UI as a Safety Net for Former TANF Recipients. Characteristics of samples for analysis

03/01/2008

The states involved in this study are four of the eight most highly populated states in the nation. Consequently, the TANF caseloads and levels of UI claims are large enough to reliably measure outcomes and impacts of interest. For the analysis, we are first interested in a sample of those who leave TANF for employment. Table 3 lists the total number of adults in TANF households in the data provided by states for calendar years starting with 1996 for Texas. Figure 1 shows that the numbers of TANF caseloads declined dramatically in Florida, Michigan, and Texas up until 2000. Following 2000, yearly declines in the numbers of TANF caseloads were much smaller in the data for all four states.

Figure 1.
TANF Caseloads over Time from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas

Figure 1. TANF Caseloads over Time from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. See text for explanation of chart.

 

Table 3.
TANF Recipients, TANF Leavers, and Rates of Leaving TANF for Employment
Cohort Florida Michigan Ohio Texas
TANF Recipients
1996
1997
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
103,960
87,534
71,080
47,880
41,698
44,030
40,273
207,055
174,664
134,202
114,324
117,399
118,348
118,802
123,486
122,531

137,253
126,989
125,633
123,797
124,368
119,980

318,760
282,729
213,639
170,220
159,104
164,845
168,772
163,465
118,741
86,501
61,996
TANF Leaver Cohorts
1997
2000
2001
2003
51,276
29,873
23,706
57,860
42,883
36,934

59,881
50,823

94,662
50,229
55,259
60,901
TANF Leaver Rate Among Cohorts (%)
1997
2000
2001
2003
49.3
62.4
56.9
27.9
37.5
31.5

43.6
40.0

33.5
31.6
33.5
37.3
Notes:
The 1997 cohort includes TANF recipients in 1997Q2 to 1998Q1 who exit by 1998Q2.
The 2000 cohort includes TANF recipients in 2000Q1 to 2000Q4 who exit by 2001Q1.
The 2001 cohort includes TANF recipients in 2001Q1 to 2001Q4 who exit by 2002Q1.

TANF leaver sample sizes are listed in the middle panel of Table 3 for the 1997, 2000, 2001, and 2003 cohorts. The bottom panel of this table lists the shares of TANF recipients in each of the 11 analysis cohorts who leave for employment. TANF recipients and leaver counts are presented in the bar graph Figure 2. The figure illustrates a steady volume of caseloads in 2000 and after. For Florida and Michigan counts of TANF leavers were relatively high in 1997, with the numbers of leavers successively smaller in both states in 2000 and 2001. Numbers of both TANF recipients and TANF leavers declined in Ohio between 2000 and 2001. In Texas, the numbers of TANF recipients declined sharply from 1997 to 2000 then remained relatively flat until 2003. Counts of Texas TANF leavers renewed an upward trend in 2000.

Figure 2.
TANF Recipients and Leavers

Figure 2. TANF Recipients and Leavers. See text for explanation of chart.

The TANF exit rates vary across state and over time. Figure 3 illustrates that exit rates tended to rise from 1997 to 2000 and then decline thereafter. Exit rates were highest in the Florida 2000 cohort (62.4 percent) and lowest in the Michigan 1997 cohort (27.9 percent) with other Michigan, Ohio, and Texas cohort exit rates somewhat above the lower end of the range.

Figure 3.
TANF Leaver Rates
(percent)

Figure 3. TANF Leaver Rates (percent). See text for explanation of chart.

To understand demographics for our analysis cohorts we summarize characteristics of UI claimants among TANF leavers. Consistent data on demographic characteristics are only available on a limited number of variables. These data are gathered in applications for benefits compiled in UI administrative records. Table 4 presents sample percentages on subgroups by age, sex, race, and educational attainment, and the mean value for base period earnings.(1)

Based on three broad age categories, the distributions for the TANF leaver cohorts are similar across the states with the bulk of the samples in the middle range aged 25 to 44. TANF leavers in the Michigan sample tend to be slightly older than for the other states. Over the years, from 1997 to 2001 the mean age in all cohorts tends to get younger, providing some evidence that older TANF recipients left the roles sooner after introduction of the PRWORA reforms.

Since our analysis cohorts are samples of TANF leavers, it is not surprising to see female percentages ranging from 81.2 in the Michigan 2001 cohort to 87.8 in the Florida 1997 cohort. The gender compositions are relatively stable across all cohorts.

Percentages of African Americans in analysis cohorts are fairly steady within states over time. While similar between Florida and Michigan, percentages are somewhat higher in Ohio and lower in Texas. The percentages of African Americans range from 35.5 in Texas 2001 to 55.5 in Ohio 2000.

The distribution of educational attainment is skewed toward the low end for all of the cohorts analyzed. The highest levels of educational attainment are observed in Michigan where more than a quarter of the 2000 and 2001 cohorts have received some formal education beyond high school.

For all of the four states analyzed, base period earnings declined over time in the cohorts examined. Nonetheless, given the modest monetary eligibility requirements discussed above, these figures suggest high rates of UI monetary eligibility for the TANF leaver cohorts. Average earnings levels for TANF leavers are similar in Florida and Texas, somewhat higher in Michigan, and somewhat lower in Ohio.

Data available on dependents of household heads indicates that the great majority of TANF leaver households include three persons with two children, including one under the age of six.

 

Table 4.
Characteristics of TANF Leaver UI Applicants
(Sample Percentages and Means)
  1997 Cohorts 2000 Cohorts 2001 Cohorts 2003
Texas
All
Cohorts
Florida Texas Florida Michigan Ohio Texas Florida Michigan Ohio Texas
Age (%)
   18-24 20.4 14.9 23.9 20.5 28.6 24.6 26.4 21.7 30.7 31.5 34.6 24.6
   25-44 76.6 76.6 73.4 71.6 66.5 69.5 70.9 71.6 64.6 63.9 61.3 69.7
   45+ 3.0 8.5 2.6 7.8 4.9 5.9 2.6 6.6 4.7 4.7 4.1 5.7
 
Female (%) 87.8 84.9 86.8 84.7 84.7 85.2 85.4 81.2 82.4 83.0 82.1 84.2
African American (%) 47.1 37.9 48.7 46.0 55.5 36.5 47.0 43.2 53.8 35.5 36.4 40.1
 
Education (%)
   Less than HS 35.5 34.1 34.9 27.6 47.4 36.9 33.5 26.8 48.7 36.4 35.3 35.7
   HS Grad or GED 52.3 55.0 50.3 47.3 47.3 53.7 50.6 46.4 46.5 53.9 54.6 52.9
   Some College 10.1 9.0 12.0 22.3 4.8 8.0 13.2 23.6 4.5 8.2 8.4 9.6
   Bachelors or Higher 2.1 1.7 2.8 2.7 0.6 1.3 2.8 3.1 0.4 1.4 1.5 1.7
 
Prior Earnings ($, *1) 11,123 12,093 10,774 12,185 9,445 10,751 9,649 10,948 8,908 10,606 10,807 11,031
 
Dependents (*2)
   Under Age 18   2.08   1.98 1.90 2.10   1.95 1.88 2.07 2.04 2.05
   Under Age 6   0.87   0.94 0.84 1.01   0.95 0.86 1.08 1.08 0.97
Note:  Variable means summarized in this table were calculated over the full time range of UI data available for states.

(*1) Mean earnings in the UI base period prior to filing the UI claim. The base period is the first four of the five completed calendar quarters before a UI claim.

(*2) Mean numbers of dependents. Data are available on dependents in TANF recipient households only for Michigan and Ohio.

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