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Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors: Fourteenth Report to Congress

Publication Date
Sep 21, 2015

The Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to prepare an annual report to Congress on indicators welfare dependence. The Indicators of Welfare Dependence report is prepared by ASPE’s Office of Human Services Policy. As mandated under the Congressional act, the report addresses the rate of welfare dependence, the degree and duration of welfare recipiency and dependence, and predictors of welfare dependence. Analyses of means-tested assistance in the report include benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly the Food Stamp Program), and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The report also includes risk factors related to economic security, employment, and nonmarital births, as well an appendix with data related to the above programs. Data for most indicators are updated through 2012."

Executive Summary

The Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 requires the Department of Health and Human Services to prepare annual reports to Congress on indicators and predictors of welfare dependence. The 2015 report on Welfare Indicators and Risk Factors provides indicators and risk factors through 2012 for most indicators, reflecting changes that have taken place since the enactment of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in August 1996. As directed by the Welfare Indicators Act, the report focuses on benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, formerly the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program; the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps); and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

Highlights

Dependence1 and Economic Well-Being

  • The dependency rate rises and falls with economic cycles.  The dependency rate fell during the economic expansions of the mid- to late-1990s to 3.0 percent in 2000.  After 2000 it began to increase.  With the onset of the Great Recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, the dependency rate increased to 5.3 percent in 2010.  In 2012, the dependency rate was 5.1 percent.    
  • Welfare dependency is beginning to come downIn 2012, 5.1 percent of the total population received more than half of their total family income from TANF, SNAP and/or SSI, following a recent high of 5.3 percent in 2010 (see Indicator 1).    
  • SNAP benefits provided the most support.  The value of SNAP benefits received constitutes a larger share of program benefit income among the welfare dependent population than does cash benefits from the TANF or SSI programs.  SNAP is an important support for families, including working families, to help them weather economic distress.  The majority of SNAP recipients are in families with someone in the labor force (see Indicator 2). 
  • More people became independent.  Transitions out of dependence from one year to the next have improved since 2010 (see Indicator 6).  Of those defined as welfare dependent in 2011, 27.6 percent were no longer dependent in 2012.  This compares with 24.1 percent who transitioned out of dependency in 2010. Year-to-year transitions out of welfare dependence were lowest in 1994, when only 20.2 percent of those defined as dependent in 1993 were no longer dependent in 1994.
  • Poverty decreased, especially for children.  In 2013, 14.5 percent of the population was poor, down from 15.1 percent in 2010 (see Economic Security Risk Factor 1).  Poverty decreased for children even more prominently, from 22.0 percent in 2010 to 19.9 percent in 2013, and especially among younger children under age six who have experienced a 3.1 percentage point drop in poverty rates since 2010.  Prior to 2010, the poverty rate had increased for the full population and among children between 2000 and 2004, and again between 2006 and 2010, a period that included the Great Recession.
  • Program benefits reduced poverty.  Accounting for the value of a broader set of program benefits received by families would reduce the number of individuals counted as living in poverty according to the official poverty measure (see Economic Risk Factor 4).  In 2012, means-tested cash transfers reduced the poverty rate by 0.7 percentage points, and the combined effect of food and housing assistance, the EITC, and federal taxes would be to reduce the percentage of the population in official poverty by an additional 3.6 percentage points.

Program Recipiency

  • Receipt of program benefits increased.  In 2012, 23.6 percent of the total population received or lived with a family member who received a benefit of any amount from TANF, SNAP, or SSI at some point during the year (see SUM 1).  While falling between 1994 and 2000, this annual recipiency rate across the three programs began to rise after 2000, and increased more rapidly during and in the immediate years following the Great Recession.  The 2012 rate is higher than pre-recession rates, reflecting increased participation in the SNAP and SSI programs since the Great Recession (see Indicator 3).
  • Program benefits are responsive to economic conditions. To a significant extent, the trends in dependency and annual program benefit receipt correlated with worsening economic conditions.  The increase in SNAP recipiency between 2005 and 2012 reflects its intended responsiveness to economic changes, expanding to meet increased need when the economy is in recession.  SNAP is an important support for families especially those with ties to the labor force – 64.7 percent of SNAP recipients are in families with labor force participants (see Indicator 2).  About half (53.7 percent)2 of recent SNAP entrants remain on the program for a year or less (see Indicator 7).  As the economy continues to improve, SNAP is projected to respond as designed, with fewer people needing to access the program.  In 2014, SNAP participation began to decrease (Table SNAP 1) and the Congressional Budget Office’s latest projections show that average monthly participation will decline steadily over the next ten years.3
  • Changes in program caseloads impact dependency rates.  Trends in the annual recipiency rate across all three programs presented in this report reflect well-documented changes in TANF, SNAP, and SSI caseloads over the past two decades (see Indicator 3).  For example, the percentage of individuals receiving TANF cash assistance in an average month fell from 5.4 percent in 1993 to 1.4 percent in 2007.  Between 2008 and 2012 the percentage of the total population receiving TANF fluctuated from 1.3 to 1.5 percent.  SNAP recipiency in an average month fell in the latter half of the 1990s from 10.4 percent in 1994 to 6.0 percent in 2000.  Since 2000, SNAP recipiency in an average month increased to 14.6 percent in 2012.  Conversely, SSI recipiency rates were relatively flat between 1993 and 2012, fluctuating between 2.3 and 2.6 percent.
  • Long-term recipiency is rare.  Longitudinal measures show that program spells typically are short (see Indicator 7).  For example, 79.6 percent of all TANF spells and 53.7 percent of all new SNAP spells lasted one year or less.

Connections to Employment

  • The majority of mothers in the U.S. are in the labor force (see Employment and Work-Related Risk Factor 7).  Of particular note is the sharp increase in labor force participation rates for never-married mothers, rising from 52.5 percent in 1992 to a peak of 75.3 percent in 2002. In 2012 the rate was 71.5 percent. The report does not report the labor force participation of fathers.
  • Families who use TANF or SNAP benefits also tend to be in the labor force.  In an average month in 2012, 56.7 percent of TANF recipients lived in families with labor force connections and 64.7 percent of those receiving SNAP benefits lived in families with at least one family member in the labor force, including unemployed individuals looking for work.  The comparable figure for SSI recipients was 39.1 percent (see Indicator 2).  Between 2005 and 2012[4] there has been an increase in the percentage of recipients in families having at least one person in the labor force.  Between 2005 and 2012, the percentage of recipients in families with at least one person in the labor force increased from 52.3 to 56.7 percent for TANF recipients, from 55.3 to 64.7 percent for SNAP recipients, and from 38.9 to 39.1 percent for SSI recipients.
  • Families who receive TANF don’t stay out of work for long. Most spells of TANF receipt with no family labor force connection are not long (see Indicator 8).  In the most recent time period (2008 to 2012), 56.4 percent of TANF spells where no one in the family was in the labor force lasted four months or less and 86.4 percent lasted 12 months or less.  These proportions have grown since the early 1990s (1993 to 1995) from 42.6 percent and 69.0 percent, respectively.

Nonmarital Births and Never-Married Family Status as Risk Factors

  • Nonmarital births have risen since the 1940s (see Birth 1).  In 1940, 3.8 percent of births were to unmarried women.  Beginning in 1960, this percentage began to increase, reaching 32.6 percent by 1994.  Since 2008 the rate has remained steady at approximately 40.7 percent.  Nonmarital births to teens 15 – 19 years of age as a percentage of all births have declined from 9.7 percent in 1996 to 6.9 percent in 2012 (see Birth 2).
  • Many more children live with only their (single) mother than ever before.  The percentage of all children living in families with a never-married female head has grown over time (see Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 4).  In 2012, 11.7 percent of all children lived in a never-married, single-mother family, up from 2.9 percent in 1980.
 

1 Dependency is defined as living in a family having more than 50 percent of annual income from AFDC/TANF, SSI and/or SNAP (see Chapter 1). 

2 These estimates differ from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated.

3 See Congressional Budget Office Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – January 2015 Baseline, https://www.cbo.gov/publication/44211.

4 See the 2008 Indicators of Welfare Dependence Report online at: http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/indicators08/index.shtml for the 2005 numbers.

Measurment

Use of welfare programs, like poverty, is a continuum, with variations in degree and duration.  Families may be more or less reliant if larger or smaller shares of their total resources are derived from welfare programs.  The amount of time over which families receive benefits from welfare programs might also be considered in assessing their degree of dependence. 

Although recognizing the difficulties inherent in defining and measuring dependence, a bipartisan Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators proposed that:  a family is defined as dependent on welfare if more than 50 percent of its total income in a one-year period comes from TANF (which replaced AFDC), SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and/or SSI, and this welfare income is not associated with work activities.

Given data limitations, we are not able to identify which program benefits may be associated with recipient work activities.  Thus, the definition of welfare dependence used in this report may characterize more individuals as welfare dependent than the Board had intended.  We follow the Board’s proposal as closely as possible by adopting the following definition of possible welfare dependence among individuals in families5 for use in this report:  welfare dependence is the proportion of all individuals in families that receive more than half of their total family income in one year from TANF, SNAP and/or SSI.

The report provides a number of key indicators of welfare dependence, recipiency, and labor force attachment.  Also included is a broader set of risk factors associated with welfare receipt and potential dependence organized into three categories:  1) economic security measures, 2) measures related to employment and barriers to employment, and 3) measures of nonmarital childbearing.  The key economic security risk factors include and supplement measures of poverty and well-being and are useful to ensure that predictors of receipt are not assessed in isolation.  Measures related to employment and barriers to employment also may be useful since families must generally receive an adequate income from employment in order to avoid welfare programs without severe deprivation.  Trends in nonmarital births are provided since the lower family incomes of single-parent families affects the need for and use of welfare programs.  Historically a large percentage of AFDC/TANF recipients first became parents outside of marriage.


5Appendix D provides more information on the use of individuals, rather than families or households, as the unit of analysis for most of the statistics in this report.

Data Sources and Topics

This report uses data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) and administrative data for the TANF cash assistance program, SNAP, and the SSI program to provide updated measures through 2012 for the key dependence indicators in Chapter II.  Other measures in Chapters II and III are based on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and other data sources.  To provide a greater program context, the report has five appendices that provide additional historical as well as subnational data on major welfare programs, alternative measures of dependence and nonmarital births, as well as background information on several data and technical issues.

Unless otherwise noted, dollar values are reported in current dollars.

Chapter I. Introduction and Overview

This 2015 report provides data on measures of welfare recipiency, dependence, and predictors of welfare dependence.  The Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-432) directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to publish an annual report on welfare dependency.  The Welfare Indicators Act further specified that a bipartisan Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators be established to provide advice and recommendations to the Secretary on the development of indictors and the development and presentation of annual reports required under the legislation.  The Board assisted the Secretary in defining welfare dependence, developing indicators of welfare dependence, recipiency and associated risk factors, and choosing appropriate data.

The purpose of this report is to address questions concerning the extent to which American families depend on income from welfare programs.  Under the Welfare Indicators Act, HHS was directed to address the rate of welfare dependence, the degree and duration of welfare recipiency and dependence, and predictors of welfare dependence.  The Act further specified that analyses of means-tested assistance should include benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program),6 the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly the Food Stamp Program).7 In this report we include information on cash assistance under the TANF and SSI programs and the cash value of food assistance benefits under SNAP.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 included provisions that would change (in most cases temporarily) some aspects of these three programs; these changes are discussed below.

This 2015 report, the fourteenth in the series, provides updated measures through 2012 for dependency measures based on the Current Population Survey (CPS), Annual Social and Economic Supplement.  Data are available through 2012 for the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) measures (based on the 2008 to 2012 SIPP panel) and through 2008 for the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) measures.


6 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-193) repealed the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program and created a block grant program of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in its place.  The mandatory start date for TANF was July 1, 1997, but most states made the transition from AFDC before that date.  Throughout the report we use AFDC/TANF to refer to cash assistance benefits received under these two programs.

7 The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-246) re-named the Food Stamp Program as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of October 1, 2008.  The name change had no effect on the type of benefits or how they are made available to eligible households.

Measuring Welfare Dependence

This report focuses on welfare “dependence” as well as welfare “recipiency.”  While recipiency can be defined based on the presence of benefits from TANF, SNAP, or SSI during a given time period, dependence is a more complex concept.  Welfare dependence, like poverty, is a continuum, with variations in degree and in duration.  Families may be more or less dependent if larger or smaller shares of their total resources are derived from welfare programs.  The amount of time over which a family depends on welfare might also be considered in assessing its degree of dependence.  Nevertheless, a summary measure of dependence to be used as an indicator for policy purposes must have some fixed parameters that allow one to determine which families should be counted as dependent, just as the poverty line defines who is poor under the official standard.  The definition of dependence proposed by the Advisory Board for this purpose is as follows:  A family is dependent on welfare if more than 50 percent of its total income in a one-year period comes from TANF (which replaced AFDC), SNAP (formerly Food Stamps), and/or SSI, and this welfare income is not associated with work activities.  In following the Board’s proposal, we adopt the following definition of welfare dependence among individuals in families9 for use in this report:

Welfare dependence is the proportion of all individuals in families that receive more than

half of their total family income in one year from TANF, SNAP, and/or SSI.

No definition of welfare dependence is without its limitations.  The Advisory Board recognized that no single measure could capture fully all aspects of dependence and that their proposed measure should be examined in concert with other indicators of well-being.  While the Board’s proposal would count unsubsidized and subsidized employment and work required to obtain benefits as work activities, existing data sources do not permit distinguishing between welfare income associated with work activities and non-work-related welfare benefits.  As a result, the data shown in this report may overstate the incidence of dependence as conceptualized by the Advisory Board.  In fiscal year 2012, 43.2 percent of all TANF adult recipients participated in some type of work activity during the reporting month compared with 7 percent in 1992.10

Also, any definition of dependence represents an arbitrary choice of a percentage of income from welfare beyond which families will be considered dependent.  But using a single point – in this case 50 percent – yields a relatively straightforward measure that can be tracked easily over time, and is likely to be associated with any large changes in total dependence, however defined.

Figure SUM 1 and Table SUM 1 show the trend for the welfare dependency rate adopted for this report.  Also, for comparison purposes, we include an annual “recipiency” measure that shows the proportion of all individuals in families that receive any benefits at any point during the year from TANF, SNAP, and/or SSI.  Note that this measure of annual recipiency differs from average monthly recipiency rates presented elsewhere in this report (for example in Indicator 3 and Appendix A), where annual rates tend to be higher given the broader time period for observing benefit receipt than rates for one particular month or for an “average” month.  See Appendix D for further discussion of annual and monthly measures in this report.   

Annual dependency and recipiency rates follow fairly similar trends and even before the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996 was passed, welfare recipiency and dependency were both in decline.  The overall drop in the recipiency rates during the 1990s is consistent with decreases in TANF participation, low unemployment, lower poverty rates, and overall economic expansion.  The subsequent rise in the welfare program recipiency rate after 2000 coincided with recessions in the early and then late 2000s, and is associated more with increases in SSI and SNAP receipt than TANF, where caseloads continue a general downward trend (see Indicator 3 for further information on trends in average monthly recipiency rates for each of the three programs). 

Figure SUM 1.  Recipiency and Dependency Rates: 1993-2012

[highchart chart_id=116196]

Note:  Recipiency is defined as living in a family with receipt of any amount of AFDC/TANF, SSI or SNAP during the year. 

Dependency is defined as living in a family having more than 50 percent of annual income from AFDC/TANF, SSI and/or SNAP.  Dependency
rates would be lower if adjusted to exclude welfare assistance associated with working.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1994-2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

The Great Recession, that officially began in late 2007 and lasted through mid-2009, reversed declines in welfare recipiency experienced in the late 1990s and exacerbated an upward trend in recipiency rates that began in 2001.  As shown in Figure SUM 1, the annual dependency rate fell to a low of 3.0 percent in 2000 and the annual recipiency rate declined to 12.5 percent.  By 2010, the dependency rate hit a recent peak of 5.3 percent before decreasing to 5.1 percent in 2012.  The welfare recipiency rate reached 22.7 percent in 2010 and increased to 23.6 percent in 2012.    

In 2012, as in previous years, general patterns in welfare receipt are apparent.  Recipiency and dependency rates are higher for Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanics of any race than they are for Non-Hispanic Whites, as shown in Table SUM 1.  Recipiency and dependence are also higher for young children than they are for adults, and they are higher for individuals in female-headed families than they are for those in married-couple families.  For those living in married-couple families, welfare recipiency rates increased from 8.8 percent in 2007 to 15.4 percent in 2012, a 6.6 percentage point increase.  Hispanics of any race show a 12.6 percentage point increase in recipiency rates between 2007 and 2012.  Adults age 65 and older experienced smaller increases in welfare recipiency than did other demographic groups.  Their welfare recipiency rate increased from 10.6 percent to 13.7 percent over the 2007 to 2012 period, a 3.1 percentage point increase.

Another factor affecting dependence is the time period observed.  The summary measures shown in Figure SUM 1 and Table SUM 1 focus on recipiency and dependency rates measured on an annual, cross-sectional basis.  Longitudinal measures of program receipt (both annual and monthly) show that program spells are typically short and long-term recipiency is rare (see Chapter II).  Indicator 7, for example, shows that 79.6 percent of all TANF spells and 53.7 percent of all new SNAP spells lasted one year or less, with 50.5 percent and 28.7 percent, respectively, lasting four months or less.  Over a longer period of time, Indicator 9 shows that among individuals receiving TANF at some point over a ten-year period ending in 2008, 8.0 percent received some TANF benefits during six or more years.  Another fifth (20.5 percent) were recipients in three to five years, and more than two-thirds (71.5 percent) received TANF in only one or two years during this period. 

Table SUM 1. Recipiency and Dependency Rates: Selected Years

 

1993

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000

2002

2004

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

Recipiency Rates (Rates of Any Amount of  AFDC/TANF, SNAP or SSI)

All Persons

16.6

16.0

14.8

13.5

13.3

12.5

13.2

15.0

15.6

15.8

17.1

19.9

22.7

23.1

23.6

 Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

10.3

9.9

9.7

8.6

8.4

8.2

8.8

10.1

10.6

10.4

11.4

13.3

15.7

16.3

16.5

  Non-Hispanic Black

38.0

35.6

30.2

29.6

29.8

27.0

27.7

32.4

32.0

33.4

34.1

37.6

40.7

39.7

41.2

  Hispanic

34.6

32.0

28.0

24.5

23.4

21.0

21.7

22.6

23.8

24.6

27.6

32.9

36.9

36.4

37.2

 Age Categories

  Children ages 0-5

30.5

28.2

25.1

22.4

21.5

19.8

21.4

24.6

25.7

27.0

28.9

34.3

38.1

38.0

39.5

  Children ages 6-10

24.9

24.2

21.2

20.0

19.8

18.0

18.8

22.2

23.2

23.9

26.2

30.4

34.7

34.8

36.5

  Children ages 11-15

22.1

21.1

19.4

17.0

17.3

16.3

16.8

20.5

21.5

22.5

23.1

27.4

31.3

32.0

32.6

  Women ages 16-64

16.4

16.0

14.7

13.6

13.6

12.5

13.4

15.0

15.7

15.6

16.9

19.8

22.6

23.3

23.5

  Men ages 16-64

11.5

11.7

11.1

10.0

9.6

9.2

10.3

11.6

12.0

12.1

13.5

16.0

18.6

19.2

19.6

  Adults ages 65 and over

11.2

10.3

10.2

9.9

10.0

10.4

9.7

10.0

10.6

10.6

11.4

11.3

12.3

12.9

13.7

 Family Categories

 Persons in:

  Married-couple families

10.5

9.6

8.7

8.3

7.9

7.2

7.5

8.6

8.9

8.8

9.9

12.5

15.0

14.6

15.4

  Female-headed families

47.8

46.0

41.6

37.5

39.9

37.1

37.7

42.6

44.3

45.0

47.3

50.4

54.2

55.0

56.1

  Male-headed families

27.6

25.3

24.3

19.7

19.3

21.8

21.2

21.9

25.8

26.4

27.3

33.1

34.3

34.9

37.3

  Unrelated persons

9.7

11.5

11.9

10.9

10.0

10.1

11.5

12.7

12.6

12.4

14.1

15.5

18.0

20.0

19.3

Dependency Rates (More than 50 Percent of Income from AFDC/TANF, SNAP and/or SSI)

All Persons

5.9

5.2

4.5

3.8

3.3

3.0

3.2

3.7

3.7

3.5

4.0

4.6

5.3

5.2

5.1

 Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

3.0

2.6

2.5

2.1

1.8

1.9

1.8

2.2

2.3

2.1

2.4

2.7

3.2

3.3

3.1

  Non-Hispanic Black

17.8

13.8

11.4

10.5

9.1

7.7

8.7

10.0

9.5

9.4

10.2

11.1

12.5

12.3

12.0

  Hispanic

11.8

10.9

9.1

6.6

5.4

4.5

4.9

5.2

5.2

5.1

5.7

7.1

8.0

7.7

7.4

 Age Categories

  Children ages 0-5

13.9

11.2

9.3

7.8

6.2

6.0

6.0

7.1

6.9

7.1

7.6

9.1

9.5

10.2

9.6

  Children ages 6-10

11.2

9.5

8.4

6.7

6.1

5.1

5.1

6.0

5.7

5.3

6.3

7.5

8.4

8.4

8.3

  Children ages 11-15

9.3

8.1

7.4

5.7

4.5

4.0

4.0

5.1

5.2

5.3

5.3

6.3

7.1

7.1

7.1

  Women ages 16-64

5.9

5.2

4.6

3.9

3.5

3.0

3.4

3.7

3.9

3.7

4.2

4.8

5.5

5.7

5.5

  Men ages 16-64

2.7

2.7

2.5

2.1

1.9

1.8

2.0

2.4

2.5

2.3

2.8

3.2

4.0

3.7

3.7

  Adults ages 65 and over

2.4

2.4

2.1

2.1

2.0

2.1

2.0

2.2

2.1

2.1

2.2

2.2

2.4

2.3

2.5

 Family Categories

 Persons in:

  Married-couple families

1.8

1.7

1.4

1.1

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.0

1.2

1.1

1.3

1.6

1.9

1.9

1.8

  Female-headed families

25.7

21.1

18.4

15.0

13.6

11.4

11.7

13.8

13.2

12.6

13.4

14.6

16.4

16.2

15.8

  Male-headed families

6.8

5.4

5.6

4.2

3.0

4.4

3.8

4.0

4.5

4.5

4.7

6.4

6.5

5.9

5.8

  Unrelated persons

3.8

4.2

4.2

4.2

3.4

3.8

4.1

4.5

4.7

4.3

5.2

5.8

6.8

6.8

6.9

Note:  Recipiency is defined as living in a family with receipt of any amount of AFDC/TANF, SSI or SNAP during the year.  Dependency is defined as living in a family having more than 50 percent of annual family income from AFDC/TANF, SSI and/or SNAP.  Dependency rates would be lower if adjusted to exclude welfare assistance associated with working.  Spouses are not present in the male-headed and female-headed family categories.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1994-2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.


9 The unit of analysis for most of the statistics in this report is “individuals” rather than families or households.  Appendix D provides more information on the use of individuals as the unit of analysis.

10 Office of Family Assistance, Administration for Children and Families, Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients, Fiscal Year 2012.  This 43.2 percent includes subsidized employment and work preparation activities (including subsidized jobs, on-the-job training, work experience or community services). The earnings of those in unsubsidized employment would be correctly captured as income from work in national surveys.  Any welfare benefits associated with work experience, community service programs or other work activities, however, would be counted as income from welfare in most national surveys, a classification incompatible with the Advisory Board’s proposed definition.

Organization of Report

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the specific summary measure of welfare dependence proposed by a bipartisan Advisory Board8 and how this measure was adopted for use in this report series.  It also discusses summary measures of poverty, following the Advisory Board’s recommendation that dependence measures not be assessed in isolation from other measures of economic well-being.  The introduction concludes with a discussion of data sources used for the report.

Chapter II of this report, Indicators of Dependence, presents ten indicators of welfare dependence and recipiency.  These indicators include dependence measures based on total income from all three programs – TANF, SNAP, and SSI – as well as measures of recipiency for each of the three programs considered separately.  Labor force participation among families receiving welfare and benefit receipt across multiple programs are also shown.  The second half of the chapter includes longitudinal data on transitions on and off welfare programs and spells of program recipiency, including spells of TANF receipt among persons in families that have no attachment to the labor market.  Also, this section includes a measure of long-term program receipt of up to 10 years, and a measure of events associated with the beginning and ending of program spells.

Chapter III, Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt, focuses on predictors of welfare dependence – risk factors believed to be associated with welfare receipt. These predictors are shown in three different groups:

(1) Economic security – including various measures of poverty, the effect of receipt of child support on poverty rates, and food insecurity – is important in predicting dependence because families with fewer economic resources are more likely to rely on welfare programs for their support. 

(2) Measures of the work status and potential barriers to employment of adult family members also are critical, because families must generally receive an adequate income from employment in order to avoid dependence without severe deprivation. 

(3) Finally, data on nonmarital births are important.  According to SIPP data (see Indicator 10b) 25.4 percent of single mother TANF entries were associated with a new child being added to the family during the 2008-2012 period.

Additional data and technical notes are presented in four appendices.  Appendix A provides basic program data on each of the main welfare programs and their recipients, including historical trends and subnational estimates.  Appendix B shows how dependence is affected by the inclusion of benefits from the SSI program; Appendix C includes additional data on non-marital childbearing; Appendix D provides background information on several data and technical issues; and Appendix E explains the methodology behind calculating the poverty rate and the supplemental poverty rate.  The main welfare programs in Appendix A include the following:

  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides monthly cash benefits and services to eligible families with children and is run directly by the states.  Prior to 1996 welfare cash benefits were provided through the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program.  Data on cash benefits under the TANF and AFDC programs are provided in Appendix A, with AFDC data provided from 1962 through June 1997, and TANF data from July 1997 through 2013.
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides monthly benefits to individuals living in families or alone, provided their income and assets are below limits set in federal law.  Prior to October 1, 2008, these food assistance benefits were provided through the Food Stamp Program.  Appendix A provides historical data on food assistance from 1962 to 2013.
  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly cash payments to elderly, blind or disabled individuals or couples whose income and assets are below levels set in federal law.  Though the majority of recipients are adults, disabled children also are eligible. Historical data from 1974 through 2013 are provided in Appendix A. 

8 The first annual report was produced under the oversight of a bipartisan Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators, which assisted the Secretary in defining welfare dependence, developing indicators of welfare dependence, and choosing appropriate data.  Under the terms of the original authorizing legislation, the Advisory Board was terminated in October 1997, prior to the submission of the first annual report.

Measuring Economic Well-Being

To assess the social impacts of any change in dependence, changes in the level of poverty should be considered.  This report focuses on the official poverty rate, the most common poverty measure. Additional measures of poverty and need also are included under the Economic Risk Factors found in Chapter III.

Figure SUM 2a.  Number Poor under 18 Years of Age & Poverty Rate, 1959–2013

Number Poor under 18 Years of Age & Poverty Rate, 1959–2013

Source:  U.S. Bureau of the Census, “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249 and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty/data/incpovhlth/2013/index.html.

