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Library Index » Social Issues & Debate Topics » Who Receives Benefits? - An Overview Of Welfare Program Participation, Use Over A Period Of Time, Survey Of Program Dynamics For Evaluating Welfare Reform

Who Receives Benefits? - An Overview Of Welfare Program Participation

percent received assistance household

With few exceptions, the demand for welfare assistance increased sharply in the 1990s. Nonetheless, one-third of the poor received no benefits in 2000. Several reasons explain why more than 33 percent of those living below the poverty line did not receive the assistance available to them. Some were ineligible because they had such assets as a car or a savings account that brought them above permitted limits. Others did not know they were eligible for benefits, while some knew they were eligible but chose not to accept benefits or thought the effort was not worth the amount of benefits they would receive.

How Many People Receive Benefits?

The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that in 2001 about 70.3 million people, or 25 percent of the total U.S. population, lived in households that received some form of means-tested assistance—assistance based on earning below a certain amount. (See Table 6.1.) This number is considerably higher than the 53.2 million people, or 21 percent of the population, who received assistance in 1990.

In 2001 approximately 32.9 million people were living below the poverty level. There are various governmental measures of poverty, including poverty thresholds and poverty guidelines. The 2001 poverty guideline for a family unit of two was $11,610; for a family unit of four, the guideline was $17,650. Of those living in poverty, 22.2 million, or 67.5 percent, were receiving some form of means-tested aid. (See Table 6.2.)

About 17.7 million persons, 6.3 percent of the total populace, lived in households that received food stamps in 2001. (See Table 6.1.) Of the people who lived below the poverty level, 33.6 percent lived in households that received food stamps in 2001. (See Table 6.2.)

In 2001 Medicaid covered about 50.4 million people; about 17.9 percent of the population lived in households where at least one person was covered by Medicaid. (See Table 6.1.)

What Type of Households Receive Assistance?

Certain types of households were more likely than others to receive means-tested assistance. Poor families with children under eighteen years of age were most likely to receive government assistance. In 2001, 84.5 percent of all poor families with children under six years of age and 89 percent of poor families headed by a single mother with children under six years of age received assistance. In unrelated subfamilies (two or more people living in the same household who are related to each other but are not related to the householder), 75 percent of poor children aged six to seventeen received assistance. (See Table 6.2.)

Information on the age, gender, racial and ethnic background, and family status of welfare participants in 2001 is available from the Current Population Survey, a joint project of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of the Census.

Gender of Welfare Recipients

In 2001 slightly more females (26.5 percent) than males (23.4 percent) lived in a household that received means-tested assistance, or welfare benefits of any kind. About 38.1 million females received program assistance during 2001, compared to 32.1 million males. (See Table 6.1.) Among those living below the poverty level, 12.9 million females (69.4 percent of females) received benefits during some part of the year, compared to 9.3 million males (65 percent of males). (See Table 6.2.)

One reason for the larger percentage of females receiving assistance is that women are more likely to live in a family without a spouse present. Another reason is that, as reported by numerous government and private

TABLE 6.1
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons in 2001
(Numbers in thousands)

