Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2007. Indicator 3. Rates of Receipt of Means-tested Assistance

07/31/2007

Figure IND 3a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970-2005

Figure IND 3a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age: 1970-2005

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, and U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).


  • A little under 2 percent of the total population received TANF in 2005. The rate of AFDC/TANF receipt has dropped significantly since 1993, when it was at a 25-year high of over 5 percent, as shown in Table IND 3a. The 2005 rate of receipt was less than one-third of the peak rate and the lowest since 1970.
  • AFDC/TANF recipiency rates have been much higher with more pronounced changes over time for children than for adults. Between 1993 and 2005, AFDC/TANF receipt among children decreased by more than half (from 14 percent to just over 5 percent), the most rapid decline in a generation.

Table IND 3a. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF, by Age 1970-2005

  Total Recipients Adult Recipients Child Recipients
Fiscal Year Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent

Notes: See Appendix A, Tables TANF 2, TANF 12 and TANF 14, for more detailed data on recipiency rates, including recipiency rates by calendar year. Recipients are expressed as the fiscal year average of monthly caseloads from administrative data, excluding  recipients in the territories. Tribal TANF recipients are also excluded. Child recipients include a small number of dependents ages 18 and older who are students. The average number of adult and child recipients in 1998 and 1999 are estimated using data from the National Emergency TANF Data Files and thereafter using the National TANF Data Files.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, and U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

1970 7,188 3.5 1,863 1.4 5,325 7.6
1971 9,281 4.5 2,516 1.8 6,765 9.7
1972 10,345 4.9 2,848 2.0 7,497 10.8
1973 10,760 5.1 2,984 2.1 7,776 11.3
1974 10,591 5.0 2,935 2.0 7,656 11.3
1975 10,854 5.0 3,078 2.1 7,776 11.6
1976 11,171 5.1 3,271 2.2 7,900 11.9
1977 10,933 5.0 3,230 2.1 7,703 11.8
1978 10,485 4.7 3,128 2.0 7,357 11.4
1979 10,146 4.5 3,071 1.9 7,075 11.0
1980 10,422 4.6 3,226 2.0 7,196 11.3
1981 10,979 4.8 3,491 2.1 7,488 11.8
1982 10,233 4.4 3,395 2.0 6,838 10.9
1983 10,467 4.5 3,548 2.1 6,919 11.1
1984 10,677 4.5 3,652 2.1 7,025 11.2
1985 10,630 4.5 3,589 2.0 7,041 11.2
1986 10,810 4.5 3,637 2.1 7,173 11.4
1987 10,878 4.5 3,624 2.0 7,254 11.5
1988 10,734 4.4 3,536 2.0 7,198 11.4
1989 10,741 4.4 3,503 1.9 7,238 11.4
1990 11,263 4.5 3,643 2.0 7,620 11.9
1991 12,391 4.9 4,016 2.1 8,375 12.8
1992 13,423 5.2 4,336 2.3 9,087 13.7
1993 13,943 5.4 4,519 2.3 9,424 13.9
1994 14,033 5.3 4,554 2.3 9,479 13.8
1995 13,479 5.1 4,322 2.2 9,157 13.2
1996 12,477 4.6 3,921 2.0 8,556 12.2
1997 10,779 4.0 3,106 1.5 7,673 10.8
1998 8,653 3.1 2,469 1.2 6,184 8.7
1999 7,068 2.5 1,838 0.9 5,231 7.3
2000 6,218 2.2 1,687 0.8 4,531 6.3
2001 5,674 2.0 1,504 0.7 4,171 5.7
2002 5,576 1.9 1,477 0.7 4,099 5.6
2003 5,452 1.9 1,415 0.6 4,037 5.5
2004 5,314 1.8 1,357 0.6 3,957 5.4
2005 5,071 1.7 1,277 0.6 3,794 5.2

Figure IND 3b. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-2005

Figure IND 3b. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age: 1975-2005

Source: Recipient data by age from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 2005 and earlier reports (available online at www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/FSP/participation.htm), and unpublished data from the Food Stamps National Data Bank. Population denominators are from U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).


