A Profile of Families Cycling on and off Welfare. Data

04/01/2004

Each evaluation provides three data sources for this report. First, demographic data, including age, race, and number and ages of children, were collected for all sample members at the point of random assignment, or baseline.(4) Second, state and county administrative records provide information on sample members' quarterly earnings, monthly welfare receipt, and monthly food stamps receipt. The earnings data come from each state's Unemployment Insurance (UI) system, to which most employers must report employee earnings. Earnings from self-employment, informal or "off-the-books" jobs, or employment from the federal government or the military are not reported, however. The welfare and food stamps data come from each state's automated benefit payment system. One limitation of these statewide administrative data is that they do not capture earnings or benefit receipt for sample members who have moved out of state.(5) Third, each study administered a survey to a subset of the sample about three to five years after sample entry. The surveys capture employment and earnings not reported to the UI system, and they also provide more detailed information on family well-being, including household composition, income and income sources, material hardship, and barriers to employment.

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