Performance Improvement 2007. To What Extent Were Americans Dependent on Social Welfare Programs?



This analysis of indicators of welfare dependence for the ninth annual report to Congress examined the extent to which Americans were dependent on social welfare programs. The analysis identified welfare dependence indicators through 2003, reflecting changes that had taken place since enactment of major welfare reform legislation in 1996, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. The analysis used a variety of data sources, including the Current Population Survey and the Survey of Income and Program Participation. Current Population Survey data were analyzed using the Transfer Income Model (TRIM3) microsimulation model, which simulates the major governmental tax, transfer, and health programs that affect the U.S. population and helps to correct for under-reporting of benefit receipt.

Indicators from these data sources showed a significant decline in the percentage of individuals dependent upon welfare since 1996, concurrent with the more widely reported declines in the percentage of individuals receiving welfare benefits. In 2003, 3.6 percent of the total population was dependent upon welfare benefits, in that they received more than half of their total family income from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Food Stamp, and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. While marginally higher than the 3.2 percent dependency rate measured in 2002, the 2003 rate was much lower than the 5.2 percent rate measured in 1996. Overall, 3.4 million fewer Americans were dependent on welfare in 2003 compared to 1996.

Report Title: Indicators of Welfare Dependence Annual Report to Congress 2006
Agency Sponsor: ASPE, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
Federal Contact: Hauan, Susan, 202-690-8698
Performer: ASPE Staff; Washington, DC
PIC ID: 8288

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"PerformanceImprovement2007.pdf" (pdf, 717.63Kb)

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