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Tue Aug 28, 2012, 09:15 AM


Who is on Welfare? What are the demographics?

Depends on what program you're talking about:

TANF: According to the Department of Human Services, in 2010:

31.8% are white

31.9% are African-American

30% are Hispanic.

There's a chart going back 10 years that shows the demographics of TANF.

I'll tell you one thing about TANF: Most on it are children. Many more women than men are on it.

There are reasons for the demographic breakdown by race. Most of us know them: A history of oppression and discrimination that continues to this day, less than equal educational opportunities. Few job opportunities, and so on.

More about Welfare:

Research Desk tallies: How expensive is welfare?

By Dylan Matthews

bmkhawk asks:

What percentage of the annual budget is due to welfare programs?

When people refer to "welfare," they usually mean the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program (TANF), which provides funds to families with children while encouraging parents to find employment so they do not need the assistance long-term. TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a New Deal program that also helped poor families but had fewer work requirements. AFDC was abolished and TANF established in 1996, under Bill Clinton's welfare reform effort.

TANF is a federal-state joint program, with the federal government providing a block grant and states spending "Maintenance of Effort" (MOE) funds, which have to amount to a set percentage of what states paid for AFDC before its abolition. The most recent data are from fiscal 2008, when the federal government spent $20.5 billion, and federal and state governments combined spent $31 billion. As a percentage of the $2.9 trillion (PDF) in federal spending in fiscal 2008, this is minuscule. Federal TANF spending made up a mere 0.7 percent of the budget.


I'm a strong supporter of TANF and other social welfare programs. And not all social welfare programs mirror the demographics of TANF

"Food stamp demographics don’t fit the stereotype Republicans present. Currently, 41 percent of food stamp recipients come from a household with earnings from a job (the “working poor”); 36 percent are white, 22 percent are African American, and 10 percent are Hispanic. To qualify for food stamps a family of four needs an income at or below 130 percent of the official poverty level ($29,000) and savings of less than $2,000. According to the latest figures from the United States Department of Agriculture, 38 percent of those eligible for food stamps still don’t take advantage of them."


Medicaid recipients also don't fit the stereotype:


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