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
All races and
all income levels
Both sexes
Total 281,475 70,258 25.0 57,385 20.4 17,525 6.2 17,757 6.3 50,448 17.9 10,906 3.9
Under 18 years 72,021 26,994 37.5 20,425 28.4 5,401 7.5 7,852 10.9 18,712 26.0 4,049 5.6
18 to 24 years 27,312 7,373 27.0 6,479 23.7 1,814 6.6 1,918 7.0 5,783 21.2 1,243 4.6
25 to 34 years 38,670 9,847 25.5 7,960 20.6 1,958 5.1 2,465 6.4 7,044 18.2 1,423 3.7
35 to 44 years 44,284 9,620 21.7 7,282 16.4 2,188 4.9 1,991 4.5 6,469 14.6 1,166 2.6
45 to 54 years 39,545 6,241 15.8 5,438 13.8 2,172 5.5 1,466 3.7 4,689 11.9 796 2.0
55 to 59 years 14,667 2,255 15.4 2,102 14.3 1,007 6.9 483 3.3 1,783 12.2 378 2.6
60 to 64 years 11,208 1,879 16.8 1,803 16.1 872 7.8 410 3.7 1,513 13.5 336 3.0
65 years and over 33,769 6,048 17.9 5,897 17.5 2,113 6.3 1,172 3.5 4,454 13.2 1,516 4.5
65 to 74 years 18,123 3,194 17.6 3,085 17.0 1,147 6.3 678 3.7 2,464 13.6 678 3.7
75 years and over 15,647 2,854 18.2 2,812 18.0 966 6.2 494 3.2 1,991 12.7 837 5.4
Male
Total 137,558 32,145 23.4 26,023 18.9 7,802 5.7 7,492 5.4 22,952 16.7 4,344 3.2
Under 18 years 36,857 13,689 37.1 10,342 28.1 2,702 7.3 3,902 10.6 9,449 25.6 2,036 5.5
18 to 24 years 13,705 3,222 23.5 2,779 20.3 787 5.7 680 5.0 2,448 17.9 457 3.3
25 to 34 years 19,234 4,181 21.7 3,478 18.1 827 4.3 858 4.5 3,035 15.8 512 2.7
35 to 44 years 21,822 4,232 19.4 3,181 14.6 963 4.4 735 3.4 2,826 13.0 411 1.9
45 to 54 years 19,332 2,928 15.1 2,524 13.1 982 5.1 597 3.1 2,191 11.3 270 1.4
55 to 59 years 7,091 978 13.8 902 12.7 439 6.2 167 2.4 774 10.9 113 1.6
60 to 64 years 5,282 746 14.1 712 13.5 340 6.4 151 2.9 599 11.3 107 2.0
65 years and over 14,235 2,169 15.2 2,104 14.8 762 5.3 402 2.8 1,629 11.4 438 3.1
65 to 74 years 8,245 1,326 16.1 1,274 15.5 465 5.6 271 3.3 1,047 12.7 231 2.8
75 years and over 5,991 843 14.1 830 13.8 297 5.0 130 2.2 582 9.7 207 3.5
Female
Total 143,917 38,112 26.5 31,362 21.8 9,723 6.8 10,266 7.1 27,496 19.1 6,562 4.6
Under 18 years 35,164 13,305 37.8 10,083 28.7 2,699 7.7 3,950 11.2 9,262 26.3 2,013 5.7
18 to 24 years 13,607 4,151 30.5 3,699 27.2 1,027 7.6 1,238 9.1 3,335 24.5 786 5.8
25 to 34 years 19,436 5,667 29.2 4,482 23.1 1,131 5.8 1,607 8.3 4,009 20.6 910 4.7
35 to 44 years 22,461 5,388 24.0 4,101 18.3 1,225 5.5 1,256 5.6 3,643 16.2 755 3.4
45 to 54 years 20,213 3,313 16.4 2,914 14.4 1,191 5.9 869 4.3 2,498 12.4 526 2.6
55 to 59 years 7,575 1,277 16.9 1,200 15.8 567 7.5 316 4.2 1,009 13.3 265 3.5
60 to 64 years 5,926 1,133 19.1 1,091 18.4 532 9.0 259 4.4 914 15.4 229 3.9
65 years and over 19,534 3,878 19.9 3,793 19.4 1,351 6.9 770 3.9 2,825 14.5 1,078 5.5
65 to 74 years 9,878 1,868 18.9 1,810 18.3 682 6.9 407 4.1 1,417 14.3 448 4.5
75 years and over 9,656 2,011 20.8 1,982 20.5 669 6.9 363 3.8 1,409 14.6 630 6.5

TABLE 6.1
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons in 2001
(Numbers in thousands)

