Poverty & Dependence Summary
- In 2013, 40.6 percent of children were born to unwed mothers, an increase of 6 percentage points since 2003; however, for the past five years, the percentage of unwed births has remained relatively stable. “[S]ocial scientists began to reach a consensus in the late 1990s that the children of single mothers were doing worse than the children of married mothers on just about every measure they studied,” writes Kay Hymowitz.
- From 2004 to 2014, total federal and state government spending on welfare programs increased by $250 billion (in constant 2014 dollars). “Far from being a compassionate series of programs worthy of defense against reform, the current welfare architecture has been a disaster for struggling communities and has done its gravest disservice to recipients themselves,” explains Paul Winfree.
- From 2004 to 2014, the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, also known as food stamps) participants nearly doubled to 46.5 million individuals even as the unemployment rate dropped. “One out of seven Americans received SNAP benefits in 2014,” notes Maura Corrigan, “and the program cost $74.1 billion — the second largest means-tested welfare program”. The number of subsidized housing recipients increased as well, rising by about 1.3 million between 2004 and 2013.
Poverty & Dependence Indicators
- Labor Force Participation Rate
- Unwed Birth Rate
With commentary by Kay S. Hymowitz: “The Legacy of the Marriage Class Divide”
With commentary by Robert L. Woodson, Sr: “A New Paradigm to Promote Self-Sufficiency”
- Total Welfare Spending
With commentary by Paul L. Winfree: “The Unintended Consequences of Welfare Spending”
- Subsidized Housing Participation
- Food Stamp Participation
With commentary by Maura Corrigan: “Back to Work on Food Stamps”
- TANF Participation
- TANF Work Participation Rate
Next Up in the Index:
© 2015 by The Heritage Foundation. All Rights Reserved.