. In 2000, the dropout rate was 7.4 percent for Hispanic teens, compared to 6.1 percent for black teens and 4.1 percent for white teens.
Table WORK 5. 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, by Race/Ethnicity: Selected Years
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 6. Adult Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Figure WORK 6. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol, by Age: 2001
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Household Survey on Drug Abuse.
- In 2001, young adults (ages 18 to 25) were more likely than older adults to report alcohol abuse, marijuana use, or cocaine use in the past month. More than one in seven (16 percent) of adults 18 to 25 reported using marijuana in the past month during 2001, compared with 7 percent of adults 26 to 34 and 2 percent of adults 35 and older. Young adults were also significantly more likely to abuse alcohol than older adults.
- The percentage of persons reporting binge alcohol use was significantly larger than the percentages for all other reported behaviors across all age groups, as shown in Table WORK 6.
Table WORK 6. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol, by Age: 1999, 2000, and 2001
Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 7. Adult and Child Disability
Figure WORK 7. Percentage of the Non-Elderly Population Reporting a Disability, by Age and Race/Ethnicity: 2001
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, National Health Interview Survey
- In 2001, adults were more likely than children to have an activity limitation, 10.9 percent compared to 7.2 percent.
- While adults were more likely than children to report an activity limitation, a higher percentage of children than adults were actually recipients of disability program benefits in 2001 (5.9 percent compared to 4.1 percent), as shown in Table WORK 7.
- Among both non-elderly adults and children, rates of activity limitation were very similar for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks in 2001, but lower for Hispanics, as shown in Table WORK 7.
Table WORK 7. Percentage of the Non-Elderly Population Reporting a Disability, by Race/Ethnicity and Age: 2001
Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 1. Births to Unmarried Women
Figure BIRTH 1. Percentage of Births to Unmarried Women, by Age Group: 1940-2001
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940 - 1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48(16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2001,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51(2), December
- The percentage of children born outside of marriage to women of all ages has increased over the past six decades, from 3.8 percent in 1940 to 33.5 percent in 2001. 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 among teen women and women ages 20-24. Close to four-fifths (79 percent) of all births to teens and half (50 percent) of women ages 20-24 took place outside of marriage in 2001.
- Since 1994, the percentage of unmarried births to all women has almost leveled off. The percentage of unmarried births to teen mothers has slowed since 1994, although it is still rising (from 76 percent in 1994 to 79 percent in 2001). The steepest growth since 1994 is among the 20 to 24 year old age group, where the percentage of births to unmarried women has increased from 45 to 50 percent.
- Recently, the percentage of out-of-wedlock births has leveled off among black teens and all black women. Among white teens and all white women, the trend continues upward (see Table C-1 in Appendix C for non-marital birth data by age and race).
Table BIRTH 1. Percentage of Births to Unmarried Women, by Age Group: 1940-2001
Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 2. Births to Unmarried Teens
Figure BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-2001
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940 - 1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2001,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51 (2), December 2002.
- In contrast to the earlier Figure BIRTH 1, which showed births to unmarried teens as a percentage of all teen births, Figure BIRTH 2 shows births to unmarried teens as a percentage of births to all women. This percentage fell in the last three years, from 9.7 to 8.7 percent, reversing a long upward trend since 1940. This rate may be affected by several factors: the age distribution of women, 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 has also dropped among white women over the past four years, declining to 7.3 percent in 2001. This drop is in contrast to the long upward trend, from less than 1 percent in 1960 to nearly 8 percent in 1998.
- Among black women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens fell to 17.5 percent in 2001, the lowest percentage since 1969. This rate has varied greatly since 1940, rising sharply to a peak of 24 percent in 1975, and showing a gradual decline in most years since then. The sharp increase in the late 1960s and early 1970s reflects a 30 percent rise in non-marital teen births among black women concurrent with a 6 percent decline in total black births from 1969 to 1975.
Table BIRTH 2. Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19, by Race: 1940-2001
Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 3. Unmarried Teen Birth Rates Within Age Groups
Figure BIRTH 3a. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17, by Race: 1960-2001
Figure BIRTH 3b. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 and 19, by Race: 1960-2001
Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940 - 1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2001,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 51 (2), December 2002.
- The birth rate per 1,000 unmarried teens fell between 1994 and 2001 for both black and white teens and for both younger (15 to 17 years) and older age groups (18 and 19 years). The rate for black teens 18 and 19, for example, fell from 142 per 1,000 to 109 per 1,000. Declines were larger among black teens than among white teens.
- Prior to 1994, birth rates among unmarried white teens in both age groups rose steadily for nearly three decades (4 to 24 percent among 15 to 17 year-olds and 11 to 56 percent among 18 and 19 year-olds).
- Among unmarried black teens in both age groups, birth rates varied greatly over the period, reaching peaks in both the early 1970s and early 1990s. Rates for both age groups were lower in 2001 than in 1969. While birth rates among unmarried black teens remain high compared to rates for unmarried white teens, the gap been black and white teens narrowed considerably during the 1990s.
Table BIRTH 3. Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teen Women within Age Groups, by Race: 1960-2001
Non-marital Birth Risk Factor 4. Never-married Family Status
Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head, by Race: 1982-2002
Source of CPS data: U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Series P20-212, 287, 365, 380, 399, 418, 423, 433, 445, 450, 461, 468, 478, 484, 491, 496, 506, 514, 537 various years, and ASPE tabulations of the CPS for 2001 and 2002.
Source of 1960 data: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1960 Census of Population, PC(2)-4B, “Persons by Family Characteristics,” tables 1 and 19.
- The percentage of children living in families with never-married female heads increased from under 5 percent in 1982 to nearly 10 percent in 2002.
- The percentage of white children living in families headed by never-married women has continued to rise over the past twenty years, from less than 2 percent in 1982 to 5.6 percent in 2002.
- Among Hispanics, the percentage of children living with never-married female heads more than doubled over the past sixteen years, going from less than 6 percent in 1982 to 12 percent in 1996. Since then it has fluctuated up and down by about one-half a percentage point.
- 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. However, at 33 percent in 2002, it is two percentage points below its peak in 1999.
Table BIRTH 4. Number and Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head, by Race: Selected Years