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Household relationship
Total 281,475 70,258 25.0 57,385 20.4 17,525 6.2 17,757 6.3 50,448 17.9 10,906 3.9
65 years and over 33,769 6,048 17.9 5,897 17.5 2,113 6.3 1,172 3.5 4,454 13.2 1,516 4.5
In families 233,911 60,963 26.1 48,466 20.7 14,346 6.1 15,018 6.4 43,777 18.7 7,965 3.4
Householder 74,340 16,623 22.4 13,555 18.2 4,145 5.6 4,144 5.6 12,023 16.2 2,494 3.4
Under 65 years 62,700 14,859 23.7 11,872 18.9 3,471 5.5 3,825 6.1 10,617 16.9 2,317 3.7
65 years and over 11,641 1,765 15.2 1,684 14.5 674 5.8 319 2.7 1,407 12.1 177 1.5
Related children
Under 18 years 70,950 26,435 37.3 19,951 28.1 5,299 7.5 7,682 10.8 18,281 25.8 4,004 5.6
Under 6 years 23,014 8,979 39.0 7,655 33.3 1,867 8.1 3,040 13.2 7,133 31.0 1,587 6.9
6 to 17 years 47,936 17,456 36.4 12,296 25.7 3,432 7.2 4,642 9.7 11,147 23.3 2,417 5.0
Own children 18 years
and over 21,746 5,714 26.3 4,929 22.7 1,922 8.8 1,153 5.3 4,495 20.7 571 2.6
In married-couple families 182,212 34,911 19.2 26,655 14.6 6,463 3.5 5,549 3.0 24,269 13.3 2,248 1.2
Husbands 56,755 8,476 14.9 6,723 11.8 1,725 3.0 1,309 2.3 5,968 10.5 624 1.1
Under 65 years 46,509 7,355 15.8 5,645 12.1 1,354 2.9 1,133 2.4 5,106 11.0 484 1.0
65 years and over 10,245 1,122 11.0 1,078 10.5 371 3.6 175 1.7 862 8.4 140 1.4
Wives 56,755 8,476 14.9 6,723 11.8 1,725 3.0 1,309 2.3 5,968 10.5 624 1.1
Under 65 years 48,912 7,732 15.8 6,000 12.3 1,476 3.0 1,192 2.4 5,407 11.1 530 1.1
65 years and over 7,842 745 9.5 724 9.2 248 3.2 117 1.5 561 7.2 94 1.2
Related children
Under 18 years 51,287 13,882 27.1 9,768 19.0 1,866 3.6 2,435 4.7 9,095 17.7 846 1.7
Under 6 years 17,057 4,890 28.7 3,924 23.0 633 3.7 1,012 5.9 3,664 21.5 376 2.2
6 to 17 years 34,229 8,993 26.3 5,843 17.1 1,232 3.6 1,423 4.2 5,431 15.9 470 1.4
Own children 18 years
and over 13,958 2,728 19.5 2,268 16.2 775 5.6 345 2.5 2,126 15.2 128 0.9
In families with female house-
holder, no spouse present 39,261 21,836 55.6 18,401 46.9 6,893 17.6 8,433 21.5 16,438 41.9 5,281 13.5
Householder 13,146 6,750 51.3 5,686 43.3 2,075 15.8 2,513 19.1 5,032 38.3 1,718 13.1
Under 65 years 11,529 6,150 53.3 5,122 44.4 1,792 15.5 2,394 20.8 4,525 39.2 1,668 14.5
65 years and over 1,616 600 37.1 563 34.8 282 17.5 119 7.4 507 31.4 50 3.1
Related children
Under 18 years 16,137 10,893 67.5 8,955 55.5 3,179 19.7 4,794 29.7 8,061 50.0 2,966 18.4
Under 6 years 4,764 3,430 72.0 3,146 66.0 1,121 23.5 1,808 38.0 2,920 61.3 1,146 24.1
6 to 17 years 11,374 7,464 65.6 5,808 51.1 2,057 18.1 2,986 26.3 5,141 45.2 1,820 16.0
18 years and over 6,316 2,604 41.2 2,321 36.8 1,021 16.2 700 11.1 2,053 32.5 428 6.8

TABLE 6.1
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons in 2001
(Numbers in thousands)