As shown in Figure Sum 2a, the child poverty rate for all persons under 18 is 19.9 percent in 2013 (see Table ECON 1 for further details).  This is down from the recent peak of 22.0 percent in 2010, just after the end of the Great Recession.  Earlier historical trends in child poverty rates also generally have followed similar patterns to broader economic expansions and contractions.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and Welfare Benefits

On February 13, 2009, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, ARRA (Public Law 111-5) in response to the economic crisis, often referred to as “the Great Recession”.  The Recovery Act had three immediate goals:  create new jobs and save existing ones; spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth; and foster levels of accountability and transparency in government spending.  The Recovery Act intended to achieve these goals by providing $787 billion in: tax cuts and benefits for working families and businesses; funding for federal contracts, grants and loans11; and funding for entitlement programs.  The SNAP, TANF, and SSI entitlements all were temporarily impacted by the ARRA legislation.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Households are eligible to receive SNAP benefits based on household income, assets, and certain basic expenses.  ARRA increased benefits for all households and temporarily expanded program eligibility for jobless adults12.  The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), the agency that administers SNAP at the Federal level, reported that in fiscal year 2008, the year prior to ARRA, an estimated 39 million people13 were eligible for SNAP benefits in a typical month and 27 million (71 percent) took-up the program.  By 2012, 51 million people were eligible for SNAP and 42 million participated in the program resulting in a participation or “take-up” rate of 83.1 percent14.  According to SNAP administrative data, the SNAP caseload increased from 28.2 million participants in 2008 to 46.6 million in 2012, an increase of 65.2 percent.  In an average month in fiscal year 2012 (ending September 30, 2012), SNAP provided benefits to 14.8 percent of the population.  The average benefit in 2012 was $133.41 per person per month and the total Federal expenditure for the program was $78.4 billion. 

ARRA increased SNAP benefit levels for all households.  Maximum benefits increased by 13.6 percent, or $80 per month for a family of four

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service Characteristics of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Households: Fiscal Year 2012 and earlier reports, http://www.fns.usda.gov/characteristics-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-households-fiscal-year-2012; U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/popest/data/index.html; calculations by ASPE.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

The Recovery Act provided up to $5 billion in supplemental funding to the Emergency Contingency Fund (Emergency Fund), which is administered by the Office of Family Assistance within the Administration for Children and Families16. The funds were intended to provide additional revenue to States, territories, and tribes that had an increase in caseloads and basic assistance expenditures, or had an increase in expenditures related to short-term benefits or subsidized employment.  The funds were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, and were used in the same way that the annual Federal TANF block grants funds were spent, except a jurisdiction could not transfer the funds to other ACF block grant programs.  States, tribes, and territories were eligible to receive the funds through September 30, 2010.  Emergency Funds were reimbursed to these jurisdictions for 80 percent of the cost of increased spending in three areas: basic assistance, non-recurrent short-term benefits, and subsidized employment for low-income parents and youth.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI)

The ARRA provided a one-time payment of $250 to adult Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients, except those receiving Medicaid in care facilities.  To receive the payment, the person had to be eligible for Social Security or SSI during the months of November 2008, December 2008 or January 2009. The Recovery Act also provided a one-time payment to Veterans Affairs (VA) and Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries.  The VA and RRB were responsible for paying individuals under their respective programs.  However, if someone received Social Security and SSI, VA or RRB benefits, he or she would receive only one $250 payment.


13 Note that while these participation rates are for individuals, Indicator 4 shows the participation rates for households.

14 Sources: SNAP Program Operations data, SNAP QC data, and CPS ASEC data for the years shown. http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/private/ops/Trends2010-2012.pdf

16 Catalogue for Domestic Assistance, ARRA – Emergency Contingency Fund for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) State Program.

https://www.cfda.gov/index?s=program&mode=form&tab=step1&id=82b17b73ae63786a4dd9d3e212008aa8

Data Sources

The primary data sources for this report are the Current Population Survey (CPS), the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), and administrative data for the TANF, SNAP, and SSI programs.  Wherever possible, the current report includes updated estimates for indicators and risk factors through 2012.

For our key measures of receipt, dependency and poverty at a single point in time, the report primarily uses the Annual Social and Economic Supplement to the CPS, which measures income, poverty, and benefit receipt across a broad range of social safety net programs over an annual accounting period.  This allows for estimating and tracking measures that combine the three welfare programs specified in the Welfare Indicators Act and that compare the levels of program benefits received by families with levels of other family income sources.  The release of CPS data is timely and CPS data have the added benefit that they may be analyzed with the Transfer Income Model (TRIM3) to correct for the underreporting of welfare program receipt and benefits that is often present in survey data. TRIM3 is a microsimulation model developed by the Urban Institute under contract to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.  Welfare caseloads in TRIM3 are based on CPS data, adjusted upward to ensure that total estimates of recipients across multiple social welfare programs equal the total counts from administrative data.  To maintain consistency in data trends in this report, we present estimates based on CPS data analyzed by TRIM3 beginning in 1993, the first year the TRIM3 microsimulation model became available.

For indicators and risk factors that capture the monthly dynamics of welfare receipt over time, we use the SIPP.  The SIPP collects monthly survey data on income and program participation among individuals and families across the country in panels that last roughly three to four years.  While the CPS collects data on the incidence of welfare program receipt and poverty in a given year, the SIPP allows us to

present monthly data on how long individuals and families receive welfare assistance and how long they remain poor over a time span of several years.  The current report includes updated estimates for  the SIPP measures based on newly available data from the 2008 SIPP panel, spanning from 2008 to 2012.

The Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) is another source of data used in this report.  Like the SIPP it provides longitudinal data, but over a much longer time period than the three- to four-year time period of each SIPP panel.  With annual data on program receipt since 1968, the PSID provides vital data for measuring longer-term welfare use over periods of up to 10 years.  Because the PSID indicators cover time spans as long as a decade, they are updated less frequently than the CPS-based and SIPP-based measures.

This report also draws upon administrative data for the TANF, SNAP, and SSI programs.  These data are largely reported in Appendix A.  Like the CPS data, administrative data are available with minimal time lags; for the current report, administrative data are generally available through fiscal year (FY) 2012.  To the extent possible, TANF administrative data are reported in a consistent manner with data from the earlier AFDC program, as noted in the footnotes to the tables in Appendix A.  Assistance under locally designed TANF programs encompasses a diverse set of cash and non-cash benefits designed to support families in making a transition to work, and so direct comparisons between AFDC receipt and TANF receipt should be made with caution.  This issue also affects reported data on AFDC and TANF receipt in national data sets such as the CPS, SIPP, and PSID.

For further technical information about the data presented in the report please see Appendix D.

Chapter II. Indicators of Dependence

Chapter II presents summary data related to indicators of dependence.  These indicators differ from other welfare statistics because of their emphasis on welfare dependence, rather than simply welfare receipt. 

As discussed in Chapter I, the Advisory Board on Welfare Indicators suggested that families be considered dependent if more than 50 percent of their total income in a one-year period comes from cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly Food Stamps), and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.  Furthermore, this welfare income was not to be associated with work activities.  Existing data from administrative records and national surveys, however, do not generally distinguish welfare benefits received in conjunction with work from benefits received without work.  Thus, it was not possible to construct one single indicator of dependence that captured fully the Advisory Board’s recommendation; that is, one indicator based on the percentage of income from means-tested assistance only if this income is not associated with work activities.  As discussed in Chapter I, we adopt the following definition of welfare dependence among individuals in families17 for use in this report:

Welfare dependence is the proportion of all individuals in families that receive more than half of their total family income in one year from TANF, SNAP and/or SSI.

The ten indicators in Chapter II were selected to provide information about the range and depth of dependence as proposed by the Advisory Board, including indicators that measure the presence of employment activities.  This chapter focuses on recipients of three major means-tested cash and nutritional assistance programs: cash assistance through the AFDC and TANF programs, benefits under the Food Stamp Program and the SNAP, and SSI benefits for elderly and disabled recipients.  For some indicators, summary data and characteristics are provided for all recipients, not just those defined as welfare-dependent.  While a number of indicators focus on the percentage of recipients’ income from means-tested assistance, other indicators focus on presence of work activities at the same time as welfare receipt.


17 Appendix D provides more information on the use of individuals, rather than families or households, as the unit of analysis for most of the statistics in this report.

Indicator Summary

Indicator 1: Degree of Dependence. This indicator focuses most closely on those individuals who meet the Advisory Board’s proposed definition of “dependence.”  In addition to examining individuals with more than 50 percent of their annual family income from AFDC/TANF cash assistance, Food Stamps/SNAP, and/or SSI benefits, it shows various levels of dependency.  This indicator also shows the average percentage of income from means-tested assistance and earnings received by families with various levels of income relative to the poverty level.

Indicator 2: Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance and Labor Force Attachment.  This indicator looks further at the relationship between receipt of means-tested assistance and participation in the labor force and identifying labor force status by welfare receipt. This is an important issue because of the significant number of low-income individuals that receive a combination of means-tested assistance and earnings from the labor force.

Indicator 3: Rates of Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance.  This indicator paints yet another picture of dependence by measuring average monthly recipiency rates, that is, the percentage of the population that receives AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP or SSI in an average month.  Administrative data for the AFDC/TANF, SNAP and SSI programs make these figures readily available over time, allowing a better sense of historical trends than is available from the more specialized indicators of dependence.

Indicator 4: Rates of Participation in Means-Tested Assistance Programs.  While means-tested public assistance programs can serve those that meet each program’s requirements, not all eligible individuals and households participate in the programs.  This indicator uses AFDC/TANF, Food Stamp/SNAP and SSI administrative data and microsimulation models to reflect “take-up rates” – the number of families that actually participate in the programs as a percentage of those who are estimated to be legally eligible.

Indicator 5: Multiple Program Receipt.  Depending on their circumstances, individuals may choose a variety of different means-tested assistance “packages.”  This indicator looks at the percentage of individuals receiving AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP and SSI in a month, examining how many rely on just one of these programs, and how many rely on a combination of two or more programs.

Indicator 6: Dependence Transitions.  This indicator uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP) to look at whether individuals dependent on welfare in one year make the transition out of dependence in the following year.  

Indicator 7: Program Spell Duration.  This indicator uses data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP).  One critical aspect of dependence is how long individuals receive means-tested assistance.  This indicator provides information on short, medium and long spells of welfare receipt for each of the three major means-tested programs – AFDC/TANF, the SNAP, and SSI.

Indicator 8: Welfare Spell Duration with No Labor Force Attachment.  This indicator is concerned with dynamics of welfare receipt among persons in families with no attachment to the labor market.  It differs from Indicator 7 in that it provides information on spells of TANF receipt during months where no one in the family worked or was officially unemployed.

Indicator 9: Long Term Receipt.  Many individuals who leave welfare programs cycle back on after an absence of several months.  Thus it is important to look beyond individual program spells, measured in Indicator 7, to examine the cumulative amount of time individuals receive assistance over a period of several years.

Indicator 10: Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of Program Spells.  To gain a better understanding of welfare dynamics, it is important to go beyond measures of spell duration and examine information regarding the major events in people’s lives that are correlated with the beginnings or endings of program spells.  This measure focuses on receipt of TANF.

INDICATOR 1. Degree of Dependence

Figure IND 1a.  Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 2012
Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 2012

Note: Means-tested assistance includes TANF, SSI and SNAP benefits.  Total >50% includes all persons with more than 50 percent of their total annual family income from these means-tested programs.  Income includes cash income and the value of SNAP benefits. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Figure IND 1a shows the percentage of persons in families with varying degrees of total income that derived from means-tested assistance programs in 2012.
  • The majority of persons (76.4 percent) lived in families that received no income from means-tested assistance programs in 2012.
  • Twenty-four (23.6) percent of all persons lived in families that received means-tested assistance.  Five (5.1) percent of persons lived in families that received more than half of their income from means-tested assistance programs.  These persons would be considered welfare dependent under the definition of dependence used in this report.18
  • Table IND 1a shows the percentage of persons in families with varying degrees of reliance on income from means-tested assistance programs by selected demographic characteristics.  Among racial and ethnic groups, Non-Hispanic Blacks were more likely to be welfare dependent (12.0 percent) than were Non-Hispanic Whites (3.1 percent) or Hispanics of any race (7.4 percent).
  • Among age categories, children, particularly from birth to 5 years of age, were more likely to live in families that were welfare dependent than were persons age 16 and older.
  • Among family types, persons living in female-headed families were more likely to be welfare dependent than those in other family categories. 
  • Table IND 1b shows trends in welfare dependence between 1993 and 2012.  Welfare dependence was highest in 1993 at 5.9 percent.  Welfare dependence declined between 1993 and 2000.  After 2000, the downward trend in welfare dependence reversed.  Dependency increased from 3.0 percent in 2000 to 5.3 percent in 2010, before beginning to decline again with 5.1 percent of the population defined as welfare dependent in 2012.

Table IND 1a. Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs by Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

0%

> 0% and

<= 25%

> 25% and

<= 50%

> 50% and

<= 75%

> 75% and

<= 100%

Total 
> 50%

All Persons

76.4

14.3

4.2

1.7

3.4

5.1

  Racial/Ethnic Categories

    Non-Hispanic White

83.5

10.8

2.6

1.0

2.1

3.1

    Non-Hispanic Black

58.8

20.9

8.3

3.4

8.6

12.0

    Hispanic

62.8

22.6

7.3

2.7

4.6

7.4

  Age Categories

    Children ages 0-5

60.5

21.4

8.5

3.6

6.0

9.6

    Children ages 6-10

63.5

20.0

8.2

3.3

5.0

8.3

    Children ages 11-15

67.4

19.0

6.5

2.9

4.3

7.1

    Women ages 16-64

76.5

14.0

4.0

1.6

3.9

5.5

    Men ages 16-64

80.4

12.9

3.0

1.1

2.6

3.7

    Adults ages 65 and over

86.3

9.1

2.1

0.7

1.7

2.5

  Family Categories

    Persons in married-couple families

84.6

11.0

2.5

0.8

1.0

1.8

    Persons in female-headed families

43.9

28.0

12.3

5.8

10.0

15.8

    Persons in male-headed families

62.7

24.7

6.7

2.1

3.7

5.8

    Unrelated persons

80.7

10.3

2.1

1.0

5.9

6.9

Note: Means-tested assistance includes TANF, SSI and SNAP.  Total >50% includes all persons with more than 50 percent of their total annual family income from these means-tested programs.  Income includes cash income and the value of SNAP benefits.  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed family categories.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

Table IND 1b.  Percentage of Total Income from Means-Tested Assistance Programs:  1993-2012

 

0%

> 0% and

<= 25%

> 25% and <= 50%

> 50% and <= 75%

> 75% and

<= 100%

Total

> 50%

1993

83.4

7.8

3.0

1.8

4.1

5.9

1994

82.8

8.4

3.1

1.8

4.0

5.8

1995

83.2

8.5

3.1

1.8

3.5

5.3

1996

84.0

7.8

3.1

1.9

3.3

5.2

1997

85.3

7.7

2.5

1.5

3.1

4.5

1998

86.5

7.3

2.5

1.3

2.5

3.8

1999

86.7

7.7

2.3

1.1

2.2

3.3

2000

87.5

7.3

2.2

1.0

2.0

3.0

2001

87.4

7.3

2.2

1.0

2.1

3.1

2002

86.8

7.8

2.3

1.0

2.1

3.2

2003

85.9

8.2

2.4

1.1

2.4

3.6

2004

85.0

8.8

2.5

1.1

2.5

3.7

2005

84.7

8.9

2.6

1.1

2.7

3.8

2006

84.4

9.3

2.6

1.1

2.6

3.7

2007

84.1

9.7

2.8

1.1

2.3

3.4

2008

82.9

10.3

2.8

1.1

2.8

4.0

2009

80.1

11.4

3.9

1.5

3.1

4.6

2010

77.3

13.2

4.2

1.7

3.6

5.3

2011

76.9

13.8

4.1

1.7

3.5

5.2

2012

76.4

14.3

4.2

1.7

3.4

5.1

Note: Means-tested assistance includes TANF, SSI and SNAP.  Total >50% includes all persons with more than 50 percent of their total annual family income from these means-tested programs.  Income includes cash income and the value of SNAP benefits.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

Figure IND 1b.  Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status: 2012

Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status: 2012

Note: Total income is total annual family income, including the value of SNAP benefits.  Other income is non-means-tested, non-earnings income such as child support, alimony, pensions, Social Security benefits, interest and dividends.  Poverty status categories are not mutually exclusive.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Figure IND 1b shows sources of income by poverty status in 2012.  There is a clear association between poverty status and receiving income from means-tested assistance programs. 
  • Persons in families with incomes below the poverty line received 42.6 percent of their income from earnings and 38.2 percent from means-tested assistance programs.  Persons in families with incomes at 200 percent or more of the poverty line received 85.7 percent of their income from earnings and 0.2 percent of their income from means-tested assistance programs.  
  • The percentage of family income that comes from earnings is inversely proportional to overall family income relative to the poverty line.  For example, the percentage of income received from earnings for persons in families living in deep poverty (below 50 percent of the poverty line) was 22.7 percent compared to 42.6 percent for all poor persons in 2012.
  • Table IND 1c shows sources of income by poverty status for various demographic groups.  On average, persons in married-couple families and male heads of household receive higher proportions of their family income from earnings than do female heads of households.
  • Table IND 1d shows the percentage of income from various sources across selected years.  The percentage of income received from earnings for persons in families with incomes below the poverty line increased from 40.4 percent in 1995 to 49.5 percent in 2000.  In 2012, the rate had decreased to 42.6 percent. 
  • Over the same time period, the percentage of income from means-tested programs among persons in poor families decreased from 41.3 percent in 1995 to 30.3 percent in 2000.  In 2012, the rate increased to 38.2 percent.

Table IND 1c.  Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources by Poverty Status and Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

<50% Poverty

<100% of Poverty

<200% of Poverty

200%+ of Poverty

All

Persons

All Persons

  TANF, SSI and SNAP

63.5

38.2

15.0

0.2

1.8

  Earnings

22.7

42.6

62.6

85.7

83.3

  Other income

13.8

19.1

22.4

14.1

14.9

Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

59.8

36.7

12.1

0.1

0.9

    Earnings

23.1

37.5

57.0

84.5

82.6

    Other income

17.0

25.7

30.9

15.4

16.4

  Non-Hispanic Black

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

69.7

47.3

23.4

0.5

5.1

    Earnings

17.9

33.5

54.9

85.6

79.4

    Other income

12.4

19.2

21.7

13.9

15.5

  Hispanic

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

61.3

33.0

14.1

0.6

4.1

    Earnings

27.4

54.9

74.5

90.8

86.6

    Other income

11.3

12.1

11.4

8.7

9.4

 Age Categories

   Children ages 0-5

     TANF, SSI and SNAP

67.2

41.8

19.2

0.2

3.5

     Earnings

22.4

46.3

70.8

94.5

90.3

     Other income

10.4

11.9

10.0

5.3

6.1

  Children ages 6-10

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

67.1

40.6

18.4

0.2

3.1

    Earnings

20.9

46.2

70.6

93.9

90.2

    Other income

12.0

13.2

11.0

5.9

6.7

  Children ages 11-15

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

65.7

40.2

16.8

0.2

2.6

    Earnings

20.9

44.9

69.4

92.7

89.3

    Other income

13.4

14.9

13.8

7.2

8.1

  Women ages 16-64

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

62.9

38.7

15.4

0.2

1.6

    Earnings

22.5

42.2

65.6

89.2

87.0

    Other income

14.6

19.2

19.0

10.5

11.3

  Men ages 16-64

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

57.2

34.3

12.7

0.2

1.2

    Earnings

27.4

45.8

68.9

90.6

88.9

    Other income

15.5

19.9

18.4

9.1

9.9

  Adults ages 65 and over

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

53.7

31.3

8.9

0.3

1.2

    Earnings

7.5

7.3

11.8

42.8

39.7

    Other income

38.8

61.3

79.3

56.9

59.1

Family Categories

  Persons in married-couple families

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

57.7

31.1

10.6

0.2

0.9

    Earnings

28.1

54.3

71.7

86.7

85.6

    Other income

14.2

14.6

17.7

13.2

13.5

  Persons in female-headed families

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

70.6

46.5

25.5

1.0

8.7

    Earnings

16.8

35.4

53.9

81.3

72.7

    Other income

12.7

18.1

20.6

17.7

18.6

  Persons in male-headed families

    TANF, SSI and SNAP

61.5

39.3

16.2

0.7

3.4

    Earnings

27.1

43.6

64.2

86.5

82.5

    Other income

11.4

17.2

19.6

12.9

14.0

Note: Total income is total annual family income, including the value of SNAP benefits.  Other income is non-means-tested, non-earnings income such as child support, alimony, pensions, Social Security benefits, interest and dividends.  Poverty status categories are not mutually exclusive.  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed family categories.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

Table IND 1d.  Percentage of Total Income from Various Sources: Selected Years

 

< 50% Poverty

<100% of

Poverty

<200% of Poverty

200%+ of Poverty

1995

  AFDC, SSI and Food Stamps

65.9

41.3

14.2

0.3

  Earnings

22.5

40.4

64.8

85.4

  Other income

11.6

18.3

21.0

14.3

1998

  AFDC, SSI and Food Stamps

58.9

32.0

10.6

0.2

  Earnings

27.0

47.9

67.8

85.3

  Other income

14.1

20.1

21.6

14.5

2000

  TANF, SSI and Food Stamps

54.3

30.3

9.8

0.2

  Earnings

30.5

49.5

68.7

86.7

  Other income

15.2

20.3

21.5

13.0

2004

  TANF, SSI and Food Stamps

58.4

31.1

10.4

0.2

  Earnings

25.7

48.2

67.2

86.8

  Other income

15.9

20.7

22.4

13.0

2005

  TANF, SSI and Food Stamps

58.5

32.5

10.4

0.2

  Earnings

25.3

46.6

68.2

86.6

  Other income

16.2

20.8

21.4

13.2

2006

  TANF, SSI and Food Stamps

58.2

31.4

10.4

0.2

  Earnings

27.7

48.3

68.6

86.5

  Other income

14.1

20.3

21.0

13.3

2009

  TANF, SSI and SNAP

62.0

35.8

13.6

0.2

  Earnings

25.2

44.2

62.8

85.8

  Other income

12.8

20.0

23.6

14.0

2010

  TANF, SSI and SNAP

64.6

38.1

14.9

0.2

  Earnings

21.7

41.7

61.7

85.6

  Other income

13.6

20.3

23.4

14.2

2011

  TANF, SSI and SNAP

65.4

37.8

14.5

0.2

  Earnings

21.2

42.4

62.5

85.7

  Other income

13.5

19.8

23.0

14.1

2012

  TANF, SSI and SNAP

63.5

38.2

15.0

0.2

  Earnings

22.7

42.6

62.6

85.7

  Other income

13.8

19.1

22.4

14.1

 

Note: Total income is total annual family income, including the value of SNAP benefits.  Other income is non-means-tested, non-earnings income such as child support, alimony, pensions, Social Security benefits, interest and dividends.  Poverty status categories are not mutually exclusive.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1996-2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.


18 For a discussion on defining welfare dependence, please see “Measuring Welfare Dependence” in Chapter I.

INDICATOR 2. Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance and Labor Force Attachment

Figure IND 2.  Percentage of Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants by Program: 2012

Percentage of Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants by Program: 2012

Note: Recipients are limited to those individuals or family members directly receiving benefits in a month.  Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week.  Part-time labor force participation includes those who usually worked less than 35 hours per week. “Looking for work” includes individuals who are unemployed, laid off and/or looking for work.  This indicator measures, on an average monthly basis, the combination of individual benefit receipt and labor force participation by any family member in the same month.   Also note that lower family employment rates are reported in TANF administrative data, which are limited to the employment of family members in the TANF assistance unit and employment reported to welfare agencies (see Table TANF 7 in Appendix A).

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Figure IND 2 shows the percentage of recipients in families with labor force participants by program in 2012.  Of recipients across the three programs, SNAP recipients were most likely to live in families with labor force participants (64.7 percent), including 37.3 percent in families with at least one full-time worker.  This was followed by TANF recipients where 56.7 percent lived in families with labor force participants, including 23.5 percent of TANF recipients living with a full-time worker.
  • In 2012, SSI recipients were more likely to live in families with no labor force participants (60.9 percent) than were TANF recipients (43.3 percent) or SNAP recipients (35.3 percent).    
  • Table IND 2a shows the percentage of recipients in families with labor force participants by program and demographic characteristics.  Among TANF, SNAP, and SSI recipients, Hispanics were more likely than other groups to live in families with at least one full-time worker (27.8, 48.6 and 32.9 percent, respectively, for each program).
  • Table IND 2b shows additional information on the percentage of AFDC/TANF recipients living in families with labor force participants over time.

Table IND 2a. Percentage of Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants by Program and Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

 

At least one in labor force, no one full time

 

 

 

No one in labor force

At least one looking,
no one working

At least one part-time,
no one full- time

Total with at least one in labor force, no one full-time

At least
one
full-time worker

TANF

All Persons

43.3

14.6

18.6

33.2

23.5

 

  Non-Hispanic White

42.4

15.0

19.5

34.4

23.2

 

  Non-Hispanic Black

47.8

19.2

14.9

34.0

18.2

 

  Hispanic

40.1

10.3

21.7

32.0

27.8

 

  Children ages 0-5

42.6

13.9

16.9

30.8

26.7

 

  Children ages 6-10

45.0

13.1

18.2

31.3

23.7

 

  Children ages 11-15

43.4

13.6

21.5

35.1

21.6

 

  Women ages 16-64

43.3

16.5

19.4

35.9

20.8

 

  Men ages 16-64

41.8

16.8

16.9

33.7

24.5

 

  Adults ages 65 and over

NA

NA

NA

NA

NA

 

  Persons in married-couple families

24.6

11.8

18.9

30.7

44.7

 

  Persons in female-headed families

49.1

15.7

18.7

34.5

16.4

 

  Persons in male-headed families

43.4

12.5

16.0

28.5

28.0

 

  Unrelated persons

68.6

6.7

19.5

26.2

5.2

SNAP

All Persons

35.3

11.0

16.5

27.4

37.3

 

  Non-Hispanic White

39.3

10.6

16.6

27.2

33.5

 

  Non-Hispanic Black

36.9

14.0

16.7

30.6

32.5

 

  Hispanic

26.8

8.5

16.1

24.6

48.6

 

  Children ages 0-5

24.2

9.8

18.2

28.0

47.8

 

  Children ages 6-10

24.3

9.7

18.0

27.7

48.0

 

  Children ages 11-15

24.7

10.6

18.8

29.3

46.0

 

  Women ages 16-64

37.1

11.5

17.6

29.1

33.7

 

  Men ages 16-64

36.7

14.0

15.3

29.2

34.1

 

  Adults ages 65 and over

81.6

4.0

5.2

9.2

9.2

 

  Persons in married-couple families

20.4

9.0

15.7

24.7

54.9

 

  Persons in female-headed families

34.5

11.6

20.1

31.7

33.9

 

  Persons in male-headed families

28.6

14.2

15.2

29.4

42.0

 

  Unrelated persons

69.9

12.0

10.2

22.1

7.9

SSI

All Persons

60.9

5.5

8.1

13.6

25.5

 

  Non-Hispanic White

65.8

5.1

7.5

12.6

21.6

 

  Non-Hispanic Black

66.2

6.2

7.3

13.5

20.3

 

  Hispanic

52.0

5.1

10.0

15.1

32.9

 

  Children ages 0-5

33.0

10.7

7.3

18.0

48.9

 

  Children ages 6-10

40.3

12.6

8.8

21.5

38.2

 

  Children ages 11-15

41.4

8.3

15.6

23.9

34.7

 

  Women ages 16-64

67.9

5.4

7.2

12.5

19.5

 

  Men ages 16-64

63.3

5.0

8.2

13.1

23.5

 

  Adults ages 65 and over

61.7

3.5

7.7

11.2

27.1

 

  Persons in married-couple families

35.5

5.9

11.4

17.2

47.3

 

  Persons in female-headed families

52.7

8.1

10.6

18.7

28.6

 

  Persons in male-headed families

46.8

8.6

8.4

17.1

36.1

 

  Unrelated persons

93.9

2.1

3.0

5.1

1.0

Note: Recipients are limited to those individuals or family members directly receiving benefits in a month.  Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week.  Part-time labor force participation includes those who usually worked less than 35 hours per week.  “Looking for work” includes individuals who are unemployed, laid off and/or looking for work.  This indicator measures, on an average monthly basis, the combination of individual benefit receipt and labor force participation by any family member in the same month.  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed family categories.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

Table IND 2b. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Recipients in Families with Labor Force Participants: 1993-2012

 

 

In the Labor Force

 

No One in LF

Total

At Least One in LF, No One FT

At Least One

FT Worker

1993

57.0

43.0

24.2

18.8

1994

54.8

45.2

24.8

20.4

1995

50.6

49.4

24.3

25.1

1996

50.1

49.9

25.6

24.3

1997

47.6

52.4

28.0

24.4

1998

44.3

55.7

25.8

29.9

1999

40.8

59.2

24.1

35.1

2000

41.2

58.8

24.1

34.7

2001

38.7

61.3

26.0

35.3

2002

39.8

60.1

25.8

34.3

2003

47.4

52.6

24.1

28.5

2004

48.0

51.9

23.8

28.1

2005

47.7

52.3

25.4

26.9

2006

46.6

53.4

21.2

32.2

2007

46.4

53.6

23.4

30.2

2008

45.6

54.4

27.2

27.2

2009

43.3

56.7

30.7

26.0

2010

43.5

56.5

31.4

25.1

2011

41.0

59.0

35.2

23.8

2012

43.3

56.7

33.2

23.5

Note: Recipients are limited to those individuals or family members directly receiving benefits in a month.  Full-time workers are those who usually work 35 hours or more per week.  Part-time labor force participation includes part-time workers and those who are unemployed, laid off and/or looking for work.  This indicator measures, on an average monthly basis, the combination of individual benefit receipt and labor force participation by any family member in the same month.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1994 - 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

INDICATOR 3. Rates of Receipt of Means-Tested Assistance

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/sites/default/files/private/2012Characteristics…), 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/sites/default/files/private/2012Characteristics…), 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).

