Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress. INDICATOR 3. Rates of Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance

09/22/2015

Figure IND 3a. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF: 1975-2012

Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF: 1975-2012

Note:  See Appendix A, Tables TANF 2, TANF 12 and TANF 14, for more detailed data on recipiency rates, including recipiency rates by calendar year.   Recipients are expressed as the fiscal year average of monthly caseloads from administrative data, excluding recipients in the territories.  Tribal TANF recipients also are excluded.   Child recipients include a small number of dependents ages 18 and older who are students.  The average number of adult and child recipients in 1998 and 1999 are estimated using data from the National Emergency TANF Data Files and thereafter using the National TANF Data Files.   Beginning in 2000, the data include both TANF and SSP (Separate State Program) recipients who have comprised as much as 11 percent of total recipients.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance.  Population denominators for the percentage in each category are from the U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

  • Figure IND 3a shows the percentage of the population who received income from the AFDC program or the TANF program by age group from 1975 to 2012.
  • Table IND 3a shows the number and percentage of the population receiving AFDC/TANF by age between 1970 and 2012.  In 1993, 5.4 percent of the population received income from AFDC.  In 2012 the TANF recipiency rate was 1.4 percent, a sharp decline from pre-welfare reform levels. 
  • AFDC/TANF recipiency rates have been higher and have had more pronounced changes over time for children than for adults. Between 1993 and 2012, AFDC/TANF receipt among children decreased from 13.9 percent to 4.5 percent in 2012.  During the same period, adult recipients decreased from 2.3 percent to 0.5 percent.

Table IND 3a. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving AFDC/TANF by Age:
1970-2012

 

Total Recipients

Adult Recipients

Child Recipients

 

Fiscal Year

Number  
 (thousands)

Percent

Number  
 (thousands)

Percent

Number  
 (thousands)

Percent

1970

7,188

3.5

1,863

1.4

5,325

7.6

1971

9,281

4.5

2,516

1.8

6,765

9.7

1972

10,345

4.9

2,848

2.0

7,497

10.8

1973

10,760

5.1

2,984

2.1

7,776

11.3

1974

10,591

5.0

2,935

2.0

7,656

11.3

1975

10,854

5.0

3,102

2.1

7,753

11.5

1976

11,171

5.1

3,271

2.2

7,900

11.9

1977

10,933

5.0

3,230

2.1

7,703

11.8

1978

10,485

4.7

3,128

2.0

7,357

11.4

1979

10,146

4.5

3,068

1.9

7,071

11.0

1980

10,422

4.6

3,225

2.0

7,197

11.3

1981

10,979

4.8

3,491

2.1

7,488

11.8

1982

10,233

4.4

3,396

2.0

6,838

10.9

1983

10,467

4.5

3,548

2.1

6,919

11.1

1984

10,677

4.5

3,652

2.1

7,025

11.2

1985

10,630

4.5

3,589

2.0

7,041

11.2

1986

10,810

4.5

3,637

2.1

7,173

11.4

1987

10,878

4.5

3,625

2.0

7,254

11.5

1988

10,734

4.4

3,536

2.0

7,198

11.4

1989

10,741

4.4

3,503

1.9

7,238

11.4

1990

11,263

4.5

3,643

2.0

7,620

11.9

1991

12,391

4.9

4,016

2.1

8,375

12.8

1992

13,423

5.2

4,335

2.3

9,087

13.7

1993

13,943

5.4

4,520

2.3

9,424

13.9

1994

14,033

5.3

4,554

2.3

9,479

13.8

1995

13,480

5.1

4,323

2.2

9,157

13.2

1996

12,477

4.6

3,921

2.0

8,556

12.2

1997

10,779

4.0

3,106

1.5

7,673

10.8

1998

8,653

3.1

2,469

1.2

6,184

8.7

1999

7,068

2.5

1,838

0.9

5,231

7.3

2000

6,218

2.2

1,687

0.8

4,531

6.3

2001

5,673

2.0

1,503

0.7

4,171

5.7

2002

5,576

1.9

1,477

0.7

4,099

5.6

2003

5,452

1.9

1,415

0.7

4,037

5.5

2004

5,316

1.8

1,358

0.6

3,957

5.4

2005

5,064

1.7

1,276

0.6

3,788

5.2

2006

4,699

1.6

1,164

0.5

3,535

4.8

2007

4,099

1.4

962

0.4

3,138

4.2

2008

3,949

1.3

927

0.4

3,022

4.1

2009

4,217

1.4

1,021

0.4

3,197

4.3

2010

4,531

1.5

1,138

0.5

3,393

4.6

2011

4,554

1.5

1,150

0.5

3,405

4.6

2012

4,432

1.4

1,110

0.5

3,322

4.5

 