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
In families with male householder
no spouse present 12,438 4,216 33.9 3,410 27.4 991 8.0 1,036 8.3 3,070 24.7 436 3.5
Householder 4,440 1,397 31.5 1,147 25.8 346 7.8 322 7.3 1,022 23.0 152 3.4
Under 65 years 4,009 1,250 31.2 1,003 25.0 285 7.1 290 7.2 889 22.2 150 3.7
65 years and over 431 147 34.1 144 33.3 61 14.1 32 7.4 134 31.0 2 0.5
Related children
Under 18 years 3,526 1,659 47.1 1,229 34.8 255 7.2 453 12.8 1,125 31.9 192 5.5
Under 6 years 1,193 660 55.3 585 49.0 113 9.4 219 18.4 550 46.1 66 5.5
6 to 17 years 2,333 1,000 42.8 644 27.6 142 6.1 233 10.0 575 24.7 127 5.4
18 years and over 1,472 382 25.9 340 23.1 127 8.6 108 7.4 316 21.5 16 1.1
In unrelated subfamilies 1,171 640 54.6 538 45.9 116 9.9 193 16.4 508 43.4 29 2.4
Under 18 years 656 377 57.5 317 48.3 69 10.5 122 18.5 299 45.6 16 2.4
Under 6 years 156 85 54.5 80 51.3 15 9.6 25 15.7 77 49.2 7 4.7
6 to 17 years 500 292 58.5 236 47.3 54 10.8 97 19.4 222 44.5 9 1.7
18 years and over 515 263 51.0 221 42.9 47 9.1 71 13.8 209 40.5 13 2.5
Unrelated individuals 46,392 8,654 18.7 8,381 18.1 3,063 6.6 2,546 5.5 6,163 13.3 2,912 6.3
Male 22,176 3,822 17.2 3,659 16.5 1,381 6.2 1,093 4.9 2,768 12.5 1,095 4.9
Under 65 years 19,212 3,124 16.3 2,962 15.4 1,128 5.9 926 4.8 2,302 12.0 809 4.2
Living alone 9,481 987 10.4 987 10.4 414 4.4 328 3.5 592 6.2 494 5.2
65 years and over 2,964 698 23.6 697 23.5 252 8.5 167 5.6 466 15.7 286 9.7
Living alone 2,569 575 22.4 575 22.4 189 7.3 132 5.1 360 14.0 270 10.5
Female 24,216 4,832 20.0 4,722 19.5 1,683 6.9 1,453 6.0 3,396 14.0 1,817 7.5
Under 65 years 15,930 2,898 18.2 2,789 17.5 1,106 6.9 1,011 6.3 2,166 13.6 917 5.8
Living alone 8,884 1,425 16.0 1,425 16.0 651 7.3 598 6.7 980 11.0 733 8.3
65 years and over 8,286 1,934 23.3 1,933 23.3 577 7.0 442 5.3 1,230 14.8 899 10.9
Living alone 7,910 1,811 22.9 1,811 22.9 515 6.5 415 5.2 1,127 14.3 888 11.2
SOURCE: "Table 3. Program Participation Status of Household—Poverty Status of Persons in 2001," in Annual Demographic Survey, March Supplement, U.S. Census Bureau, prepared in Cooperation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2002 [Online] http://ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032002/pov/new03_001.htm [accessed January 8, 2004]

TABLE 6.2
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons below poverty level, 2001

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
All races
below poverty level
Both sexes
Total 32,907 22,203 67.5 19,478 59.2 7,500 22.8 11,044 33.6 17,272 52.5 5,900 17.9
Under 18 years 11,733 9,945 84.8 8,434 71.9 3,038 25.9 5,395 46.0 7,773 66.2 2,576 22.0
18 to 24 years 4,449 2,403 54.0 2,234 50.2 738 16.6 1,162 26.1 1,986 44.6 666 15.0
25 to 34 years 4,255 2,845 66.9 2,472 58.1 786 18.5 1,418 33.3 2,182 51.3 709 16.7
35 to 44 years 3,822 2,583 67.6 2,170 56.8 849 22.2 1,190 31.1 1,896 49.6 571 14.9
45 to 54 years 2,804 1,656 59.0 1,508 53.8 765 27.3 785 28.0 1,278 45.6 424 15.1
55 to 59 years 1,274 656 51.5 611 47.9 368 28.9 284 22.3 529 41.5 218 17.1
60 to 64 years 1,157 544 47.0 521 45.0 303 26.2 241 20.8 432 37.4 167 14.5
65 years and over 3,414 1,571 46.0 1,528 44.8 653 19.1 569 16.7 1,197 35.1 570 16.7
65 to 74 years 1,664 818 49.2 785 47.2 369 22.2 328 19.7 653 39.3 299 18.0
75 years and over 1,750 753 43.1 743 42.4 284 16.2 241 13.8 544 31.1 270 15.5
Male
Total 14,327 9,316 65.0 8,051 56.2 3,004 21.0 4,414 30.8 7,143 49.9 2,218 15.5
Under 18 years 5,961 5,006 84.0 4,229 70.9 1,469 24.6 2,664 44.7 3,899 65.4 1,279 21.5
18 to 24 years 1,859 874 47.0 787 42.3 258 13.9 335 18.0 672 36.1 195 10.5
25 to 34 years 1,617 902 55.7 786 48.6 235 14.5 390 24.1 677 41.9 178 11.0
35 to 44 years 1,582 938 59.3 772 48.8 288 18.2 374 23.6 661 41.8 168 10.7
45 to 54 years 1,268 693 54.7 62 49.0 306 24.2 292 23.0 523 41.2 135 10.6
55 to 59 years 524 247 47.2 228 43.5 147 28.0 88 16.9 201 38.5 62 11.9
60 to 64 years 516 211 40.9 201 39.0 109 21.2 90 17.4 166 32.1 52 10.0
65 years and over 3,414 1,571 46.0 1,528 44.8 653 19.1 569 16.7 1,197 35.1 570 16.7
65 to 74 years 1,664 818 49.2 785 47.2 369 22.2 328 19.7 653 39.3 299 18.0
75 years and over 1,750 753 43.1 743 42.4 284 16.2 241 13.8 544 31.1 270 15.5
Male
Total 14,327 9,316 65.0 8,051 56.2 3,004 21.0 4,414 30.8 7,143 49.9 2,218 15.5
Under 18 years 5,961 5,006 84.0 4,229 70.9 1,469 24.6 2,664 44.7 3,899 65.4 1,279 21.5
18 to 24 years 1,859 874 47.0 787 42.3 258 13.9 335 18.0 672 36.1 195 10.5
25 to 34 years 1,617 902 55.7 786 48.6 235 14.5 390 24.1 677 41.9 178 11.0
35 to 44 years 1,582 938 59.3 772 48.8 288 18.2 374 23.6 661 41.8 168 10.7
45 to 54 years 1,268 693 54.7 621 49.0 306 24.2 292 23.0 523 41.2 135 10.6
55 to 59 years 524 247 47.2 228 43.5 147 28.0 88 16.9 201 38.5 62 11.9
60 to 64 years 516 211 40.9 201 39.0 109 21.2 90 17.4 166 32.1 52 10.0
65 years and over 999 445 44.5 427 42.7 193 19.3 180 18.0 344 34.5 149 14.9
65 to 74 years 560 273 48.8 259 46.3 134 23.8 126 22.6 221 39.5 101 18.0
75 years and over 439 172 39.2 167 38.2 59 13.5 54 12.2 123 28.0 48 11.0