INDICATOR 4. Rates of Participation in Means-Tested Assistance Programs

Figure IND 4.  Participation Rates in the AFDC/TANF1, SNAP and SSI Programs: Selected Years

Participation Rates in the AFDC/TANF1, SNAP and SSI Programs: Selected Years

1Unlike the AFDC, SNAP and SSI programs, TANF is a block grant program for which there is no individual entitlement.  One of the main goals of TANF is to move people from cash assistance to self-sufficiency.

Note:  AFDC/TANF and SSI participation rates are estimated by an Urban Institute model (TRIM3) that uses CPS data to simulate program eligibility and participation for an average month, by calendar year.  There have been small changes in estimating methodology over time, due to model improvements and revisions to the CPS.  Most notably, since 1994 the model has been revised to more accurately estimate SSI participation among children, and in 1997 and 1998 the model was adjusted to more accurately exclude ineligible immigrants.  For TANF, in contrast to editions prior to 2004, this table includes families receiving assistance under Separate State Programs (SSPs).  Note that families subject to full-family sanctions are counted as nonparticipating eligible families due to modeling limitations.  Although the coverage rate estimates take into account the number of families who lost aid due to the time limit (and do not count such families in the denominator of the coverage rate estimate), they do not make any allowance for families staying off TANF to conserve their time-limited assistance months.  Also, the numbers of eligible and participating families include the territories and pregnant women without children, even though these two small groups are excluded from the TRIM model.  The numbers shown here implicitly assume that participation rates for the territories and for pregnant women with no other children are the same as for all other eligibles.  In 2004 the methods for identifying potential child-only units capture the fact that non-parent caretakers generally have a choice of whether or not to be included in the TANF unit.  TRIM now excludes those caretakers whose income would make the unit ineligible, increasing the number of potential child-only units.

SNAP eligible households are estimated from a Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. model that uses CPS data to simulate program eligibility.  SNAP caseload data are from USDA, FNS program operations caseload data.  There have been small changes in the methodology over time, due to model improvements and revisions to the CPS.  Notably, the model was revised in 1994 to produce more accurate and lower estimates of eligible households.  The estimates for previous years show higher estimates of eligibles and lower participation rates relative to the revised estimate for 1994 and estimates for subsequent years.  The two estimates for 1999 are due to re-weighting of the March 2000 – 2003 CPS files to Census 2000 and revised methodologies for determining SNAP eligibility.  The original estimate (September 1999) is consistent methodologically with estimates from September 1994 – September 1998, while the revised estimate (FY 1999) is consistent with the estimates for FY 2000 – FY 2009.

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates:
Fiscal Years 2010 and 2012
available online at . http://www.fns.usda.gov/trends-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-participation-rates-fiscal-year-2010-fiscal-year and unpublished tabulations from the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Figure IND 4 shows the participation rates in the TANF, SNAP, and SSI programs for selected years.  This indicator examines the average monthly number of participating families, households, or adults as a percentage of the estimated eligible population.  It is a contrast to Indicator 3, which examines participants as an average monthly (December for SSI) percentage of the total population (recipiency rates). 
  • In 2012, 32.4 percent of families estimated as eligible for TANF assistance and 64.1 percent of households estimated as eligible for SSI are estimated to have received benefits in an average month.  Eighty-seven (87.2) percent of households estimated as eligible for SNAP are estimated to have enrolled and received benefits in an average month. 

Table IND 4a.  Number and Percentage of Eligible Families Participating in the AFDC/TANF Cash Assistance Program: Selected Years

Calendar Year

Eligible Families
(millions)

Participating Families
(millions)

Participation Rate
(percent)

1981

4.8

3.8

80.2

1983

4.7

3.7

77.7

1985

4.7

3.7

79.3

1987

4.9

3.8

76.7

1988

4.8

3.7

78.4

1989

4.5

3.8

83.6

1990

4.9

4.1

82.2

1992

5.6

4.8

85.7

1993

6.1

5.0

81.7

1994 (revised)

6.1

5.0

82.1

1995

5.7

4.8

84.3

1996

5.6

4.4

78.9

1997 (adjusted)

5.4

3.7

69.2

1998 (adjusted)

5.5

3.1

55.8

1999

5.1

2.6

52.3

2000

4.4

2.3

51.8

2001

4.6

2.2

48.0

2002

4.5

2.2

48.1

2003

4.8

2.2

45.7

2004

5.1

2.2

42.0

2005

5.1

2.1

40.4

2006

4.9

2.1

39.0

2007

4.8

1.9

36.0

2008

5.2

1.7

33.0

2009

5.7

1.8

32.3

2010

5.7

1.9

33.7

2011

5.6

1.9

33.9

2012

5.7

1.9

32.4

Note:  AFDC/TANF participation rates are estimated by an Urban Institute model (TRIM3) that uses CPS data to simulate AFDC/TANF eligibility and participation for an average month, by calendar year.  There have been small changes in estimating methodology over time, due to model improvements and revisions to the CPS.  In contrast to editions prior to 2004, this table includes families receiving assistance under Separate State Programs (SSPs).  Note that families subject to full-family sanctions are counted as nonparticipating eligible families due to modeling limitations.  Although the coverage rate estimates take into account the number of families who lost aid due to the time limit (and do not count such families in the denominator of the coverage rate estimate), they do not make any allowance for families staying off TANF to conserve their time-limited assistance months.  Also, the numbers of eligible and participating families include the territories and pregnant women without children, even though these two small groups are excluded from the TRIM model.  The numbers shown here implicitly assume that participation rates for the territories and for pregnant women with no other children are the same as for all other eligibles.  In 2004 the methods for identifying potential child-only units capture the fact that non-parent caretakers generally have a choice of whether or not to be included in the TANF unit.  TRIM now excludes those caretakers whose income would make the unit ineligible, increasing the number of potential child-only units.

Source:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, caseload tabulations and unpublished tabulations from the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Between 1981 and 1996, participation rates in the AFDC program ranged from 76.7 percent (in 1987) to 85.7 percent (in 1992).  From 1996 to 2012, participation rates in TANF have declined.  In 1996, 78.9 percent of eligible families participated in the AFDC/TANF program.  By 2012, 32.4 percent of eligible families participated in the TANF program. 19
  • Since welfare reform, there has been a notable decline in the number of eligible families participating in the TANF program.20

Table IND 4b. Number and Percentage of Eligible Households Participating in SNAP: Selected Years

Date

Eligible Households

(millions)

Participating  Households

(millions)

Participation Rate

(percent)

September 1976

16.3

5.3

32.6

February 1978

14.0

5.3

37.8

August 1980

14.0

7.4

52.5

August 1982

14.5

7.5

51.5

August 1984

14.2

7.3

51.6

August 1986

15.3

7.1

46.5

August 1988

14.9

7.0

47.1

August 1990

14.5

8.0

54.9

August 1991

15.6

9.2

59.1

August 1992

16.6

10.2

61.6

August 1993

17.0

10.9

64.0

August 1994

17.0

11.0

64.6

September 1994 (revised)

15.3

10.7

69.6

September 1995

15.0

10.4

69.2

September 1996

15.3

9.9

65.1

September 1997

14.7

8.4

57.5

September 1998

14.0

7.6

54.2

September 1999

13.7

7.3

53.0

Fiscal Year 1999

14.5

7.5

51.6

Fiscal Year 2000

14.2

7.1

50.2

Fiscal Year 2001

15.1

7.3

48.0

Fiscal Year 2002(a)

16.7

8.0

47.6

Fiscal Year 2002(b)

16.0

8.0

49.7

Fiscal Year 2003

17.1

8.9

52.1

Fiscal Year 2004

17.5

10.0

57.1

Fiscal Year 2005

17.7

10.7

60.6

Fiscal Year 2006

17.1

11.2

65.3

Fiscal Year 2007

17.5

11.4

65.5

Fiscal Year 2008

18.0

12.3

68.4

Fiscal Year 2009

20.3

14.7

72.2

Fiscal Year 2010

23.3

17.4

74.6

Fiscal Year 2011

23.5

19.2

81.8

Fiscal Year 2012

23.2

20.2

87.2

Note: SNAP eligible households are estimated from a Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. model that uses CPS data to simulate the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility.  SNAP caseload data are from USDA, FNS program operations caseload data.  There have been small changes in the methodology over time, due to model improvements and revisions to the CPS.  Notably, the model was revised in 1994 to produce more accurate and lower estimates of eligible households.  The estimates for previous years show higher estimates of eligibles and lower participation rates relative to the revised estimate for 1994 and estimates for subsequent years. The two estimates for 1999 are due to re-weighting of the March 2000 – 2003 CPS files to Census 2000 and revised methodologies for determining SNAP eligibility.  The original estimate (September 1999) is consistent methodologically with estimates from September 1994 – September 1998, while the revised estimate (FY 1999) is consistent with the estimates for FY 2000 – FY 2006.  The FY 2011 estimates are not based upon a revised methodologically consistent with prior estimates.

Source:  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Trends in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Participation Rates:
Fiscal Years 2010 to 2012
available online at http://www.fns.usda.gov/trends-supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-participation-rates-fiscal-year-2010-fiscal-year.

  • Table IND 4b shows the average monthly number and percentage of eligible households participating in Food Stamps/SNAP for selected years.  Since fiscal year 2002, the participation rate for SNAP has increased from 47.6 percent in fiscal year 2002 to 87.2 percent in fiscal year 2012.
  • Between fiscal years 1999 and 2012 households eligible for the Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program increased from 14.5 to 23.2 million households (a 60.0 percent increase). 
  • Over the same period caseloads grew from 7.5 to 20.2 million households (by a 170 percent increase), with notable increases occurring since Fiscal Year 2008.
  • During the mid to late 1990s, there was a 35.5 percent drop in SNAP caseloads, from a peak of 11 million households in 1994 to 7.1 million households in 2000.  This decline in caseloads occurred during a time when both the eligible population and the program participation rates were decreasing.  Beginning in 2002 these were both increasing.

Table IND 4c.  Percentage of Eligible Adult Units Participating in the SSI Program by Selected Characteristics: 1993-2012

 

All Adult Units

One-Person Units

Married-Couple Units

Aged

Disabled

1993

62.0

57.0

71.0

37.0

1994

65.0

58.4

73.0

43.9

1995

69.1

64.9

74.0

52.2

1996

66.6

60.4

73.5

46.7

1997

71.1

62.7

79.4

49.1

1998

70.7

63.6

77.9

48.1

1999

74.3

65.8

83.3

47.8

2000

75.8

70.9

82.3

49.9

2001

69.7

64.4

75.9

45.7

2002

70.4

61.9

78.3

47.9

2003

68.2

62.3

73.8

47.6

2004

65.7

63.3

69.2

46.0

2005

67.7

63.4

73.5

41.1

2006

68.8

69.1

72.5

39.9

2007

66.8

61.6

72.3

43.0

2008

65.6

67.3

68.0

39.8

2009

64.6

64.8

67.4

40.0

2010

65.1

65.8

67.4

41.5

2011

67.3

67.3

70.3

40.1

2012

64.1

58.2

69.9

37.5

Note:  SSI participation rates are estimated using the TRIM3 microsimulation model that uses CPS data to simulate SSI eligibility for an average month, by calendar year.  There have been small changes in estimating methodology over time, due to model improvements and revisions to the CPS.  In particular, the model was revised in 1997 and 1998 to more accurately exclude ineligible immigrants.  Thus the increased participation rate in 1997 is partly due to a revision in estimating methodology.  In 2004 the TRIM methods for identifying individuals eligible for SSI due to disability were improved resulting in more eligibles for this category.  Still it is important to note that the TRIM model utilizes the limited information on disability status available from the Current Population Survey and thus may be underestimating the eligible non-elderly adult population resulting in participation rates that are too high.  For example unpublished tabulations from the Social Security Administration based on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation suggest that the rate of SSI participation among eligible non-elderly adults may be somewhere between a low estimate of around 40 percent and a high estimate of 80 percent – a fairly wide range.  Also note that the figures for married-couple units are based on very small sample sizes–for example, married-couple units were only about 7.5 percent of the eligible adult units and 5.1 percent of the units receiving SSI in the average month of 1998.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1994-2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.
  • Table IND 4c shows the average monthly number and percentage of eligible adult units participating in the SSI program by select demographic categories.  After rising to 75.8 percent of adults estimated to be eligible for SSI in 2000, the SSI participation rate has decreased to 64.1 percent of those estimated to be eligible for SSI in 2012.  This rate is higher than recent TANF rates (32.4 percent) but is lower than the SNAP participation rate of 87.2 percent (see Tables IND 4a and IND 4b).
  • For aged adults in one-person units, the estimated SSI participation rate increased from 57.0 percent in 1993 to a high of 70.9 percent in 2000.  The estimated SSI participation rate among aged one-person units was 58.2 percent in 2012.

19 Note that TANF is a flexible program with a flexible funding stream.  As such, states provide substantial “non assistance” services and benefits that would not be included in the cash assistance caseload counts used to derive these participation rate estimates.  Over the years families also may have received cash benefits or other services through general assistance and other solely state-funded programs that are separate from the TANF program and are not shown here.

20 As discussed in the note to Table IND 4a above, the model for estimating participation in the TANF cash assistance program does take into account benefits from separate state programs (SSPs) that are used to meet Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements.

INDICATOR 5. Multiple Program Receipt


Figure IND 5. Percentage of Recipients Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs – TANF, SNAP and SSI: 2012

Percentage of Recipients Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs – TANF, SNAP and SSI: 2012

Note: Categories are mutually exclusive.  SSI receipt is based on individual receipt; TANF and SNAP receipt are based on the full recipient unit.  Recipients are defined as those individuals who receive SSI or live in a family that receives either TANF or SNAP benefits.   In practice, individuals typically do not receive both TANF and SSI; hence, no individual receives benefits from all three programs.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

  • Figure IND 5 shows the percentage of those receiving benefits from TANF, SNAP, or SSI or a combination of benefits from these programs in 2012.  Eighty-three (83.0) percent of all individuals received no benefits from means tested programs, while 17.0 percent did.  Of those who received any benefits from the three programs,76.7 percent of recipients received only SNAP benefits, 7.2 percent of recipients received both TANF and SNAP benefits, and 9.5 percent of recipients received SSI and SNAP.
  • Table IND 5a shows the percentage of the population receiving assistance from TANF, SNAP, and SSI by demographic characteristics.  About five (4.5) percent of children from birth to 5 years lived in families that received both TANF and SNAP. 
  • Among family categories, persons in female-headed families were more likely than those living in other types of families to receive support from multiple means-tested assistance programs.
  • Table IND 5b shows the percentage of the population receiving assistance from multiple means-tested assistance programs between 1993 and 2012.  Reliance on TANF and SNAP together has decreased over time.  In 1993, 4.8 percent of the population received AFDC and food stamps.  In 2012, the percent that received both TANF and SNAP decreased to 1.2 percent.  Reliance on SNAP and SSI was 1.0 percent in 1993 and in 2012 it was 1.6 percent.

Table IND 5a. Percentage of Recipients Receiving Assistance from Multiple Programs by Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

Any Receipt

One Program Only

Two Programs

 

 

TANF

SNAP

SSI

TANF & SNAP

SNAP & SSI

All Persons

17.0

0.1

13.0

1.0

1.2

1.6

  Racial/Ethnic Categories

   Non-Hispanic White

12.0

0.1

9.5

0.7

0.5

1.3

   Non-Hispanic Black

32.7

0.2

24.1

1.4

3.3

3.7

   Hispanic

24.8

0.3

18.9

1.7

2.4

1.6

  Age Categories

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Children ages 0-5

33.3

0.5

27.0

0.6

4.5

0.7

   Children ages 6-10

30.6

0.4

24.5

0.8

3.6

1.3

   Children ages 11-15

26.4

0.4

20.8

0.9

3.1

1.2

   Women ages 16-64

15.9

0.1

12.3

0.8

1.0

1.8

   Men ages 16-64

12.5

0.0

9.8

0.9

0.3

1.5

   Adults ages 65 and over

10.2

0.0

5.4

2.3

0.0

2.6

  Family Categories

   Persons in married-couple families

9.8

0.1

8.1

0.7

0.4

0.5

   Persons in female-headed families

43.5

0.3

32.3

1.7

5.8

3.3

   Persons in male-headed families

24.9

0.1

19.3

1.7

1.4

2.3

   Unrelated persons

16.3

0.0

11.4

1.2

0.0

3.6

Note: Categories are mutually exclusive.  SSI receipt is based on individual receipt; AFDC/TANF and Food Stamps/SNAP receipt are based on the full recipient unit.  In practice, individuals do not tend to receive both AFDC/TANF and SSI; hence, no individual receives benefits from all three programs.  The percentage of individuals receiving assistance from any one program in an average month (shown here) is lower than the percentage residing in families receiving assistance at some point over the course of a year (shown in Table SUM 1 in Chapter I and Table IND 1a in Chapter II).  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed family categories.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

Table IND 5b. Percentage of Recipients Receiving Assistance from Multiple Means-Tested Assistance Programs: 1993-2012

 

Any Receipt

One Program Only

Two Programs

 

 

AFDC/TANF

FS/SNAP

SSI

AFDC/TANF & SNAP

    SNAP & SSI

1993

12.6

0.6

5.2

1.1

4.8

1.0

1994

12.8

0.5

5.3

1.2

4.6

1.1

1995

12.3

0.4

5.0

1.2

4.5

1.1

1996

12.0

0.3

5.3

1.2

4.0

1.1

1997

10.2

0.4

4.3

1.3

3.1

1.0

1998

9.0

0.4

3.9

1.4

2.4

0.9

1999

8.5

0.4

3.8

1.3

2.0

1.0

2000

8.1

0.2

3.8

1.4

1.7

1.0

2001

8.1

0.3

3.9

1.4

1.5

1.0

2002

8.5

0.3

4.5

1.3

1.4

1.0

2003

9.7

0.2

5.5

1.3

1.6

1.0

2004

10.3

0.2

6.1

1.2

1.6

1.1

2005

10.2

0.2

6.2

1.3

1.5

1.2

2006

10.4

0.2

6.5

1.3

1.3

1.2

2007

10.6

0.2

6.8

1.3

1.2

1.2

2008

11.4

0.2

7.7

1.2

1.2

1.2

2009

13.5

0.2

9.6

1.1

1.3

1.4

2010

16.3

0.2

12.2

1.0

1.3

1.5

2011

16.8

0.2

12.7

1.0

1.3

1.6

2012

17.0

0.1

13.0

1.0

1.2

1.6

Note: Categories are mutually exclusive.  SSI receipt is based on individual receipt; AFDC/TANF and Food Stamps/SNAP receipt are based on the full recipient unit.  In practice, individuals do not tend to receive both AFDC/TANF and SSI; hence, no individual receives benefits from all three programs.  The percentage of individuals receiving assistance from any one program in an average month (shown here) is lower than the percentage residing in families receiving assistance at some point over the course of a year (shown in Table SUM 1 in Chapter I and Table IND 1a in Chapter II).

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1994-2012, analyzed using the TRIM3 microsimulation model.

INDICATOR 6. Dependence Transitions

Figure IND 6.  Dependency Status in 2012 of Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in 2011 by Race and Ethnicity

Dependency Status in 2012 of Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in 2011 by Race and Ethnicity

Note:  Means-tested assistance is defined as AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP, and SSI.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Individuals are defined as dependent if they reside in families with more than 50 percent of total annual family income from these means-tested programs.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

  • Figure IND 6 shows the 2012 dependency status of persons who were welfare dependent in 2011 by race and ethnicity.  Welfare dependence is defined as receiving more than half of one’s total family income in the year from TANF, SNAP, and/or SSI.  For further discussion of defining welfare dependency, see Chapter I. 
  • Of recipients who received more than 50 percent of their total family income from TANF, SNAP and/or SSI in 2011, approximately three-quarters across three racial and ethnic groups (71.3 percent of Non-Hispanic Whites, 72.6 percent of Non-Hispanic Blacks, and 73.1 percent of Hispanics) also were welfare dependent in 2012.
  • Table IND 6a shows the 2012 dependency status of persons who were welfare dependent in 2011 by demographic groups.  Women ages 16 – 64 had a higher dependency rate (76.2 percent) than men (70.4 percent), and children less than 5 years old also had a higher dependency rate (70.5 percent) than those ages 11 – 15 (66.7 percent).  
  • Table IND 6b shows the dependency status of all persons who received more than 50 percent of their family income from means-tested assistance programs in the previous year.  While most remain dependent from one year to the next, this has lessened some with a 7.4 percentage point decrease in remaining dependent from the previous year to the current year from 1994 to 2012. 

Table IND 6a.  Dependency Status in 2012 of Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in 2011 by Selected Characteristics

 

 

Percentage of Persons Receiving

Persons Receiving More than 50 Percent of Income from Assistance in 2011

Total

(thousands)

No aid

 in 2012

Up to 50%

 in 2012

Over 50%

in 2012

All Persons

9,834

1.2

26.5

72.4

  Racial/Ethnic Categories

    Non-Hispanic White

3,619

1.8

26.9

71.3

    Non-Hispanic Black

3,410

0.2

27.3

72.6

    Hispanic

2,011

1.2

25.7

73.1

  Age Categories

    Children ages 0-5

1,278

2.1

27.4

70.5

    Children ages 6-10

1,068

1.1

33.4

65.6

    Children ages 11-15

1,015

0.0

33.3

66.7

    Women ages 16-64

3,665

0.5

23.3

76.2

    Men ages 16-64

2,266

2.2

27.4

70.4

    Adults ages 65 and over

488

0.6

13.9

85.4

Note:  Means-tested assistance is defined as AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP, and SSI.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Individuals are defined as dependent if they reside in families with more than 50 percent of total annual family income from these means-tested programs.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Individual age categories do not add to total because of a small number of people not reporting age.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

Table IND 6b. Dependency Status of All Persons Who Received More than 50 Percent of Income from Means-Tested Assistance in Previous Year

 

 

Percentage of Persons Receiving

 

Total

(thousands)

   No aid in

second year

Up to 50% in

second year

Over 50% in second year

Transitions from:

1993 to 1994

14,810

1.6

18.6

79.8

1994 to 1995

13,986

2.7

18.8

78.5

1997 to 1998

9,672

3.1

28.8

68.1

1998 to 1999

8,163

2.9

27.1

70.0

2001 to 2002

6,258

1.5

29.2

69.3

2002 to 2003

6,023

2.6

25.8

71.6

2004 to 2005

7,682

4.1

31.7

64.2

2005 to 2006

7,339

2.4

24.2

73.5

2006 to 2007

6,969

2.4

20.9

76.7

2009 to 2010

8,344

1.7

22.4

75.9

2010 to 2011

9,481

2.2

25.5

72.3

2011 to 2012

9,834

1.2

26.5

72.4

Note: Means-tested assistance is defined as AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP, and SSI.  Individuals are defined as dependent if they reside in families with more than 50 percent of total annual family income from these means-tested programs.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income in all years and veterans’ pension benefits are included in means-tested assistance income for receipt and dependence estimates prior to 2001.  Because full calendar year data for 1995 were not available for all SIPP respondents, some transitions between 1994 and 1995 were based on twelve-month periods that do not correspond exactly to calendar years.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

INDICATOR 7. Program Spell Duration

Figure IND 7.  Percentage of TANF, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Percentage of TANF, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed.  Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2011).  This estimate differs from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

  • Figure IND 7 shows the percentage of TANF, SNAP, and SSI spells by spell length categories for persons entering programs in the late 2000s.  Between 2008 and 2012, brief spells lasting four months or less accounted for 50.5 percent of TANF spells, 28.7 percent of SNAP spells, and 33.0 percent of SSI spells.
  • Eighty (79.6) percent of all TANF spells, over half of SNAP spells (53.7 percent) and 54.0 percent of SSI spells lasted one year or less. 
  • Table IND 7a shows the percentage of program spells for persons entering programs during the 2008 – 2012 period by length of spell and demographic characteristics.  Among child recipients of TANF, most children experienced shorter spells of receipt (less than 4 months) rather than longer spells of receipt (greater than 20 months).
    Adults 65 years and older had the longest spells of SSI receipt (55.9 percent lasted more than 20 months).  Children ages 6 – 10 had the longest spells of SNAP receipt (42.4 percent lasted more than 20 months).  Children ages 11 – 15 had the longest spells of TANF receipt (21.9 percent lasted more than 20 months).
  • Table IND 7b shows how the percentage of program spells of varying lengths for persons entering programs during selected periods has changed.  Spells of TANF receipt were shorter in the 2000s than in the early 1990s.  For instance, 11.3 percent of TANF spells for persons entering TANF between 2008 and 2012 lasted 20 months or longer as compared to 34.4 percent of AFDC spells beginning between 1992 and 1994.