Note:  See Appendix A, Tables TANF 2, TANF 12 and TANF 14, for more detailed data on recipiency rates, including recipiency rates by calendar year.  Recipients are expressed as the fiscal year average of monthly caseloads from administrative data, excluding recipients in the territories.  Tribal TANF recipients also are excluded.  Child recipients include a small number of dependents ages 18 and older who are students.  The average number of adult and child recipients in 1998 and 1999 are estimated using data from the National Emergency TANF Data Files and thereafter using the National TANF Data Files.  Beginning in 2000, the data include both TANF and SSP (Separate State Program) recipients who have comprised as much as 11 percent of total recipients.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance.  Population denominators for the percentage in each category are from the U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

Figure IND 3b.  Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps/SNAP by Select Demographic and Economic Characteristics and the Poverty Rate: 1975 – 2012
Percentage of the Total Population Receiving Food Stamps/SNAP by Select Demographic and Economic Characteristics and the Poverty Rate: 1975 – 2012
Note: See Appendix A, Tables SNAP 1 and SNAP 6 for more detailed data on recipiency rates.  Recipient totals exclude the territories and are the fiscal year averages of monthly caseloads from administrative data.  From 1975 to 1983 the number of participants includes the Family Food Assistance Program (FFAP) that was largely replaced by the Food Stamp Program in 1975.  From 1975 to 1983 the number of FFAP participants averaged only 88 thousand.

Source: Recipient data by age from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Policy Support, Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Households, Fiscal Year 2012, No. SNAP-14-CHAR and earlier reports (available online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/system/files/2012Characteristics.pdf), and unpublished data from the USDA National Data Bank.  Individual age groups do not sum exactly to total recipients.  The population denominators for the percentage in each category are from U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

  • Figure IND 3b shows the percentage of the population who received Food Stamps/ SNAP by age category from 1975 to 2012. 
  • In 1993, 10.4 percent of the total population received SNAP benefits.  By 2012, the rate had increased to 14.6 percent (see Table IND 3b).
  • Food Stamp/SNAP recipiency for adults ages 60 and over has always been lower than the rates of receipt for children and adults ages 18 – 59. 
  • The percentage of older adults receiving SNAP benefits was at or below 5.0 percent for the period 1980 – 2009.  The rate began to increase in 2010 in response to the Great Recession.  By 2012 the rate had increased to 6.8 percent.
  • Table IND 3b shows the number and percentage of the population receiving Food Stamps/SNAP by age group from 1975 to 2012.  While the levels are different, the trend in Food Stamp/SNAP recipiency for children and adults 18 – 59 years of age are similar over the time period.
  • As with AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp/SNAP recipiency rates have been higher over time for children than for adults.  Between 1980 and 2012, the percentage of all children who received SNAP benefits was at least double that of the adult recipiency rate.  Among adults ages 18 – 59 years old, 11.9 percent received SNAP benefits compared to 27.8 percent of children under 18 in 2012.

Table IND 3b. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SNAP benefits: 1975-2012

 

Total
Poor

Total Recipients

Adult Recipients
Ages 60 and over

Adult Recipients
Ages 18 to 59

 

Child Recipients
Ages 0 to 18

Fiscal
Year

Number
(thousands)

Number
(thousands)

Percent

Number
(thousands)

Percent

Number
(thousands)

Percent

Number
(thousands)