TABLE 6.2
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons in 2001, all races, below poverty level [CONTINUED]

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Female
Total 18,580 12,887 69.4 11,427 61.5 4,496 24.2 6,630 35.7 10,129 54.5 3,682 19.8
Under 18 years 5,772 4,940 85.6 4,205 72.9 1,569 27.2 2,731 47.3 3,874 67.1 1,297 22.5
18 to 24 years 2,590 1,529 59.0 1,447 55.9 481 18.6 827 31.9 1,314 50.7 472 18.2
25 to 34 years 2,638 1,943 73.7 1,687 63.9 552 20.9 1,028 39.0 1,505 57.1 530 20.1
35 to 44 years 2,240 1,645 73.4 1,398 62.4 561 25.0 816 36.4 1,234 55.1 403 18.0
45 to 54 years 1,536 962 62.7 887 57.8 458 29.8 493 32.1 755 49.2 289 18.8
55 to 59 years 750 409 54.5 383 51.0 221 29.4 196 26.1 327 43.6 155 20.7
60 to 64 years 640 332 51.9 320 49.9 194 30.3 151 23.5 267 41.7 116 18.1
65 years and over 2,415 1,126 46.6 1,101 45.6 460 19.1 389 16.1 853 35.3 420 17.4
65 to 74 years 1,104 545 49.4 526 47.7 235 21.3 201 18.2 432 39.1 198 18.0
75 years and over 1,311 582 44.4 575 43.9 225 17.2 187 14.3 421 32.1 222 16.9
Household relationship
Total 32,907 22,203 67.5 19,478 59.2 7,500 22.8 11,044 33.6 17,272 52.5 5,900 17.9
65 years and over 3,414 1,571 46.0 1,528 44.8 653 19.1 569 16.7 1,197 35.1 570 16.7
In families 23,215 17,812 76.7 15,203 65.5 5,568 24.0 9,181 39.5 13,872 59.8 4,414 19.0
Householder 6,813 4,894 71.8 4,258 62.5 1,576 23.1 2,514 36.9 3,850 56.5 1,336 19.6
Under 65 years 6,178 4,595 74.4 3,989 64.6 1,453 23.5 2,415 39.1 3,611 58.5 1,278 20.7
65 years and over 635 299 47.1 269 42.4 124 19.5 99 15.6 239 37.6 58 9.2
Related children
Under 18 years 11,175 9,599 85.9 8,116 72.6 2,968 26.6 5,253 47.0 7,484 67.0 2,540 22.7
Under 6 years 4,188 3,537 84.5 3,218 76.8 1,090 26.0 2,066 49.3 3,030 72.4 1,042 24.9
6 to 17 years 6,987 6,062 86.8 4,898 70.1 1,879 26.9 3,187 45.6 4,454 63.7 1,498 21.4
Own children 18 years
and over 1,468 1,054 71.8 933 63.5 421 28.7 484 33.0 835 56.9 240 16.4
In married-couple families 10,299 6,919 67.2 5,518 53.6 1,508 14.6 2,821 27.4 5,046 49.0 842 8.2
Husbands 2,760 1,584 57.4 1,295 46.9 370 13.4 641 23.2 1,167 42.3 207 7.5
Under 65 years 2,314 1,434 62.0 1,158 50.0 313 13.5 585 25.3 1,049 45.4 172 7.4
65 years and over 447 150 33.6 137 30.6 57 12.7 56 12.4 117 26.3 35 7.9
Wives 2,760 1,584 57.4 1,295 46.9 370 13.4 641 23.2 1,167 42.3 207 7.5
Under 65 years 2,429 1,498 61.7 1,213 49.9 340 14.0 607 25.0 1,096 45.1 188 7.7
65 years and over 331 85 25.8 82 24.7 31 9.2 34 10.3 71 21.4 19 5.7
Related children
Under 18 years 4,108 3,292 80.1 2,562 62.4 661 16.1 1,391 33.9 2,373 57.8 379 9.2
Under 6 years 1,567 1,224 78.1 1,055 67.3 216 13.8 560 35.7 988 63.1 153 9.7
6 to 17 years 2,541 2,068 81.4 1,506 59.3 445 17.5 831 32.7 1,385 54.5 226 8.9
Own children 18 years
and over 466 315 67.5 256 54.9 84 17.9 115 24.8 236 50.7 46 10.0
In families with female house-
holder, no spouse present 11,223 9,767 87.0 8,784 78.3 3,746 33.4 5,890 52.5 8,002 71.3 3,397 30.3
Householder 3,470 2,944 84.8 2,657 76.6 1,094 31.5 1,733 49.9 2,406 69.3 1,067 30.8
Under 65 years 3,257 2,799 85.9 2,528 77.6 1,027 31.5 1,697 52.1 2,288 70.3 1,041 32.0
65 years and over 213 145 68.0 128 60.3 67 31.7 36 16.7 118 55.3 26 12.2

