Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2004. Indicator 7. Dependence Spell Duration

04/27/2005

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

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Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 panels.


  • In the late 1990s 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 between 1996 and 1999, during early implementation of the TANF program.
  • Spells were much longer for families entering AFDC between 1993 and 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 between 1996 and 1999 shown in Figure IND 7 end in 20 months or less, 87 percent of all AFDC/TANF spells during this same time period 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
 
  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
All Persons 40.5 27.5 13.3 18.7
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 38.4 35.8 NA NA
Non-Hispanic Black 44.1 22.4 11.5 21.9
Hispanic 39.6 23.2 NA NA
Age Categories
Ages 0-15 Years 38.9 25.0 12.9 23.2
Ages 16-64 Years 42.2 31.4 NA NA

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 spells starting during the 1996 SIPP panel for individuals in families with no labor force participants. For certain racial/ethnic and age categories, data are not available (N/A) due to insufficient sample size.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1996 panel.


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

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
1993 Panel All Persons 27.2 16.2 6.9 49.7
1996 Panel All Persons 40.5 27.5 13.3 18.7

Source: Unpublished data from the SIPP, 1993 and 1996 panels.

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