Table IND 7a.  Percentage of TANF, SNAP and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

Program

 

Spells <=4 Months

Spells 5-12 Months

Spells 13-20 Months

Spells >20 Months

TANF

All Recipients

50.5

29.1

9.2

11.3

 

Non-Hispanic White

50.1

30.2

7.7

12.0

 

Non-Hispanic Black

53.7

25.5

9.4

11.5

 

Hispanic

47.3

32.4

10.2

10.2

 

Children ages 0-5

41.9

34.4

11.3

12.4

 

Children ages 6-10

44.0

30.8

12.8

12.4

 

Children ages 11-15

46.2

28.3

3.6

21.9

 

Adults ages 16-64

55.7

27.5

9.5

7.4

 

Adults ages 65 and over

60.3

26.3

0.0

13.4

SNAP

All Recipients

28.7

25.0

11.0

35.3

 

Non-Hispanic White

27.1

27.3

10.3

35.3

 

Non-Hispanic Black

28.8

22.5

10.3

38.4

 

Hispanic

30.0

24.0

12.8

33.2

 

Children ages 0-5

20.0

28.3

10.3

41.4

 

Children ages 6-10

21.7

25.2

10.7

42.4

 

Children ages 11-15

26.3

25.7

10.5

37.4

 

Adults ages 16-64

30.5

25.2

11.5

32.9

 

Adults ages 65 and over

36.7

16.6

8.6

38.1

SSI

All Recipients

33.0

21.0

8.3

37.8

 

Non-Hispanic White

32.1

20.1

5.4

42.4

 

Non-Hispanic Black

34.6

23.8

11.0

30.6

 

Hispanic

36.6

18.7

7.1

37.7

 

Children ages 0-5

46.2

29.7

8.8

15.3

 

Children ages 6-10

46.6

29.9

8.8

14.8

 

Children ages 11-15

42.7

23.7

8.8

24.9

 

Adults ages 16-64

29.9

19.9

7.6

42.5

 

Adults ages 65 and over

21.3

12.3

10.5

55.9

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2012).  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.21

Table IND 7b.  Percentage of AFDC/TANF, Food Stamps/SNAP, and SSI Spells for Persons Entering Programs during Selected SIPP Panels by Length of Spell

Period

Program

Spells <=4

Months

Spells 5-12

Months

Spells 13-20

Months

Spells >20

Months

1992  – 1994

AFDC

30.4

24.7

10.5

34.4

 

Food Stamps

33.4

24.9

10.2

31.5

 

SSI

25.7

8.9

4.8

60.6

1993  – 1995

AFDC

30.7

25.4

12.5

31.4

 

Food Stamps

33.1

26.8

10.1

30.0

 

SSI

24.0

7.9

4.7

63.4

1996  – 1999

AFDC/TANF

46.6

29.2

11.5

12.7

 

Food Stamps

43.1

27.7

9.3

19.8

 

SSI

34.1

19.2

9.1

37.6

2001 – 2003

TANF

49.6

23.7

10.0

16.8

 

Food Stamps

35.9

24.4

8.9

30.7

 

SSI

27.9

21.4

7.3

43.5

2004 – 2007

TANF

43.8

29.9

12.2

14.1

 

Food Stamps

33.1

29.0

9.1

28.8

 

SSI

24.2

19.8

9.1

47.0

2008 – 2012

TANF

50.5

29.1

9.2

11.3

 

SNAP

28.7

25.0

11.0

35.3

 

SSI

33.0

21.0

8.3

37.8

Note: Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed.  Program spells are defined as those starting during the 2004 SIPP panel (2004 – 2007). 

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1992, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

These estimates differ from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated.


21 These estimates differ from some USDA data because of methodological differences in the way that the data is tabulated.

INDICATOR 8. Welfare Spell Duration with No Labor Force Attachment


Figure IND 8.  Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  Due to the length of the observation period, actual spell lengths for spells that lasted more than 20 months cannot be observed.  TANF spells with no family labor force attachment are defined as those spells starting during the 2008 SIPP panel for persons who received TANF and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

  • Figure IND 8 shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment for persons entering the TANF program between 2008 and 2012 by length of spell.22
  • Welfare spells with no family labor force attachment are measured as consecutive months that a person received TANF benefits and lived in a family with no labor force participants.  Welfare spells with no family labor force attachment may end when a person leaves the TANF program or when a person remains on TANF but at least one person in the family enters the labor market.
  • Fifty-six (56.4) percent of welfare spells with no family labor force attachment lasted four months or less as measured in the Survey of Income and Program Participation. 
  • Table IND 8a shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment by spell length for different demographic groups.  The percentage of spells ending in four months or less was smaller for Non-Hispanic Whites (44.9 percent) than it was for Non-Hispanic Blacks (68.0 percent) and Hispanics (54.5 percent).

Table IND 8a.  Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

 

Spells <=4 Months

Spells 5-12 Months

Spells 13-20 Months

Spells >20 Months

All Persons

56.4

30.0

5.9

7.8

  Racial/Ethnic Categories

    Non-Hispanic White

44.9

35.1

11.4

8.5

    Non-Hispanic Black

68.0

22.2

2.7

7.1

    Hispanic

54.5

35.1

4.9

5.5

  Age Categories

    Children ages 0-15

53.8

31.8

4.9

9.4

    Adults ages 16-64

59.3

27.9

7.4

5.4

 

Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  TANF spells with no family labor force attachment are defined as those spells starting during the 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2012) for persons who received TANF and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

Table IND 8b.  Percentage of TANF Spells with No Family Labor Force Attachment for Persons Entering Programs during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Selected Years

 

Spells <=4 Months

Spells 5-12 Months

Spells 13-20 Months

Spells >20 Months

1993 – 1995

42.6

26.4

8.5

22.5

1996 – 1999 

54.2

28.3

9.3

8.3

2001 – 2003

56.1

23.0

10.6

10.2

2004 – 2007

51.6

25.0

9.4

14.0

2008—2012

56.4

30.0

5.9

7.8

Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.  TANF spells with no family labor force attachment are defined as those spells starting during the 2008 SIPP panel (2008 – 2012) for persons who received TANF and lived in families with no labor force participants in each month.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.
  • Table IND 8b shows the percentage of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment for persons entering the program during selected periods by spell length.  In the late 2000s and early 2010s, 56.4 percent of TANF spells with no family labor force attachment ended within four months and 86.4 percent ended within a year. This compares to 42.6 percent and 69.0 percent, respectively, in the early 1990s.
  • The percentage of spells with no family labor force attachment lasting more than 20 months was higher in the early 1990s than in the late 2000s and early 2010s (22.5 percent compared to 7.8 percent, respectively). 

22 Indicators 7 and 8 provide similar information; however, the percentages of spell lengths differ because the two Indicators are computed differently.  Indicator 7 shows spells for all recipients while Indicator 8 restricts welfare spells to recipients in families without any labor force participants.  This difference results in a higher percentage of spells longer than 20 months in Indicator 7, where TANF employment may be combined, and compared to Indicator 8 where no one in the family may be in the labor force at any time during the spell.

INDICATOR 9. Long Term Receipt

Figure IND 9.  Percentage of AFDC/TANF Recipients by Years of Receipt in the 1999 – 2008 Period

Percentage of AFDC/TANF Recipients by Years of Receipt in the 1999 – 2008 Period
Note: The base for the percentages consists of mothers who received at least $1 of AFDC/TANF in any year in the ten-year period.  Child recipients are defined by age in the first year of the 10-year period. This indicator measures years of recipiency over the specified ten-year time periods and does not take into account years of recipiency that may have occurred before or after each ten-year period. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, public release data files, 1999-2008. 

  • Figure IND 9 shows the percentage of AFDC/TANF recipients by years of receipt between 1999 and 2008.  Among all persons receiving AFDC/TANF at some point within the ten-year period, 71.5 percent received assistance in only one or two of these years. In contrast, 1.1 percent received assistance in 9 or 10 of the years.
  • Table IND 9 shows the percentage of AFDC/TANF recipients with varying years of receipt across four ten-year time periods by demographic characteristics.  Long spells of welfare receipt were more common in earlier time periods than they were in later time periods.  For example, for the 1969 – 1978 time period, 12.8 percent of AFDC recipients received benefits in at least 9 of the 10 years as compared to 1.1 percent of TANF recipients for the 1999 - 2008 time period. 
  • Among child recipients, for the 1969 – 1978  time period, 17.3 percent of children birth to age 5 lived in families that received AFDC/TANF in 9 – 10 years as compared to 2.4 percent for the 1999 - 2008 time period. 
  • Short spells of TANF receipt were more prevalent in the 1999 - 2008 period compared to earlier periods.  Between 1999 - 2008, 71.5 percent of TANF recipients received benefits in only one or two years compared to 47.9 percent in the 1989 to 1998 period, 44.6 percent in the 1979 – 1988 period, and 43.6 percent in the 1969 – 1978 period.
  • Among racial groups, the percentage of Non-Hispanic Black recipients receiving TANF benefits for 9 – 10 years has decreased from a high of 18.4 percent in the 1979 – 1988 period to a low of 2.9 percent in the 1999 – 2008 period.  For the 1999 – 2008 period, the data show that there were no Non-Hispanic White recipients receiving TANF for 9 – 10 years as compared to 10.2 percent in the 1969-1978 period.

Table IND 9. Percentage of AFDC/TANF Recipients across Four Ten-Year Time Periods by Years of Receipt and Selected Characteristics

All Persons

All Recipients

Child Recipients Ages 0-5

 

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

Years received AFDC/TANF

  1-2 years

43.6

44.6

47.9

71.5

33.3

36.8

40.4

73.0

  3-5 years

23.1

25.0

31.5

20.5

28.3

25.0

27.1

18.4

  6-8 years

20.5

17.3

12.4

6.9

21.1

18.4

17.3

6.2

  9-10 years

12.8

13.1

8.2

1.1

17.3

19.8

15.2

2.4

Non-Hispanic Whites

All Recipients

Child Recipients Ages 0-5

 

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

Years received AFDC/TANF

  1-2 years

51.0

54.0

51.3

76.4

41.4

47.4

50.9

78.2

  3-5 years

21.1

21.2

36.8

18.0

29.1

23.3

31.3

15.2

  6-8 years

17.7

15.1

7.4

5.6

16.8

15.5

8.7

5.2

  9-10 years

10.2

9.7

4.5

0.0

12.7

13.8

9.1

1.4

Non-Hispanic Blacks

All Recipients

Child Recipients Ages 0-5

 

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

1969-1978

1979-1988

1989-1998

1999-2008

Years received AFDC/TANF

  1-2 years

30.2

31.2

44.1

62.6

19.4

20.8

33.0

60.0

  3-5 years

26.1

29.1

25.4

25.5

28.8

27.7

23.3

25.1

  6-8 years

26.2

21.3

18.0

9.0

28.3

23.0

24.4

9.1

  9-10 years

17.5

18.4

12.5

2.9

23.5

28.5

19.3

5.8

Note: The base for the percentages consists of mothers who received at least $1 of AFDC/TANF in any year in the ten-year period.  Child recipients are defined by age in the first year of the 10-year period. This indicator measures years of recipiency over the specified ten-year time periods and does not take into account years of recipiency that may have occurred before or after each ten-year period. 

Due to small sample size, Hispanics, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the estimates for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, public release data files, 1969-2008,

INDICATOR 10. Events Associated with the Beginning and Ending of Program Spells

Figure IND 10a. Events Associated with Single Mother TANF Exits during the 2008 - 2012 Period

Events Associated with Single Mother TANF Exits during the 2008 - 2012 Period

Note:  Welfare exits are defined as moving from receipt to non-receipt between two successive SIPP interviews (conducted 4 months apart); an event was associated with a welfare transition if the event was observed within two interviews (i.e., 8 months) of the interview marking the welfare exit.  In general, events are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive, and transition events may sum to more than 100 percent.  Two exceptions are that “Increase in other Household Earnings” was limited to cases when there were increases in household earnings without an increase in recipient earnings, and “Increase in Adults (not marriage)” was limited to cases where the adult joining the household was not marrying the head of the household.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Other government benefits include Unemployment Insurance, Foster Care, Railroad Retirement, veterans’ payments and Workers Compensation.  An increase in earnings must be an increase of at least $50 per month.  A work limitation is defined as a condition that limits the kind or amount of work.  The category "None of above in recent past" represents the percentage of all spells ending during the period that were not associated with any of the events measured.  

Spells of welfare receipt and associated events are measured using monthly data from the SIPP.  In the 2003 Indicators of Welfare Dependence volume (and earlier volumes), events associated with the beginning and ending of program spells were measured using annual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).  Thus, the estimates shown above are not comparable to estimates reported in volumes prior to 2003.

Events sum to more than 100 percent because the same household could experience more than one event associated with a specific welfare entry or exit. 

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel (2008 – 2012).

  • Figure IND 10a shows events associated with single mother TANF exits during the 2008 SIPP panel.  Welfare exits were most often associated with an increase in recipient earnings.  Thirty-seven (37.3) percent of welfare spells that ended during the 2008 to 2012 time period were associated with an increase in the recipient’s earnings.  Twenty (19.7) percent of welfare exits were associated with an increase in the earnings of other household members. 
  • Twenty-nine (28.5) percent of welfare exits among single mothers during the 2008 – 2012 time period were not associated with any of the events listed above within the time period observed.
  • Table IND 10a shows the events associated with welfare exits among single mother recipients for selected years.  Increases in recipient earnings are the most common event associated with welfare exits, but exits associated with recipient earnings increases have decreased over time.  For the 1993 – 1995 time period, 54.8 percent of exits were associated with an increase in recipient earnings, yet for the 2008 – 2012 time period 37.3 percent were associated with increases in recipient earnings.

Table IND 10a. Percentage of Single Mother AFDC/TANF Spell Exits Associated with Specific Events: Selected Periods

 

Spell Ended

1993-1995

Spell Ended

1996-1999

Spell Ended

2001-2003

Spell Ended

2004-2006

Spell Ended

2008-2012

Increase in own earnings

54.8

60.6

49.9

48.6

37.3

Increase in other household earnings

10.3

12.2

14.5

16.6

19.7

Became SSI recipient

1.6

5.9

5.1

4.2

8.9

Became recipient of other government benefits

2.2

2.6

2.9

0.7

3.3

Last child left or turned 19

5.6

2.4

1.6

3.3

4.2

Married

5.4

2.1

2.3

1.9

1.9

Increase in number of adults (not marriage)

17.6

12.4

12.8

14.2

19.8

Ended work limitation

3.0

10.9

8.8

5.2

6.1

Moved across state lines

2.4

1.4

2.8

4.4

4.3

None of above in recent past

24.0

19.0

24.7

27.3

28.5

 

Note:  Welfare exits are defined as moving from receipt to non-receipt between two successive SIPP interviews (conducted 4 months apart); an event was associated with a welfare transition if the event was observed within two interviews (i.e., 8 months) of the interview marking the welfare exit.  In general, events are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive, and transition events may sum to more than 100 percent.  Two exceptions are that “Increase in other Household Earnings” was limited to cases when there were increases in household earnings without an increase in recipient earnings, and “Increase in Adults (not marriage)” was limited to cases where the adult joining the household was not marrying the head of the household.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Other government benefits include Unemployment Insurance, Foster Care, Railroad Retirement, veterans payments and Workers Compensation.  An increase in earnings must be an increase of at least $50 per month.  A work limitation is defined as a condition that limits the kind or amount of work.  The category "None of above in Recent Past" represents the percentage of all spells ending during the period that were not associated with any of the events measured.  

Spells of welfare receipt and associated events are measured using monthly data from the SIPP.  In the 2003 Indicators of Welfare Dependence volume (and earlier volumes), events associated with the beginning and ending of program spells were measured using annual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).  Thus, the estimates shown above are not comparable to estimates reported in volumes prior to 2003.

Events sum to more than 100 percent because the same household could experience more than one event associated with a specific welfare entry or exit. 

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

  • Welfare exits associated with increases in other household earnings have increased over time. For the 1993 – 1995 time period, 10.3 percent of welfare exits were related to increases in other household earnings, compared to 19.7 percent for the 2008 – 2012 time period.   
  • Welfare exits associated with marriage also declined over the two time periods.  For the 1993 – 1995 time period, 5.4 percent of exits were related to marriage, for the 2008 – 2012 time period, the rate was 1.9 percent. 

Figure IND 10b.  Events Associated with Single Mother TANF Entries during the 2008 - 2012 Period

Events Associated with Single Mother TANF Entries during the 2008 - 2012 Period

Note:  Welfare entries are defined as moving from non-receipt to receipt between two successive SIPP interviews (conducted 4 months apart); an event was associated with a welfare transition if the event was observed within two interviews (i.e., 8 months) of the interview marking the welfare entry.  In general, events are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive, and transition events may sum to more than 100 percent.  Two exceptions are that “Other Household Earnings Decreased” was limited to cases when there were decreases in household earnings without a decrease in recipient earnings, and “Decrease in Number of Adults (not divorce)” was limited to cases where the adult leaving the household was not married to the head of the household.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Other government benefits include Unemployment Insurance, Foster Care, Railroad Retirement, veterans payments and Workers Compensation.  A decrease in earnings must be a decrease of at least $50 per month.  A work limitation is defined as a condition that limits the kind or amount of work.  The category "None of above in recent past" represents the percentage of all spell beginnings during the period that were not associated with any of the events measured.  

Spells of welfare receipt and associated events are measured using monthly data from the SIPP.  In the 2003 Indicators of Welfare Dependence volume (and earlier volumes), events associated with the beginning and ending of program spells were measured using annual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID).  The estimates shown above are not comparable to estimates reported in volumes prior to 2003.

Events sum to more than 100 percent because the same household could experience more than one event associated with a specific welfare entry or exit. 

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel.

  • Figure IND 10b shows the events associated with the beginning of TANF spells among single mother recipients in the 2008 – 2012 time period.  A decrease in earnings was the most common event associated with welfare entries.  For spells beginning between 2008 and 2012, 31.2 percent were associated with a decrease in the recipient’s earnings and 21.5 percent were associated with a decrease in the earnings of other household members.
  • Changes in household composition also were associated with the beginning of welfare spells.  Twenty-five (25.4) percent of welfare entries were associated with a new child joining the family while 17.0 percent of TANF entries were the result of a decrease in the number of adults in a household not due to divorce.  Four percent of TANF entries were associated with divorce or separation. 
  • Twenty-six (26.4) percent of welfare entries were not associated with any of the events listed above within the time period observed.   

Table IND 10b. Percentage of Single Mother AFDC/TANF Spell Entries Associated with Specific Events: Selected Periods

 

Spell Began

1993-1995

Spell Began

1996-1999

Spell Began

2001-2003

Spell Began

2004-2006

Spell Began

2007-2012

Recipients’ earnings decreased

57.1

48.1

46.7

43.8

31.2

Other household earnings decreased

24.0

19.6

17.2

19.2

21.5

Lost SSI benefits (own)

1.4

5.1

4.4

5.2

4.6

Lost other government benefits (own)

8.1

5.1

6.1

4.7

6.7

New child in family

22.0

22.0

27.5

28.9

25.4

Divorced/separated from spouse

8.7

6.7

4.3

5.8

4.0

Decrease in number of adults (not divorce)

19.2

17.8

14.7

19.8

17.0

Onset of work limitation

7.2

10.9

11.5

10.4

5.2

Moved across state lines

1.7

1.4

2.2

4.7

4.3

None of above in recent past

8.8

17.4

20.6

19.4

26.4

Note:  Welfare entries are defined as moving from non-receipt to receipt between two successive SIPP interviews (conducted 4 months apart); an event was associated with a welfare transition if the event was observed within two interviews (i.e., 8 months) of the interview marking the welfare entry.  In general, events are neither mutually exclusive nor exhaustive, and transition events may sum to more than 100 percent.  Two exceptions are that “Other Household Earnings Decreased” was limited to cases when there were decreases in household earnings without a decrease in recipient earnings, and “Decrease in Number of Adults (not divorce)” was limited to cases where the adult leaving the household was not married to the head of the household.  While only affecting a small number of cases, General Assistance income is included within AFDC/TANF income.  Other government benefits include Unemployment Insurance, Foster Care, Railroad Retirement, veterans’ payments and Workers Compensation.  A decrease in earnings must be a decrease of at least $50 per month.  A work limitation is defined as a condition that limits the kind or amount of work.  The category "None of above in Recent Past" represents the percentage of all spell beginnings during the period that were not associated with any of the events measured.  

Spells of welfare receipt and associated events are measured using monthly data from the SIPP.  In the 2003 Indicators of Welfare Dependence volume (and earlier volumes), events associated with the beginning and ending of program spells were measured using annual data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID). The estimates shown above are not comparable to estimates reported in volumes prior to 2003.

Events sum to more than 100 percent because the same household could experience more than one event associated with a specific welfare entry or exit. 

Source:  Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

  • Table IND 10b shows the events associated with the beginning of welfare spells among single mother recipients by selected time periods. 
  • Decreases in a recipient’s earnings has been the most common event associated with welfare entries over time. 
  • For the 1993 – 1995 time period, 57.1 percent of AFDC spell entries were associated with a decrease in recipient earnings.  The percentage was 31.2 percent for the 2008– 2012 time period. 
  • The percentage of welfare entries not associated with any events has increased over time. Twenty-six (26.4) percent of welfare entries were not associated with any of the events listed above in the 2008 – 2012 time period, compared to 8.8 percent observed in the 1993-1995 period.
    A decrease in other household members’ earnings also was related to the beginning of welfare spells.  For the 1993 – 1995 time period, 24.0 percent of welfare entries were associated with a decrease in other household members’ earnings.  For the 2008 – 2012 time period, 21.5 percent of welfare entries were associated with a decrease in other household members’ earnings.
  • A new child in the family was the third consistently common reason for welfare spells entries.  Adding a child to the family was associated with 25.4 percent of spells beginning during 2008-2012 and 22.0 percent of spells beginning in the 1993-1995 period.

Chapter III. Predictors and Risk Factors Associated with Welfare Receipt

The Welfare Indicators Act requires the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to identify and set forth not only indicators of welfare dependence and welfare duration but also predictors and causes of welfare receipt.  However, research has not established clear and definitive causes of welfare receipt and dependence.  Instead, it has identified a number of risk factors associated with welfare use. For the purposes of this report, the terms “predictors” and “risk factors” are used somewhat interchangeably.

Following the recommendation of the Advisory Board, this chapter includes a wide range of possible predictors and risk factors.  As research advances, some of the “predictors” included in this chapter may turn out to be simply correlates of welfare receipt, some may have a causal relationship, some may be consequences, and some may have predictive value. 

The predictors/risk factors included in this chapter are grouped into three categories: economic security risk factors, employment-related risk factors, and risk factors associated with nonmarital childbearing.

Economic Security Risk Factors (ECON)

The first group includes seven measures associated with economic security.  This group encompasses five measures of poverty, as well as measures of child support receipt, and food insecurity.  The tables and figures illustrating measures of economic security are labeled with the prefix ECON throughout this chapter. 

Poverty measures are important predictors of dependence, because families with fewer economic resources are more likely to be dependent on means-tested assistance.  In addition, poverty and other measures of deprivation, such as food insecurity, are important to assess in conjunction with the measures of dependence outlined in Chapter II. 

Reductions in caseloads and dependence can reduce poverty, to the extent that such reductions are associated with greater work activity and higher economic resources for former welfare families.  However, if former welfare families are left with fewer economic resources, reductions in welfare caseloads may not lead to decreases in poverty.

Several aspects of poverty are examined in this chapter.  Those that can be updated annually using the Current Population Survey include: overall poverty rates (ECON 1); the percentage of individuals in deep poverty (ECON 2), and poverty rates using alternative definitions of income (ECON 3 and 4). The chapter also includes data on the length of poverty episodes or spells (ECON 5).

This chapter also includes data on poverty rates for custodial parents (ECON 6).  Receipt of child support is associated with reduced poverty among custodial parents.  Household food insecurity (ECON 7) is an important measure of deprivation that, although correlated with general income poverty, provides an alternative measure of tracking the incidence of material hardship and need, and how it may change over time. 

Employment and Work-Related Risk Factors (WORK)

The second grouping, labeled with the WORK prefix, includes seven factors related to employment and barriers to employment.  These measures include data on overall labor force attachment and employment and earnings for low-skilled workers, levels of educational attainment and school drop-out rates, as well as data on barriers to work.  The latter category includes incidence of adult and child disabilities. 

Economic Security Risk Factors (ECON)Employment and earnings provide many families with an escape from dependence.  It is important, therefore, to look both at overall labor force attachment (WORK 1), and at employment and earnings for those with low education levels (WORK 2 and WORK 3).  The economic condition of the low-skill labor market is a key predictor of the ability of men and women to support families without receiving means-tested assistance.

The first group includes seven measures associated with economic security.  This group encompasses five measures of poverty, as well as measures of child support receipt, and food insecurity.  The tables and figures illustrating measures of economic security are labeled with the prefix ECON throughout this chapter. 

Poverty measures are important predictors of dependence, because families with fewer economic resources are more likely to be dependent on means-tested assistance.  In addition, poverty and other measures of deprivation, such as food insecurity, are important to assess in conjunction with the measures of dependence outlined in Chapter II. 

Reductions in caseloads and dependence can reduce poverty, to the extent that such reductions are associated with greater work activity and higher economic resources for former welfare families.  However, if former welfare families are left with fewer economic resources, reductions in welfare caseloads may not lead to decreases in poverty.

Several aspects of poverty are examined in this chapter.  Those that can be updated annually using the Current Population Survey include: overall poverty rates (ECON 1); the percentage of individuals in deep poverty (ECON 2), and poverty rates using alternative definitions of income (ECON 3 and 4). The chapter also includes data on the length of poverty episodes or spells (ECON 5).

This chapter also includes data on poverty rates for custodial parents (ECON 6).  Receipt of child support is associated with reduced poverty among custodial parents.  Household food insecurity (ECON 7) is an important measure of deprivation that, although correlated with general income poverty, provides an alternative measure of tracking the incidence of material hardship and need, and how it may change over time. 

Employment and Work-Related Risk Factors (WORK)

The second grouping, labeled with the WORK prefix, includes seven factors related to employment and barriers to employment.  These measures include data on overall labor force attachment and employment and earnings for low-skilled workers, levels of educational attainment and school drop-out rates, as well as data on barriers to work.  The latter category includes incidence of adult and child disabilities. 

Employment and earnings provide many families with an escape from dependence.  It is important, therefore, to look both at overall labor force attachment (WORK 1), and at employment and earnings for those with low education levels (WORK 2 and WORK 3).  The economic condition of the low-skill labor market is a key predictor of the ability of men and women to support families without receiving means-tested assistance.

Indicator WORK 4 focuses on educational attainment.  Individuals with less than a high school education have the lowest amount of human capital and are at the greatest risk of being poor, despite their work effort.

Measures of barriers to employment provide indicators of potential work limitations, which may be predictors of greater dependence.  Substance abuse (WORK 5) and disabling conditions among children and adults (WORK 6) all have the potential of limiting the ability of the adults in the household to work.  The labor force participation of women with children (WORK 7) is also a predictor of dependence.

Nonmarital Birth Risk Factors (BIRTH)

The final group of risk factors addresses nonmarital childbearing. The tables and figures in this subsection are labeled with the BIRTH prefix.  This category includes long-term time trends in nonmarital births (BIRTH 1), nonmarital teen births (BIRTH 2 and BIRTH 3), and children living in families with never-married parents (BIRTH 4).  Children living in families with never-married mothers are at risk of becoming dependent as adults, and it is therefore important to track changes in the size of this vulnerable population. 

As noted above, the predictors/risk factors included in this chapter do not represent an exhaustive list of measures.  They are merely a sampling of available data that address in some way the question of how a family is faring on the scale of deprivation and well-being.  Such questions are a necessary part of the discussion on dependence as researchers continue to assess the effects of welfare reform.

Economic Security Risk Factor 1. Poverty Rates

Figure ECON 1.  Percentage of Persons in Poverty by Age: 1959-2013

Figure ECON 1.  Percentage of Persons in Poverty by Age: 1959-2013

Note: All persons under 18 include related children (own children, including stepchildren and adopted children, plus all other children in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption), unrelated individuals under 18 (persons who are not living with any relatives), and householders or spouses under age 18.