TABLE 6.2
Program participation status of household—poverty status of persons in 2001, all races, below poverty level, [CONTINUED]

In household that received means-tested assistance In household that received means-tested assistance excl.school lunch In household that received means-tested cash assistance In household that received food stamps In household in which one or more persons were covered by Medicaid Live in public or subsidized housing
Characteristic Total Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Related children
Under 18 years 6,341 5,740 90.5 5,123 80.8 2,173 34.3 3,613 57.0 4,712 74.3 2,060 32.5
Under 6 years 2,329 2,074 89.0 1,954 83.9 813 34.9 1,386 59.5 1,843 79.1 856 36.7
6 to 17 years 4,012 3,666 91.4 3,169 79.0 1,361 33.9 2,227 55.5 2,869 71.5 1,204 30.0
18 years and over 876 663 75.7 606 69.2 302 34.5 322 36.8 531 60.6 186 21.2
In families with male householder
no spouse present 1,693 1,126 66.5 901 53.2 313 18.5 470 27.8 824 48.7 176 10.4
Householder 583 367 62.9 306 52.5 112 19.2 141 24.1 278 47.6 62 10.6
Under 65 years 551 349 63.2 290 52.5 108 19.6 133 24.1 263 47.7 61 11.0
65 years and over 32 18 (B) 17 (B) 4 (B) 8 (B) 15 (B) 1 (B)
Related children
Under 18 years 726 567 78.2 431 59.4 134 18.4 249 34.4 399 55.0 101 13.9
Under 6 years 291 239 82.2 208 71.6 61 20.9 120 41.2 199 68.3 33 11.4
6 to 17 years 435 328 75.6 223 51.2 73 16.8 129 29.7 200 46.1 68 15.6
18 years and over 126 76 60.5 71 56.2 35 28.0 47 37.1 67 53.5 8 6.2
In unrelated subfamilies 466 340 73.0 312 66.9 72 15.4 152 32.7 295 63.4 20 4.3
Under 18 years 292 214 73.3 196 67.2 47 16.0 100 34.2 186 63.8 12 4.1
Under 6 years 73 50 (B) 48 (B) 10 (B) 17 (B) 47 (B) 7 (B)
6 to 17 years 219 164 75.0 148 67.5 36 16.6 83 37.9 139 63.7 5 2.1
18 years and over 174 126 72.5 115 66.4 25 14.3 53 30.3 109 62.8 8 4.7
Unrelated individuals 9,226 4,051 43.9 3,964 43.0 1,861 20.2 1,710 18.5 3,105 33.7 1,466 15.9
Male 3,833 1,541 40.2 1,503 39.2 728 19.0 645 16.8 1,176 30.7 502 13.1
Under 65 years 3,365 1,292 38.4 1,253 37.2 602 17.9 535 15.9 987 29.3 393 11.7
Living alone 1,301 526 40.4 526 40.4 277 21.3 246 18.9 363 27.9 267 20.6
65 years and over 469 250 53.3 250 53.3 126 27.0 110 23.4 189 40.4 109 23.3
Living alone 388 216 55.6 216 55.6 104 26.7 97 25.0 158 40.6 100 25.8
Female 5,393 2,510 46.5 2,461 45.6 1,133 21.0 1,065 19.8 1,929 35.8 964 17.9
Under 65 years 3,639 1,691 46.5 1,642 45.1 791 21.7 771 21.2 1,330 36.5 596 16.4
Living alone 1,593 867 54.4 867 54.4 491 30.8 475 29.8 661 41.5 479 30.1
65 years and over 1,753 819 46.7 819 46.7 342 19.5 294 16.8 599 34.2 369 21.0
Living alone 1,627 760 46.7 760 46.7 314 19.3 284 17.4 552 33.9 361 22.2
SOURCE: "Program Participation Status of Household—Poverty Status of Persons in 2001, All Races, below Poverty Level," in Annual Demographic Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, March 2002 [Online] http://ferret.bls.census.gov/macro/032002/pov/new03_002.htm [accessed January 8, 2004]