Percent

1975

25,877

16,320

7.6

1976

24,975

17,033

7.8

9,126

13.8

1977

24,720

15,604

7.1

1978

24,497

14,405

6.5

1979

26,072

15,942

7.1

1980

29,272

19,253

8.5

1,741

4.9

7,186

5.6

9,876

15.5

1981

31,822

20,655

9.0

1,845

5.0

7,811

6.0

9,803

15.5

1982

34,398

20,391

8.8

1,641

4.4

7,838

6.0

9,591

15.3

1983

35,303

21,668

9.3

1,654

4.4

8,960

6.7

10,910

17.4

1984

33,700

20,796

8.8

1,758

4.5

8,521

6.3

10,492

16.8

1985

33,064

19,847

8.3

1,783

4.5

8,258

6.1

9,801

15.8

1986

32,370

19,381

8.1

1,631

4.1

7,895

5.7

9,844

15.7

1987

32,221

19,072

7.9

1,589

3.9

7,684

5.5

9,771

15.5

1988

31,745

18,613

7.6

1,500

3.7

7,506

5.3

9,351

14.8

1989

31,528

18,777

7.6

1,582

3.8

7,560

5.3

9,429

14.9

1990

33,585

20,020

8.0

1,511

3.6

8,084

5.6

10,127

15.8

1991

35,708

22,599

8.9

1,593

3.8

9,190

6.3

11,952

18.3

1992

38,014

25,371

9.9

1,687

3.9

10,550

7.2

13,349

20.1

1993

39,265

26,957

10.4

1,876

4.3

11,214

7.5

14,196

21.0

1994

38,059

27,439

10.4

1,955

4.5

11,615

7.7

14,391

21.0

1995

36,425

26,579

10.0

1,920

4.4

11,105

7.3

13,860

20.0

1996

36,529

25,495

9.5

1,891

4.3

10,769

7.0

13,189

18.8

1997

35,574

22,820

8.4

1,831

4.1

9,373

6.0

11,847

16.7

1998

34,476

19,748

7.2

1,635

3.6

7,760

4.9

10,520

14.7

1999

32,791

18,114

6.5

1,696

3.7

7,079

4.4

9,332

13.0

2000

31,581

17,054

6.0

1,700

3.7

6,612

4.0

8,743

12.1

2001

32,907

17,262

6.1

1,658

3.6

6,778

4.1

8,820

12.1

2002

34,570

19,003

6.6

1,684

3.6

7,625

4.5

9,688

13.3

2003

35,861

20,898

7.2

1,786

3.7

8,503

5.0

10,605

14.5

2004

37,040

23,447

8.0

1,917

3.9

9,753

5.7

11,771

16.0

2005

36,950

24,841

8.4

2,044

4.1

10,390

6.0

12,404

16.8

2006

36,460

25,555

8.6

2,226

4.4

12,758

7.3

12,579

17.0

2007

37,276

25,887

8.6

2,263

4.3

13,030

7.5

12,695

17.1

2008

39,829

27,751

9.1

2,517

4.7

14,145

8.0

13,472

18.1

2009

43,569

32,842

10.7

2,724

4.9

16,181

9.1

15,589

21.0

2010

46,343

39,703

12.8

3,117

5.4

18,102

10.2

18,484

24.9

2011

46,247

44,086

14.1

3,765

6.4

20,430

11.4

19,892

26.9

2012

46,496

45,956

14.6

4,150

6.8

21,342

11.9

20,463

27.8

Note: See Appendix A, Tables SNAP 1 and SNAP 6 for more detailed data on recipiency rates.  Recipient totals exclude the territories and are the fiscal year averages of monthly caseloads from administrative data.  From 1975 to 1983 the number of participants includes the Family Food Assistance Program (FFAP) that was largely replaced by the Food Stamp Program in 1975.  From 1975 to 1983 the number of FFAP participants averaged only 88 thousand.

Percent of persons in age group.

Source: Recipient data by age from U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Office of Analysis, Nutrition and Evaluation, Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Households, Fiscal Year 2012, No. SNAP-14-CHAR and earlier reports (available online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/system/files/2012Characteristics.pdf), and unpublished data from the Food Stamp National Data Bank.  Individual age groups do not sum exactly to total recipients.  Total poor persons and the population denominators for the percentage in each category are from U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

Figure IND 3c. Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI by Age: 1975-2012

Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI by Age: 1975-2012
Note:  Population figures used as the denominators are obtained by averaging the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1 population estimates for the current and the following year.  See Appendix A, Tables SSI 2, SSI 8 and SSI 9 for more detailed data on SSI recipiency rates.

Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics, SSI Annual Statistical Report, 2013, (available online at http://www.ssa.gov/policy).  Population denominators for the percentage in each category are from the U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

  • Figure IND 3c shows the percentage of the population who received income assistance from the SSI program by age category from 1975 through 2012. 
  • Table IND 3c shows the percentage of the population and number of persons receiving SSI by age group between 1975 and 2012.
  • Unlike the recipiency rates for AFDC/TANF and Food Stamps/SNAP, overall recipiency rates for SSI show less variation over time.  After decreasing from 1975 to the early 1980s, the proportion of the total population that received SSI increased from 1.7 percent in 1985 to 2.4 percent in 1994.  The rate has stayed consistent and is 2.6 percent in 2012.
  • Elderly adults (ages 65 and older) have higher recipiency rates than any other age group.  The gap, however, has narrowed as the percentage of adults aged 65 and older receiving SSI has declined from 10.9 percent in 1975 to 4.7 percent in 2012.
  • The proportion of children receiving SSI increased between 1977 and 1996, rising from .2 percent to 1.4 percent.  The trend then reversed and decreased and child SSI receipt hovered at 1.2 percent through 2001.  Beginning in 2002, the rate began to increase and in 2012 it was 1.8 percent.

