Status Report on Research on the Outcomes of Welfare Reform, 2001. Endnotes


1.  In addition to funding the Iowa leavers study in FY 1999, ASPE funded leavers studies in Texas and in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties, California, as well as several applicant/diversion studies. Also in FY 1999, ASPE awarded an additional $837,000 for continuations and extensions of several of the FY 1998 leavers projects. In addition, $1.236 million was awarded in FY 2000 to enhance some existing studies of welfare-related outcomes. In all, ASPE has committed over $5 million to state and county grantees to study welfare outcomes.

2.  Findings presented here are based on an Initial Synthesis Report of the Findings From ASPE's "Leavers" Grants (prepared by the Urban Institute and available at <>; "A Cross-State Examination of Families Leaving Welfare:  Findings from the ASPE-Funded Leavers Studies," prepared by ASPE staff and available at <>; and ASPE staff analyses of reports submitted between November 2000 and March 2001.

3.  Cross-state comparisons are affected by a variety of factors, ranging from state sanction policies, maximum benefit levels and earnings disregard policies, to survey sample sizes, time of interview and response rates. They are also affected by the underlying economic, social and demographic conditions of the study sites. Some observed differences also reflect methodological issues, including questionnaire design or population under study. Brief summaries of the projects can be found at <>. Information on comparing survey instruments can be found at <>.

4.  These individuals may not have been employed in every month, however, since UI records are based on quarterly earnings, reflecting any covered employment during that quarter.

5.  Data from the UI system are limited to aggregate quarterly earnings, without underlying information about hourly wages or hours worked in a quarter. Therefore, the data do not indicate whether increased earnings are due to wage rate increases or more hours of work. Also, since leavers without earnings in the quarter are excluded when calculating mean earnings, the earnings increases could also be due to low earners dropping out of the labor market.

6.  Recidivism rates would be higher if the studies had included those who exited for less than two months. Also note that recidivism was generally lower in studies that measured it on a monthly basis than in those that observed welfare receipt over a quarterly (three-month) period.

7.  The potential for measurement variation can be seen in the fact that two studies — Missouri and San Mateo — more than doubled their initial enrollment rates from administrative data. In both cases, researchers re-analyzed administrative data and classified additional eligibility codes as "Medicaid" enrollment, after noting large discrepancies between administrative and survey data. Earlier syntheses of findings from leavers grantees showed a wider range in Medicaid enrollment rates, based on the initial reports by Missouri and San Mateo.

8.  In fact, both quarterly earnings and hourly wages of leavers in Illinois and the District of Columbia were comparable or higher than those in the other regions.

9.  Poverty rates were 41 percent in Iowa (counting cash and food stamps), 47 percent in Iowa (counting cash income only), 57 percent in Cuyahoga County (counting cash and food stamps), and 58 percent in both Missouri and Washington (counting cash only). The official poverty measure does not include food stamps; food stamp benefits are included, however, in alternative poverty measures recommended by a panel from the National Academy of Sciences. The Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance also recommended that poverty measures take into account the effects of other non-cash benefits, taxes (such as the EITC) and work expenses.

10.  The six-item scale is an abbreviated version of a broader 18-question scale developed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Families that answer yes to two or more questions on the six-item scale are considered "food insecure" and those that answer yes to five or more questions are considered "food insecure with hunger." National estimates of food insecurity, based on the 18-item scale, indicate that 37 percent of families below the poverty threshold were food insecure in 1999, including 12 percent who were food insecure with hunger (U. S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States, 1999). Estimates from the six-item scale are generally comparable with those from the broader scale.

11.  The atypically high rates of homelessness (19 percent) and removals of children (17 percent) were from the same study, Florida. These results should be viewed with caution, because figures were imputed for the 73 percent of the sample that could not be located by telephone. The raw, unadjusted percentages, reported in an appendix, were closer to those reported by other states (4 percent homeless and 8 percent with children living elsewhere).