TABLE 6.3
Length of participation in means-tested assistance programs, 1996–99
(In months)

Any Means-tested programs1 AFDC/GA Supplemental Security Income Food stamps Medicaid Housing assistance2
Characteristic Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error
All recipients3 7.0 0.1 5.6 0.6 11.2 0.4 5.9 0.4 7.5 0.1 (X) (X)
Race and Hispanic origin
White 6.2 0.6 5.4 0.7 8.0 0.2 5.2 0.4 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
Not of Hispanic origin4 5.5 0.5 5.2 0.6 7.9 0.3 4.8 0.4 7.3 0.1 (X) (X)
Black 7.4 0.2 6.3 2.1 11.3 0.6 7.4 0.2 7.6 0.2 (X) (X)
Hispanic origin 7.4 0.2 7.1 0.4 11.9 1.1 7.0 0.2 7.7 0.2 (X) (X)
Not of Hispanic origin 6.6 0.7 5.3 0.6 11.1 0.5 5.8 0.4 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
Age5
Under 18 years 7.6 0.2 5.7 0.8 7.8 0.7 7.2 0.2 7.8 0.1 (X) (X)
18 to 64 years 5.9 0.4 5.4 0.8 7.9 0.2 4.9 0.3 7.5 0.1 (X) (X)
65 years and over 3.9 0.0 (B) (B) 19.7 0.9 8.0 0.3 3.9 0.0 (X) (X)
Sex
Men 5.7 0.7 5.0 0.8 12.5 14.1 5.2 0.5 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
Women 7.2 0.1 5.8 0.7 7.9 0.2 7.0 0.2 7.5 0.1 (X) (X)
Educational attainment (people 18
years and over)
Less than 4 years of high school 7.3 0.2 7.1 0.2 15.4 0.6 7.3 0.2 7.6 0.1 (X) (X)
High school graduate, no college 5.9 0.6 5.6 1.1 11.2 0.8 4.9 0.6 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
1 or more years of college 3.9 0.0 3.8 0.2 7.2 0.3 3.9 0.1 4.5 0.9 (X) (X)
Disability status (people 15 to 64 years old)
With a work disability 8.1 1.8 7.3 0.3 15.0 0.7 7.9 0.3 11.1 0.4 (X) (X)
With no work disability 4.9 0.5 4.5 0.8 3.9 0.1 4.0 0.4 7.1 0.1 (X) (X)
Residence
Metropolitan 7.0 0.1 6.5 1.2 11.1 0.5 6.5 0.8 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
Central city 7.3 0.2 7.1 0.2 11.6 0.7 7.1 0.2 7.6 0.1 (X) (X)
Noncentral city 5.8 0.8 5.3 1.1 7.8 0.3 5.6 0.6 7.3 0.1 (X) (X)
Nonmetropolitan 7.0 0.2 3.9 0.1 11.6 0.7 5.3 0.6 7.6 0.2 (X) (X)
Region
Northeast 7.1 0.2 7.3 0.4 11.7 1.4 7.3 0.2 7.7 0.2 (X) (X)
Midwest 5.1 0.8 4.7 1.0 7.6 0.4 4.4 0.5 7.2 0.2 (X) (X)
South 7.0 0.1 5.6 1.0 11.6 0.5 7.0 1.0 7.4 0.1 (X) (X)
West 7.3 0.2 5.2 1.9 12.7 11.1 5.3 1.0 7.7 0.2 (X) (X)
Family status
In families 7.0 0.1 5.5 0.6 7.9 0.2 5.9 0.4 7.5 0.1 (X) (X)
In married-couple families 5.7 0.5 4.0 0.1 7.9 0.3 4.8 0.4 7.2 0.1 (X) (X)
In families with a female house-
holder, no spouse present 7.6 0.2 7.1 0.2 7.8 0.3 7.3 0.2 8.0 0.1 (X) (X)
In families with a male householder,
no spouse present 7.2 0.4 4.0 0.3 11.2 1.3 5.7 2.1 7.6 0.5 (X) (X)
Unrelated individuals 7.0 0.2 6.6 2.4 35.1 1.0 6.8 1.7 7.4 0.2 (X) (X)
Employment and labor force
status (people 18 years and over)
Employed full-time 3.9 0.0 3.6 0.1 7.0 0.3 3.7 0.1 4.3 1.2 (X) (X)
Employed part-time 4.7 0.8 4.4 1.1 4.0 0.1 4.0 0.1 7.0 0.2 (X) (X)
Unemployed 5.4 1.1 4.2 2.5 (B) (B) 5.2 0.9 7.1 0.4 (X) (X)
Not in labor force 7.3 0.1 7.2 0.2 15.2 0.4 7.7 0.2 7.5 0.1 (X) (X)

