Our analysis of time trends and cross-state patterns in social welfare spending involved examining Census data on per capita spending by state and local governments for the period 1977 to 2000 for each of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia. In subsection IIC below, we describe in detail the data examined. A central focus of the trends and patterns analysis was to identify important differences in real state and local spending by category of social welfare (e.g., cash assistance, Medicare, and non-health social welfare) and non-social welfare spending and by states grouped into quartiles based on average per capita personal income. This essentially descriptive analysis of the data served as a prelude to developing a model to identify causal factors related to state and local spending on social welfare and non-social welfare functions.
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