Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2007. Indicator 8. Welfare Spell Duration with No Labor Force Attachment

07/31/2007

Figure IND 8. Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Individuals Entering Programs during the 2001-2003 Period, by Length of Spell

Figure IND 8. Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Individuals Entering Programs during the 2001-2003 Period, by Length of Spell

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 panel.


  • Welfare spells with no labor force attachment are measured as consecutive months that an individual received TANF benefits and lived in a family with no labor force participants.
  • In the early 2000s, 56 percent of TANF spells with no labor force attachment ended within four months and over three-quarters (79 percent) ended within a year.
  • As shown in Table IND 8a, the percentage of spells ending in four months or less was larger for non-Hispanic whites (61 percent) than for non-Hispanic blacks (53 percent) and Hispanics (60 percent).
  • The percentage of spells lasting more than 20 months was much higher in the early nineties than in the early 2000s. About 10 percent of spells between 2001 and 2003 lasted more than 20 months, compared to 23 percent between 1993 and 1995, as shown in Table IND 8b.
  • Spells shown in Indicator 8 are limited to spells of recipients in families without any labor force participation. Spell lengths, on average, are slightly longer in Indicator 7, which shows spells for all recipients, including those in families with labor force participants. For example, whereas 10 percent of spells between 2001 and 2003 shown in Figure IND 8 last more than 20 months, 17 percent of all TANF spells during the same time period are more than 20 months long, as shown in Figure IND 7.

Table IND 8a. Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Individuals Entering Programs during the 2001-2003 Period, by Length of Spell, Race/Ethnicity and Age

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months

Note: Spell length categories are 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. TANF spells with no family labor force attachment are defined as those spells starting during the 2001 SIPP panel for individuals who received TANF  and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

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 tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 panel.

All Persons 56.1 23.0 10.6 10.2
Racial/Ethnic Categories
Non-Hispanic White 61.2 20.2 13.5 5.1
Non-Hispanic Black 52.8 25.7 4.5 17.0
Hispanic 59.9 21.1 12.8 6.2
Age Categories
Children Ages 0-15 53.7 23.8 11.4 11.1
Adults Ages 16-64 59.7 22.1 9.4 8.9

Table IND 8b. Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Individuals Entering Programs during Selected Time Periods

  Spells <=4 Months Spells 5-12 Months Spells 13-20 Months Spells >20 Months
Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993,1996 and 2001 panels.
1993 – 1995 42.6 26.4 8.5 22.5
1996 – 1999 54.2 28.3 9.3 8.3
2001 – 2003 56.1 23.0 10.6 10.2

 

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