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html


  • Figure ECON 1 shows the percentage of persons in poverty by age from 1959 to 2013.  The official poverty rate was 14.5 percent in 2013, down from 15.1 percent in 2010.  Prior to 2010, poverty rates had increased from 11.3 percent in 2000 to 15.1 percent in 2010, a time period that included the Great Recession.  
  • All persons under 18 had a poverty rate of 19.9 percent in 2013, down from 22.0 percent in 2010.  In all years after 1959, the child poverty rate was higher than the overall poverty rate.
  • Table ECON 1 shows the percentage of persons in poverty by age and family type for selected years.  In 2013, the poverty rate for the elderly (persons ages 65 and over) was 9.5 percent and the poverty rate for other adults (persons ages 18 to 64) was 13.6 percent.
  • Related children from birth to age five have had the highest poverty rate among all age groups throughout the last four decades.  In 2013, 22.2 percent of related children from birth to age 5 lived below the poverty line, though this is down from 25.3 percent in 2010.  
  • The poverty rates for persons in both married-couple families and female-headed families have decreased since the 1960s.  In 1959, 18.2 percent of persons in married-couple families and 49.4 percent of persons in female-headed families were poor.  By 2013, 6.8 percent of persons in married-couple families and 33.2 percent of persons in female-headed families were poor.

Table ECON 1.  Percentage of Persons in Poverty by Age and Family Type: Selected Years

 

Calendar Year

   Related Children

All Persons

Ages 0-5

Ages 6-17

        Total

Under 18

18 to 64

65 & over

In married- couple
families

In female- headed families

1959

NA

NA

22.4

27.3

17.0

35.2

18.2

49.4

1963

NA

NA

19.5

23.1

NA

NA

14.9

47.7

1966

NA

NA

14.7

17.6

10.5

28.5

10.3

39.8

1969

15.3

13.1

12.1

14.0

8.7

25.3

7.4

38.2

1973

15.7

13.6

11.1

14.4

8.3

16.3

6.0

37.5

1976

17.7

15.1

11.8

16.0

9.0

15.0

6.4

37.3

1979

17.9

15.1

11.7

16.4

8.9

15.2

6.3

34.9

1980

20.3

16.8

13.0

18.3

10.1

15.7

7.4

36.7

1981

22.0

18.4

14.0

20.0

11.1

15.3

8.1

38.7

1982

23.3

20.4

15.0

21.9

12.0

14.6

9.1

40.6

1983

24.6

20.4

15.2

22.3

12.4

13.8

9.3

40.2

1984

23.4

19.7

14.4

21.5

11.7

12.4

8.5

38.4

1985

22.6

18.8

14.0

20.7

11.3

12.6

8.2

37.6

1986

21.6

18.8

13.6

20.5

10.8

12.4

7.3

38.3

1987

22.3

18.3

13.4

20.3

10.6

12.5

7.2

38.1

1988

21.8

17.5

13.0

19.5

10.5

12.0

6.6

37.2

1989

21.9

17.4

12.8

19.6

10.2

11.4

6.7

35.9

1990

23.0

18.2

13.5

20.6

10.7

12.2

6.9

37.2

1991

24.0

19.5

14.2

21.8

11.4

12.4

7.2

39.7

1992

25.7

19.4

14.8

22.3

11.9

12.9

7.7

38.5

1993

25.6

20.0

15.1

22.7

12.4

12.2

8.0

38.7

1994

24.5

19.5

14.5

21.8

11.9

11.7

7.4

38.6

1995

23.7

18.3

13.8

20.8

11.4

10.5

6.8

36.5

1996

22.7

18.3

13.7

20.5

11.4

10.8

6.9

35.8

1997

21.6

18.0

13.3

19.9

10.9

10.5

6.4

35.1

1998

20.6

17.1

12.7

18.9

10.5

10.5

6.2

33.1

1999

18.4

15.7

11.9

17.1

10.1

9.7

5.9

30.5

2000

17.8

14.7

11.3

16.2

9.6

9.9

5.5

27.9

2001

18.2

14.6

11.7

16.3

10.1

10.1

5.7

28.6

2002

18.5

15.3

12.1

16.7

10.6

10.4

6.1

28.8

2003

19.8

15.9

12.5

17.6

10.8

10.2

6.2

30.0

2004

20.0

16.0

12.7

17.8

11.3

9.8

6.4

30.5

2005

20.0

15.7

12.6

17.6

11.1

10.1

5.9

31.1

2006

20.0

15.4

12.3

17.4

10.8

9.4

5.7

30.5

2007

20.8

16.0

12.5

18.0

10.9

9.7

5.8

30.7

2008

21.3

17.1

13.2

19.0

11.7

9.7

6.7

31.4

2009

23.8

18.2

14.3

20.7

12.9

8.9

7.2

32.5

2010

25.3

19.6

15.1

22.0

13.8

8.9

7.7

34.3

2011

24.5

19.9

15.0

21.9

13.7

8.7

7.4

34.2

2012

24.4

19.8

15.0

21.8

13.7

9.1

7.5

33.9

2013

22.2

18.2

14.5

19.9

13.6

9.5

6.8

33.2

Note: All persons under 18 include related children (own children, including stepchildren and adopted children, plus all other children in the household who are related to the householder by birth, marriage, or adoption), unrelated individuals under 18 (persons who are not living with any relatives), and householders or spouses under age 18.

In 1959-1987, persons in married-couple families include a small number of persons in male-headed families with no spouse present.  In 1988, the first year for which we have separate data for these families, poor persons in male-headed families with no spouse present comprised just over 8 percent of the combined total of all persons below the poverty level.

Spouses are not present in the female-headed family category. 

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.

Economic Security Risk Factor 2. Deep Poverty Rates

Figure ECON 2.  Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: 1975 - 2013

Figure ECON 2.  Percentage of Total Population below 50, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: 1975 - 2013

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60- 249, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.]


  • Figure ECON 2 shows the percentage of the population below 50, 100, and 125 percent of the poverty level over time.  The percentage of the population in “deep poverty” (with incomes below 50 percent of the federal poverty level) was 6.3 percent in 2013, compared to an overall poverty rate of 14.5 percent.
  • Less than five (4.7) percent of the population was “near-poor;” they had incomes at or above 100 percent but below 125 percent of the federal poverty level in 2013.
  • Table ECON 2 shows the number and percentage of the population below 50, 75, and 125 percent of the poverty level for selected years.  In general, the percentage of the population with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level has followed a pattern that reflects the trend in the overall poverty rate.
  • The percentage of people below 50 percent of the poverty level rose in the late 1970s and early 1980s to 5.9 percent, and then after falling, has risen past its 1993 peak of 6.2 percent. The rates for 100 percent and 125 percent of the poverty level followed a similar pattern with more pronounced peaks and valleys.
  • Over the past three decades, the proportion of the poverty population in “deep poverty” has increased substantially.  The percentage of the poverty population in deep poverty went from a low of 29.9 percent in 1975 to 43.8 percent in 2013.  

Percent of Poor in Deep Poverty

Percent of Poor in Deep Poverty

 

Table ECON 2. Number and Percentage of Total Population below 50, 75, 100 and 125 Percent of Poverty Level: Selected Years

Year

Total Population (thousands)

Below 50 Percent

Below 75 Percent

    Below 100 Percent

   Below 125 Percent

  Number

(thousands)

    Percent

  Number

(thousands)

Percent

  Number

(thousands)

Percent

  Number

(thousands)

Percent

1961

181,300

NA

NA

NA

NA

39,600

21.9

54,300

30.0

1963

187,300

NA

NA

NA

NA

36,400

19.5

50,800

27.1

1965

191,400

NA

NA

NA

NA

33,200

17.3

46,200

24.1

1967

195,700

NA

NA

NA

NA

27,800

14.2

39,200

20.0

1969

199,500

NA

NA

14,600

7.3

24,100

12.1

34,700

17.4

1971

204,600

NA

NA

NA

NA

25,600

12.5

36,500

17.8

1973

207,600

NA

NA

NA

NA

23,000

11.1

32,800

15.8

1975

210,900

7,700

3.7

15,400

7.3

25,900

12.3

37,200

17.6

1976

212,300

7,000

3.3

14,900

7.0

25,000

11.8

35,500

16.7

1977

213,900

7,500

3.5

15,000

7.0

24,700

11.6

35,700

16.7

1978

215,700

7,700

3.6

14,900

6.9

24,500

11.4

34,200

15.8

1979

222,900

8,600

3.8

16,300

7.3

26,100

11.7

36,600

16.4

1980

225,000

9,800

4.4

18,700

8.3

29,300

13.0

40,700

18.1

1981

227,200

11,200

4.9

20,700

9.1

31,800

14.0

43,700

19.3

1982

229,400

12,800

5.6

23,200

10.1

34,400

15.0

46,500

20.3

1983

231,700

13,600

5.9

23,600

10.2

35,300

15.2

47,200

20.3

1984

233,800

12,800

5.5

22,700

9.7

33,700

14.4

45,300

19.4

1985

236,600

12,400

5.2

22,200

9.4

33,100

13.6

44,200

18.7

1986

238,600

12,700

5.3

22,400

9.4

32,400

14.0

43,500

18.7

1987

241,000

12,500

5.2

21,700

9.0

32,200

13.4

43,000

17.9

1988

243,500

12,700

5.2

21,400

8.8

31,700

13.0

42,600

17.5

1989

246,000

12,000

4.9

20,700

8.4

31,500

12.8

42,700

17.3

1990

248,600

12,900

5.2

22,600

9.1

33,600

13.5

44,800

18.0

1991

251,200

14,100

5.6

24,400

9.7

35,700

14.2

47,500

18.9

1992

256,500

15,500

6.1

26,200

10.2

38,000

14.8

50,600

19.7

1993

259,300

16,000

6.2

27,200

10.5

39,300

15.1

51,800

20.0

1994

261,600

15,400

5.9

26,400

10.1

38,100

14.5

50,400

19.3

1995

263,700

13,900

5.3

24,500

9.3

36,400

13.8

48,800

18.5

1996

266,200

14,400

5.4

24,800

9.3

36,500

13.7

49,300

18.5

1997

268,500

14,600

5.4

24,200

9.0

35,600

13.3

47,900

17.8

1998

271,100

13,900

5.1

23,000

8.5

34,500

12.7

46,000

17.0

1999

276,200

12,900

4.7

21,800

7.9

32,800

11.9

45,000

16.3

2000

278,900

12,600

4.5

20,900

7.5

31,600

11.3

43,600

15.6

2001

281,500

13,400

4.8

22,000

7.8

32,900

11.7

45,300

16.1

2002

285,300

14,100

4.9

23,100

8.1

34,600

12.1

47,100

16.5

2003

287,700

15,300

5.3

24,500

8.5

35,900

12.5

48,700

16.9

2004

290,600

15,700

5.4

25,000

8.6

37,000

12.7

49,700

17.1

2005

293,100

15,900

5.4

25,200

8.6

37,000

12.6

49,300

16.8

2006

296,500

15,400

5.2

25,200

8.5

36,500

12.3

49,700

16.8

2007

298,700

15,600

5.2

25,100

8.4

37,300

12.5

50,900

17.0

2008

301,000

17,100

5.7

27,400

9.1

39,800

13.2

53,800

17.9

2009

303,800

19,000

6.3

30,100

9.9

43,600

14.3

56,800

18.7

2010

306,100

20,500

6.7

32,100

10.5

46,300

15.1

60,700

19.8

2011

308,500

20,400

6.6

31,800

10.3

46,200

15.0

60,900

19.8

2012

310,600

20,400

6.6

32,300

10.4

46,500

15.0

61,200

19.7

2013

313,000

19,900

6.3

31,300

10.0

45,300

14.5

60,200

19.2

Note: In previous editions of this report, the number of persons below 50 percent and 75 percent of poverty for 1969 were calculated based on data from the 1970 decennial census.  In this report the estimate of the number of persons below 75 percent of poverty for 1969 comes from Current Population Survey data published in Current Population Reports, Series P60-76.

Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249, and data published online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html.

Economic Security Risk Factor 3. Research Supplemental Poverty Measure

Figure ECON 3.  Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures by Demographic Characteristics: 2013

Figure ECON 3.  Percentage of Persons in Poverty Using the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures by Demographic Characteristics: 2013

Data: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2014.

Note: Estimates for Black persons include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013" Tables 1 & 6, Current Population Reports, Series P60-251


  • Figure ECON 3 shows a comparison of the percentage of persons in poverty using the official poverty measure and the Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure by selected demographic characteristics.23
  • The supplemental poverty measure yields poverty rates that are similar to the official poverty measure overall.  In 2013, 15.5 percent of all persons were poor under the supplemental poverty measure and 14.6 percent of all persons were poor under the official poverty measure.
  • The supplemental and official poverty rates show some differences by age and other characteristics.  In 2013, the supplemental poverty rate among children was 4.0 percentage points lower than the official rate, partly because it takes into account non-cash benefits that many children receive.  Conversely, the supplemental poverty rate among the elderly in 2013 was 5.1 percentage points higher than the official rate, in part due to out-of-pocket health costs for these persons.
  • Table ECON 3 provides greater detail on the supplemental and official poverty measures.

Table ECON 3. Poverty in 2010 and 2013: Official Poverty Measure and Supplemental Poverty Measure

 

Official Poverty Rates

SPM Poverty Rates

2010

2013

Change

2010

2013

Change

Demographic characteristics:

All individuals

15.1

14.6

-0.5

16.0

15.5

-0.5

Children under age 18

22.0

20.4

-1.6

18.0

16.4

-1.6

Individuals ages 18 — 64

13.6

13.6

0.0

15.2

15.4

0.2

Individuals age 65 and older

8.9

9.5

0.6

15.8

14.6

-1.2

Hispanic

26.5

23.7

-2.8

27.7

26.0

-1.7

Black

27.4

27.3

-0.1

25.4

24.7

-0.7

Asian

12.2

10.5

-1.7

16.6

16.4

-0.2

White, non-Hispanic

9.9

9.7

-0.2

11.0

10.7

-0.3

Foreign-born

19.9

18.1

-1.8

25.1

23.8

-1.3

In married-couple units

7.6

6.7

-0.9

9.8

9.5

-0.3

In female-householder units

28.7

28.6

-0.1

29.0

28.5

-0.5

Employment and insurance:

All workers

7.3

7.3

0.0

9.1

9.8

0.7

Full-time/year-round workers

2.7

2.7

0.0

4.8

5.4

0.6

With private health insurance

4.8

5.2

0.4

7.5

8.2

0.7

With public health insurance, no private

37.6

34.1

-3.5

31.5

28.5

-3.0

Not insured

29.2

27.0

-2.2

30.5

29.1

-1.5

Geographic areas:

Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs)

14.9

14.3

-0.6

16.6

15.9

-0.7

Non-metropolitan Areas

16.5

16.2

-0.3

12.8

13.2

0.4

West

15.3

14.8

-0.5

19.3

18.7

-0.6

South

16.8

16.2

-0.6

16.3

15.9

-0.4

Northeast

12.9

12.8

-0.1

14.5

14.3

-0.2

Midwest

14.0

13.0

-1.0

13.1

12.5

-0.6

Poverty by threshold:

0 — 50 % of the poverty threshold

6.8

6.5

-0.3

5.4

5.2

-0.2

50 — 100 % of the poverty threshold

8.4

8.1

-0.3

10.7

10.3

-0.4

100 — 200 % of the poverty threshold

18.8

19.4

0.6

31.8

31.4

-0.4

Data: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2014

Note: Estimates for Black persons include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category. .

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, "The Research Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013," Tables 1 & 6, Current Population Reports, Series P60-251.


  • Compared to the official poverty measure, the Research Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) makes changes to how income is measured by: counting the value of federal in-kind benefits available to satisfy basic food, clothing, shelter, and utility needs; subtracting income and payroll taxes; adding refundable tax credits received; and subtracting other necessary expenses such as the cost of child care, other work expenses, child support payments, and out-of pocket medical expenditures.
  • The SPM also makes changes to the poverty thresholds by: using the 33rd percentile of out-of-pocked expenditures on basic needs; varying thresholds based on home ownership/rental status; adjusting the thresholds for geographic differences in the cost of living; and using a five-year moving average of expenditures on basic needs to account for inflation and changes in expenditure patterns. The Census Bureau provides adjusted official poverty estimates (that include unrelated children under age 15) for the exclusive purpose of comparison with the Supplemental Poverty Measure.  Therefore the official poverty estimates may not match the SPM estimates.  See Appendix E for more details.

23 The U.S. Census Bureau developed the supplemental poverty measure based on the 2010 recommendations of an Interagency Technical Working Group, which drew on the earlier recommendations of the 1995 National Academy of Sciences Panel on Poverty and Family Assistance.

Economic Security Risk Factor 4. Poverty Rates with Various Means-tested Transfers Counted as Income

Figure ECON 4.  Percentage of Total Population Below the Official Poverty Line with Various Means-Tested Transfers Counted as Income: 1979-2012

Figure ECON 4.  Percentage of Total Population Below the Official Poverty Line with Various Means-Tested Transfers Counted as Income: 1979-2012

Note:  The four measures of income are as follows: (1) “Cash income plus all social insurance” is earnings and cash income, plus social security, workers compensation, disability, unemployment, public and private pensions, veterans benefits  and other social insurance cash transfers.  It does not include means-tested cash transfers; (2) “Plus means-tested cash transfers” is the official Census Bureau income definition, which includes means-tested cash transfers, primarily AFDC/TANF and SSI; (3) “Plus food and housing benefits” counts the cash value of means-tested food and housing benefits as income; and (4) “Plus EITC and federal taxes” is the most comprehensive income measure used.  It adds the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to income, while subtracting federal payroll and income taxes.  The fungible value of Medicare and Medicaid is not included in any of the income measures

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1980-2012, analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office. 


  • Figure ECON 4 shows the percentage of the population below the official poverty line with various means-tested transfers counted as income for the years 1979 to 2012.  The official poverty rate – using the official income definition, which includes means-tested cash transfers (primarily TANF and SSI) in addition to pre-transfer cash income and social insurance cash transfers – was 15.0 percent in 2012.  Without cash welfare (TANF and SSI), the 2012 poverty rate would be 15.7 percent
  • Adding non-cash, means-tested transfers (food and housing benefits including SNAP) to the official income definition has the effect of lowering the percentage of people with incomes below the official poverty line.  Including the value of food and housing benefits in total income would reduce the poverty rate to 12.9 percent in 2012.
  • When income is defined to include all of the previously mentioned benefits plus the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the effect of federal taxes, the percentage of people below the official poverty line would decrease to 11.4 percent in 2012.  Federal taxes and the EITC have had the net effect of reducing poverty rates following the EITC expansions in 1993 and 1995.
  • Table ECON 4 shows the percentage of the population below the official poverty line with various means-tested transfers counted as income for selected years.  The combined effect of means-tested cash transfers, food and housing benefits, the EITC, and federal taxes was to reduce the poverty rate in 2012 by 4.3 percentage points.  Net reductions in poverty rates were smaller during the 1981 - 1982 recession, and higher in the mid-1990s, largely due to expansions in the EITC.

Table ECON 4. Percentage of Total Population Below the Official Poverty Line with Various Means-Tested Transfers Counted as Income: Selected Years

 

Cash income plus all social insurance

Plus means-tested cash transfers
(official poverty measure)

Plus food and housing benefits

Plus EITC and federal taxes

Reduction in poverty rate

1979

12.8

11.6

9.7

10.0

2.8

1981

14.9

13.9

12.2

13.2

1.7

1983

16.0

15.2

13.7

14.7

1.3

1986

14.5

13.6

12.2

13.1

1.4

1989

13.8

12.8

11.2

11.8

2.0

1992

15.6

14.5

12.9

13.0

2.6

1995

14.9

13.8

12.0

11.5

3.4

1998

13.5

12.7

11.3

10.4

3.1

2000

12.0

11.3

10.1

9.5

2.5

2001

12.5

11.7

10.5

9.8

2.7

2002

12.8

12.1

10.9

10.0

2.8

2003

13.2

12.5

11.2

10.4

2.8

2004

13.5

12.7

11.5

10.5

3.0

2005

13.3

12.6

11.2

10.3

3.0

2006

13.0

12.3

11.0

10.0

3.0

2007

13.2

12.5

11.1

10.1

3.1

2008

13.9

13.2

11.7

10.1

3.8

2009

15.1

14.3

12.4

10.5

4.6

2010

15.8

15.1

13.0

11.3

5.0

2011

15.8

15.0

12.9

11.2

4.6

2012

15.7

15.0

12.9

11.4

4.3

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1980-2012, analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office. 


The four measures of income are as follows:

(1) “Cash income plus all social insurance” is earnings and cash income, plus social security, workers compensation, disability, unemployment, public and private pensions, veterans benefits  and other social insurance cash transfers.  It does not include means-tested cash transfers;

(2) “Plus means-tested cash transfers” is the official Census Bureau income definition, which includes means-tested cash transfers, primarily AFDC/TANF and SSI;

(3) “Plus food and housing benefits” counts the cash value of means-tested food and housing benefits as income; and

(4) “Plus EITC and federal taxes” is the most comprehensive income measure used.  It adds the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to income, while subtracting federal payroll and income taxes.  The fungible value of Medicare and Medicaid is not included in any of the income measures.

Economic Security Risk Factor 5. Poverty Spells

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell

Figure ECON 5. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell


Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel (2008 – 2012).


  • Figure ECON 5 shows the percentage of poverty spells that are of various lengths for persons who became poor during the 2008 -  2012 period.  Forty-six (45.7) percent of poverty spells that began between 2008 and 2012 ended within 4 months.  Almost three-quarters (72.5 percent) of poverty spells during this period ended within one year while 17.7 percent of spells lasted more than 20 months.  
  • Table ECON 5a shows the percentage of poverty spells for persons entering poverty during the 2008 - 2012 period by length of spell and demographic characteristics.
  • Among racial and ethnic groups, a larger percentage of Non-Hispanic Whites had short spells of poverty (48.3 percent) than Non-Hispanic Blacks (39.9 percent) or Hispanics of any race (44.0 percent).  A larger percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks (23.1 percent) had poverty spells greater than 20 months than did Non-Hispanic Whites (15.1 percent) and Hispanics of any race (19.9 percent).  
  • When examining long spells of poverty, greater than 20 months by age group, children 0 - 5 years of age had the highest rate (21.9 percent) and men 16-64 years of age had the lowest rate (14.9 percent).

Table ECON 5a. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during the 2008 SIPP Panel by Length of Spell and Selected Characteristics

 

Spells

 <=4 Months

Spells

 5-12 Months

Spells

13-20 Months

Spells >20

 Months

All Persons

45.7

26.8

9.8

17.7

 Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

48.3

27.3

9.3

15.1

  Non-Hispanic Black

39.9

26.6

10.5

23.1

  Hispanic

44.0

25.6

10.5

19.9

 Age Categories

  Children ages 0-5 years

42.4

25.7

10.0

21.9

  Children ages 6-10 years

44.0

26.1

9.4

20.5

  Children ages 11-15 years                                                

45.2

28.2

9.9

16.7

  Women ages 16-64 years

45.7

26.5

10.2

17.7

  Men ages 16-64 years

48.1

27.4

9.6

14.9

  Adults ages 65 years and over

41.3

24.0

8.3

26.3

Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells.

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2008 panel (2008 – 2012).


Table ECON 5b. Percentage of Poverty Spells for Persons Entering Poverty during Selected SIPP Panels by Length of Spell

 

Spells
 <=4 Months

Spells
5-12 Months

Spells
13-20 Months

Spells
 >20 Months

1993 – 1995

47.3

28.1

8.9

15.7

1996 – 1999

51.3

29.0

8.3

11.4

2001 – 2003

49.2

27.7

7.7

15.5

2004 – 2007

47.8

26.7

12.2

13.4

2008 – 2012

45.7

26.8

9.8

17.7

Note:  Spell length categories are mutually exclusive.  Spells separated by only 1 month are not considered separate spells. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1993, 1996, 2001, 2004, and 2008 panels.

Economic Security Risk Factor 6. Child Support

Figure ECON 6.  Poverty Rates for Custodial Mothers by Marital Status and Receipt of Child Support: 2011

Figure ECON 6.  Poverty Rates for Custodial Mothers by Marital Status and Receipt of Child Support: 2011

Note: Data are for mothers with custody. 

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, 2012.


  • Figure ECON 6 shows poverty rates for custodial mothers by marital status and receipt of child support.  The poverty rates of custodial mothers are correlated with their marital status.
  • The poverty rate for all custodial mothers was 31.9 percent in 2011.  When factoring in current marital status, currently married custodial mothers had a poverty rate of 17.9 percent.  Previously married custodial mothers had a poverty rate of 27.8 percent, and never married mothers had a poverty rate of 43.6 percent.
  • Receipt of child support is correlated with the poverty status of custodial parents. For all custodial mothers who did not receive child support, their poverty rate was 33.9 percent.  Custodial mothers who received child support had a poverty rate of 28.2 percent—5.7 percentage points lower than custodial mothers who did not receive child support.
  • Receipt of child support is also correlated with the poverty status of custodial fathers. There are four times as many custodial mothers as there are custodial fathers, and in general custodial fathers have a lower poverty rate than custodial mothers.   Yet regardless of sex, receipt of child support is associated with a lower poverty rate.  Custodial fathers who received child support had a lower poverty rate in 2011 than did those custodial fathers who did not receive child support, 13.4 percent and 16.7 percent respectively.

Table ECON 6. Poverty Rates of Families by Sex, Marital Status, and Receipt of Child Support: 2011

Parents with legal custody

Mothers

Fathers

Percent of Total

Total

81.8

18.2

 

Percentage in poverty

All parents with legal custody

31.9

16.2

  Married

17.9

10.5

  Previously married

27.8

12.6

  Never married

43.6

28.0

      Received child support last year

28.2

13.4

      Received no child support last year

33.9

16.7

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, 2012.

Economic Security Risk Factor 7. Food Insecurity

Figure ECON 7.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2012

Figure ECON 7.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 2012

Note: Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year. Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources. 

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2012.


  •  Figure ECON 7 shows the percentage of households that were food secure, had low food security, and had very low food security in 2012.  The majority of U.S. households (85.5 percent) were food secure in 2012; that is, they had consistent, dependable access to enough food for active, healthy living.
  • Fifteen (14.5) percent of U.S. households experienced low food security, including 5.7 percent who were classified as having very low food security.  Very low food security is defined as having reduced food intake and having normal eating patterns disrupted due to a lack of resources.  After increasing from 2007 to 2008, the percentage of households reporting low and very low food security has remained virtually unchanged from 2008 to 2012.   
  • Table ECON 7a shows the percentage of households classified by food security status and by selected demographic characteristics.  Households with elderly were more food secure (91.2 percent) than were households with children under six (79.5 percent) or households with children under 18 (80.0 percent).
  • Food insecurity increases as poverty increases.  Ninety-three (93.2) percent of households above 185 percent of the poverty level were food secure while 61.8 percent of households below 130 percent of the poverty level were food secure.  Among poor households, 59.1 percent were food secure. 
  • Married-couple households with children were less likely to experience food insecurity than were female-headed households with children.  Thirteen percent (13.2) percent of married-couple households with children were food insecure in 2012 compared to 35.4 percent of female-headed households with children. 
  • Table ECON 7b shows the percentage of households classified by food security status between 1998 and 2012. The percentage of households with food insecurity (both low and very low food insecurity) has ranged from a low of 10.1 percent in 1999 to a high of 14.9 percent in 2011.

Table ECON 7a.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status and Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

Food Secure

Food Insecurity

All

Low

Very Low

All Households

85.5

14.5

8.8

5.7

Racial/Ethnic Categories

  Non-Hispanic White

88.8

11.2

6.6

4.6

  Non-Hispanic Black

75.4

24.6

14.3

10.4

  Hispanic

76.7

23.3

15.8

7.4

Age Categories

  Households with children under 6

79.5

20.5

15.1

5.5

  Households with children under 18

80.0

20.0

14.0

6.0

  Households with elderly

91.2

8.8

5.3

3.5

Family Categories

  Married-couple households with children

86.8

13.2

9.9

3.3

  Female-headed households with children

64.6

35.4

22.7

12.7

  Male-headed households with children

76.4

23.6

17.3

6.3

Household Income-to-Poverty Ratio

  Under 1.00

59.1

40.9

22.7

18.2

  Under 1.30

61.8

38.2

21.5

16.7

  Under 1.85

65.7

34.3

19.8

14.5

  1.85 and over

93.2

6.8

4.5

2.3

Note: Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year. Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources.  Spouses are not present in the female-headed and male-headed household categories. 