studies, women, on average, earn approximately 76 percent of what men earn (2001 figure). Age may also play a role in the higher number of women in poverty; there are far more elderly women then men.

Racial and Ethnic Characteristics of Welfare Recipients

The U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2000, 15.2 percent of white non-Hispanics, 44 percent of African-Americans, and 48.5 percent of persons of Hispanic origin (persons of Hispanic origin can be of any race) lived in households receiving some form of means-tested assistance. Among those with incomes below the poverty line, 53.1 percent of white non-Hispanics, 80.8 percent of African-Americans, and 77.9 percent of Hispanics received benefits.

Age of Welfare Recipients

More than one-third (37.5 percent) of children under eighteen years old received assistance at some time during 2001. Approximately one out of six people aged sixty-five or over (17.9 percent) received assistance. (See Table 6.1.)

Family Relationships of Welfare Recipients

Only 19.2 percent of those living in families headed by married couples received assistance in 2001. By contrast,

TABLE 6.3
Length of participation in means-tested assistance programs, 1996–99
(In months)

Any Means-tested programs1 AFDC/GA Supplemental Security Income Food stamps Medicaid Housing assistance2
Characteristic Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error Median Standard error
Family income-to-poverty ratio
Under 1.00 8.0 0.1 7.1 0.2 19.3 0.6 7.7 0.1 8.5 0.8 (X) (X)
1.00 and over 4.6 0.6 3.9 0.1 7.7 0.2 4.0 0.1 7.1 0.1 (X) (X)
B The sample size is too small for analysis.
X Not applicable.
1Major means-tested programs include Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), General Assistance (GA), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance.
2Median duration cannot be computed when more than half of the spells are continuing in the last month of data collection. (This situation is especially likely to occur for elderly recipients whose incomes from other sources are unlikely to rise over time.)
3Median duration for each program is derived only for those who begin participating in each program at the start of the survey, while those who are already in the program at the start of the survey (i.e., the left-censored cases) are excluded from the analysis.
4Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
5Age, educational attainment, and other variables are measured at the time the spells begin, except that, for those who are already on programs at the start of the survey, these characteristics are measured at the first interview.
SOURCE: Gordon H. Lester and Jan Tin, "Table A-7. Median Duration of Program Participation by Program: 1996–1999," in Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Program Participation, 1996–1999: Who Gets Assistance? U.S. Census Bureau, January 2004 [Online] http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p70-94.pdf [accessed January 27, 2004]

55.6 percent of individuals in female-headed families with no spouse present received benefits. The highest rate of assistance was provided to families headed by women with children under the age of six (72 percent). (See Table 6.1.)

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