Table IND 3c. Number and Percentage of the Total Population Receiving SSI by Age: 1975-2012

 

 

      Total Recipients

Adult Recipients
Ages 65 & over

Adult Recipients
 Ages 18-64

Child Recipients
 Ages 0-17

 Date

Number

(thousands)

Percent

Number

(thousands)

Percent

Number

(thousands)

Percent

Number

(thousands)

Percent

Dec 1975

4,314

2.0

2,508

10.9

1,699

1.3

107

0.2

Dec 1976

4,236

1.9

2,397

10.2

1,714

1.3

125

0.2

Dec 1977

4,239

1.9

2,353

9.7

1,738

1.3

147

0.2

Dec 1978

4,217

1.9

2,304

9.3

1,747

1.3

166

0.3

Dec 1979

4,150

1.8

2,246

8.8

1,727

1.3

177

0.3

Dec 1980

4,142

1.8

2,221

8.6

1,731

1.3

190

0.3

Dec 1981

4,019

1.7

2,121

8.0

1,703

1.2

195

0.3

Dec 1982

3,858

1.7

2,011

7.4

1,655

1.2

192

0.3

Dec 1983

3,901

1.7

2,003

7.3

1,700

1.2

198

0.3

Dec 1984

4,029

1.7

2,037

7.2

1,780

1.2

212

0.3

Dec 1985

4,138

1.7

2,031

7.1

1,879

1.3

227

0.4

Dec 1986

4,269

1.8

2,018

6.9

2,010

1.4

241

0.4

Dec 1987

4,385

1.8

2,015

6.8

2,119

1.4

251

0.4

Dec 1988

4,464

1.8

2,006

6.6

2,203

1.5

255

0.4

Dec 1989

4,593

1.9

2,026

6.5

2,302

1.5

265

0.4

Dec 1990

4,817

1.9

2,059

6.5

2,450

1.6

309

0.5

Dec 1991

5,118

2.0

2,080

6.5

2,642

1.7

397

0.6

Dec 1992

5,566

2.2

2,100

6.4

2,910

1.8

556

0.8

Dec 1993

5,984

2.3

2,113

6.4

3,148

2.0

723

1.1

Dec 1994

6,296

2.4

2,119

6.3

3,335

2.1

841

1.2

Dec 1995

6,514

2.4

2,115

6.2

3,482

2.1

917

1.3

Dec 1996

6,634

2.4

2,110

6.2

3,568

2.2

955

1.4

Dec 1997

6,495

2.4

2,054

6.0

3,562

2.1

880

1.2

Dec 1998

6,566

2.4

2,033

5.9

3,646

2.1

887

1.2

Dec 1999

6,557

2.3

2,019

5.8

3,691

2.1

847

1.2

Dec 2000

6,602

2.3

2,011

5.7

3,744

2.1

847

1.2

Dec 2001

6,688

2.3

1,995

5.6

3,811

2.1

882

1.2

Dec 2002

6,788

2.3

1,995

5.6

3,878

2.2

915

1.3

Dec 2003

6,902

2.4

1,990

5.5

3,953

2.2

959

1.3

Dec 2004

6,988

2.4

1,978

5.4

4,017

2.2

993

1.4

Dec 2005

7,114

2.4

1,995

5.4

4,083

2.2

1,036

1.4

Dec 2006

7,236

2.4

2,004

5.3

4,152

2.2

1,079

1.5

Dec 2007

7,360

2.4

2,017

5.3

4,222

2.2

1,121

1.5

Dec 2008

7,521

2.5

2,034

5.2

4,333

2.3

1,154

1.6

Dec 2009

7,677

2.5

2,026

5.1

4,451

2.3

1,200

1.6

Dec 2010

7,912

2.6

2,041

5.0

4,632

2.4

1,239

1.7

Dec 2011

8,113

2.6

2,059

4.9

4,777

2.4

1,277

1.7

Dec 2012

8,263

2.6

2,082

4.7

4,869

2.4

1,312

1.8

Note:  December population figures used as the denominators are obtained by averaging the U.S. Census Bureau's July 1 population estimates for the current and the following year.  See Appendix A, Tables SSI 2, SSI 8 and SSI 9 for more detailed data on SSI recipiency rates.

Source: Social Security Administration, Office of Research, Evaluation and Statistics, SSI Annual Statistical Report, 2013, (available online at http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/statcomps/supplement/2013/index.html).  Population denominators for the percentage in each category are from the U.S. Census Bureau (available online at http://www.census.gov).

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