Race and ethnicity categories for households are determined by the race and ethnicity of the reference person for the household.   Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all households but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all households but are not shown separately.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2012.  http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err-economic-research-report/err108.aspx.   Data are from the Current Population Survey, Food Security Supplement.


Table ECON 7b.  Percentage of Households Classified by Food Security Status: 1998-2012

 

 

Food Secure

Food Insecurity

All

Low

Very Low

1998

88.2

11.8

8.1

3.7

1999

89.9

10.1

7.1

3.0

2000

89.5

10.5

7.3

3.1

2001

89.3

10.7

7.4

3.3

2002

88.9

11.1

7.6

3.5

2003

88.8

11.2

7.7

3.5

2004

88.1

11.9

8.0

3.9

2005

89.0

11.0

7.1

3.9

2006

89.1

10.9

6.9

4.0

2007

88.9

11.1

7.0

4.1

2008

85.4

14.6

8.9

5.7

2009

85.3

14.7

9.0

5.7

2010

85.5

14.5

9.1

5.4

2011

85.1

14.9

9.2

5.7

2012

85.5

14.5

8.8

5.7

Note: Food secure households had consistent access to enough food for active, healthy lives for all household members at all times during the year. Households with low food security obtained enough food to avoid substantial disruptions in eating patterns and food intake, using a variety of coping strategies, such as eating less varied diets, participating in Federal food assistance programs, or getting emergency food from community food pantries or emergency kitchens.  Households with very low food security reported reduced food intake of some household members and their normal eating patterns were disrupted because of the lack of money and other resources. 

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2012.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 1. Labor Force Attachment

Figure WORK 1.  Percentage of Persons in Families with Labor Force Participants by Race and Ethnicity: 2012

Figure WORK 1.  Percentage of Persons in Families with Labor Force Participants by Race and Ethnicity: 2012

Note: Full-time, full-year workers (FT/FY) are defined as those who usually worked for 35 or more hours per week, for at least 50 weeks in a given year.  Part-time labor force participation includes those working for some portion of the year but less than full-time, full-year.  Looking for work includes individuals who are unemployed, laid off, and/or looking for work for part or all of the year.  This indicator represents annual measures of labor force participation, and thus cannot be compared to monthly measures of labor force participation in Indicator 2.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2013.


  • Figure WORK 1 shows the percentage of persons in families with labor force participants by race and ethnicity.  In 2012, Hispanics were more likely to live in families with at least one full-time, full-year labor force participant (70.5 percent) than were Non-Hispanic Whites (68.1 percent) or Non-Hispanic Blacks (59.6 percent).

  • In 2012, 4.3 percent of Non-Hispanic Blacks lived in families with at least one person actively looking for work but no one working, compared to 1.3 percent for Non-Hispanic Whites and 1.9 percent for Hispanics.

  • Table WORK 1a shows the percentage of persons in families with labor force participants by demographic characteristics. Among family types, persons living in married-couple families were more likely than persons living in other family types to live with at least one full-time, full-year labor force participant.

  • Table WORK 1b shows the percentage of persons in families with labor force participants for select years between 1990 and 2012. The percentage of persons living in families with a full-time, full-year labor force participant increased from 67.6 percent in 1992 to 73.3 percent in 2000. In 2012, 67.9 percent of persons lived in families with a full-time, full-year worker.

Table WORK 1a. Percentage of Persons in Families with Labor Force Participants by Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

At least one full-time worker

At least one person part time, no full time participants

At least one person looking, no full time participants

No one in labor force

All Persons

67.9

15.8

1.9

14.4

Racial/Ethnic Categories

Non-Hispanic White

68.1

14.6

1.3

16.0

Non-Hispanic Black

59.6

19.8

4.3

16.3

Hispanic

70.5

18.2

1.9

9.5

Age Categories

Children ages 0-5

73.8

17.5

2.5

6.1

Children ages 6-10

74.8

16.6

2.2

6.4

Children ages 11-15

76.2

15.8

2.1

5.9

Women ages 16-64

73.4

16.1

1.9

8.6

Men ages 16-64

76.9

14.6

1.7

6.7

 Adults ages 65 and over

23.7

16.7

1.5

58.1

Family Categories

  Persons in married families

77.2

11.9

0.8

10.1

Persons in female-headed families

56.1

24.6

4.8

14.6

Persons in male-headed families

55.8

26.1

4.5

13.6

Unrelated persons

48.8

18.7

2.3

30.3

 

Note: Full-time, full-year (FT/FY) workers are defined as those who usually worked for 35 or more hours per week, for at least 50 weeks in a given year.  Part-time labor force participation includes those working for some portion of the year but less than full-time, full-year.  Looking for work includes individuals who are unemployed, laid off, and/or looking for work for part or all of the year.  This indicator represents annual measures of labor force participation, and thus cannot be compared to monthly measures of labor force participation in Indicator 2.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2013.

Table WORK 1b.  Percentage of Persons in Families with Labor Force Participants: Selected Years

 

No One in LF During Year

At Least One in LF No One FT/FY

At Least One FT/FY Worker

1990

13.7

17.6

68.7

1992

14.4

18.1

67.6

1994

14.1

17.1

68.8

1996

13.6

16.1

70.3

1998

13.3

14.6

72.1

1999

12.6

14.4

73.1

2000

12.8

13.8

73.3

2001

13.3

14.4

72.4

2002

13.4

14.6

72.0

2003

13.8

15.0

71.2

2004

13.9

14.4

71.7

2005

13.7

14.1

72.2

2006

13.6

13.7

72.8

2007

13.5

14.1

72.5

2008

13.7

16.0

70.4

2009

14.0

18.2

67.8

2010

14.4

18.2

67.4

2011

14.9

17.2

67.9

2012

14.4

17.7

67.9

Note: Full-time, full-year workers (FT/FY) are defined as those who usually worked for 35 or more hours per week, for at least 50 weeks in a given year.  Part-time and part-year labor force participation includes part-time workers and individuals who are unemployed, laid off, and/or looking for work for part or all of the year.  This indicator represents annual measures of labor force participation, and thus cannot be compared to monthly measures of labor force participation in Indicator 2.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1991-2013.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 2. Employment Among the Low-skilled

Figure WORK 2. Percentage of Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed at Any Time during Year by Race and Ethnicity: 1968-2012

Figure WORK 2. Percentage of Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed at Any Time during Year by Race and Ethnicity: 1968-2012

Note: All data include both full and partial year employment for the given calendar year. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately. Hispanic origin was not available until 1975.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969-2013.
  • Figure WORK 2 shows the employment rate of workers ages 18 to 65 with a high school education or less by gender and race and ethnicity between 1968 and 2012. This measure of low skill is based only on educational attainment and does not take into account other skills based on work experience, training or other credentials.
  • Employment rates for women with a high school education or less increased during the 1980s and 1990s. By the 2000s, however, the employment rate for women with no more than a high school education started to decline for all three groups shown. In 2012, the rate was 61.4 percent for Non-Hispanic White women, 55.0 percent for Non-Hispanic Black women, and 54.3 percent for Hispanic women of any race.
  • Beginning in the 1970s, the employment rates for men with a high school education or less declined and the employment rates for Non-Hispanic White and Non-Hispanic Black men with a high school education or less began to diverge. In 2012, 74.6 percent of Non-Hispanic White men as compared to 57.8 percent of Non-Hispanic Black men with a high school education or less were employed.
  • Over the time period, Hispanic men with a high school education or less have had employment rates similar to Non-Hispanic White men. In 2012, 79.7 percent of Hispanic men with a high school education or less were employed compared to 74.6 percent of Non-Hispanic White men.

Table WORK 2.  Percentage of Persons Ages 18 to 65 with No More than a High School Education Who Were Employed by Race and Ethnicity: 1968-2012

 

Women

Men

Non-Hispanic White

Non-Hispanic Black

Hispanic

Non-Hispanic

White

Non-Hispanic

 Black

Hispanic

1968

55.8

65.8

NA

92.8

89.9

NA

1969

56.1

64.9

NA

92.1

89.2

NA

1971

55.2

59.4

NA

90.9

86.1

NA

1972

55.6

58.1

NA

91.1

84.3

NA

1975

58.3

57.2

49.7

88.2

78.8

86.2

1977

61.4

57.6

52.2

88.3

78.1

89.2

1979

62.9

58.9

55.0

88.5

78.7

89.4

1980

64.1

57.6

53.7

88.0

75.2

86.8

1981

64.0

57.5

53.0

87.4

74.5

87.6

1982

62.7

56.6

51.1

85.6

71.1

85.3

1983

63.5

55.3

51.7

84.8

70.2

85.2

1984

65.0

58.9

54.0

86.5

71.9

83.9

1985

66.0

59.4

52.9

86.1

74.6

83.9

1986

66.8

61.0

54.0

86.4

74.3

86.5

1987

67.3

59.9

54.0

86.7

73.9

85.6

1988

68.0

61.4

54.6

86.3

74.0

87.8

1989

68.8

61.1

55.8

87.7

75.3

86.6

1990

68.5

60.7

55.0

87.7

75.6

85.4

1991

68.3

61.0

54.6

86.4

73.9

85.0

1992

67.8

57.8

53.3

85.7

71.5

83.7

1993

68.6

60.0

52.2

84.6

71.2

83.5

1994

69.0

60.9

53.3

85.0

69.1

83.2

1995

69.6

60.1

53.9

85.9

70.1

83.3

1996

70.2

64.1

55.4

85.9

70.3

84.0

1997

69.9

66.6

56.9

85.3

72.0

85.0

1998

70.4

67.1

57.1

85.3

71.8

85.5

1999

71.4

68.4

58.8

84.5

72.0

86.4

2000

70.6

67.7

61.0

84.7

72.7

86.4

 2001

69.8

64.8

59.2

83.4

69.9

85.5

 2002

69.5

64.4

57.5

82.5

67.3

85.1

2003

66.9

65.2

56.9

81.1

65.7

84.6

2004

66.3

62.9

56.1

80.8

66.7

84.9

2005

66.3

63.3

56.1

80.7

66.3

85.6

2006

66.5

63.2

56.8

80.6

65.6

86.4

2007

66.1

62.4

56.0

80.3

65.8

85.6

2008

65.6

61.3

57.2

79.0

64.5

83.6

2009

63.4

57.1

55.6

76.7

60.0

80.1

2010

61.2

55.6

53.7

74.4

57.8

78.3

2011

61.0

55.9

54.7

74.4

57.3

78.4

2012

61.4

55.0

54.3

74.6

57.8

79.7

 

Note: All data include both full and partial year employment for the given calendar year.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately.  Hispanic origin was not available until 1975.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 1969-2013.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 3. Earnings of Low-skilled Workers

Figure WORK 3a.  Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with Less than 4 Years of High School Education by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1980-2012

Figure WORK 3a.  Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with Less than 4 Years of High School Education by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1980-2012

Note: Data are adjusted to constant 2012 dollars by ASPE using the CPI-U-RS. Full-time workers usually work at least work 35 hours per week. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately.
Source: Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Figure WORK 3a shows the trend in median weekly wages in 2012 dollars of low-skilled women and men (those with less than four years of high school education) working full-time by race and ethnicity. This measure of low skill is based only on educational attainment and does not take into account other skills based on work experience, training or other credentials.
  • In 2012, White women with less than four years of high school education working full-time had median weekly earnings of $389 compared to $377 for similar Black women and $369 for similar Hispanic women of any race.
  • Among men working full-time with less than four years of high school education, White men had median weekly earnings of $515 compared to $446 for Black men and $486 for Hispanic men of any race in 2012. There has been a narrowing of the median weekly earnings gap between White men and both Black men and Hispanic men over time.
  • Table WORK 3a shows the detailed estimates of median wages for low-skilled women and men working full time by race and ethnicity.
  • Men who were working full-time and had less than four years of high school education have had consistently higher median weekly earnings than similar women, though men have experienced greater declines in median weekly earnings over time between 1980 and 2012 than have women.

Table WORK 3a.  Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with less than 4 Years of High School Education by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1979-2012

 

Women

Men

White

Black

Hispanic2

White

Black

Hispanic2

1979

$461

$428

$419

$786

$625

$625

1980

447

420

398

748

584

603

1981

437

413

410

725

582

570

1982

433

403

403

705

556

556

1983

438

418

387

694

556

549

1984

433

406

389

679

538

536

1985

423

401

374

671

541

535

1986

428

404

373

679

554

535

1987

424

408

396

661

561

534

1988

422

405

388

651

545

507

1989

428

390

386

655

528

517

1990

418

401

380

625

529

503

1991

420

400

374

599

509

482

1992 1

418

410

587

511

1993

419

416

581

510

1994

404

385

361

546

497

454

1995

401

390

354

545

478

445

1996

396

399

362

537

479

452

1997

399

392

370

541

476

452

1998

405

394

372

558

490

458

1999

405

401

370

558

517

475

2000

413

410

391

553

544

486

2001

417

403

400

555

522

503

2002

421

407

394

553

519

506

2003

419

410

398

547

533

498

2004

413

402

385

556

513

496

2005

406

405

385

554

482

494

2006

410

415

375

551

484

485

2007

413

420

385

546

504

481

2008

409

413

389

543

486

511

2009

411

425

386

547

492

509

2010

408

429

389

521

498

473

2011

408

399

390

512

463

466

2012

389

377

369

515

446

486

Note: Full-time workers usually work at least 35 hours per week.  Data are adjusted to constant 2012 dollars by ASPE using the CPI-U-RS.

1 Beginning in 1992, data on educational attainment have been based on the "highest diploma or degree received," rather than the "number of years of school completed."  Data for 1994 forward are not directly comparable with data for 1993 and earlier years due to a redesign of the Current Population Survey.  Data for 2000-2002 have been revised to incorporate population controls from Census 2000 and new industry and occupational classification systems.  The earnings data presented in this table may differ slightly from other published estimates due to methodological differences in calculating medians.

2 For 1992 and 1993, earnings data by educational attainment are not available for persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity age 25 and over.  Beginning in 2003, data refer to persons who selected this race group only; previously, persons identified a group as their main race.  In addition, persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race and, therefore, are classified by ethnicity as well as by race. 

Source:  Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Figure WORK 3b. Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with 4 Years of High School Education with No College by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1980-2012

Figure WORK 3b. Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with 4 Years of High School Education with No College by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1980-2012

Note: Full-time workers work at least 35 hours per week. Data are adjusted to constant 2012 dollars by ASPE using the CPI-U-RS. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Beginning in 2002, estimates for Whites and Blacks are for persons reporting a single race only. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are not shown separately.

Source: Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Figure WORK 3b shows the trend in median weekly wages in 2012 dollars for women and men with four years of high school education but no college who are working full-time by race and ethnicity. This measure of low skill is based only on educational attainment and does not take into account other skills based on work experience, training or other credentials.
  • In 2012, White women with four years of high school education and no college who were working full-time had median weekly earnings of $581 compared to $499 for similar Black women and $501 for similar Hispanic women of any race. There has been relatively little change in these median weekly wages over time.
  • Among men working full-time with four years of high school education and no college, median weekly earnings of White men were $760 compared to $604 for Black men and $624 for Hispanic men of any race. Median weekly earnings among men in all three racial and ethnic groups shown have declined over time since 1980.
  • Throughout the 1980 – 2012 time period, there is a notable and persistent gap between women and men’s wages. Men consistently earn higher median weekly wages than women, though the gap has narrowed over time.
  • There also is a racial and ethnic gap in median weekly wages among full time workers who have four years of high school education but no college, where White persons earn more than Black persons and Hispanic persons of any race. Among women, this racial and ethnic wage gap has increased over time.

Table WORK 3b.  Median Weekly Wages of Women and Men Working Full-Time with 4 Years of High School Education with No College by Race and Ethnicity (2012 Dollars): 1979-2012

 

Women

Men

White

Black

Hispanic2

White

Black

Hispanic2

1979

$556

$520

$526

$939

$751

$828

1980

544

509

519

902

735

783

1981

538

506

519

897

713

784

1982

554

508

531

885

688

772

1983

556

502

531

878

694

749

1984

559

513

542

869

679

743

1985

559

510

524

863

652

721

1986

568

521

525

866

659

714

1987

571

522

516

859

665

702

1988

571

515

528

855

660

698

1989

559

517

524

845

642

675

1990

551

498

527

822

615

670

1991

559

504

517

809

607

657

1992 1

560

498

799

592

1993

564

491

794

602

1994

561

473

507

794

595

631

1995

554

475

483

794

607

634

1996

554

478

480

797

591

615

1997

561

476

485

815

612

638

1998

577

508

512

831

628

662

1999

577

505

509

836

640

664

2000

584

519

511

822

664

659

2001

597

522

532

824

670

655

2002

609

528

523

827

654

656

2003

613

550

526

826

657

661

2004

612

564

535

826

641

643

2005

601

520

519

808

630

632

2006

589

526

494

813

627

657

2007

588

528

527

807

617

656

2008

579

519

518

798

629

652

2009

604

540

538

804

639

645

2010

596

524

524

786

634

630

2011

592

511

519

772

619

628

2012

581

499

501

760

604

624

Note: Full-time workers work at least 35 hours per week.  Data adjusted to constant 2012 dollars by ASPE using the CPI-U-RS.

1 Beginning in 1992, data on educational attainment have been based on the "highest diploma or degree received," rather than the "number of years of school completed."  Data for 1994 forward are not directly comparable with data for 1993 and earlier years due to a redesign of the Current Population Survey.  Data for 2000-2002 have been revised to incorporate population controls from Census 2000 and new industry and occupational classification systems.  The earnings data presented in this table may differ slightly from other published estimates due to methodological differences in calculating medians.

2 For 1992 and 1993, earnings data by educational attainment are not available for persons of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity age 25 and over.  Beginning in 2003, data refer to persons who selected this race group only; previously, persons identified a group as their main race.  In addition, persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race and, therefore, are classified by ethnicity as well as by race. 

Source: Current Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 4. Educational Attainment

Figure WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: 1960-2012

Figure WORK 4. Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: 1960-2012

Note: Completing the GED is not considered completing high school for this table. Beginning with data for 1992, a new survey question results in different categories than for prior years. Data shown as “High school graduate, no college” were previously from the category “High school, 4 years” and are now from the category “High school graduate.” Data shown as “One to three years of college” were previously from the category “College 1 to 3 years” and are now the sum of the categories: “Some college” and two separate “Associate degree” categories. Data shown as “Four or more years of college” were previously from the category “College 4 years or more,” and are now the sum of the categories: “Bachelor's degree,” “Master's degree,” “Doctorate degree” and “Professional degree.”

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Educational Attainment in the United States, 2013),” Current Population Reports and earlier reports.
  • Figure WORK 4 shows educational attainment for adults 25 years and older between 1960 and 2012. Table WORK 4 shows the corresponding point estimates for select years.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older completing four or more years of college has increased between 1960 and 2012, rising from 7.7 percent to 30.9 percent. The percentage of the population 25 years and older with some college but less than four years increased from 8.8 percent in 1960 to 26.3 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older without at least a high school education has declined over the past 50 years, from 59.0 percent in 1960 to 12.4 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of the population 25 years and older receiving a high school education (but no post secondary education) was 24.6 percent in 1960 and rose to 38.9 percent in 1988. Since 1988, this figure has fallen to 30.4 percent in 2012 due (in part) to increased college attendance.

Table WORK 4.  Percentage of Adults Ages 25 and over by Level of Educational Attainment: Selected Years

Year

Not a High School Graduate

High School Graduate, No College

One to Three Years of College

Four or More Years of College

1940

75.9

14.1

5.4

4.6

1950

66.7

20.1

7.1

6.0

1960

59.0

24.6

8.8

7.7

1965

51.0

30.7

8.9

9.4

1970

44.8

34.0

10.2

11.0

1975

37.5

36.2

12.4

13.9

1980

31.4

36.8

14.9

17.0

1981

30.3

37.6

15.1

17.1

1982

29.0

37.9

15.3

17.7

1983

27.9

37.7

15.6

18.8

1984

26.7

38.4

15.8

19.1

1985

26.1

38.2

16.3

19.4

1986

25.3

38.4

16.9

19.4

1987

24.4

38.7

17.1

19.9

1988

23.8

38.9

17.0

20.3

1989

23.1

38.5

17.3

21.1

1990

22.4

38.4

17.9

21.3

1991

21.6

38.6

18.4

21.4

1992

20.6

36.0

22.1

21.4

1993

19.8

35.4

23.0

21.9

1994

19.1

34.4

24.3

22.2

1995

18.3

33.9

24.8

23.0

1996

18.3

33.6

24.6

23.6

1997

17.9

33.8

24.5

23.9

1998

17.2

33.8

24.7

24.4

1999

16.6

33.3

24.8

25.2

2000

15.9

33.1

25.4

25.6

2001

15.9

32.3

25.7

26.2

2002

15.9

32.1

25.3

26.7

2003

15.4

32.0

25.3

27.2

2004

14.8

32.0

25.5

27.7

2005

14.8

32.2

25.4

27.7

2006

14.5

31.7

25.7

28.0

2007

14.3

31.6

25.3

28.7

2008

13.4

31.2

26.0

29.4

2009

13.3

31.1

26.1

29.5

2010

12.9

31.2

26.0

29.9

2011

12.4

30.7

26.4

30.4

2012

12.4

30.4

26.3

30.9

 

Note: Completing the GED is not considered completing high school for this table.  Beginning with data for 1992, a new survey question results in different categories than for prior years.  Data shown as “High school graduate, no college” were previously from the category “High school, 4 years” and are now from the category “High school graduate.”  Data shown as “One to three years of college” were previously from the category “College 1 to 3 years” and are now the sum of the categories: “Some college” and two separate “Associate degree” categories.  Data shown as “Four or more years of college” were previously from the category “College 4 years or more,” and are now the sum of the categories: “Bachelor's degree,” “Master's degree,” “Doctorate degree” and “Professional degree.” 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, “Educational Attainment in the United States: 2013. http://www.census.gov/hhes/socdemo/education/data/cps/2013/tables.html and earlier reports.

Employment and Work Risk Factor 5. Adult Alcohol and Substance Abuse

Figure WORK 5. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol by Age: 2012

Figure WORK 5. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol by Age: 2012

Note: Cocaine and marijuana use is defined as use during the past month. “Binge alcohol use” is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days. “Heavy alcohol use” is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days; all heavy alcohol users are also binge alcohol users.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2012.

  • Figure WORK 5 shows the percentage of adults who used cocaine, marijuana, and who abused alcohol by age group in 2012.
  • Adults 18 to 25 years of age were more likely than older adults to report marijuana, binge alcohol or heavy alcohol use in the prior month. For example, 18.7 percent reported using marijuana in the past month during 2012, compared with 11.3 percent of adults 26 to 34 years of age and 3.9 percent of adults 35 years and over.
  • The percentage of adults reporting binge alcohol use was larger than the percentages for all other reported behaviors across all age groups shown.
  • Table WORK 5 shows the percentage of adults who used cocaine or marijuana or abused alcohol from 1999 through 2012.
  • Marijuana use has been trending upward for all age groups. Levels of cocaine use are low compared to use of marijuana and alcohol for all age groups. Since 1999, heavy alcohol use and binge alcohol use has fluctuated across all the age groups but it remains highest amongst 18-25 years old and lowest amongst those 35 years and older.

Table WORK 5. Percentage of Adults Who Used Cocaine or Marijuana or Abused Alcohol by Age: 1999-2012

 

Cocaine

Marijuana

Binge Alcohol Use

Heavy Alcohol Use

Ages

18-25

Ages

26-34

Ages 35 & over

Ages

18-25

Ages

26-34

Ages 35 & over

Ages

18-25

Ages

26-34

Ages 35 & over

Ages

18-25

Ages

26-34

Ages 35 & over

1999

1.7

1.2

0.4

14.2

5.4

2.2

37.9

29.3

16.0

13.3

7.5

4.2

2000

1.4

0.8

0.3

13.6

5.9

2.3

37.8

30.3

16.4

12.8

7.6

4.1

2001

1.9

1.1

0.5

16.0

6.8

2.4

38.7

30.1

16.2

13.6

7.8

4.2

2002

2.0

1.2

0.6

17.3

7.7

3.1

40.9

33.1

18.6

14.9

9.0

5.2

2003

2.2

1.5

0.6

17.0

8.4

3.0

41.6

32.9

18.1

15.1

9.4

5.1

2004

2.1

1.4

0.5

16.1

8.3

3.1

41.2

32.2

18.5

15.1

9.4

5.3

2005

2.6

1.3

0.6

16.6

8.6

3.0

41.9

32.9

18.3

15.3

9.6

4.7

2006

2.2

1.7

0.6

16.3

8.5

3.2

42.2

34.2

18.4

15.6

10.0

5.1

2007

1.7

1.4

0.6

16.4

7.9

3.0

41.8

35.1

18.9

14.7

9.7

5.3

2008

1.5

1.5

0.4

16.5

8.8

3.2

41.0

36.4

18.8

14.5

10.6

5.3

2009

1.4

1.0

0.5

18.1

9.6

3.4

41.7

36.3

19.2

13.7

10.1

5.3

2010

1.5

1.1

0.3

18.5

10.5

3.4

40.6

36.5

18.6

13.6

10.3

5.1

2011

1.4

0.8

0.3

19.0

10.2

3.6

39.8

35.7

18.4

12.1

10.5

4.6

2012

1.1

1.2

0.5

18.7

11.3

3.9

39.5

35.6

19.0

12.7

9.4

5.4

Note: Cocaine and marijuana use is defined as use during the past month.  “Binge alcohol use” is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least one day in the past 30 days.  “Heavy alcohol use” is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of five or more days in the past 30 days; all heavy alcohol users are also binge alcohol users.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2000-2012.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 6. Adult and Child Disability

Figure WORK 6. Percentage of the Non-Elderly Population Reporting an Activity Limitation by Selected Characteristics: 2012

Figure WORK 6. Percentage of the Non-Elderly Population Reporting an Activity Limitation by Selected Characteristics: 2012

Note: Work disability is defined as limitations in or the inability to work as a result of a physical, mental or emotional health condition. Individuals are identified as having long-term care needs if they need the help of others in handling either personal care needs (eating, bathing, dressing, getting in or out of bed, getting around the home, or driving) or routine needs (household chores, shopping, getting around for business or other purposes). Disability program recipients include persons covered by Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Special Education Services, Early Intervention Services and/or disability pensions.

Respondents were defined as having an activity limitation if they answered positively to any of the questions regarding: (1) work disability (see definition above; (2) long-term care needs (see definition above); (3) difficulty walking; (4) difficulty remembering; (5) for children under 5, limitations in the amount of play activities they can participate in because of physical, mental or emotional problems; (6) for children 3 and over, receipt of Special Educational or Early Intervention Services; and, (7) any other limitations due to physical, mental or emotional problems.
Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.
Source: Unpublished tabulations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2012.
  • Figure WORK 6 shows the percentage of non-elderly adults and children reporting an activity limitation by race and ethnicity in 2012. Non-elderly adults were more likely than children to have an activity limitation, 12.1 percent compared to 8.9 percent.
  • Table WORK 6 shows the percentage of the non-elderly population reporting a disability by selected demographic characteristics. While non-elderly adults were more likely than children to report an activity limitation, a higher percentage of children (7.9 percent) than adults (6.1 percent) were actually recipients of disability program benefits in 2012.
  • For both non-elderly adults and children, the percentage of Non-Hispanic Blacks with an activity limitation was higher than the percentages for Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics.
  • Among adults ages 18 – 64, rates of work disability were lower for Hispanics (6.1 percent) than they were for Non-Hispanic Whites (10.0 percent) and Non-Hispanic Blacks (12.3 percent).

