Civic Report No. 17 July 2001


Gaining Ground? Measuring the Impact of Welfare Reform on Welfare and Work

Appendix C:
Comparing the Characteristics of Welfare Recipients and Other Women

The demographic characteristics of single mothers on welfare are very different from those of other women ages 18–44 or even of other mothers. They tend to be younger and they have much less education. In 2000, 36 percent of single mothers on welfare were high school dropouts compared to 13 percent of all women ages 18–44, 11 percent of married mothers, and 16 percent of single mothers not on welfare. Only 2 percent of the welfare recipients were college graduates compared to 24 percent of all women 18–44, 26 percent of married women, and 11 percent of single mothers not on welfare. Welfare recipients also differ strikingly by race from other women. In 2000, only 34 percent of welfare recipients were white non-Hispanic compared to 67 percent of all women 18–44, 72 percent of married women, and 52 percent of single mothers not on welfare. Black non-Hispanic women made up 41 percent of the welfare population but only 14 percent of all women 18–44, 8 percent of married women, and 30 percent of single mothers not on welfare. Hispanic women 18–44 have increased sharply in the population—from 8.4 percent in 1988 to 13 percent in 1999—and comprise an ever larger share of the welfare population, having reached 22 percent in 1999. Single mothers on welfare have more children and younger children than either married mothers or single mothers who are not on welfare. These and similar data are presented in detail for the years 1988, 1994, 1997 and 2000 in Tables C-1 and C-2. It is notable, however, that the difference in characteristics between welfare mothers and other single mothers did not change during the period of welfare reform.

[figure 1] [figure 2] [figure 3] [figure 4] [figure 5] [figure 6]
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figure 7] [figure 8] [figure 9] [figure 10] [figure 11] [figure 12]
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table 1] [table 2] [table 3] [table 4] [table 5] [table 6]
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table A-1] [table A-2] [appendix B] [figure B-1]
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appendix C] [table C-1] [table C-2]