Indicators of Welfare Dependence: Annual Report to Congress, 2008. INDICATOR 8. Welfare Spell Duration with No Labor Force Attachment

12/20/2008

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

Figure IND 8

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 persons who received TANF and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2001 panel.


  • Figure IND 8 shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment for persons entering the TANF program between 2001 and 2003 by length of spell.
  • Welfare spells with no family labor force attachment are measured as consecutive months that a person received TANF benefits and lived in a family with no labor force participants.  Welfare spells with no family labor force attachment may end when a person leaves the TANF program or when a person remains on TANF but at least one person in the family enters the labor market.
  • Fifty-six (56.1) percent of welfare spells with no family labor force attachment lasted less than four months as measured in the SIPP.
  • Table IND 8a shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment by spell length for different demographic groups. The percentage of spells ending in four months or less was larger for Non-Hispanic Whites (61.2 percent) than it was for Non-Hispanic Blacks (52.8 percent) and Hispanics (59.9 percent).

Table IND 8a.
Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Persons Entering Programs
during the 2001 – 2003 Period by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

  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 persons 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 Persons Entering Programs during Selected Years

 

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 persons who received TANF and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

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
  • Table IND 8b shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment for persons entering the program during selected periods by spell length.  In the early 2000s, 56.1 percent of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment ended within four months and 79.1 percent ended within a year.
  • The percentage of spells with no family labor force attachment lasting more than 20 months was higher in the early 1990s than in the early 2000s (22.5 percent compared to 10.2 percent, respectively).
  • Indicators 7 and 8 provide similar information; however, the percentages of spell lengths differ because the two Indicators are computed differently.  Indicator 7 shows spells for all recipients while Indicator 8 restricts welfare spells to recipients in families without any labor force participants.  This difference results in a higher percentage of spells longer than 20 months in Indicator 7, where TANF and employment may be combined and compared to Indicator 8 where no one in the family may be in the labor force.

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