Table WORK 6.  Percentage of the Non-Elderly Population Reporting a Disability by Selected Characteristics: 2012

 

Activity Limitation

Work Disability

Long-Term Care Needs

Disability Program Recipient

All Persons

  Adults ages 18-64

12.1

9.3

2.6

6.1

  Children ages 0-17

8.9

NA

NA

7.9

Racial/Ethnic Categories (Adults Ages 18-64)

  Non-Hispanic White

12.8

10.0

2.6

6.1

  Non-Hispanic Black

16.4

12.3

3.4

10.1

  Hispanic

8.5

6.1

1.9

4.2

Racial/Ethnic Categories (Children Ages 0-17)

  Non-Hispanic White

9.5

NA

NA

8.4

  Non-Hispanic Black

10.2

NA

NA

8.9

  Hispanic

7.3

NA

NA

6.4

Note: Work disability is defined as limitations in or the inability to work as a result of a physical, mental or emotional health condition.  Individuals are identified as having long-term care needs if they need the help of others in handling either personal care needs (eating, bathing, dressing, getting in or out of bed, getting around the home, or driving) or routine needs (household chores, shopping, getting around for business or other purposes).  Disability program recipients include persons covered by Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Special Education Services, Early Intervention Services and/or disability pensions.

Respondents were defined as having an activity limitation if they answered positively to any of the questions regarding: (1) work disability (see definition above); (2) long-term care needs (see definition above); (3) difficulty walking; (4) difficulty remembering; (5) for children under 5, limitations in the amount of play activities they can participate in because of physical, mental or emotional problems; (6) for children 3 and over, receipt of Special Educational or Early Intervention Services; and, (7) any other limitations due to physical, mental or emotional problems. 

Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: Unpublished tabulations from the National Health Interview Survey, 2012.

Employment and Work-related Risk Factor 7. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children Under 18

Figure WORK 7. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children under 18: 1975-2012

Figure WORK 7. Labor Force Participation of Women with Children under 18: 1975-2012

Note: The labor force participation rate includes all women who are employed, laid off or unemployed but looking for work. The employment rate includes only those women who are employed. The population of mothers with children under age 18 includes those 16 years of age and older.

Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, March 2013 and earlier reports.


  • Figure WORK 7 shows the labor force participation rates for mothers with children under 18 years of age by marital status between 1975 and 2012.  In 2012, regardless of marital status, the majority of mothers in the U.S. were engaged in the labor force. 
  • Between 1975 and 2012, labor force participation rates for never-married mothers with children under 18 markedly increased—rising from 42.2 percent in 1975 to 71.5 percent in 2012.
  • Historically, divorced, widowed and separated mothers have had the highest rates of labor force participation among mothers.  In 1975, 62.8 percent of divorced, widowed or separated mothers were in the labor force, rising to 80.2 percent in 2012.
  • The labor force participation rate of married mothers with children under 18 followed an upward trend increasing from 44.9 percent in 1975 to 71.1 percent in 1997, before decreasing some to 68.5 percent in 2012.   
  • Table WORK 7 shows both the labor force participation rate and the employment rate of mothers with children under 18 years of age between 1975 and 2012.
  • The employment rate for all mothers increased over the time period up until 2000 and has since reached a plateau.  In 2012, the employment rate for married mothers with a spouse present was 65.0 percent, the employment rate for divorced, widowed and separated mothers was 71.8 percent, and the employment rate for never-married mothers was 59.6 percent.

Table WORK 7. Employment Status of Women with Children under 18 Years of Age: 1975-2012

 

 

Labor Force Participation Rate

(percent of population)

Employment Rate
(percent of population)

Married,
Spouse Present

Divorced, Separated or Widowed

Never

Married

Married,
Spouse Present

Divorced, Separated or Widowed

Never

Married

1975

44.9

62.8

42.2

40.5

54.9

32.1

1976

46.1

64.3

46.2

42.4

56.9

36.3

1977

48.2

66.4

43.4

44.6

58.7

29.6

1978

50.2

68.1

51.1

47.0

61.2

38.9

1979

51.9

67.8

54.4

48.6

61.4

42.6

1980

54.1

69.9

52.0

50.9

63.4

39.9

1981

55.7

70.5

52.3

52.1

63.0

38.3

1982

56.3

71.1

50.4

51.6

62.3

36.2

1983

57.2

70.1

49.8

52.4

58.5

34.5

1984

58.8

72.7

50.7

54.9

63.4

36.3

1985

60.8

72.9

51.6

56.8

64.0

39.3

1986

61.3

74.1

52.9

57.6

66.3

37.8

1987

63.8

74.0

54.1

60.4

66.5

40.2

1988

65.0

72.8

51.6

61.9

66.9

40.0

1989

65.6

72.0

54.7

63.1

66.0

43.1

1990

66.3

74.2

55.3

63.5

67.9

45.1

1991

66.8

72.7

53.6

63.2

66.1

44.0

1992

67.8

73.2

52.5

63.9

65.3

43.4

1993

67.5

72.1

54.4

64.2

65.9

44.0

1994

69.0

73.1

56.9

65.6

65.9

45.8

1995

70.2

75.3

57.5

67.1

69.1

47.9

1996

70.0

77.0

60.5

67.6

72.1

49.3

1997

71.1

79.1

68.1

68.6

72.0

56.6

1998

70.6

79.7

72.5

68.0

74.3

61.5

1999

70.1

80.4

73.4

68.0

75.4

64.8

2000

70.6

82.7

73.9

68.5

78.5

65.8

2001

70.4

83.1

73.5

68.0

78.7

64.6

2002

69.6

82.1

75.3

66.7

75.6

65.8

2003

69.2

82.0

73.1

66.3

74.7

63.2

2004

68.2

80.7

72.6

65.4

75.0

63.1

2005

68.1

79.8

72.9

66.0

74.4

62.0

2006

68.4

80.4

71.5

66.2

75.4

62.5

2007

69.3

80.0

71.4

67.4

75.2

63.7

2008

69.4

79.3

71.0

67.1

74.6

62.9

2009

69.8

79.2

72.0

66.0

70.3

60.9

2010

69.7

79.2

70.1

65.3

70.4

57.4

2011

69.1

79.8

70.0

65.0

70.3

56.8

2012

68.5

80.2

71.5

65.0

71.8

59.6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notes:  The labor force participation rate includes all women who are employed, laid off or unemployed but looking for work. The employment rate includes only those women who are employed. The population of mothers with children under age 18 includes those 16 years of age and older.

Source:  U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, unpublished tabulations from the Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, March 2012 and earlier reports.

Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 1. Nonmarital Births

Figure BIRTH 1.  Percentage of Births that are Nonmarital by Age: 1940-2012

Figure BIRTH 1.  Percentage of Births that are Nonmarital by Age: 1940-2012

Note:  Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm


  • Figure BIRTH 1 shows the percentage of births that were nonmarital by age group from 1940 to 2012 and Table BIRTH 1 shows corresponding estimates for selected years.  Changes in nonmarital births reflect changes in the rate at which unmarried women have children, the rate at which married women have children and the rate at which women marry.  The percentage of children born outside of marriage to women of all ages has increased over the past 70 years.  In 1940, 3.8 percent of births were to unmarried women.  By 2012, the percentage had increased to 40.7 percent.   
  • Teen births, as shown in Figure BIRTH 1 and Table BIRTH 1, show nonmarital teen births as a percentage of all teen births.  In 1940, 14.0 percent of births to teens were nonmarital.  While the percentage of all teen births that are nonmarital has increased since the mid-1960s, growth in the percentage slowed in the mid- to late-1990s before rising to 88.8 percent in 2012.
  • Over the past 15 years, the percentage of nonmarital births among all births to women 20 to 24 years of age increased by 40.7 percent from 45.6 percent in 1996 to 64.8 percent in 2012  This compares to an increase of 16.4 percent in the percentage of nonmarital births among teen births over the same period. 
  • Since 1994, the percentage of births that are nonmarital remains steady among Black teens and all Black women.  Among White teens and all White women, the trend continues upward (see Table C-1 in Appendix C for nonmarital birth data by age and race).

Table BIRTH 1.  Percentage of Births that are Nonmarital by Age: Selected Years

Year

Under 15

15-17 Years

18-19 Years

All Teens

20-24 Years

All Women

1940

64.5

NA

NA

14.0

3.7

3.8

1945

70.0

NA

NA

18.2

4.7

4.3

1950

63.7

22.6

9.4

13.9

3.8

4.0

1955

66.3

23.2

10.3

14.9

4.4

4.5

1960

67.9

24.0

10.7

15.4

4.8

5.3

1965

78.5

32.8

15.3

21.6

6.8

7.7

1970

80.8

43.0

22.4

30.5

8.9

10.7

1975

87.0

51.4

29.8

39.3

12.3

14.3

1980

88.7

61.5

39.8

48.3

19.4

18.4

1981

89.2

63.3

41.4

49.9

20.4

18.9

1982

89.2

65.0

43.0

51.4

21.4

19.4

1983

90.4

67.5

45.7

54.1

22.9

20.3

1984

91.1

69.2

48.1

56.3

24.5

21.0

1985

91.8

70.9

50.7

58.7

26.3

22.0

1986

92.5

73.3

53.6

61.5

28.7

23.4

1987

92.9

76.2

55.8

64.0

30.8

24.5

1988

93.6

77.1

58.5

65.9

32.9

25.7

1989

92.4

77.7

60.4

67.2

35.1

27.1

1990

91.6

77.7

61.3

67.6

36.9

28.0

1991

91.3

78.7

63.2

69.3

39.4

29.5

1992

91.3

79.2

64.6

70.5

40.7

30.1

1993

91.3

79.9

66.1

71.8

42.2

31.0

1994

94.5

84.1

70.0

75.9

44.9

32.6

1995

93.5

83.7

69.8

75.6

44.7

32.2

1996

93.8

84.4

70.8

76.3

45.6

32.4

1997

95.7

86.7

72.5

78.2

46.6

32.4

1998

96.6

87.5

73.6

78.9

47.7

32.8

1999

96.5

87.7

74.0

79.0

48.5

33.0

2000

96.5

87.7

74.3

79.1

49.5

33.2

2001

96.3

87.8

74.6

79.2

50.4

33.5

2002

97.0

88.5

75.8

80.2

51.6

34.0

2003

97.1

89.7

77.3

81.6

53.2

34.6

2004

97.4

90.3

78.7

82.6

54.8

35.8

2005

98.0

90.9

79.7

83.5

56.2

36.9

2006

98.3

91.9

80.6

84.4

57.9

38.5

2007

98.8

93.3

82.2

85.7

59.6

39.7

2008

99.1

93.7

83.5

86.8

60.9

40.6

2009

99.0

94.2

84.2

87.4

62.1

41.0

2010

99.3

95.0

85.1

88.2

63.1

40.8

2011

99.1

95.3

85.7

88.6

64.0

40.7

2012

99.0

95.4

86.0

88.8

64.8

40.7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm

Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 2. Nonmarital Teen Births

Figure BIRTH 2.  Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19 by Race and Ethnicity: 1940 ─ 2012

Figure BIRTH 2.  Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19 by Race and Ethnicity: 1940 ─ 2012


Note: Trends in nonmarital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring nonmarital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Prior to 1969, race data were available for Whites and Non-Whites only.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.


  • Figure BIRTH 2 shows the percentage of all births to unmarried teens 15 to 19 years of age by race and ethnicity, and Table BIRTH 2 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1940 and 2012.  Unlike BIRTH 1, which showed nonmarital teen births as a percentage of all teen births, BIRTH 2 shows births to unmarried teens as a percentage of births to all women.  This percentage is affected by several factors: the age distribution of women, the marriage rate among teens, the birth rate among unmarried teens and the birth rate among all other women.
  • The percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens declined over the last five years, from 8.2 in 2003 to 6.9 percent in 2012.
  • Among Black women, the percentage of all births that were nonmarital teen births decreased to 11.9 percent in 2012.  This was the lowest percentage since 1969, the first year in which data on Black women were tabulated separately.
  • Among White women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens decreased to 6.2 percent in 2012.
  • Among Hispanic women, the percentage of all births that were to unmarried teens increased from a low of 9.8 percent in 1990 to a high of 12.1 percent in 1998; since 2008 the rate has been decreasing.  The rate in 2012 was 9.9 percent.

Table BIRTH 2.  Percentage of All Births to Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 19 by Race and Ethnicity:

Selected Years

Year

All Races

White

Black

Hispanic

1940

1.7

0.8

NA

NA

1950

1.6

0.6

NA

NA

1955

1.7

0.7

NA

NA

1960

2.0

0.9

NA

NA

1965

3.3

1.6

NA

NA

1970

5.1

2.6

18.8

NA

1975

7.1

3.7

24.2

NA

1980

7.3

4.4

22.2

NA

1981

7.1

4.5

21.5

NA

1982

7.1

4.5

21.2

NA

1983

7.2

4.6

21.2

NA

1984

7.1

4.6

20.7

NA

1985

7.2

4.8

20.3

NA

1986

7.5

5.1

20.1

NA

1987

7.7

5.3

20.0

NA

1988

8.0

5.6

20.3

NA

1989

8.3

5.9

20.6

NA

1990

8.4

6.1

20.4

9.8

1991

8.7

6.4

20.4

10.3

1992

8.7

6.5

20.2

10.3

1993

8.9

6.8

20.2

10.6

1994

9.7

7.5

21.1

12.1

1995

9.6

7.6

21.1

11.7

1996

9.6

7.7

20.9

11.5

1997

9.7

7.8

20.5

11.9

1998

9.7

7.9

19.9

12.1

1999

9.5

7.8

19.1

11.9

2000

9.1

7.6

18.3

11.5

2001

8.7

7.3

17.5

11.0

2002

8.5

7.2

16.7

10.8

2003

8.2

7.1

16.2

10.7

2004

8.3

7.2

16.0

10.9

2005

8.3

7.2

15.8

11.0

2006

8.6

7.4

16.1

11.3

2007

8.8

7.7

16.3

11.5

2008

8.9

7.8

16.2

11.7

2009

8.7

7.6

15.6

11.6

2010

8.1

7.2

14.5

11.1

2011

7.4

6.6

13.1

10.4

2012

6.9

6.2

11.9

9.9

Note: Trends in nonmarital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring nonmarital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately. Prior to 1969, race data were available for Whites and Non-Whites only.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Health Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.

Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 3. Nonmarital Teen Birth Rates

Figure BIRTH 3a.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 15 to 17 by Race: 1960-2012 

Figure BIRTH 3a.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried     Teens Ages 15 to 17 by Race: 1960-2012 

Figure BIRTH 3b.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried Teens Ages 18 and 19 by Race: 1960-2012

         Figure BIRTH 3b.  Births per 1,000 Unmarried          Teens Ages 18 and 19 by Race: 1960-2012

Note: Rates are per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group. Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Prior to 1969, race data were available for Whites and Non-Whites only.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.


  • Figures BIRTH 3a and 3b show births per thousand unmarried teens between the ages of 15 to 17 and 18 to 19 from 1960 to 2012.  Table BIRTH 3 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1950 and 2012. 
  • The birth rate per thousand unmarried teens ages 15 to 17 decreased in 2012 for both Black and White teens.  The rate for Black teens ages 15 to 17 has been cut by more than two-thirds from 79.9 per thousand in 1991 to 22.0 per thousand in 2012. The 2012 rate is lower than in any other year since 1969, the first year in which data on Black women were collected.   
  • The birth rates of unmarried teens in the older age group (18 and 19 years) showed a decrease in 2012.  For Black teens ages 18 and 19, the birth rate fell from a high of 147.7 per thousand in 1991 to a low of 100.4 per thousand in 2003 before again decreasing to 73.2 births per thousand in 2012.
  • Prior to 1994, birth rates among unmarried White teens in both age groups rose steadily for over four decades.  For White teens 15 to 17 years of age, the birth rate increased from 3.4 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1950 to 23.9 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1994. Subsequently their rate has generally followed a downward trend to 12.4 per thousand in 2012.  For 18 to 19 year olds, the rate increased from 8.5 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1950 to 55.8 births per thousand unmarried teens in 1994.  Until 2008 their rate fluctuated between 50 and 54 but by 2012 had declined to 41.4 per thousand.
  • While birth rates among unmarried Black teens remain high compared to rates for unmarried White teens, the gap between Black and White teens narrowed during the 1990s and 2000s.

Table BIRTH 3.  Births per Thousand Unmarried Teen Women by Age and Race: 1950-2012

 

Ages 15 to 17
Ages 18 and 19
 

Year

All Races

White

Black

All Races

White

Black

1950

9.9

3.4

NA

18.3

8.5

NA

1955

11.1

3.9

NA

23.6

10.3

NA

1960

11.1

4.4

NA

25.0

11.4

NA

1965

12.5

5.0

NA

25.8

13.9

NA

1966

13.1

5.4

NA

25.6

14.1

NA

1967

13.8

5.6

NA

27.6

15.3

NA

1968

14.7

6.2

NA

29.6

16.6

NA

1969

15.2

6.6

72.0

30.8

16.6

128.4

1970

17.1

7.5

77.9

32.9

17.6

136.4

1971

17.5

7.4

80.7

31.7

15.8

135.2

1972

18.5

8.0

82.8

30.9

15.1

128.2

1973

18.7

8.4

81.2

30.4

14.9

120.5

1974

18.8

8.8

78.6

31.2

15.3

122.2

1975

19.3

9.6

76.8

32.5

16.5

123.8

1976

19.0

9.7

73.5

32.1

16.9

117.9

1977

19.8

10.5

73.0

34.6

18.7

121.7

1978

19.1

10.3

68.8

35.1

19.3

119.6

1979

19.9

10.8

71.0

37.2

21.0

123.3

1980

20.6

12.0

68.8

39.0

24.1

118.2

1981

20.9

12.6

65.9

39.0

24.6

114.2

1982

21.5

13.1

66.3

39.6

25.3

112.7

1983

22.0

13.6

66.8

40.7

26.4

111.9

1984

21.9

13.7

66.5

42.5

27.9

113.6

1985

22.4

14.5

66.8

45.9

31.2

117.9

1986

22.8

14.9

67.0

48.0

33.5

121.1

1987

24.5

16.2

69.9

48.9

34.5

123.0

1988

26.4

17.6

73.5

51.5

36.8

130.5

1989

28.7

19.3

78.9

56.0

40.2

140.9

1990

29.6

20.4

78.8

60.7

44.9

143.7

1991

30.8

21.7

79.9

65.4

49.4

147.7

1992

30.2

21.5

77.2

66.7

51.2

146.4

1993

30.3

21.9

75.9

66.2

52.0

140.0

1994

31.7

23.9

73.9

69.1

55.8

139.6

1995

30.1

23.3

67.4

66.5

54.7

129.2

1996

28.5

22.3

62.6

64.9

53.5

127.2

1997

27.7

22.0

59.0

63.9

52.9

124.8

1998

26.5

21.5

55.0

63.6

53.1

121.5

1999

25.0

20.7

50.0

62.3

52.9

115.8

2000

23.9

19.7

48.3

62.2

53.1

115.0

2001

22.0

18.1

43.8

60.6

52.1

110.2

2002

20.8

17.5

39.9

58.6

51.0

104.1

2003

20.3

17.2

38.1

57.6

50.4

100.4

2004

20.1

17.1

37.0

57.7

50.4

100.9

2005

19.7

16.8

35.4

58.4

50.9

101.6

2006

20.4

17.4

36.6

61.8

53.9

107.8

2007

20.8

18.0

36.3

63.9

55.9

109.1

2008

20.6

18.0

35.5

61.9

54.2

104.4

2009

19.3

16.9

32.6

58.2

51.1

96.8

2010

16.8

15.1

27.6

52.0

46.9

83.6

2011

14.9

13.4

24.7

48.2

43.4

77.4

2012

13.7

12.4

22.0

45.8

41.4

73.2

Note: Rates are per 1,000 unmarried women in specified group. Trends in non-marital births may be affected by changes in the reporting of marital status on birth certificates and in procedures for inferring non-marital births when marital status is not reported.  Beginning in 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the mother.  Prior to 1980, data are tabulated by the race of the child.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity. Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, “Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States, 1940-1999,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48 (16), 2000; “Births: Final Data for 2012,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 62 (9), December 30, 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/nvsr.htm.

Nonmarital Birth Risk Factor 4. Never-married Family Status

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2012

Figure BIRTH 4. Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: 1982-2012

Note: Data are for all children under 18 who are not family heads (excludes householders, subfamily reference persons and their spouses).  Inmates of institutions also are excluded.  Children who are living with neither of their parents are excluded from the denominator.  Based on Current Population Survey (CPS) data.

Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity.  Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.  Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately.

Source of CPS data: U.S. Census Bureau, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Series P20-212, 287, 365, 380, 399, 418, 423, 433, 445, 450, 461, 468, 478, 484, 491, 496, 506, 514 and “America’s Families and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Table C3, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013C.html.


  • Figure BIRTH 4 shows the percentage of all children living in families with a never-married female head of household by race and ethnicity from 1980 to 2012.  Table BIRTH 4 shows corresponding estimates for selected years between 1960 and 2012.  The percentage of children living in families with never‑married female heads increased from 4.6 percent in 1982 to 11.7 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of White children living in families headed by never-married women has increased more than fourfold over the past 25 years, from 1.6 percent in 1982 to 7.0 percent in 2012.
  • Among Hispanics of all races, the percentage of children living with a never-married female head of household more than doubled over the past 25 years, from 5.7 percent in 1982 to 13.4 percent in 2012.
  • The percentage of Black children living in families with a never-married female head of household has been higher than the percentages for other groups throughout the time period.  In 2012, 36.5 percent of Black children lived in families with a never-married female head of household compared to 7.0 percent for White children and 13.4 percent for Hispanic children.

Table BIRTH 4.  Number and Percentage of All Children Living in Families with a Never-Married Female Head by Race and Ethnicity: Selected Years

 

Number of Children (thousands)

Percentage

Year

All Races

White

Black

Hispanic2

All Races

White

Black

Hispanic

1960

221

49

173

NA

0.4

0.1

2.2

NA

1970

527

110

442

NA

0.8

0.2

5.2

NA

1975

1,166

296

864

NA

1.8

0.5

9.9

NA

1980

1,745

501

1,193

210

2.9

1.0

14.5

4.0

1981

1,807

527

1,245

202

3.0

1.0

15.0

4.0

19821

2,768

793

1,947

291

4.6

1.6

22.7

5.7

1983

3,212

958

2,203

357

5.3

1.9

24.9

6.7

1984

3,131

959

2,109

357

5.2

1.9

23.9

6.5

1985

3,496

1,086

2,355

391

5.8

2.2

26.6

6.7

1986

3,606

1,174

2,375

451

5.9

2.4

26.6

7.2

1987

3,985

1,385

2,524

587

6.5

2.8

28.2

9.2

1988

4,302

1,482

2,736

600

7.0

3.0

30.4

9.2

1989

4,290

1,483

2,695

592

6.9

2.9

29.6

8.7

1990

4,365

1,527

2,738

605

7.0

3.0

29.6

8.7

1991

5,040

1,725

3,176

644

8.0

3.4

33.3

9.0

1992

5,410

2,016

3,192

757

8.4

3.9

33.1

10.3

1993

5,511

2,015

3,317

848

8.5

3.9

33.6

11.3

1994

6,000

2,412

3,321

1,083

9.0

4.5

32.9

12.0

1995

5,862

2,317

3,255

1,017

8.7

4.3

32.3

10.8

1996

6,365

2,563

3,567

1,161

9.4

4.8

34.4

12.0

1997

6,598

2,788

3,575

1,242

9.7

5.1

34.3

12.4

1998

6,700

2,850

3,644

1,254

9.8

5.2

35.1

12.2

1999

6,736

2,826

3,643

1,297

9.8

5.2

35.3

12.2

2000

6,591

2,881

3,413

1,255

9.5

5.3

32.9

11.4

2001

6,736

3,002

3,481

1,397

9.8

5.5

33.2

11.9

2002

6,872

3,048

3,573

1,400

9.9

5.6

33.4

11.5

2003

7,006

3,029

3,451

1,495

10.0

5.6

33.3

11.9

2004

7,218

3,113

3,541

1,577

10.3

5.8

34.1

12.0

2005

7,413

3,284

3,617

1,627

10.6

6.0

35.5

12.0

2006

7,443

3,263

3,557

1,677

10.6

6.0

35.0

12.0

2007

6,945

2,928

3,501

1,569

9.8

5.4

33.2

10.8

2008

7,236

2,994

3,707

1,649

10.2

5.5

35.6

11.0

2009

7,450

3,254

3,642

1,918

10.5

6.0

35.3

12.2

2010

7,543

3,440

3,548

1,987

10.5

6.3

34.0

12.2

2011

8,080

3,706

3,732

2,233

11.3

6.8

36.2

13.3

2012

8,356

3,686

3,797

2,281

11.7

7.0

36.5

13.4

Note: Data are for all children under 18 who are not family heads (excludes householders, subfamily reference persons and their spouses).  Inmates of institutions also are excluded.

Children who are living with neither of their parents are excluded from the denominator.  Based on Current Population Survey (CPS) except 1960 which is based on decennial census data. 

1 In 1982, improved data collection and processing procedures helped to identify parent-child subfamilies (See Current Population Reports, P-20, 399, Marital Status and Living Arrangements: March 1984).  Some of the increase between 1981 and 1982 is a result of these changes.

 Persons who reported more than one race are included in the total for all persons but are not shown under any race category.  Due to small sample size, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Asians and Native Hawaiians/Other Pacific Islanders are included in the total for all persons but are not shown separately. Nonwhite data are shown for Black in 1960.

2 Race categories include those of Hispanic ethnicity. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity may be of any race.

Source of 1960 data: U.S. Census Bureau, 1960 Census of Population, PC(2)-4B, “Persons by Family Characteristics,” Tables 1 and 19

Source of CPS data: U.S. Census Bureau, “Marital Status and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Series P20-212, 287, 365, 380, 399, 418, 423, 433, 445, 450, 461, 468, 478, 484, 491, 496, 506, 514 and “America’s Families and Living Arrangements,” Current Population Reports, Table C3, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013C.html.

Appendices

Appendix A. Program Data

The Welfare Indicators Act of 1994 specifies that the annual welfare indicators reports shall include analyses of families and individuals receiving assistance under three means-tested benefit programs:

  • The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program authorized under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act (which replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in 1996);
  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program under the Food Stamp Act of 1977, as amended (which was renamed from the Food Stamp Program by Section 4001(b) of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act (P.L. 110-234) in October 2008;
  • The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program under title XVI of the Social Security Act.

This chapter includes information on these three programs, derived primarily from administrative data reported by state and federal agencies instead of the national survey data presented in previous chapters. National caseloads and expenditure trend information on each of the three programs is included, as well as state-by-state trend tables and information on the characteristics of program participants.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)

The Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program — originally named the Aid to Dependent Children program — was established by the Social Security Act of 1935 as a grant program to enable states to provide cash welfare payments for needy children who had been deprived of parental support or care because their fathers or mothers were absent from the home, incapacitated, deceased, or unemployed.  All 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands operated an AFDC program.  States defined “need,” set their own benefit levels, established (within federal limitations) income and resource limits, and administered the program or supervised its administration.  States were entitled to unlimited federal funds for reimbursement of benefit payments, at “matching” rates that were inversely related to state per capita income.  States were required to provide aid to all persons who were in classes eligible under federal law and whose income and resources were within state-set limits. 