 

  • The food stamp recipiency rate increased to 8.6 percent in 2005, up from a low of 6.1 percent in 2000 and 2001 – the lowest rate since the Food Stamp Program became available nationwide. While the 2005 recipiency rate is higher than the rate for 2004, it is still significantly lower than the peak of 10.4 percent experienced in 1993 and 1994.
  • As with AFDC/TANF, food stamp recipiency rates have been much higher over time for children than for adults. Between 1980 and 2005, the percentage of all children who received food stamps was at least double the percentage for all adults ages 18 to 59.
  • Similar trends in food stamp 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 declined from 1984 through 1988, rose in the early 1990s until reaching a peak in 1994, declined sharply through 2000 and since then have risen from their low of 6.1 percent in 2000 and 2001.

Table IND 3b. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps, by Age 1975-2005

  Total Recipients Adult Recipients
Ages 60 and over
Adult Recipients
Ages 18-59
Child Recipients
Ages 0-18
Fiscal Year Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent

Note: See Appendix A, Tables FSP 1 and FSP 6 for more detailed data on recipiency rates. Recipient total exclude the territories and are the fiscal year averages of monthly caseloads from administrative data. From 1975 to 1983 the number of participants includes the Family Food Assistance Program (FFAP) that was largely replaced by the Food Stamp program in 1975. From 1975 to 1983 the  number of FFAP participants averaged only 88 thousand.

Source: Recipient data by age from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition and Evaluation, Characteristics of Food Stamp Households, Fiscal Year 2005 and earlier reports (available online at www.fns.usda.gov/oane/MENU/Published/FSP/participation.htm), and unpublished data from the Food Stamps National Data Bank. Individual age groups do not sum exactly to total participants. The population denominators for the percents in each category are from U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

1975 16,320 7.6
1976 17,033 7.8 9,126 13.8
1977 15,604 7.1
1978 14,405 6.5
1979 15,942 7.1
1980 19,253 8.5 1,741 4.9 7,186 5.6 9,876 15.5
1981 20,654 9.0 1,845 5.0 7,811 6.0 9,803 15.5
1982 21,754 9.4 1,641 4.4 7,838 6.0 9,591 15.3
1983 21,668 9.3 1,654 4.4 8,960 6.7 10,910 17.4
1984 20,796 8.8 1,758 4.5 8,521 6.3 10,492 16.8
1985 19,847 8.3 1,783 4.5 8,258 6.1 9,906 15.8
1986 19,382 8.1 1,631 4.1 7,895 5.7 9,844 15.7
1987 19,072 7.9 1,589 3.9 7,684 5.5 9,771 15.5
1988 18,613 7.6 1,500 3.7 7,506 5.3 9,351 14.8
1989 18,778 7.6 1,582 3.8 7,560 5.3 9,429 14.9
1990 20,020 8.0 1,511 3.6 8,084 5.6 10,127 15.8
1991 22,599 8.9 1,593 3.8 9,190 6.3 11,952 18.3
1992 25,370 9.9 1,687 3.9 10,550 7.2 13,349 20.1
1993 26,957 10.4 1,876 4.3 11,214 7.5 14,196 21.0
1994 27,439 10.4 1,955 4.5 11,615 7.7 14,391 21.0
1995 26,579 10.0 1,920 4.4 11,105 7.3 13,860 20.0
1996 25,495 9.5 1,891 4.3 10,769 7.0 13,189 18.8
1997 22,820 8.4 1,831 4.1 9,373 6.0 11,847 16.7
1998 19,749 7.2 1,635 3.6 7,760 4.9 10,524 14.7
1999 18,146 6.5 1,696 3.7 7,079 4.4 9,332 13.0
2000 17,156 6.1 1,700 3.7 6,612 4.0 8,743 12.1
2001 17,282 6.1 1,658 3.6 6,778 4.1 8,819 12.1
2002 19,059 6.6 1,684 3.6 7,625 4.5 9,688 13.3
2003 21,222 7.3 1,786 3.7 8,503 5.0 10,605 14.5
2004 23,819 8.1 1,917 3.9 9,753 5.7 11,771 16.1
2005 25,634 8.6 2,044 4.1 10,390 6.0 12,405 16.9

