Performance Improvement 2008. Has the Population of Families Receiving Welfare, and Those That Have Left Welfare, Become More Disadvantaged Since Welfare Reform?


The project synthesized research and analyzed data on the composition of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare caseload and the composition of those leaving welfare.

The study found that, in spite of large reductions in the caseload since the passage of TANF legislation, both the composition of the welfare caseload and the composition of those leaving welfare remained fairly stable by most measures. The caseload grew slightly older during the first years of welfare reform (1997-2001). There has been little increase in barriers to employment among both welfare recipients and welfare leavers, although there was an increase in health-related barriers among both groups during the first years of welfare reform. Work participation increased among female welfare recipients during the first years of welfare reform, but decreased during the later years (1999-2005). While employment decreased among those leaving welfare, employment was still higher for those that left welfare than those that remained on welfare.

Report Title: TANF Caseload Composition and Leavers Synthesis Report, Sponsor: ACF-OPRE, Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation
Federal Contact:
Seth Chamberlain, 202-260-2242
Performer: Urban Institute

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