During the 1990s, the federal government increasingly used its authority under section 1115 of the Social Security Act to waive portions of the federal requirements under AFDC.  This allowed states to test such changes as expanded earned income disregards, family caps, education and adult oversight requirements for underage single mothers, increased work requirements and stronger sanctions for failure to comply with them, time limits on benefits, and expanded access to transitional benefits such as child care and medical assistance.  As a condition of receiving waivers, states were required to conduct rigorous evaluations of the impacts of these changes on the welfare receipt, employment, and earnings of participants.

Public Law 104-193, the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), replaced AFDC, AFDC administration, the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program and the Emergency Assistance (EA) program with a block grant called the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  Key elements of TANF include a lifetime limit of five years (60 months)24 on the amount of time a family with an adult can receive assistance funded with federal funds, work participation rate requirements that states must meet, and broad state flexibility on program design.  Spending through the TANF block grant is capped and funded at $16.5 billion per year, States also must meet a “maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement” by spending on needy families at least 75 percent of the amount of state funds used in FY 1994 on these programs (80 percent if they fail work participation rate requirements).

TANF gives states wide latitude in spending both federal TANF funds and state MOE funds.  Without any federal limitations, each state has the flexibility to define “need”, set their own benefit levels, determine who is a member of the assistance unit, and establish income and resource limits for all benefits and services allowable under TANF (including cash assistance).  TANF funds may be used in any way that supports one of the four statutory purposes of TANF:  to provide assistance to needy families so that children can be cared for at home; to end the dependence of needy parents on government benefits by promoting job preparation, work and marriage; to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies; and to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.


24 However, some states also use the 20 percent hardship exemption or state funds to provide continued assistance for some families that reach the 60-month time limit.

Data Issues Relating to the TANF Program and the AFDC-TANF Transition

States had the option of beginning their TANF programs as soon as PRWORA was enacted in August 1996, and a few states began TANF programs as early as September 1996.  All states were required to implement TANF by July 1, 1997.  Because states implemented TANF at different times, the FY 1997 data reflect a combination of the AFDC and TANF programs.  In some states, limited data are available for FY 1997 because states were given a transition period of six months after they implemented TANF before they were required to report data on the characteristics and work activities of TANF participants. 

Because of the greatly expanded range of activities allowed under TANF, a substantial portion of TANF funds are being spent on activities other than cash payments to families.  Table TANF 4 in this Appendix which tracks overall expenditure trends includes only those TANF funds spent on “cash and work-based assistance” and “administrative costs,” not on work activities, supportive services, or other allowable uses of funds.  Spending on these other activities is detailed in Table TANF 5.  Note that TANF administrative costs include funds spent administering all activities, not just cash and work-based assistance.  (Administrative costs under AFDC had included a small amount of funds for administering AFDC child care programs; such programs, and the costs of administering them, were transferred to the Child Care and Development Fund as part of PRWORA.)

There also is potential for discontinuity between the AFDC and the TANF caseload figures.  For example, under TANF there is no longer a separate “Unemployed Parent” (UP) program, as there was under AFDC.  While a separate work participation rate is calculated for two-parent families, this population is not identical to the UP caseload under AFDC.  Even in the TANF era, the population subject to the two-parent rate changed.  Before the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, families with two adult recipients were generally subject to the two-parent rate; after the Act, the focus was on families with two work-eligible individuals (effective FY 2007).  It also is possible that a limited number of families will be considered recipients of TANF assistance, even if they do not receive a monthly cash benefit.  The vast majority of families receiving “assistance”25 are, in fact, receiving cash payments.

Another data issue concerns the treatment of families who receive cash and other forms of assistance under Separate State Programs (SSPs), funded by MOE dollars rather than federal TANF funds.  Under TANF, some states use SSP programs to serve specific categories of families (e.g., two-parent families, families because they were subject to a 90 percent work requirement, which many states considered unachievable, and families who have exhausted their time limits).  From FY 1997 through FY 2006, such families were not subject to federal time limits, and states did not have to include them in calculating their work participation rates.  As of October 2006, such families are included in the work participation rate calculation.  Starting with the 2004 edition, this Indicators report adds recipients in SSPs into the caseload totals26 (the split between TANF and SSP caseloads is shown in Table TANF 3, nationally, and in Table TANF 15, by state).  Native Americans served through state TANF and SSP programs are included in these caseload counts, but families served through TANF programs operated by Tribal governments are excluded.  Expenditures for SSPs are shown in Table TANF 5.


25 States are allowed to use TANF funds on a variety of services, including employment and training services, domestic violence services, child care, transportation, and other support services.  Families receiving such services, however, generally should not be counted as recipients of TANF “assistance.”  Under the final regulations for TANF, “assistance” primarily includes payments directed at ongoing basic needs.  It includes payments when individuals are participating in community service and work experience (or other work activities) as a condition of receiving payments (e.g., workfare).  In addition, the definition also includes certain child care and transportation benefits when families are not employed.   It excludes, however, such things as:  non-recurrent, short-term benefits; services without a cash value, such as education and training, case management, job search, and counseling; and benefits such as child care and transportation when provided to employed families.

26 States began submitting caseload data on SSPs in FY 2000.

AFDC/TANF Program Data

The following tables and figures present data on caseloads, expenditures, and recipient characteristics of the AFDC and TANF programs.  Trends in national caseloads and expenditures are shown in Figures TANF 1 and TANF 2, and the first set of tables (Tables TANF 1 through 6).  These are followed by information on characteristics of AFDC/TANF families (Table TANF 7)27 and a series of tables presenting state-by-state data on trends in the AFDC/TANF program (Tables TANF 8 through 15).  These data complement the data on trends in AFDC/TANF recipiency and participation rates shown in Tables IND 3a and IND 4a in Chapter II.

More information about the TANF program, including caseload data, expenditure data, work participation rate data and TANF Reports to Congress, can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/programs/tanf.


27Family characteristics in Table TANF 7 may differ from those reported in Chapter II because the administrative data focus on the assistance unit, whereas the survey-based data in Chapter II often use a broader family unit definition.  For example, grandparents, adult siblings, aunts, uncles, and other adult relatives living in the same household as the recipient children may be excluded from the assistance unit and thus the administrative data, yet be included in survey data on the family in which the TANF recipient resides. 

Figure TANF 1. AFDC/TANF Families Receiving Income Assistance

Figure TANF 1.  AFDC/TANF Families Receiving Income Assistance

Note: “Basic Families” are single-parent families and two-parent families in which one of the parents is incapacitated  and “UP Families” are two-parent cases who are needy due to the unemployment of the principal earner and receiving benefits under AFDC Unemployed Parent programs that operated in certain states before FY 1991 and in all states after October 1, 1990.  The AFDC Basic and UP programs were replaced by TANF as of July 1, 1997 under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. The decrease in number of families receiving assistance during the 1981-82 recession stems from changes in eligibility requirements and other policy changes mandated by OBRA 1981. The decrease in number of families receiving assistance beginning in 1996 is attributed to welfare reform and the introduction of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families block grant.  Beginning in 2000, “Total Families” includes TANF and SSP families. Last data point plotted is December 2013. Beginning in 2000, “Total Families” includes TANF and SSP families. Last data point plotted is December 2013.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance.

Figure TANF 2. Average Monthly AFDC/TANF Benefit per Recipient in Constant 2012 Dollars

Figure TANF 2.  Average Monthly AFDC/TANF Benefit per Recipient in Constant 2012 Dollars

Note: See Table TANF 6 for underlying data.  Comparison of trends in the average monthly AFDC/TANF benefit per recipient in constant dollars with the weighted average maximum benefit in constant 2012 dollars since 1988 indicates that the cause of the decline in the average monthly benefit has been the erosion of the real value of the maximum benefit due to inflation.  This is due to the fact that the current value of the maximum benefits has increased less than the cost of living in most states since the late1980s.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients: TANF Annual Report to Congress selected years; Quarterly Public Assistance Statistics, 1992 & 1993 and earlier years along with unpublished data. 

Table TANF 1. Trends in AFDC/TANF Average Monthly Caseloads: 1962-2013
 

Average Monthly Number
 (thousands)

Children as a Percent of Total Recipients

Average 1Number
of Children per Family

 

      Total
      Families

AFDC UP 1
Two-Parent Families

TANF
Two-Parent Families

Total Recipients

Child Recipients

Fiscal Year

1962

924

48

NA

3,593

2,778

77.3

3.0

1964

984

60

NA

4,059

3,043

75.0

3.1

1966

1,074

62

NA

4,472

3,369

75.3

3.1

1968

1,310

67

NA

5,349

4,013

75.0

3.1

1970

1,906

78

NA

7,415

5,484

74.0

2.9

1972

2,918

134

NA

10,632

7,698

72.4

2.6

1974

3,170

93

NA

10,845

7,825

72.2

2.5

1975

3,357

100

NA

11,067

7,952

71.9

2.4

1976

3,575

135

NA

11,386

8,054

70.7

2.3

1977

3,593

149

NA

11,130

7,846

70.5

2.2

1978

3,539

128

NA

10,672

7,492

70.2

2.1

1979

3,496

114

NA

10,318

7,197

69.8

2.1

1980

3,642

141

NA

10,597

7,320

69.1

2.0

1981

3,871

209

NA

11,160

7,615

68.2

2.0

1982

3,569

232

NA

10,431

6,975

66.9

2.0

1983

3,651

272

NA

10,659

7,051

66.1

1.9

1984

3,725

287

NA

10,866

7,153

65.8

1.9

1985

3,692

261

NA

10,813

7,165

66.3

1.9

1986

3,748

254

NA

10,997

7,300

66.4

1.9

1987

3,784

236

NA

11,065

7,381

66.7

2.0

1988

3,748

210

NA

10,920

7,325

67.1

2.0

1989

3,771

193

NA

10,934

7,370

67.4

2.0

1990

3,974

204

NA

11,460

7,755

67.7

2.0

1991

4,374

268

NA

12,592

8,513

67.6

1.9

1992

4,768

322

NA

13,625

9,226

67.7

1.9

1993

4,981

359

NA

14,143

9,560

67.6

1.9

1994

5,046

363

NA

14,226

9,611

67.6

1.9

1995

4,871

335

NA

13,660

9,280

67.9

1.9

1996

4,543

301

NA

12,645

8,671

68.6

1.9

19972

3,937

256

NA

10,935

7,7812

71.22

2.02

1998

3,200

NA

162

8,790

6,273

71.4

2.0

1999

2,674

NA

125

7,188

5,319

74.0

2.0

2000

2,356

NA

132

6,324

4,598

72.7

2.0

2001

2,200

NA

119

5,761

4,233

73.5

1.9

2002

2,195

NA

118

5,656

4,149

73.3

1.9

2003

2,181

NA

116

5,518

4,075

73.9

1.9

2004

2,161

NA

114

5,377

3,993

74.3

1.8

2005

2,090

NA

108

5,118

3,818

74.6

1.8

2006

1,960

NA

98

4,741

3,565

75.2

1.8

2007

1,754

NA

62

4,138

3,165

76.5

1.8

2008

1,693

NA

63

3,982

3,044

76.5

1.8

2009

1,796

NA

86

4,254

3,222

75.7

1.8

2010

1,911

NA

101

4,573

3,421

74.8

1.8

2011

1,921

NA

104

4,600

3,435

74.7

1.8

2012

1,876

NA

94

4,476

3,352

74.9

1.8

2013

1,751

NA

83

4,102

3,091

75.3

1.8

Note: Beginning in 2000, all caseload numbers include SSP families.  AFDC-UP was limited to two-parent families where the principal earner was unemployed.  Two-parent families in which a parent was incapacitated were part of the AFDC-Basic caseload.

1 The AFDC Unemployed Parent program was replaced when the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 repealed AFDC and set up the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program no later than July 1, 1997.

2 Based on data from the AFDC reporting system that were available only for the first 9 months of the fiscal year.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (available online at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/programs/tanf/data-reports).

Table TANF 2. Number of AFDC/TANF Recipients, and Recipients as a Percentage of Various Population Groups: 1970-2013

Calendar Year 1

Total Recipients in the States & DC
 (thousands)

Child Recipients in the States & DC
(thousands)

Recipients as a Percent of Total Population 2

Recipients as a Percent of Poverty Population 3

Child Recipients as a Percent of Total Child Population 2

Child Recipients as a Percent of Children in Poverty 3

1970

8,303

6,104

4.0

32.7

8.7

58.5

1971

10,043

7,303

4.8

39.3

10.5

69.2

1972

10,736

7,766

5.1

43.9

11.2

75.5

1973

10,738

7,763

5.1

46.7

11.3

80.5

1974

10,621

7,637

5.0

45.4

11.2

75.2

1975

11,131

7,928

5.2

43.0

11.8

71.4

1976

11,098

7,850

5.1

44.4

11.8

76.4

1977

10,856

7,632

4.9

43.9

11.7

74.2

1978

10,387

7,270

4.7

42.4

11.2

73.2

1979

10,140

7,057

4.5

38.9

11.0

68.0

1980

10,599

7,295

4.7

36.2

11.5

63.2

1981

10,893

7,397

4.7

34.2

11.7

59.2

1982

10,161

6,767

4.4

29.5

10.8

49.6

1983

10,569

6,967

4.5

29.9

11.1

50.1

1984

10,643

7,017

4.5

31.6

11.2

52.3

1985

10,672

7,073

4.5

32.3

11.3

54.4

1986

10,850

7,206

4.5

33.5

11.5

56.0

1987

10,841

7,240

4.5

33.6

11.5

56.4

1988

10,728

7,201

4.4

33.8

11.4

57.8

1989

10,798

7,286

4.4

34.3

11.5

57.9

1990

11,497

7,781

4.6

34.2

12.1

57.9

1991

12,728

8,601

5.0

35.6

13.2

60.0

1992

13,571

9,189

5.3

35.7

13.8

60.1

1993

14,007

9,460

5.4

35.7

14.0

60.2

1994

13,970

9,448

5.3

36.7

13.8

61.8

1995

13,242

9,013

5.0

36.4

13.0

61.5

1996

12,156

8,355

4.5

33.3

11.9

57.8

1997

10,224

7,0774

3.7

28.7

10.0

50.1

1998

8,215

5,781

3.0

23.8

8.1

42.9

1999

6,709

4,836

2.4

20.5

6.7

39.4

2000

6,043

4,415

2.1

19.1

6.1

38.1

2001

5,631

4,140

2.0

17.1

5.7

35.3

2002

5,534

4,073

1.9

16.0

5.6

33.6

2003

5,424

4,024

1.9

15.1

5.5

31.3

2004

5,283

3,935

1.8

14.3

5.4

30.2

2005

4,975

3,726

1.7

13.5

5.1

28.9

2006

4,537

3,428

1.5

12.4

4.6

26.7

2007

4,038

3,093

1.3

10.8

4.2

23.2

2008

3,972

3,036

1.3

10.0

4.1

21.6

2009

4,331

3,268

1.4

9.9

4.4

21.2

2010

4,553

3,405

1.5

9.8

4.6

20.9

2011

4,512

3,378

1.4

9.8

4.6

20.9

2012

4,358

3,270

1.4

9.4

4.4

20.3

2013

4,002

3,024

1.3

8.8

4.1

20.6

1 Total recipients here are the monthly average for the calendar year in order to compare with the calendar year counts of the poverty populations used to compute the recipiency rates. From 2000 onward, total recipients includes SSP recipients as well as TANF recipients and likewise for child recipients. See Table IND 3a for fiscal year recipiency rates.

2 Population numbers used as denominators are resident population.  See Current Population Reports, Series P25-1106

3 For poverty population data see Current Population Reports, Series P60-231 (available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html).

4 Estimated based on the ratio of children recipients to total recipients for January through June of 1997.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance and U.S. Census Bureau, “Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2013,” Current Population Reports, Series P60-249 (available online at http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/poverty.html).

Table TANF 3. TANF and Separate State Program (SSP) Families and Recipients: 2000-2013

[In thousands]

Fiscal Year

TANF

SSP

Total

 

Families

2000

2,265

91

2,356

2001

2,117

82

2,200

2002

2,065

129

2,195

2003

2,032

149

2,181

2004

1,987

174

2,161

2005

1,920

170

2,090

2006

1,805

155

1,960

2007

1,699

55

1,754

2008

1,628

65

1,693

2009

1,727

70

1,796

2010

1,848

69

1,917

2011

1,864

58

1,922

2012

1,754

123

1,876

2013

1,641

110

1,751

 

All Recipients

2000

5,943

380

6,324

2001

5,423

338

5,761

2002

5,149

508

5,656

2003

4,967

551

5,518

2004

4,784

593

5,377

2005

4,549

569

5,118

2006

4,222

520

4,742

2007

3,961

177

4,138

2008

3,782

199

3,982

2009

4,041

213

4,254

2010

4,371

222

4,593

2011

4,417

186

4,603

2012

4,107

370

4,476

2013

3,782

320

4,102

 

Child Recipients

2000

4,370

228

4,598

2001

4,025

202

4,227

2002

3,841

308

4,149

2003

3,731

344

4,075

2004

3,617

376

3,993

2005

3,459

360

3,818

2006

3,237

328

3,565

2007

3,050

115

3,165

2008

2,914

130

3,044

2009

3,084

139

3,223

2010

3,289

146

3,435

2011

3,316

122

3,437

2012

3,107

245

3,352

2013

2,885

206

3,091

Note: States may spend their State maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds within the TANF program or in "Separate State programs" (SSPs) that are not subject to many of the TANF requirements, including work requirements until FY 2007.  See Table TANF 15 for SSPs by state

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (available online at http://archive.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/data-reports/caseload/caseload_…).

Table TANF 4. Total AFDC/TANF Expenditures on Cash Benefits and Administration: 1970 – 2013

[In millions of dollars]

 

 

 

 

Note:  Benefits do not include emergency assistance payments and have not been reduced by child support collections.  Foster care payments are included from 1971 to 1980.  State funds for benefits include benefits under Separate State Programs. Beginning in fiscal year 1984, the cost of certifying AFDC households for food stamps is shown in the food stamp program’s appropriation under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Administrative costs include: Work Program, ADP, FAMIS, Fraud Control, Child Care administration (through 1996), SAVE and other State and local administrative expenditures.

1 Constant dollar adjustments to 2013 level were made using a CPI-U-RS fiscal year price index.

2 Includes expenditures for services.

3 Administrative expenditures only.

4 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 repealed the AFDC program as of July 1, 1997 and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  Under PRWORA, spending categories are not entirely equivalent to those under AFDC: e.g., administrative expenses under TANF do not include IV-A child care administration (which accounted for 4 percent of 1996 administrative expense).

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/resource-library/search?tag=5287.

Table TANF 5. Federal and State TANF Program and Other Related Spending: 2000 – 2013

[In millions of current dollars]

Fiscal
Year

Cash & Work-Based Assistance

Work Activities

Child Care

Trans- portation

Adminis- tration

Systems

Other Expenditures

Total Expenditures

 

Federal TANF Grants

2000

5,444

1,606

1,553

496

1,328

242

2,715

13,384

2001

4,772

1,983

1,583

522

1,375

223

4,325

14,782

2002

4,554

2,121

1,572

339

1,339

294

4,368

14,588

2003

5,820

1,937

1,698

434

1,307

285

4,772

16,254

2004

4,717

1,613

1,427

354

1,220

251

4,811

14,393

2005

5,193

1,702

1,279

393

1,277

230

4,089

14,164

2006

4,926

1,681

1,238

341

1,294

231

3,859

13,570

2007

4,532

1,678

1,168

354

1,317

236

4,352

13,637

2008

4,755

1,696

1,622

399

1,305

219

4,478

14,474

2009

4,504

1,778

1,787

420

1,365

207

5,118

15,179

2010

6,889

2,578

1,426

445

1,396

206

5,125

18,065

2011

5,255

1,928

1,352

412

1,313

162

4,761

15,183

2012

5,003

1,627

1,233

361

1,230

167

4,498

14,120

2013

4,485

1,517

1,110

373

1,237

172

5,258

14,152

 

State Maintenance of Effort Expenditures in the TANF AND Separate State Programs

2000

5,736

895

1,966

166

939

93

1,601

11,398

2001

5,390

713

1,765

133

958

84

1,694

10,737

2002

4,854

606

1,932

245

918

65

2,206

10,827

2003

4,398

662

1,770

109

799

60

2,288

10,086

2004

5,652

540

1,924

138

772

56

2,346

11,429

2005

5,546

465

1,918

130

822

48

2,488

11,416

2006

4,980

683

2,304

131

844

42

3,039

12,024

2007

4,583

661

2,549

119

904

51

4,418

13,285

2008

3,894

574

2,614

110

999

55

5,410

13,656

2009

4,820

581

2,347

127

837

74

6,614

15,399

2010

3,810

723

2,644

108

835

50

7,020

15,191

2011

4,350

720

2,606

82

781

48

6,855

15,441

2012

3,979

536

2,431

88

813

44

6,857

14,748

2013

4,253

517

2,529

77

838

44

6,738

14,995

 

Total Expenditures

2000

11,180

2,501

3,519

663

2,267

335

4,316

24,781

2001

10,163

2,696

3,347

655

2,333

306

6,019

25,520

2002

9,408

2,727

3,504

584

2,258

359

6,574

25,414

2003

10,219

2,599

3,468

543

2,106

345

7,060

26,340

2004

10,368

2,154

3,350

492

1,992

307

7,157

25,821

2005

10,739

2,167

3,197

523

2,099

278

6,577

25,580

2006

9,906

2,364

3,542

472

2,138

273

6,898

25,594

2007

9,115

2,338

3,717

474

2,221

287

8,770

26,922

2008

8,649

2,270

4,236

510

2,304

274

9,888

28,130

2009

9,324

2,359

4,134

547

2,202

281

11,732

30,578

2010

10,699

3,302

4,069

554

2,230

256

12,145

33,255

2011

9,604

2,648

3,958

494

2,094

210

11,616

30,624

2012

8,982

2,163

3,664

449

2,043

211

11,355

28,867

2013

8,738

2,034

3,639

450

2,075

216

11,995

29,147

Note: Administration and Systems, shown separately here in Table TANF 5, can be combined to show total administrative costs, as in Table TANF 4.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (available online at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ofa/resource-library/search?tag=5287).

Table TANF 6. Trends in AFDC/TANF Average Monthly Payments: 1962 – 2012
 

Monthly Benefit per Recipient

Average Number of Persons per Family

Monthly Benefit
per Family
(not reduced by Child Support)

Weighted Average 1
Maximum Benefit
(per 3-person Family)

 

Fiscal Year

Current
    Dollars

           2012   
 Dollars

Current
    Dollars

           2012   
 Dollars

Current
    Dollars

         2012  
 Dollars

1962

$31

$207

3.9

$121

$803

NA   

NA 

1964

32

206

4.1

131

850

NA   

NA 

1966

35

218

4.2

146

909

NA   

NA 

1967

36

220

4.1

150

910

NA   

NA 

1968

40

232

4.1

162

948

NA   

NA 

1969

43

244

4.0

173

974

$186 2

$1,051

1970

46

246

3.9

178

957

194 2

1,044

1971

48

246

3.8

180

927

201 2

1,034

1972

51

255

3.6

187

929

205 2

1,020

1973

53

252

3.5

187

891

213 2

1,015

1974

57

249

3.4

194

851

229 2

1,005

1975

63

253

3.3

209

836

243

973

1976

71

265

3.2

226

845

257

962

1977

78

271

3.1

241

840

271

946

1978

83

271

3.0

250

819

284

930

1979

87

262

3.0

257

773

301

905

1980

94

255

2.9

274

741

320

867

1981

96

236

2.9

277

681

326

802

1982

103

237

2.9

300

692

331

761

1983

106

234

2.9

311

684

336

740

1984

110

233

2.9

322

680

352

743

1985

112

229

2.9

329

672

369

754

1986

115

230

2.9

339

676

383

764

1987

123

239

2.9

359

699

393

765

1988

127

238

2.9

370

694

403

755

1989

131

236

2.9

381

685

413

742

1990

135

232

2.9

389

668

420

722

1991

135

222

2.9

388

638

424

698

1992

136

219

2.9

389

624

419

672

1993

131

206

2.8

373

584

414

649

1994

134

205

2.8

376

577

416

637

1995

134

201

2.8

377

564

418

627

1996

135

196

2.8

374

547

419

612

1997 3

130

186

2.8

362

516

418

597

1998

130

183

2.7

358

503

429

603

1999

133

183

2.7

357

493

450

621

2000

130

174

2.7

349

467

446

597

2001

134

174

2.6

351

455

448

581

2002

141

180

2.6

364

465

452

578

2003

140

175

2.5

354

442

455

568

2004

145

177

2.5

360

440

462

564

2005

151

178

2.4

370

437

468

553

2006

154

175

2.4

372

424

489

557

2007

160

178

2.4

377

419

499

555

2008

163

173

2.4

383

408

511

544

2009

164

175

2.4

389

415

507

543

2010

164

172

2.4

392

412

517

543

2011

162

165

2.4

387

396

502

514

2012

157

157

2.4

375

375

506

506

Note: AFDC benefit amounts have not been reduced by child support collections.  Constant dollar adjustments to 2012 level were made using a CPI-U-RS fiscal-year price index.

1 The maximum benefit for a 3-person family in each state is weighted by that state’s share of total AFDC/TANF families.

2 Estimated based on the weighted average benefit for a 4-person family.

3 The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 repealed the AFDC program as of July 1, 1997 and replaced it with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.  Beginning in 1997, average monthly benefits are calculated from case-level data rather than by dividing aggregate expenditures on cash assistance by aggregate caseloads, as in the past.  This change was necessary due to uncertainty about the extent to which states may be reporting non-cash basic assistance as well as cash assistance in the expenditure data formerly used to calculate average cash benefits.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, unpublished data and Characteristics and Financial Circumstances of TANF Recipients: TANF Annual Report to Congress selected years.

Table TANF 7. Characteristics of AFDC/TANF Families: Selected Years 1969 – 2012
 

May
1969

March
1979

Fiscal year 1

1983

1988

1992

1996

2000

2005

2010

2012

Avg. Family Size (persons)

4.0 

3.0 

3.0 

3.0 

2.9 

2.8 

2.6 

2.4 

2.4 

2.3 

Number of Child Recipients

    One

26.6 

42.3 

43.4 

42.5 

42.5 

43.9 

44.2 

49.2 

50.4 

50.9

    Two

23.0 

28.1 

29.8 

30.2 

30.2 

29.9 

28.4 

27.2 

27.6 

26.9 

    Three

17.7 

15.6 

15.2 

15.8 

15.5 

15.0 

15.3 

13.6 

12.8 

12.7 

    Four or More

32.5 

13.9 

10.1 

9.9 

10.1 

9.2 

10.1 

8.0 

7.4 

7.6 

    Unknown

NA  

NA  

1.5 

1.7 

0.7 

1.3 

2.0 

1.9 

1.8 

1.9 

Families with No Adult in Asst. Unit

10.1 

14.6 

8.3 

9.6 

14.8 

21.5 

34.4 

45.5 

46.3 

46.7 

     Child-Only Families 2

 –   

 –   

 –   

 –   

 –   

 –   

32.7 

42.6 

44.0 

44.1 

Families with Non-Recipients

33.1

NA  

36.9

36.8

38.9

49.9

 –   

 –   

 –   

 –   

Median Months on AFDC/TANF

    Since Most Recent Opening

23.0

29.0

26.0

26.3

22.5

23.6

 –   

 –   

 –   

 –   

Presence of Assistance

    Living in Public Housing

12.8

NA  

10.0

9.6

9.2

8.8

17.7

18.4

13.1

11.7

    Participating in Food Stamp or

    Donated Food Program

52.9

75.1

83.0

84.6

87.3

89.3

79.9

81.5

82.4

84.5

Presence of Income

    With Earnings

NA