Figure IND 3c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-2005

Figure IND 3c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-2005

Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics, SSI Annual Statistical Report, 2005, (available online at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/), and U.S. Census Bureau (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 1985 to 2.5 percent in 1996 and subsequently declined slightly to 2.4 percent in 2005. As shown in Table IND 3c, the total number of recipients has grown by 72 percent over the same period, from 4.1 million in 1985 to a little over 7 million people in 2005.
  • Elderly adults (ages 65 and older) have much higher recipiency rates than any other age group. The gap has narrowed, however, as the percentage of adults aged 65 and older receiving SSI has been cut in half, declining from 10.9 percent in 1975 to 5.4 percent in 2005.
  • The proportion of children receiving SSI increased gradually between 1975 and 1990, and grew more rapidly in the early and mid-1990s, reaching a high of 1.4 percent in 1996. The rate then fell slightly through 2000 before inching back upward to 1.4 percent in 2004 and 2005.

Table IND 3c. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI, by Age: 1975-2005

  Total Recipients Adult Recipients
Ages 65 & over
Adult Recipients
Ages 18-64
Child Recipients
Ages 0-18
Date Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent Number (thousands) Percent

Note: December population figures used as the denominators are obtained by averaging the Census Bureau's July 1 population estimates for the current and the following year. See Appendix A, Tables SSI 2, SSI 8 and SSI 9 for more detailed data on SSI recipiency rates.

Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics, SSI Annual Statistical Report, 2005, (available online at http://www.ssa.gov/policy), and U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

Dec 1975 4,314 2.0 2,508 10.9 1,699 1.3 107 0.2
Dec 1976 4,236 1.9 2,397 10.2 1,714 1.3 125 0.2
Dec 1977 4,238 1.9 2,353 9.7 1,738 1.3 147 0.2
Dec 1978 4,217 1.9 2,304 9.3 1,747 1.3 166 0.3
Dec 1979 4,150 1.8 2,246 8.8 1,727 1.3 177 0.3
Dec 1980 4,142 1.8 2,221 8.6 1,731 1.2 190 0.3
Dec 1981 4,019 1.7 2,121 8.0 1,703 1.2 195 0.3
Dec 1982 3,858 1.7 2,011 7.4 1,655 1.2 192 0.3
Dec 1983 3,901 1.7 2,003 7.3 1,700 1.2 198 0.3
Dec 1984 4,029 1.7 2,037 7.2 1,780 1.2 212 0.3
Dec 1985 4,138 1.7 2,031 7.1 1,879 1.3 227 0.4
Dec 1986 4,269 1.8 2,018 6.9 2,010 1.3 241 0.4
Dec 1987 4,385 1.8 2,015 6.7 2,119 1.4 251 0.4
Dec 1988 4,464 1.8 2,006 6.6 2,203 1.5 255 0.4
Dec 1989 4,593 1.9 2,026 6.5 2,302 1.5 265 0.4
Dec 1990 4,817 1.9 2,059 6.5 2,450 1.6 309 0.5
Dec 1991 5,118 2.0 2,080 6.5 2,642 1.7 397 0.6
Dec 1992 5,566 2.2 2,100 6.5 2,910 1.9 556 0.8
Dec 1993 5,984 2.3 2,113 6.4 3,148 2.0 723 1.1
Dec 1994 6,296 2.4 2,119 6.3 3,335 2.1 841 1.2
Dec 1995 6,514 2.5 2,115 6.3 3,482 2.2 917 1.3
Dec 1996 6,630 2.5 2,110 6.2 3,568 2.2 955 1.4
Dec 1997 6,495 2.4 2,054 6.0 3,562 2.2 880 1.3
Dec 1998 6,566 2.4 2,033 5.9 3,646 2.2 887 1.3
Dec 1999 6,557 2.4 2,019 5.8 3,691 2.2 847 1.2
Dec 2000 6,602 2.3 2,011 5.7 3,744 2.1 847 1.2
Dec 2001 6,688 2.3 1,995 5.6 3,811 2.1 882 1.2
Dec 2002 6,788 2.3 1,995 5.6 3,878 2.1 915 1.3
Dec 2003 6,902 2.4 1,990 5.5 3,953 2.2 959 1.3
Dec 2004 6,988 2.4 1,978 5.4 4,017 2.2 993 1.4
Dec 2005 7,114 2.4 1,995 5.4 4,083 2.2 1,036 1.4

 

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